Americans Are Wrong About North Korea

GettyImages-669024730Nuclear War With North Korea Is Highly Likely, Voters Say

By Juliana Rose Pignataro @julie_pignataro On 05/12/17 AT 2:09 PM
The United States’ tenuous relationship with North Korea is on the minds of most Americans, according to a new poll. A Rassmussen Reports poll released Thursday found that 57 percent of U.S. voters believe a nuclear war with North Korea will take place before the end of the century.

Twenty-four percent consider it very likely, while 32 percent said it is unlikely to occur within the next 80 years. Only five percent of voters said it was not at all likely.

Tensions have increased between North Korea and the U.S. in recent days, leading Vice President Mike Pence to declare that the country’s long-standing policy of “strategic patience” was over during a visit to South Korea in April. The policy of “strategic patience” is hard to pin down, but in general, refers to the U.S.’s decision to wait patiently for North Korea to denuclearize on its own.

“Since 1992, the United States and our allies have stood together for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” Pence said during a news conference in Seoul. “We hope to achieve this objective through peaceable means, but all options are on the table.”

The U.S. and North Korea have been repeatedly lobbing warnings back and forth about impending military action. After reports emerged that North Korea was planning to conduct additional missile tests, the U.S. warned it would launch a pre-emptive strike if they got wind of any concrete plans. North Korea, for its part, said it would “hit the U.S. first” with nuclear artillery if it became aware of an imminent strike.

North Korea also fired back after the U.S. installed a missile defense system in South Korea. The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, would ideally intercept missiles launched by the North.

“By relentlessly bringing in a number of strategic nuclear assets to the Korean peninsula, the U.S. is gravely threatening the peace and safety and driving the situation to the brink of a nuclear war,” North Korean officials said in a statement, according to KCNA. “This has created a dangerous situation in which thermos-nuclear war may break out at any moment.”

Satellite images emerged of North Korean infrastructure being erected on artificial islands in the Yellow Sea. It was unclear what, exactly, the mysterious construction was for, but experts said it was likely going to be used for some sort of military purpose, including missile launches.

In perhaps one of the most heated moments yet, North Korea accused U.S. officials of plotting to kill Kim Jong Un with a biochemical weapon. In a report released by state news outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea alleged that the CIA, alongside a North Korean citizen and South Korean officials, attempted to kill the nation’s leader at a recent public event. No media outlets were able to verify the claims.

“This heinous crime, which was recently uncovered and smashed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a kind of terrorism against not only the DPRK but the justice and conscious of humankind and an act of mangling the future of mankind,” the ministry of state security said in a statement.

As relations between the two nations have become increasingly strained, President Donald Trump has voiced his own thoughts about a possible impending collision with North Korea.

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” Trump told Reuters in April. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

Korea Continues To Threaten Trump

PYONGYANG North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression, as a U.S. Navy strike group steamed towards the western Pacific – a force U.S. President Donald Trump described as an “armada”.Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbour, said in a Tweet that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test and after Washington said at the weekend it was diverting the aircraft carrier strike group Carl Vinson towards the Korean peninsula in a show of force.”We are sending an Armada. Very powerful,” Trump told Fox Business Network, adding: “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”Referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said: “He is doing the wrong thing.” Asked if he thought Kim was mentally fit, Trump replied: “I don’t know. I don’t know him.”North Korea said earlier it was prepared to respond to any U.S. aggression.”Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focussed on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the U.S. mainland,” its official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.In spite of the military rhetoric, U.S. officials have previously stressed that stronger sanctions are the most likely U.S. course to press North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme. At the same time, Washington has said all options – including military ones – are on the table and that a U.S. strike last week against Syria should serve as a warning to Pyongyang.The strike group heading towards Korea includes the nuclear-powered flagship aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, two destroyers and a cruiser. Such a strike group is generally accompanied by submarines, although the Pentagon does not normally publicise this.White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump had put North Korea “clearly on notice” that he would not tolerate certain actions, but dismissed Pyongyang’s nuclear attack threat.”I think there is no evidence that North Korea has that capability at this time,” he said. “Threatening something that you don’t have the capability of isn’t really a threat.“North Korea remains technically at war with the United States and its ally South Korea after the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. It regularly threatens to destroy both countries.However, North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, two of them last year, and is working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States, presenting Trump with perhaps his most pressing security headache.

South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn warned of “greater provocations” by North Korea, including a possible nuclear test, given a meeting of the country’s Supreme People’s Assembly and upcoming national anniversaries.He ordered the military to intensify monitoring and ensure close communication with Washington.North Korea convened a Supreme People’s Assembly session on Tuesday, one of twice-yearly sessions attended by leader Kim Jong Un, and reported a successful national budget execution and personnel appointments, the official KCNA news agency said.The agency made no mention of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme or being under threat from the United States.Saturday is the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founding father and grandfather of the current ruler.A military parade is expected in Pyongyang to mark the day and North Korea often marks important anniversaries with tests of its nuclear or missile capabilities.Men and women in colourful outfits were singing and dancing on the streets of Pyongyang, illuminated by better lighting than seen in previous years, apparently practising for the parade.


