N Korean nuclear strike could cause chaos in US


Book Reviewer
Looks to me as if the whole silly circus has achieved the square root of nothing and the only message Kim will understand is Trump screwing down in sanctions. Treating the murderer Kim as if he has the least smidgin of goodwill is ridiculous.
It appears that in the case of North Korea, "no deal is better than a bad deal", or something like that. No deal reached between Trump, Kim at 2nd summit | CBC News
The two sides have ended the current rounds of talks with no announced milestones having been reached.

The two sides offer differing accounts of the discussion. According to the US, North Korea wanted all sanctions removed before dismantling their nuclear arsenal, while North Korea said they were only looking for partial removal of sanctions.

North Korea said their offer included dismantling of their plutonium and uranium material production facilities, while being observed by US experts.

Trump said he wanted the "right deal" rather than needing to have a deal right now.

Kim said that if he wasn't willing to dismantle their nuclear facilities, he wouldn't be at the meeting.

Trump said that progress had been made, and that he believes that a deal can still be reached.

Moscow said they felt things were encouraging, but that the situation in North Korea was not something that could be solved quickly.

Beijing said that they felt there has been a significant improvement in the overall situation in the Korean Peninsula in the past year.

Seoul said that what it was unfortunate that the current meeting did not produce tangible results, they expect to see dialogue to continue.
I wonder how much Kim's position is being influenced by Russian & Chinese "suggestions".
Looks to me as if the whole silly circus has achieved the square root of nothing and the only message Kim will understand is Trump screwing down in sanctions. Treating the murderer Kim as if he has the least smidgin of goodwill is ridiculous.
The lack of missile tests, aggressive moves against SK, relaxing of border tensions - all appear to be positive achievements which only came about through external pressure.
Pompeo says North Korea not clear on scope of closing Yongbyon facility | Reuters
Pompeo disputes what Ri Yong Ho said. Tubby III had asked for all sanctions to be lifted and not a 'partial lifting of sanctions':
“They were pretty expansive with respect to what they are prepared to do at Yongbyon but there was still not complete clarity with respect to full scope of what it is they were prepared to offer,” Pompeo told a news conference during a short stop in Manila.

He said the United States was “anxious to get back to the table to continue that conversation”.

Pompeo said North Korea had “basically asked for full sanctions relief”.
South Korea to work with U.S. and North Korea after failed nuclear talks | Reuters
Meanwhile, Moon is looking at carrying on the talks in the sidelines, pushing things like tourism and their joint industrial complex on the border:
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has been an active supporter of efforts to end confrontation on the Korean peninsula, meeting Kim three times last year and trying to facilitate his nuclear negotiations with the United States.

“My administration will closely communicate and cooperate with the United States and North Korea so as to help their talks reach a complete settlement by any means,” Moon said in a speech in the South Korean capital, Seoul.

Moon also said South Korea would consult the United States on ways to resume joint projects with the North including tourism development at Mount Kumgang and the Kaesong industrial complex, both in North Korea.
No more tests of ballistic missiles or nukes which are against the UNSC Resolutions. The US has temporarily halted their joint exercises which are not against UNSC Resolutions. Allegedly Tubby III wants all sanctions removed, whether this is the US ones or whether this is the UN ones remains unclear. DPRK dispute this and say they only wanted partial sanctions lifted and agreed to 'dismantle' test facilities with US observers.


Book Reviewer
Merely cosmetics. The nuclear armament programme rolls along as ever.
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Unrealistic expectations from all sides.

N Korea is a rogue nation in every single possible way. It follows no global societal norms.

N Korean leaders are ‘Gods’. Omnipotent beings who are incapable of doing any wrong, or being dictated to by anyone or any nation, only of being worshipped and obeyed.

To expect anything else is being wildly optimistic.

Kim wants major concessions from Trump, and anything already given was expected... with no quid pro quo of any consequence. The history of N Korea’s ‘concessions’ is testament to an unending stream of lies and broken promises.

There is one thing all N Korean’s recognise and will concede to... brutal overpowering force.

The world in general has tried to move away from this method of human interchange, but it still is considered a final solution in too many cases, as we see around the globe today. The unfortunate wrinkle being the existence of WMD and MAD.

