So many NK threats!

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piston
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So many NK threats!

Post by piston » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:14 pm

I am aware that there's a history of threats, provocations, and actual unwarranted attacks from North Korea but that whole behavior seems to have been amplified lately. And at least one analyst argues that it would be a mistake to merely view these threats as nothing but "blusters." Rapid escalation of violence is conceivable, he argued, particularly with the presence of new leadership in both countries and with the current display of military force with the joint U.S./SK military exercises.

I suspect that the young NK communist leader needs to prove that he is not weak to his own government apparatus but could these more vociferous threats, i.e., "we're going to nuke you," also stem from China's gradual shift in favor of real sanctions? NK must feel very isolated at this hour.
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by John F » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:53 pm

Just because North Korea says it will no longer observe the armistice that ended the Korean War over half a century ago, doesn't mean it will resume the war and attack South Korea. What does it mean? Maybe not much. The Christian Science Monitor says that North Korea has often declared the armistice void.
The Christian Science Monitor wrote:North Korean state media said the US and South Korea "reduced the armistice agreement to a dead paper" when the two countries decided to carry out joint naval exercises that began yesterday, according to the Guardian. However, the exercises are an annual event point out US officials, and the latest round of sanctions against North Korea are the actual catalyst for the threats.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the North regularly portrays the military drills to its public as "a prelude to an invasion of the North" and threatens retaliation, but that its most recent threats are "higher pitched, reflecting Pyongyang's anger over United Nations sanctions."

The Christian Science Monitor's Steven Borowiec reports that despite the scrapping of the armistice and the cutting of the hotline, it may yet be bombast. Bong Young-shik, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank in Seoul, says precedence shows this could be more of a theatrical move than a harbinger of hostilities:

“They’ve cut off communication before and it restarted. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to talk to South Korea forever. They cut off the line just to put pressure on the US and South Korea,” says Mr. Bong.
That doesn't mean North Korea will take no military action against the South - it did that twice in 2010 - but that the action won't be such as to bring on an attack on itself, let alone a resumption of the war. As for South Korea's response:
BBC News wrote:"Unilateral abrogation or termination of the armistice agreement is not allowed under its regulations or according to international law," Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young said. Seoul would "absolutely keep the armistice agreement as well as strengthen consultation and cooperation with the United States and China, who are also concerned parties of the armistice", he said.
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by living_stradivarius » Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:21 pm

piston wrote:I suspect that the young NK communist leader needs to prove that he is not weak to his own government apparatus but could these more vociferous threats, i.e., "we're going to nuke you," also stem from China's gradual shift in favor of real sanctions? NK must feel very isolated at this hour.
Or NK is running out of resources due to sanctions and trying yet again to extort the rest of us with such a threat.
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piston
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by piston » Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:24 pm

A week or so ago, I read from an internet site I can no longer locate, that NK has got twice as much military hardware as SK but it's older and it would rapidly run out of fuel for its planes, tanks, etc. A great big military buildup, at the expense of their own people's health and well-being, now hinging on access to fuel.
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:49 am

piston wrote:A week or so ago, I read from an internet site I can no longer locate, that NK has got twice as much military hardware as SK but it's older and it would rapidly run out of fuel for its planes, tanks, etc. A great big military buildup, at the expense of their own people's health and well-being, now hinging on access to fuel.
North Korea would probably crumple in a conventional war. If only it were that simple.

As I understand it, what has changed is that the North is now willing to engage in provocations that amount to acts of war. In 2010 it sank a South Korean boat and shelled a South Korean island. In an earlier age, that would likely have meant war between any two powers. It is a declaration by South Korea, not North Korea, that changes the picture, because the South has said that it will retaliate against another attack. They probably mean what they say, and who can blame them? So the concern is for an incident started by a provocation from the North escalating into something much more serious.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/0 ... 17596.html

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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by piston » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:00 pm

Getting wackier and wackier, every day. You do realize that we are spending a bunch of money because of this NK hysteria, yes?! CNN even states that someting ballistic is about to happen!

Which perhaps goes to show that we still need the Navy, right there, right now.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

piston
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by piston » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:02 pm

Incidentally, the Navy has got a new laser technology that appears to work pretty well. Laser rays that work, imagine that!
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:10 pm

piston wrote:Incidentally, the Navy has got a new laser technology that appears to work pretty well. Laser rays that work, imagine that!
I sure hope we know how to defend against it.