Trump said in a Tweet that a trade deal between China and the United States would be “far better for them if they solved the North Korea problem“.”If China decides to help, that would be great,” he said. “If not, we will solve the problem without them!”Trump pressed his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to do more on North Korea at a meeting in Florida last week.China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, called the Korean situation “tense” and repeated China’s call for a return to dialogue with North Korea.“We believe that it is highly important to move towards denuclearisation, to maintain peace and stability, and it’s time that different sides sit down to talk about achieving these objectives,” he told Reuters.

Asked about Trump linking a trade deal to China’s help with North Korea: “We need to look at the situation on the Korean Peninsula as something that we should work together on.” South Korean officials sought to quell social media talk of an impending crisis, and Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun urged people “not to get blinded by exaggerated assessment about the security situation”.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent congratulations to North Korea ahead of Kim Il Sung’s birthday and said the two countries were “conducting a war against big powers’ wild ambition to subject all countries to their expansionist and dominationist policy,” North Korea’s KCNA news agency said.North Korea’s foreign ministry said the approach of the U.S. Navy strike group showed Washington’s “reckless moves for invading had reached a serious phase”.”We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves,” an unidentified ministry spokesman said.U.S. officials said at the weekend the carrier group would take more than a week to reach waters near the Korean peninsula.A statement from U.S. forces in South Korea on Tuesday said General Vincent Brooks, commander of United States Forces Korea, would not attend a Congressional hearing expected this month because of the “security situation on the Korean Peninsula.” The statement said the step was not unprecedented.Russia’s Foreign Ministry, ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said it was concerned about many aspects of U.S. foreign policy, particularly North Korea.”We are really worried about what Washington has in mind for North Korea after it hinted at the possibility of a unilateral military scenario,” the ministry said in a statement.China and South Korea agreed on Monday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carried out nuclear or long-range missile tests, a senior official in Seoul said. On Tuesday, a fleet of North Korean cargo ships headed home, mostly fully laden, after China ordered its trading companies to return coal, sources with direct knowledge of the trade said.China banned all imports of North Korean coal, the country’s most important export, on Feb. 26, but Washington has questioned how well the sanction was being implemented. (Additional reporting by Ju-min Park and Jack Kim in Seoul, Idrees Ali, David Brunnstrom, Ayesha Rascoe and Eric Beech in Washington, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Andrew Osborn in Moscow; Editing by Tom Heneghan and James Dalgleish)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Published Date: Apr 12, 2017 04:15 am | Updated Date: Apr 12, 2017 04:15 am

Korea Could EMP the U.S. 

EMP Commission expert: North Korea preparing satellite launch of nuclear weapon that will wipe out U.S. electrical grid

Monday, May 08, 2017 by: JD Heyes

(Natural News) An expert in nuclear weapons design and delivery and member of the Congressional EMP Commission says it’s very likely North Korea is developing technology that would enable it to launch a small-yield nuclear weapon from a satellite that is capable of knocking much of the U.S. power grid.

Dr. Vincent P. Pry, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News radio host Aaron Kline over the weekend, noted that much of the international community and global news media are focused on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests and its nuclear weapons program. However, he said the real danger comes from the EMP – electromagnetic pulse – threat that has the potential to destroy most of our electric-powered infrastructure.

Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and chief of staff of the EMP commission, noted that North Korea has two satellites currently orbiting above the U.S. at trajectories that are prime for a surprise EMP attack. (RELATED: North Korea Ready To Nuke America … “World Should Be Ready” Warns High-Level Defector Who Confirms Nuke Launch Plans With NBC News)

Those satellites – the KMS 3-2 and KMS-4 – are earth observation vehicles that Pyongyang launched in April 2012 and February 2016 respectively.

“They are positioning themselves as sort of a nuclear missile age, cyberage version of the battleship diplomacy in my view,” he told Kline. “So that they can always have one of them (satellites) very close to being over the United States or over the United States.”

He said the plan is to essentially prevent any U.S. attack on North Korea, under threat of EMP retaliation.

“…[I]f a crisis comes up and if we decide to attack North Korea, [Leader] Kim Jong-un can threaten our president and say, ‘Well, don’t do that because we are going to burn your whole country down.’ Which is basically what he said. I mean, he has made threats about turning the United States into ashes and he connected the satellite program to this in public statements to deter us from attacking.”

Pry said the North Koreans may be mimicking a technology he said was developed during the Cold War by the Soviet Union, in which an attack via EMP was one element of a surprise assault against the U.S. aimed at destroying much of the U.S. military.

“During the Cold War, the Russians had a secret weapon they called a fractional orbital bombardment system,” Pry said, adding that the strategy involved a preemptive EMP attack using a warhead disguised as a satellite.