Kim/N Korea sees possession of them as being a vital key to continued his/its existence in their present unacceptable form. Without them Kim’s dictatorship could be removed and N Korea would probably revert back to a more normal and acceptable form of existence.

With Kim in charge that simply is not going to happen.


Book Reviewer
This is a significant development. Significantly scaling down the exercises and their perceived threat should send a signal to NK of a willingness to further de-escalate tensions. Sanctions remain in place.

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Official announcement to be made in coming days.

US and South Korea to scrap major military exercises in spring | DW | 02.03.2019

ETA: From France24 - talk of opening a US liason office in Pyongyang:

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North Korea disputes Trump account of summit

More climb-downs from our side with nothing back.
I found this interesting article by Park Si-soo in the Korean Times today. It paints a picture of a deflated NK leader taking a very long 3800 km train ride home where his political leadership is thought to have suffered somewhat.

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Kim Jong-un wraps up Vietnam visit, chugging back home empty-handed
If the report in post 6147 is accurate, he's going home with and end to a joint US-ROK exercise, which has been one of DPRK's aims.
If the report in post 6147 is accurate, he's going home with and end to a joint US-ROK exercise, which has been one of DPRK's aims.
Yes it is one of their aims but the headline uses "scrapped" before going on to describe a significant reduction, which is not "scrapped", ended or a withdrawal. A bit soon to pass judgement yet, (thinking years) though various media are certainly doing so.
For now at least external military pressure has been largely lifted on Kim. The huge military exercises that reminded the Kim regime's existence of possible consequences, in a language they clearly understood, for the most part, ended.

North Korea has continued to exploit South Korean President Moon Jae In's naive hope for sudden denuclearization and a quick end to the long stand divisions on the Korean Peninsula, even going as far as stating over and over that North Korea was ready to give up its nuclear arsenal in exchange for peace and economic prosperity.

It has been a longstanding North Korean plan to drive a policy wedge between South Korea and its American strategic partners. North Korea knew the deeper South Korea dug into improved relations with North Korea, the harder it would be for it make an about face and return to the heightened military standoff that has been the case for nearly 70 years.

Beyond small changes in force posture, dialogue and presence these recent developments have bought Kim a new far more favourable situation to his country's long-standing predicament. The price of this, next to nothing!

He has not surrendered a single nuclear warhead, missile, enrichment facility, or halted the country's nuclear weapons and long-range missile development programs, germ warfare research or chemical weapon development, and has followed decades of previous form in any form of negotiation with NK.

It will be interesting to see if, with Trump’s policy of withdrawing from the US role of being the globes policeman, these costly exercises are re-instated?
President Moon of South Korea has said he will try to get the US-North Korea talks going again. There's not a lot to the actual news beyond that.
South Korea's Moon calls for quick resumption of nuclear talks | CBC News
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says Seoul will actively try to get the nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang quickly back on track.
Moon made the comments on Monday as he led a National Security Council meeting to discuss South Korea's diplomatic strategy following the breakdown of a high-stakes summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last week in Vietnam.
Quick resumption to old talks that have had zero results. But...that’s optimism, a very positive attitude. Nothing can go wrong...

Historically, or taking a lesson from history, the possible resumption of learning what to do when Kim has a brain fart might also be a good idea, before Trump decides that the savings in not doing so are better employed in adding to Defence Procurement back home.

Meanwhile for NK its business as usual.
While Trump was meeting with Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, North Korean hackers reportedly attacked targets in the US and elsewhere
North Korea’s Tongchang-ri: Rebuilding Commences on Launch Pad and Engine Test Stand | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea
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North Korea rebuilds part of missile site as Bolton warns of more sanctions | Reuters
Even whilst the Hanoi meeting was being discussed and implemented, the work at one of the missile test locations which started to be dismantled was halted and rebuilding took place. According to satellite imagery interpreted by 38 North and CSIS rebuilding took place between 16/02 and 02/03:
Satellite images seen by 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea project, showed that structures on the Sohae launch pad had been rebuilt sometime between Feb. 16 and March 2, Jenny Town, managing editor at the project and an analyst at the Stimson Center think tank, told Reuters.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies released a report, also citing satellite imagery, that concluded North Korea is “pursuing a rapid rebuilding” at the site.
Bolton is looking at increasing sanctions:
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that following the Hanoi summit, Washington would see whether Pyongyang was committed to giving up its “nuclear weapons program and everything associated with it.”