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John F
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by John F » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:53 am

Frankly, I don't think there's any real chance of actual war on the scale that North Korean bluster is talking about - or on any scale at all. Just what all this is actually about, may seem obscure; maybe, as some have written, it's North Korea's unprepossessing new leader showing off to the military on whom his continued rule depends. Whatever. It's right to talk back sternly to the North Koreans, and probably only a matter of time before some Senator talks about bombing them back to the Stone Age. (That didn't work too well in Vietnam, did it?) But it's surely a phony war, as the following piece explains.

Stay Cool. Call North Korea’s Bluff.
By ANDREI LANKOV
Published: April 9, 2013

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea is a tiny dictatorship with a bankrupt economy, but its leaders are remarkably adept at manipulating global public opinion. In recent weeks, we have been exposed to yet another brilliant example of their skill.

Scores of foreign journalists have been dispatched to Seoul to report on the growing tensions between the two Koreas and the possibility of war. Upon arrival, though, it is difficult for them to find any South Koreans who are panic-stricken. In fact, most people in Seoul don’t care about the North’s belligerent statements: the farther one is from the Korean Peninsula, the more one will find people worried about the recent developments here.

The average South Korean’s calm indifference is understandable: he or she has been through similar “crises” many times. By now South Koreans understand Pyongyang’s logic and know North Korea is highly unlikely to make good on its gothic threats.

People who talk about an imminent possibility of war seldom pose this question: What would North Korea’s leadership get from unleashing a war that they are likely to lose in weeks, if not days? Even if they managed to strike Japan, the United States or South Korea with nuclear weapons — a big if, given that they do not have a reliable delivery system — they could not save themselves from ultimate defeat. On the contrary, the use of nuclear or other terror weapons would be certain to invite overwhelming retaliation, delivering North Korea’s decision makers to a fiery oblivion.

Suggestions that those leaders are irrational and their decisions unfathomable are remarkably shallow. North Korea is not a theocracy led by zealots who preach the rewards of the afterlife. In fact, there are no good reasons to think that Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s young dictator, would want to commit suicide; he is known for his love of basketball, pizza and other pleasures of being alive. The same logic applies to his advisers, old survivors in the byzantine world of North Korean politics who love expensive cars and good brandy.

Moreover, there is almost nothing particularly unusual in the recent developments. In the last two decades, North Korea has on various occasions conducted highly provocative missile and nuclear tests and promised to turn Seoul into a sea of fire. Now it has declared its withdrawal from the 1953 armistice agreement that ended fighting in the Korean War but not the war itself. It has denounced American and South Korean military exercises as an act of war. And on Tuesday, North Korea told foreigners in the South to look for shelter or consider evacuating because the Korean Peninsula could soon be engulfed in nuclear war. This time, the tune is being played louder, but that is the only real change.

A closer look at North Korean history reveals what Pyongyang’s leaders really want their near-farcical belligerence to achieve — a reminder to the world that North Korea exists, and an impression abroad that its leaders are irrational and unpredictable. The scary impressions are important to North Korea because for the last two decades its policy has been, above all, a brilliant exercise in diplomatic blackmail. And blackmail usually works better when the practitioners are seen as irrational and unpredictable.

Put bluntly, North Korea’s government hopes to squeeze more aid from the outside world. Of late, it has become very dependent on Chinese aid, and it wants other sponsors as well.

The leaders in Pyongyang read their history books. In 1994, after a year of tension over North Korea’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, the United States agreed to provide North Korea with oil shipments and light water reactors in exchange for the North’s promise to halt its weapons program. Then, in 2002, a clandestine North Korean uranium enrichment program was unmasked, and for the next four years North Korea could not get much American aid. But after it conducted a nuclear test in October 2006, the United States promised significant concessions, in hopes that new negotiations could halt the North’s weapons program after all. They did not.

If history is any guide, in a few weeks’ time things will calm down. North Korea’s media will tell its people that the might of the People’s Army and the strategic genius of their new young leader made the terrified American imperialists cancel their plans to invade the North. Meanwhile, North Korea’s diplomats will approach their international counterparts and start probing for aid and political concessions. In other words, it is business as usual on the Korean Peninsula.