“The idea was to put a nuclear weapon on a satellite,” he said. “Launch it on a trajectory toward the south so it is also flying away from the United States. Orbit it over the South Pole and come up on the other side of the earth so that it approaches from the south.”

Earlier, a report co-authored by Pry and former CIA Director James Woolsey for the commission found that an EMP attack that destroyed a large swath of the power grid would result in a 90 percent death rate among Americans, from starvation, societal collapse and deprivation.

Interestingly, there are several skeptics, many from the Left, that believe this kind of technology and scenario could not possibly exist.

In an April column for Newsmax, Pry took on National Public Radio for its focus on interviewing “experts” on this topic who, frankly, are not:

[O]n April 27, NPR science editor Geoff Brunfield (who, according to his NPR bio, has a Master’s in science writing from Johns Hopkins University) interviewed EMP non-expert Jeffrey Lewis in a segment titled “The North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Threat, Or Lack Thereof.”

Why Brunfield would interview Jeffrey Lewis about EMP, and not the vastly more knowledgeable former Director of Central Intelligence Jim Woolsey, is explicable only as a combination of incompetence and possible NPR bias against the “politically incorrect” EMP threat.

The technology has long existed, Pry argues, dating back to 1962-63 when the Soviets conducted successful EMP tests. (RELATED: If You Want To Know Which REAL Assets Will Survive War, Revolution And Financial Collapse, Listen To The Health Ranger’s Advice)

As for the what would happen to American society if the U.S power grid suffered major widespread damage, one need only to look at “disasters” on a much, much smaller scale to determine that outcome. What happens in major cities following flooding (New Orleans, 2005) or jury verdicts (Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., Rodney King) is a microcosm of what would occur in U.S. cities big and small all around the country if our power grid was largely destroyed.

Only a Left-wing kook would dismiss that reality.

Meantime, the Trump administration remains focused on the North Korean threat.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

The Korean Nuclear Situation

Image result for korea trumpNorth Korea and the Looming Nuclear Danger

Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion? Interview with Michel Chossudovsky. Global Research News Hour Episode 180

“As somebody said, this could be a Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.”-U.S. Senator John McCain (April 30, 2017) [1]

Tensions between the U.S. and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) have heightened in recent weeks leading some to believe some sort of shooting war may be imminent.

On March 6, the DPRK fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan as part of a drill targeting American military assets. The test was soon followed by the arrival in South Korea of the US-built THAAD anti-ballistic missile system, which China vigorously opposes. A week later, US, South Korean and Japanese militaries would dispatch missile defense ships to the site of the previous ballistic missile firings. [2]


Within weeks, the situation escalated with the DPRK firing more missiles, and the US dispatching a naval strike group, including the 97,000-ton carrier, the USS Carl Vinson. As if to prove he meant business, Trump authorized a missile strike in Syria, and later the dropping of the never before battle-tested Massive Ordinance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) over an ISIS position in Afghanistan. [3]

By the end of April, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke to the UN Security Council calling on the 15 member body to take action to dismantle the country’s nuclear and missile capacity. Meanwhile, as of May 1st, the THAAD system in South Korea is deployed and operational. [4][5]

What is behind this jousting between nuclear powers, and what could be the consequences for the region and the world? These are the questions we hope to address in this week’s installment of the Global Research News Hour, featuring this week’s special guest Michel Chossudovsky.

Over the course of the hour, the discussion will delve into the true reasons for the Korean War, the intended target of the THAAD anti-missile system, the prospect of Trump’s unpredictable foreign policy as a Nixonian ‘Madman’ strategy, the disturbing normalization of the use of nuclear weapons within Washington’s civilian bureaucracy, and the necessary conditions for reversing the drift toward a third and final world war.

Michel Chossudovsky is founder and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is Professor (Emeritus) of Economics at the University of Ottawa and the award-winning author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), and The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015).


China has taken away Korea’s Nuclear Horn

Image result for china koreaIs China Taking Away Kim Jong-un’s Nuclear Option?

The innocuous-sounding Global Times is basically the id of the Chinese Communist party. A stridently nationalist tabloid newspaper with a flair for Breitbartian excess, the CCP-owned Times has, in recent weeks alone, referred to Australia as an “offshore prison,” warned of a “large-sale war” should the U.S. block China’s illegal expansion in the South China Sea, and written scathingly of the “Dalai Lama clique.” And now the newspaper’s editorialists have set their sights on an unusual target: North Korea.

In a staff editorial published Wednesday, the Global Times warns Pyongyang against conducting a widely predicted sixth nuclear test. (Experts suggest a detonation will likely come this month.) Citing a Trump administration “brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria,” the GT cautions the North Korean regime that a nuclear test will only anger a U.S. president who is “willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises.”

