Tuesday, May 2, 2017

No sign of US attempting to reduce tensions with North Korea

(April 17)There appears little hope that the Trump administration will make the slightest move to cool down tensions between it and the Kim Jong-un regime in North Korea.

Vice President Mike Pence visited South Korea and declared that the "era of strategic patience" toward North Korea was over. He said the US would achieve its objectives in North Korea by any means necessary. He also restated what had been said before that all options are on the table. China urged that there be a non-military solution to the crisis. Pence also held out for a "peaceable" solution through Chinese intervention but it is not at all clear China has the ability to stop Kim Jong-un who showed his defiance of the US by allegedly attempting a missile test that supposedly failed. Some reports already suggest it was due to US hacking. However, there is no report from the regime itself as yet.
China has already stopped purchasing coal from North Korea and has now terminated scheduled flights. However it has said this is because of lack of demand. Russia has warned the US against taking any unilateral action. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference: 'We do not accept the reckless nuclear missile actions of Pyongyang that breach UN resolutions, but that does not mean that you can break international law. I hope that there will not be any unilateral actions like the one we saw recently in Syria.' "
There are reports that North Korea is prepared for another nuclear test. There are some reports that the US could attack North Korea even if they think the country is about to conduct another nuclear test. So far North Korea only carried out the alleged failed missile test. There is as yet no peace treaty after the Korean war which began back in 1950 only an uneasy truce with periods of detente followed by increased tensions. However, so far the two sides have avoided any outright renewal of the war. Should the US attack a North Korean nuclear site all bets would be off. Even without nuclear weapons North Korea has a large army and the capacity to cause considerable damage to South Korea including the capital city Seoul which is quite close to the border. North Korea has said that they would carry out retaliatory nuclear strikes against US bases in the region but it is not clear they could actually do this. Much of what North Korea threatens it may be unable to carry out unlike US threats. However, North Korea does have a massive number of conventional missile weapons.
Trump's Easter message to Kim Jong-un was that North Korea had to behave. Holding war games with the South Koreans that simulate an invasion of North Korea, and sending a nuclear aircraft carrier and other ships to Korea are simply responses to a North Korean threat to defend itself but not misbehaving or increasing tensions. The deployment of the THAAD missile system is also regarded as a threat by China and the Russia but neither is saying anything about that for the moment. However both China and Russia are reported to have sent spy ships to shadow "Trump's Armada".


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