Perhaps, when the atmosphere cools down, an argument can be made for giving North Korea’s leaders some of the assistance they want, if they are willing to make concessions of their own. But it does not make sense to credulously take their fake belligerence at face value and give them the attention they want now. It would be better if people in Washington and New York took a lesson from the people of Seoul.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/opini ... bluff.html
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by piston » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:58 am

I have been following these reports, John, and these NK/SK comparisons are also quite revealing:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/datablo ... a-compared
One difference with such prior episodes of NK blusters is that their young leader, in contrast to his father, did not plan on some "exit ramp" to salvage his credibility at the last minute. As for South Korean indifference, it is not shared by their own Foreign Minister:
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - The prospect of a North Korean missile launch is "considerably high," South Korea's foreign minister told lawmakers Wednesday as Pyongyang calmly prepared to mark the April 15 birthday of its founder, historically a time when it seeks to draw the world's attention with dramatic displays of military power.

The missile is expected to be a medium-range missile with a range of 3,500 kilometers (2,180 miles) capable of flying over Japan, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told lawmakers in Seoul. Earlier, a Defense Ministry official said preparations appeared to be complete, and that the launch could take place at any time.

Yun said Seoul was bracing for the test-fire of a ballistic missile dubbed "Musudan" by foreign experts after the name of the northeastern village where North Korea has a launch pad. Experts said the Musudan is built to reach the U.S. territory of Guam as well as U.S. military installations in Japan.

North Korean officials have not announced plans to launch a missile, but have told foreign diplomats in Pyongyang that they will not be able to guarantee their safety starting Wednesday. Officials also have urged tourists in South Korea to take cover, warning that a nuclear war is imminent. However, most diplomats and foreign residents appeared to be staying put.

The threats are largely seen as rhetoric and an attempt by North Korea to scare foreigners into pressing their governments to pressure Washington and Seoul to change their policies toward Pyongyang, as well as to boost the military credentials of North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un. North Korea does not have diplomatic relations with the U.S. and South Korea, its foes during the Korean War of the 1950s.
[....]
Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/04/no ... z2Q3aWvscn
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by John F » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:33 am

North Korean internal politics may be inscrutable, but if it's the North Korean military that Kim Jong-un is trying to impress, they must know better than to launch a war of aggression that would surely and quickly wipe out their forces and themselves. Seriously, now. As for Kim Jong-un's credibility, the North Korean military will hardly go to war merely to save Kim from embarrassment. To me it's more likely they'd replace him in a coup.

South Korea's foreign minister says publicly what he needs to say. It would be impolitic or worse just to shrug off North Korea's threats with a "There they go again." But such expressions of concern do not mean that the tough talk from the North will be backed up by the kind of action they're threatening, or that the South really expects them to be.

The new factor isn't in the north but the south, which has said that the next time it will retaliate. It's their credibility, not Kim's, that has been put on the line, and South Korea will have to be very careful about how it retaliates and against what. But South Korea is a democracy now, and if the people don't take the North's threats seriously - as Lankov's observations make pretty clear - then their government had better watch its step very carefully.
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:25 am

Deleted as duplicative.
Last edited by jbuck919 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by John F » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:08 pm

That's a good article. I posted it here myself this morning. :mrgreen:
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:11 pm

John F wrote:That's a good article. I posted it here myself this morning. :mrgreen:
Sorry John. Duplicate posting happens to the best of us.

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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by piston » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:47 pm

And SK indifference is not shared by Hagel either who speaks of NK now crossing a dangerous line. It's all about preperadness, and that's good. But you have to admit that Hagel or Obama have no reason to use this NK story as leverage for more military spending.
The bottom line is that it's an act of sustained provocation that has reached a sufficient level to cost us a bunch of money, which itself is indicative of the seriousness of the situation in that it calls for multiple preventive measures.
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by John F » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:02 am

I didn't say the situation isn't serious. We don't know what the situation actually is - that is, we don't know North Korea's real intentions. I said it's not as serious as the public statements on both sides make it seem, meaning that North Korea isn't actually going to nuke the U.S. or even South Korea. And I've said why.
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by John F » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:17 am

For those who are worried about the North Korean noisemaking, David Ignatius offers a cool and calm assessment. Except for his false analogy with Japan in 1941 - Japan was then a successful world military power and the U.S. was demobilized, the opposite of North Korea's situation today.