But more striking is that the Global Times makes it clear that China will be quick to punish North Korea should it forge ahead with its nuclear program. “If the North makes another provocative move this month, the Chinese society will be willing to see the [United Nations Security Council] adopt severe restrictive measures that have never been seen before, such as restricting oil imports to the North,” says the paper. “Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program is intended for securing the regime, however, it is reaching a tipping point. Pyongyang hopes its gamble will work, but all signs point to the opposite direction.”

The Global Times’s editor, Hu Xijin, has said that he spends a lot of time with Chinese foreign ministry and security officials and that his newspaper can speak “willfully” in a way that government officials can’t. There’s a good chance, therefore, that this editorial knows of what it speaks: Should Pyongyang launch another nuclear weapon, Beijing may finally put its foot down. Restricting oil exports from China into North Korea, for example, could be a truly significant blow to Kim Jong-un’s regime, which has no oil reserves of its own.

Hopefully, for the North Korean regime’s sake, that country’s notorious Internet filter doesn’t block the Global Times: The GT is sending it a message it should probably pay attention to. On the other hand, a North Korean nuclear test may actually be a good thing, if it convinces Beijing to take long overdue actions against its sort-of ally.

North Korea’s Downfall: China

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has issued a rare direct criticism of China through a commentary saying its “reckless remarks” on the North’s nuclear program are testing its patience and could trigger unspecified “grave” consequences.

China, North Korea’s largest trading partner and main benefactor, suspended imports of North Korean coal in line with U.N. sanctions earlier this year and has recently been urging its traditional ally to stop nuclear and missile activities amid U.S. pressure to use its leverage to resolve the nuclear standoff. Chinese state media have also unleashed regular and harsh criticisms on North Korea.

The commentary released Wednesday by the state-run Korean Central News Agency said that “a string of absurd and reckless remarks are now heard from China every day only to render the present bad situation tenser.”

Asked about the KCNA commentary during a regular briefing Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing’s position on “developing good neighborly and friendly cooperation with North Korea is also consistent and clear.”

The North Korean article cited recent commentaries by Chinese state media that it said shifted the blame for deteriorating bilateral relations onto the North and raised “lame excuses for the base acts of dancing to the tune of the U.S.”

“China should no longer try to test the limits of the DPRK’s patience,” the North Korean commentary said, using the acronym for its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “China had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations.”

The article was not attributed to any government agency or official; the writer was identified only as Kim Chol. Still, it’s unusual for the North to directly criticize China. Previously it has couched such criticism by referring to China only as “a neighboring country.”

Analyst Cheong Seong-chang at South Korea’s private Sejong Institute said the North’s discontent at China appears to be on the “verge of exploding.” He said North Korea will likely ignore China from now on while trying to strengthen ties with Russia and improve relations with a new South Korean government to be inaugurated next week.

The Global Times, an outspoken nationalist tabloid published by China’s ruling Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily, warned in a Thursday editorial that the North’s actions threatened a 1961 treaty of non-aggression between the two countries. It called on the North to end its nuclear tests.

“China will not allow its northeastern region to be contaminated by North Korea’s nuclear activities,” the Global Times declared.

In recent days, the paper also warned that China was able to strike back “at any side that crosses the red line” and would impose an oil embargo against the North in response to any more tests. The North Korean commentary said it’s China that crossed “the red line.”

The People’s Daily declared Sunday – and again on Tuesday – that the North’s nuclear ambitions “put itself and the whole region into dire peril.”

Korea Will Not War With Babylon the Great

Trump: I’d be ‘honored’ to meet Kim Jong Un under ‘right circumstances’

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump said Monday he would be willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “under the right circumstances” to defuse tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program.

“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump told Bloomberg News in an interview Monday. “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”
No sitting US president has ever before met with the leader of North Korea while in power, and the idea is extremely controversial.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, however, said later on Monday that the US would first need to see changes in North Korean behavior before a potential sit-down.
“We’ve got to see their provocative behavior ratcheted down immediately,” Spicer said. “Clearly, the conditions are not there right now.”
Spicer also offered an explanation for Trump’s view, expressed to CBS, that Kim is a “smart cookie.”
“He assumed power at a young age when his father passed,” Spicer said. “There was a lot of potential threats that could have come his way. He’s managed to lead a country forward, despite the concerns that we
and so many people have. He is a young person to be leading a country with nuclear weapons.”
Trump’s comment about meeting Kim comes as tensions have risen in recent months between the US and
North Korea as Pyongyang has sought to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and Washington has made a show of force in the region to deter their use.
The US directed an aircraft carrier-led strike group to the region as well as deployed a new anti-ballistic missile system to South Korea.
CIA director Mike Pompeo arrived in Seoul over the weekend plans to attend internal meetings with US Forces Korea and embassy staff, according to Daniel Turnbull, a spokesperson for the US Embassy.
Despite pivotal elections in South Korea next week, Pompeo has no plans to meet with any of the presidential candidates. Leading candidates have promised a new era of relations with Pyongyang.
Trump said during the presidential campaign that he would be willing to meet with Kim Jong Un, explaining in June that “there’s a 10% or 20% chance that I can talk him out of those damn nukes ’cause who the hell wants him to have nukes.”
“I’ll speak to anybody,” Trump said then.
His comments received criticism from both sides of the aisle at the time, and since Trump has become president, top officials in his administration have taken a more equivocal position on the issue.
In the Bloomberg interview, Trump gave a nod to his willingness to take an unconventional approach.
“Most political people would never say that,” he noted. “But I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him.”
The North Korean nuclear issue has quickly become one of the top national security concerns for the Trump administration and administration officials have repeatedly stressed the increasing urgency of the situation. Trump has focused on finding a diplomatic solution to the North Korean issue — working increasingly closely with China — but has also refused to rule out a military solution to the problem.
Mixed messages from the Trump administration regarding its policy on North Korea have also further obscured what the next phase of the standoff on the Korean Peninsula could be.
On Monday, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told “CBS This Morning” that he could not see a scenario in which Trump and Kim sat down face-to-face unless Pyongyang was willing to “disarm and give up what he’s put in mountainsides across his country and give up his drive for nuclear capability and ICBMs.”
Speaking to NPR last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated the US is willing to engage in talks with Pyongyang, a possibility dismissed in April by Vice President Mike Pence until North Korea denuclearizes.