“If they’re not willing to do it, then I think President Trump has been very clear ... they’re not going to get relief from the crushing economic sanctions that have been imposed on them and we’ll look at ramping those sanctions up in fact,” said Bolton, a hardliner who has advocated a tough approach to North Korea in the past.
South Korea has agreed to a US price increase to pay for US troops based in South Korea. The new price is $924 million US, versus $830 million for last year.
South Korea to pay more toward U.S. troop presence | CBC News
South Korea and the United States signed a deal on Friday that would increase Seoul's financial contribution for the deployment of U.S. troops in the Asian country.
After rounds of failed negotiations, chief delegates from the two countries last month agreed on Seoul paying about 1.04 trillion won ($924 million US) in 2019 for the U.S. military presence, up from about $830 million last year.
This comes after heavy pressure from the US for a high price, including concerns that the US may begin pulling out of South Korea if they didn't get the price they wanted.
President Donald Trump had pressured Seoul to increase its share, triggering worries in South Korea that he might withdraw some of the 28,500 U.S. troops there if Seoul refused to accept his demand.
Other news sources have said the US is also looking at increasing the bill charged to other US allies for US troops based in their country. The supposed new formula will raise the price from "cost" to "cost plus 50%".

If I recall correctly the US was originally asking South Korea for much more money, but the South Koreans apparently chiselled them down on the bill. However, this is a one year agreement only, so the US will be coming back next year for another price increase.
Charges against one of the two women accused of killing Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un's half brother, were dropped by Malaysia unexpectedly on Monday.
Indonesian woman freed 2 years after Kim Jong-nam's VX death | CBC News
An Indonesian woman held two years on suspicion of killing the North Korean leader's half-brother was freed from custody Monday after prosecutors unexpectedly dropped the murder charge against her.
No reason was given for charges being withdrawn.
The High Court judge discharged Aisyah without an acquittal after prosecutors said they wanted to withdraw the murder charge against her. They did not give a reason.
The Indonesian women will be leaving Malaysia to go back to Indonesia soon.
Aisyah was quickly ushered out of the court building in an embassy car. Her lawyers said she is heading to the Indonesian Embassy and expected to fly to Jakarta soon.

Indonesian Ambassador Rusdi Kirana said he was thankful to the Malaysian government. "We believe she is not guilty," he said.
There was no information in the news story at this time as to whether charges against the second women, who is from Vietnam, will also be dropped.
The US have reversed their decision to impose more sanctions on North Korea.
Trump reverses U.S. Treasury decision on North Korea sanctions | CBC News
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he is reversing his administration's decision to place new sanctions on North Korea, ordering them withdrawn.
In unrelated news, North Korea pulled their staff out of the inter-Korean liaison office in North Korea on Friday. It sounds to be temporary though, as the North Koreans told the southerners that they don't mind if the southerners stay for now.
In a separate development on the peninsula, North Korea abruptly withdrew its staff from an inter-Korean liaison office in the North on Friday, Seoul officials said. (...)
According to the South Korean statement, the North added that it "will not mind the South remaining in the office" and that it would notify the South about practical matters later.
South Korea have said that they will continue to show up at the office, which is near the border.
Seoul's vice-unification minister Chun Hae-sung told reporters that South Korea plans to continue to staff the Kaesong liaison office normally and that it expects the North will continue to allow the South Koreans to commute to the office. He said Seoul plans to staff the office with 25 people on Saturday and Sunday.
The office is in Kaesong, where South Korean firms had operated an industrial park where they employed North Korean labour. Both South and North Korea have said they want the US to reduce sanctions to allow the industrial park to re-open without the US getting a mad on at those South Korean firms which do business there.
The town is where the Korea's now-stalled jointly run factory complex was located. It combined South Korean initiatives, capital and technology with North Korea's cheap labour. Both Koreas want the U.S. to allow sanction exemptions to allow the reopening of the factory park, which provided the North with much-needed foreign currency.
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