Kim’s dangerous game
By David Ignatius
Published: April 11

One unlikely benefit of the North Korea crisis is that the world may be getting fed up with the country’s pugnacious young leader, Kim Jong Un. In his belligerent talk of war, Kim appears to have crossed a line, upsetting traditional allies such as China and Russia as well as the United States and South Korea.

U.S. analysts doubt that Kim actually intends to attack. Instead, they predict he will seek some “culminating event,” such as another missile test, after which he will declare victory and step back from the brink. But because Kim has never managed one of these cycles of threat and de-escalation before, officials fear he may not find the exit ramp.

Kim has deliberately created war fever over the past two months, following a North Korean nuclear test in February. He renounced his country’s armistice with South Korea and cut the hotline, advised diplomats to leave Pyongyang and then urged foreigners to leave South Korea. He threatened a nuclear strike on the United States and displayed crude maps for a rocket attack, which would have been laughable if they weren’t a sign of Kim’s recklessness.

The Obama administration has kept its cool publicly, partly because North Korea’s actions on the ground have been less warlike than Kim’s propaganda campaign. But the United States has quietly moved to counter any military threat: Missile-defense systems are in place near North Korea, and the United States will shoot down any missile launched toward an American base or other friendly target.

Kim’s biggest miscalculation may have been in assuming that Beijing and Moscow would indulge his rhetoric. That has usually been the case for North Korea. But this time “the little upstart,” as some Chinese officials are said to describe Kim, appears to have gone too far.

China’s new president, Xi Jinping, warned last weekend that no Asian country should be allowed to create “chaos for selfish gain.” Russian President Vladimir Putin told a news conference Monday: “I would make no secret about it: We are worried about the escalation on the Korean Peninsula.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country has “no differences” with the United States over the situation.

What upsets the Chinese and Russians is that Kim’s belligerent language is triggering responses from the United States and South Korea that could affect the security balance in northeast Asia. Missile defense is one example, but the United States is also reinforcing its submarine and air forces in the region.

The Pentagon has updated “Operation Plan 5027” for the Korean Peninsula, which envisions a quick and decisive defeat of North Korea, should it be reckless enough to attack. American and South Korean commanders, based at Command Post Tango, hope to quickly neutralize North Korean artillery tubes that threaten Seoul and to destroy North Korean air defenses.

One former official argues that the United States should go further and shoot down any new North Korean missile launch, invoking as its justification U.N. resolutions condemning the missile program. The Obama administration has no such plans — unless the missiles are aimed at U.S. targets.

Tougher moves were proposed this week in Washington by M.J. Chung, the controlling shareholder of the Hyundai conglomerate and a member of the South Korean parliament. He told a Carnegie Endowment conference that the United States should redeploy the tactical nuclear weapons it removed from South Korea in 1991 and delay a planned 2015 transfer of military operational control to South Korea. He also argued that South Korea should begin development of its own nuclear weapons as a bargaining chip for ­denuclearization of the peninsula or, failing that, as a deterrent.

“Diplomacy has failed. Persuasion has failed. Carrots and sweeteners have all failed,” Chung warned. He argued that the Chinese leadership must step in and force a change in the Kim family’s ruinous control of North Korea, just as Deng Xiaoping redirected China’s own path after the failures of Mao Zedong.

U.S. officials aren’t planning to reintroduce tactical nukes, but they do appear willing to discuss South Korean proposals to delay transfer of military control.

Is it really possible that Kim and the North Korean military could lead their country toward what would amount to national suicide? Analysts often reject this as an irrational and improbable outcome. But consider this: There was a northeast Asian nation led by a ruler with quasi-divine status, who in league with his military led his country into a reckless and self-destructive war against the United States. That nation was imperial Japan.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ ... story.html
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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by Steinway » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:13 pm

I thought when I returned from Korea in April, 1952, I had solved the problem of North Korea's aggression.

Apparently, I was incorrect. We still have 50,000 troops there, 60 years later.

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Re: So many NK threats!

Post by John F » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:23 pm

And I was one of them in 1964-5. Hey, the Korean War isn't over, it's only an armistice - or it was.
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