Why Korea Is Not A Nuclear Threat

Trump confers with Asia allies on North Korea nuclear threat

By Doina Chiacu and Jason Lange | WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday stepped up outreach to allies in Asia to secure their cooperation to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump spoke to the prime ministers of Thailand and Singapore in separate phone calls about the North Korean threat and invited both of them to Washington, U.S. officials said.

“They discussed ways to maintain diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea,” one U.S. official said of the calls, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Trump’s calls to the two Asian leaders came two days after North Korea test-launched another missile that Washington and Seoul said was unsuccessful but which drew widespread international condemnation.

Trump talked on Saturday night with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who was also invited to the White House. Duterte has been criticized by human rights groups for an anti-drug campaign in which more than 8,000 people have died.

A week ago, Trump spoke with the leaders of China and Japan on the North Korea issue.

“We need cooperation at some level with as many partners in the area as we can get to make sure that we have our ducks in a row,” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told ABC’s “This Week” earlier on Sunday.

“So if something does happen in North Korea, that we have everyone in line backing up a plan of action that may need to be put together with our partners in the area,” he said. “We have got to be on the same page.”

Priebus said the conversations were prompted by the “potential for nuclear and massive destruction in Asia” and eventually in the United States.

The U.S. president, who warned in an interview with Reuters that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea was possible, did not elaborate on any U.S. response to the test. “You’ll soon find out,” he said on Saturday.

Trump has stressed he would not broadcast military options to preserve an element of surprise. His secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said on Friday all options remained on the table.

Pyongyang’s missile test came as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group arrived in waters near the Korean peninsula, where it began exercises with the South Korean navy on Saturday about 12 hours after the failed launch, a South Korean navy official said.

Priebus said Trump was in regular contact with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and that the president had become “very close” to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump, for whom China was a virtual punching bag during the 2016 presidential campaign over trade, told CBS that any trade disputes with the Asian economic giant took a back seat to securing its cooperation on North Korea.

China, North Korea’s only major ally and its largest trading partner, has expressed increasing concern about Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles in violation of U.N. resolutions. But it has warned against escalation.

“Trade is very important. But massive warfare with millions, potentially millions of people being killed? That, as we would say, trumps trade,” Trump said in the “Face the Nation” interview.

Similarly, concerns over human rights in the Philippines, where critics cite extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s war on drugs, take a back seat to possible confrontation in Asia.

“There is nothing right now facing this country and facing the region that is a bigger threat than what is happening in North Korea,” Priebus said in the ABC interview.

Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former general, heads a military-dominated government that took power in a 2014 coup. His government had strained relations with Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, was asked if Washington must respond to the latest test, especially after Vice President Mike Pence told allies during a trip to Asia this month that the “era of strategic patience is over.”

“Well, yes, we do have to do something,” McMaster said on “Fox News Sunday.” He said that may mean ratcheting up U.N. sanctions and also being prepared for military operations.


It was unclear whether the consultations meant Washington was preparing imminent action against Pyongyang.

The United States may just be lining up the largest coalition possible in the region to present a united front against North Korea, said professor Jens David Ohlin, an international law expert at Cornell Law School.

“It’s the only option on the ground – to do this multilaterally rather than try to solve it on our own,” he said.

Adam M. Smith, a Treasury Department sanctions expert in former President Barack Obama’s administration, said the lesson from trying to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions was that the more multilateral the pressure, the more effective it was.

He said it was notable that Trump was talking to the money centers in Asia – Singapore and Japan – and reaching out to some countries in the region, including the Philippines, that have been unwilling to go beyond what was required by U.N. sanctions.

“It makes a lot of sense, I think, to try to expand the net, and not just rely on Beijing,” Smith said. “I think this is sort of a good start on multilateralization.”

Senator John McCain, a leading Republican on foreign policy, said he did not believe Trump was considering a pre-emptive strike on North Korea. That would put U.S. ally South Korea in immediate danger, he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“But to say you absolutely rule out that option, of course, would be foolish. But it has to be the ultimate last option,” McCain said.

(Reporting by Jason Lange and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir, Matt Spetalnick and Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Andrew Hay and Peter Cooney)

China’s Influence with North Korea

Image result for korea nuclear parade transporterChina’s proliferation on parade in North Korea

China gives N. Korea’s ICBMs vital mobility; both use a large 16-wheel CASIC transporter erector launcher (TEL).

Any relief from the burgeoning nuclear threats posed by North Korea, Pakistan and Iran must first require the dispatch of a common core threat: China’s policy of providing direct and indirect assistance to make each a nuclear missile state.

North Korea’s latest, 15 April 2017, military parade provided a new round of evidence of China’s overt support for Pyongyang’s nuclear missile capabilities. China has been assisting North Korean missile capabilities since the 1970s, but after President George Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, China reacted by initiating the “Six Party Talks” to stall any military action and began to arm Pyongyang with a new generation of weapons.

This program has now advanced to assisting North Korea’s near-term progression from liquid-fuelled larger missiles like the KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), to a new solid-fuelled ICBM. Liquid-fuel missiles require a lengthy period to load their fuel, in which they are vulnerable to attack, whereas solid-fuelled missiles are ready to fire almost immediately. In the 15 April parade, North Korea displayed its KN-11 submarine launched solid-fuelled ballistic missile and its slightly larger tube cold-launched land-based Pukguksong-2 solid-fuel medium range ballistic missile (MRBM). It also displayed indications of two future solid-fuel missiles, a new land-based MRBM and a new large solid-fuelled ICBM.

But China gives North Korea liquid and solid-fuelled ICBMs vital mobility; both use a large 16-wheel China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) transporter erector launcher (TEL). China transferred about 8 of these sophisticated vehicles to North Korea in 2011 and they appeared in the 15 April parade, carrying a new large cold-launch missile tube similar in size to the latest Chinese and Russian mobile solid-fuelled ICBMs.

China may not have transferred more 16-wheel TELs since 2012, but an indicator this is a deliberate Chinese policy to aid North Korea’s missiles is further illustrated by the 2013 Tokjung Truck Joint Venture Company with the China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, or “Sinotruk”. These trucks are assembled from parts made in China. In the latest parade, a truck cab derived from a Sinotruk A7 tractor-trailer cab, tows the new North Korean solid fuel MRBM that looks much like the early Chinese DF-21 MRBM. This means that the Sinotruk joint venture may be able to produce a larger tractor-trailer TEL for the new large solid-fuelled ICBM, like China’s first DF-31 solid-fuel ICBM.

In addition, Sinotruk chassis are used to transport a new 300mm precision guided artillery rocket first revealed in 2015 and to tow the KN-11 in the most recent parade. Sinotruk officials have stated that they have no control over whether North Korea uses their trucks for military purposes. This is not credible. If China had wanted to comply with longstanding United Nations sanctions against helping North Korea’s missile program, it would have closed the Sinotruk joint venture and halted other Sinotruk sales as well.

China also provides missile technology and large TELs to Pakistan to support its nuclear missile program. In its 23 March 2016 military parade, Pakistan’s Shaheen-III nuclear armed solid-fuel MRBM was carried by a slightly different version of the same CASIC 16-wheel TEL transferred to North Korea in 2011. But should China wish to conceal this form assistance, it can now prompt the Sinotruk Joint Venture to manufacture tractor-trailer type TELs for Pakistan’s future large nuclear missiles.

Pakistan has had a longstanding nuclear and missile technology relationship with North Korea, to include the sharing of liquid fuel missile technology and nuclear warhead designs, and there should be concern about future cooperation. Pakistan does not yet have large cold-launch missile tube technology, which North Korea may soon develop. These tubes ease the storage of large solid-fuel ballistic missiles and provide a relatively safe means of launching such missiles.

North Korea may not yet have Pakistan’s technology for equipping missiles with multiple warheads. On 23 January 2017, Pakistan tested its ABABEEL missile, a Shaheen-II/III MRBM equipped with multiple warheads. Indian sources familiar with this test confirmed that it lofted three warheads, but were sceptical that it achieved a sufficient level of accuracy. These sources also conclude that China was the likely source for this multiple warhead technology.

This would be logical, given that most of Pakistan’s solid fuel missile technology comes from China. China would want a multiple warhead capability to give Pakistan’s missiles a greater chance of surviving India’s future missile interceptors. Beijing would also approve of North Korea’s acquiring multiple warhead technology to increase its ability to survive US missile defences.

So, might there be future commerce between Pakistan and North Korea, exchanging the latter’s truck-TEL and cold-launch missile tube technology for the former’s multiple warhead technology? This would allow both to deploy their larger solid-fuel ballistic missiles with speed and greater safety and help North Korea’s new large solid-fuel ICBMs to much sooner achieve a multiple warhead capability.

China apparently rejects any notion that it is responsible for helping to create these new nuclear missile threats. When asked about its large TEL transfer to North Korea back in 2012, China reportedly told Washington this transfer was a “mistake”. Chinese officials thought the North Koreans would use TELs designed for missiles to instead transport lumber. At that time, the Barack Obama administration did not want to make a public issue of China’s blatant proliferation.

What has China done to reward such US discretion? It has turned the US deployment to South Korea of the defensive Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile interceptor into a crisis in China-South Korea relations. It seems that South Koreans are not allowed to be defended from the North Korean nuclear missiles that China helped to make possible.

But by continuing to let China get away with its direct and indirect assistance for the nuclear missile capabilities of North Korea, Pakistan and Iran, it can be said that the greater community of democracies are behaving in a suicidal manner. This is unacceptable; Washington, New Delhi, Tokyo and Seoul should condemn China’s proliferation and sanction the Chinese companies directly involved. The US and its Northeast Asian allies need to increase their missile defence investments and consider the re-deployment of US tactical nuclear weapons to deter Pyongyang.

President Donald Trump appears to understand that he has little time to contain or reverse North Korea’s nuclear missile threat. His recent deployment to the region of aircraft carrier battle groups and cruise missile submarines underscores US frustration. Trump also appears to expect real support from China, and it should happen. But to get real results from Beijing, he is going to have to overcome his predecessor’s fear of Chinese truculence for telling the truth: China can only be a real help once it stops contributing to the threat. If China refuses to halt its proliferation, then it must be compelled to do so.

Richard D. Fisher, Jr. is a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Too Late To Stop Babylon the Great (Daniel 8)

Two to Tango With Nuclear Weapons

Peter D. Zimmerman Contributor

Two to Tango With Nuclear Weapons

(Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images)

Somewhere in the American southwest, not so very far from civilization, there is a fenced and guarded compound within another fenced and guarded compound in the distant reaches of a large military base. I won’t hint at its location, but it does show up on web searches if you know what to look for. Beneath the fence is a vault where nuclear weapons wait on transport dollies tended by highly trained technicians, each with Department of Energy “Q” security clearances, the ones that give the holder access to the deepest secrets of nuclear weapons. The techs have demonstrated that they are loyal, trustworthy and reliable Air Force members.

On any given day two of them may select a bomb and wheel it out of its cage to a large work room. Another pair of technicians attaches a harness to the city buster and uses a crane to lift the weapon by its tail until it hangs free. After carefully making certain that the weapon cannot possibly explode, they approach it as casually as a Maytag repairman working on a broken washer. They deftly replace components beyond their use-by dates, batteries and the like, and verify the bomb meets factory specs. The weapon is then buttoned up, lowered and two airmen return it to its storage location.

Two, always two, people. No unaccompanied person ever approaches a nuclear weapon. It’s a basic precaution against theft, misuse or sabotage and is not unique to the nuclear weapons world, nor to the United States.

Under the prairies of Montana or the Dakotas underground bunkers are buried adjacent to a bomb-proof silo containing a Minuteman intercontinental missile. Two Air Force officers occupy two somewhat shabby chairs mounted so that an atomic blast won’t eject their occupants. In front of each officer is a lock. Each launch officer carries a key. The locks are spaced so that one person cannot possibly turn both keys within the few seconds the computer will allow. But if both keys turn simultaneously, a blast door swings out of the ground, and the Minuteman missile leaves its silo on a one way trip. It takes two people at every step, from decoding the message that rattles in on the teletype machine, to checking its contents for the authentication message, to making final adjustments.

Somewhere under the ocean a missile submarine receives a message. The captain and his executive officer separately decode and authenticate it.

It always requires two people, two separate actions, to launch, steal, sabotage or tinker with an atomic warhead. This is the inviolable two person rule intended to prevent misuse of a nuclear weapon. It has been that way since the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was loaded into the Enola Gay to force an end to World War II.

But the system deliberately breaks down at the single point where failure would be catastrophic. Only one person need act in order to launch all American nuclear weapons. The president. There is no two-person rule for ordering a strike. Nobody except the president needs to agree; nobody in the chain from president to launch officer has authority to question the order. If the president orders a launch, the system executes it. The service members involved may have their doubts, but years of military training have conditioned them that even this order must be obeyed.

Since 1941 American strategic thinking has been held hostage to the memory of Pearl Harbor. The Roosevelt Administration and the Japanese government were in negotiations to settle their disputes peacefully, but even while his emissaries were talking in Washington the Japanese emperor’s aircraft carriers were turning into the wind to launch the bombers that would sink many warships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The U.S. Navy was left practically disarmed in just half an hour or so.

The United States vowed that never again would a potential enemy be able to launch a surprise attack to which this country could not respond instantly and in kind.

This made sense during the height of the Cold War when the United States, terrified by the prospect of a nuclear Pearl Harbor, sought to ensure that a counter strike could not be thwarted by a clumsy decision-making process that would require more time than the country expected to have. A missile from a submarine hiding off our East Coast could destroy Washington less than 12 minutes after its launch.

A satellite or a radar would spot the missile. The president would be told that one or more nuclear missiles was heading our way. A field-grade officer toting the portable nuclear launch control system, the “football,” would show the president his options, and the president would pull out his credit card-like authenticator, the “biscuit,” select his response from a menu, give the order, and use the biscuit to prove his identity. Everything else is automatic, and there is no legal way to countermand or stop its execution.

At least twice the Soviet Union and the United States have come very close to launching nuclear weapons based on the warnings provided by radar and satellite systems. A Soviet officer did not pass a notification of a rocket launch to the Kremlin at a time he knew that tensions between the powers were minimal. A good thing; it was not a nuclear missile but a small scientific rocket launched from a Norwegian island and carrying an innocent payload. The Soviets had been notified in advance of the launch, but somehow the message was lost.

Bad weather has sometimes fooled American defenses into thinking that a flight of geese was actually a nuclear missile, and only good judgment stopped the alert in its tracks. But human intervention is only legal going up the chain to the president. It’s ruled out if the president sends down a message ordering a launch, even if he or she is mistaken.

Nor is there any way at all to stop a drunk president, an angered and offended president, an insane one, or merely a bored and curious one from simply ordering the opening of the football and the launch of one or more nuclear weapons. This is true for all presidents. My argument is not intended to single out the current president as less reliable than his predecessors; it is equally applicable to every person with a finger on the button, past or future as well as present.

If it were still plausible that nuclear catastrophe could come as a bolt from the blue, a massive launch by another country when the world is generally at peace and no flash points active, maybe the hair trigger still in place would make sense.

However, it is clear that the Pentagon no longer believes in a nuclear Pearl Harbor.

During the Cold War the U.S. had several ways to ensure that an order to launch would get through, and that if there were no one left alive in Washington to give the order, a flag or general officer could still launch missiles and fight a war. “The Looking Glass” aircraft, a heavily modified Boeing 707, slowly orbited high above the central United States. In the event of nuclear war, and if the president was out of contact for a (top secret) period, the airborne commander would open his sealed orders and take charge of a nuclear response previously selected by the president. The Glass was airborne 24/7, 365 days a year, without a break from February 3, 1961 until July 24, 1990 when the last continuous airborne command mission landed at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The planes remain, the mission to assume command in case of nuclear catastrophe still formally exists, but the aircraft normally sit on the ground.

The Navy had a similar plan. The TACAMO (Take Charge and Move Out) aircraft could order the launch of submarine-based missiles. TACAMO and Looking Glass missions have been combined; neither mission is on constant airborne alert.

Today, the United States does not even contemplate a nuclear Pearl Harbor; if it did, Looking Glass and TACAMO would still be flying. The truth lies in operations, not declarations.

The leaders of North Korea might launch their missiles, but for the foreseeable future they can’t reach our command centers. And in any event, for many years to come they will have too few weapons to decapitate our government. Still other potential nuclear proliferators, Iran perhaps, might conceivably threaten a nuclear attack. But again they will not be capable of immobilizing our deterrent forces. Both Russia and China could strike at our forces, but both would almost certainly give political warning that our relations had deteriorated to where a war was plausible.

Nobody in authority believes that the president will have to order a nuclear strike in a matter of minutes. Time for consultation will certainly exist. There is no reason to take the risk that an unstable president could order up nuclear holocaust acting alone or that the commander in chief could misread warnings and stumble into war. It is time to change the law and procedures to provide a legal path to stop a rogue launch.

The goal is to ensure that no single person, acting on his or her sole authority, should be able to launch nuclear weapons. An essential part of the solution is that there is at least one person with the power to veto a launch who is not within the president’s inner circle and not subject to his pressure and even charisma.

There are many new laws and procedures that could achieve that goal; some are simple in concept – the secretary of defense could be authorized to become a “circuit breaker” to thwart a misguided launch order. Others may be too complex to implement in real life, for example requiring consultation with the Congressional leaders. And still others may be too complicated to enact in law or regulations. Some have suggested that the Cabinet be polled; and still other scholars advocate a three-man rule. It is a political question for our elected officials to decide with public input.

But the president and the Congress must work together now, ignoring partisanship, to prevent an accidental, or even an intentional nuclear holocaust. It is time to extend the two person rule to the top of the pyramid, so that not even the president can start a nuclear war alone.

Peter D. Zimmerman, a nuclear physicist, was chief scientific adviser of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the Bureau of Arms Control at the State Department. He also served as chief scientist of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is professor emeritus of science and security in the Department of War Studies at Kings College London and lives in Northern Virginia.