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The situation with North Korea
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:17 am    Post subject: The situation with North Korea Reply with quote

US admiral says N. Korea crisis is at worst point he's seen
[Associated Press]

WASHINGTON (AP) — The senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific said Thursday that the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he's ever seen, but he declined to compare the situation to the Cuban missile crisis decades ago.

"It's real," Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Harris said he has no doubt that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un intends to fulfill his pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States. The admiral acknowledged there's uncertainty within U.S. intelligence agencies over how far along North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are. But Harris said it's not a matter of if but when.

"There is no doubt in my mind," Harris said.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-admiral-says-n-korea-crisis-worst-point-143228513.html?.tsrc=daily_mail&uh_test=1_14
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:53 pm    Post subject: Australian Charged as ‘Agent’ for North Korea Reply with quote

It seemed to me there was another North Korea thread but I can't find it. Another victim of the hackers? confused

Australian Charged as ‘Agent’ for North Korea
Authorities allege the man has been brokering illegal weapons deals to generate income for Pyongyang.

Federal authorities in Australia have charged a Sydney man with brokering weapons and other illegal sales worth millions of dollars for North Korea. Police say 59-year-old Chan Han Choi, a naturalized Australian citizen of Korean origin, broke both UN and Australian sanctions in his alleged dealings with “high-ranking officials in North Korea.” In a case that is the first of its kind for Australia, Chan has been charged under the country’s 1995 Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act. He allegedly used encrypted communications to broker deals, some involving components used in ballistic missiles, to generate funds for Pyongyang’s weapons program. At a Sunday press conference, the Australian Federal Police described Chan as a “loyal agent” who “believed he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose,” the BBC reports. Chan was taken into custody on Saturday night and could face up to 10 years in prison on the charges.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:58 pm    Post subject: NK running circles around YCBB Reply with quote

How Kim Jong Un Ran Circles Around America’s Dear Leader
Expect more North Korean missile tests, and more meaningless American rage in response.
BY David Axe

On the first day of 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced that his regime was preparing to test an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Combined with efforts to produce ever-smaller nuclear warheads, the ICBM test would prove a decisive step in Pyongyang’s generational march toward an effective nuclear deterrent—one that could fundamentally change the way the United States, and indeed the whole world, deals with the reclusive North Korean regime.

But Donald Trump, then just weeks before assuming the presidency, promised he’d halt Kim’s test. “It won’t happen!” Trump tweeted.

It did happen. Three times, in fact. Not only did Pyongyang repeatedly test long-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in 2017, it also made significant progress arming its submarines with an atomic weapon.

And the United States failed to stop anything. Trump escalated his rhetoric, even threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea. Meanwhile the Pentagon organized impressive naval war games off the North Korean coast and aerial exercises near the Demilitarized Zone. The U.S. Army consolidated its own forces in South Korea at a sprawling, new mega-base.

But no show of conventional military might, and no late-night angry tweet from America’s commander in chief, could make up for Washington’s self-imposed diplomatic failures. Unwilling to negotiate, the United States watched while North Korea rose. In 2017, Pyongyang became a bigger nuclear power. And Washington became an impotent observer of the results of its own failures.

It didn’t have to be this way. When it comes to slowing the spread of nuclear weapons, history has proved that diplomacy actually helps. Trump either doesn’t understand that or doesn’t care. And that means 2018 likely will see more North Korean missile tests—and more meaningless American rage.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:09 pm    Post subject: The man with the nuclear button plays nice Reply with quote

Kim Jong Un’s Nice Guy (With a Nuclear Button) Act
The North Korean dictator is reaching out to the South ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics—which is always a bad sign on the Korean Peninsula.
BY Gordon G. Chang

In his annual televised New Year’s address, Kim Jong Un said “a nuclear button is always on my desk,” “the entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons,” and he’s willing to send athletes to South Korea for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics next month.

“The year 2018 is a significant year for both the North and the South, with the North marking the 70th anniversary of its birth and the South hosting the Winter Olympics,” Kim was quoted as saying. “We should melt the frozen North-South relations, thus adorning this meaningful year as a year to be specially recorded in the history of the nation.”

Choe Sang-Hun of The New York Times writes that the address represents “a dramatic shift in tone and policy.”

Shift in tone? Yes. Shift in policy? No.

Pyongyang’s policy has been remarkably consistent from one decade to the next. Kim’s speech on New Year’s Day may be, as Bloomberg Politics declared, “the most promising peace overture from North Korea since President Donald Trump took office,” but the address is also consistent with the Kim family’s 70-year-old attempt to subjugate the other Korea, the one governed from Seoul.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:14 pm    Post subject: Kim Jong Un: Nuclear Launch Button Is on My Desk Reply with quote

Kim Jong Un: Nuclear Launch Button Is on My Desk

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un taunted the U.S. in his New Year’s Day address to the nation Monday, saying newly perfected nuclear capabilities mean he can launch a nuclear strike at any time. “The entire mainland of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality,” Kim said in his address broadcast on state TV. He said the U.S. would “not dare” to take any military action against Pyongyang because “they know that now we possess such great nuclear power.”


And, as we all know now, Trump has a bigger button that works!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:09 pm    Post subject: Trump and North Korea: Big Button, Small President Reply with quote

Donald Trump and North Korea: Big Button, Small President
By Evan Osnos

Returning from vacation, Donald Trump spent much of his first day back in the White House, January 2nd, on Twitter lambasting foreign governments. In twenty-four hours, he assailed Iran’s crackdown on street protests, denounced Pakistan, and threatened to pull aid from Palestinians for failing to show “appreciation or respect.”

But he gained the most attention around dinnertime, when he threatened a nuclear holocaust in North Korea. Responding to Kim Jong Un’s speech from a day earlier—when the North Korean leader said the U.S. is “within the range of our nuclear strike and a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office”—Trump tweeted, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

For seventy years, North Korea has baited America with threats of mayhem, and, for seventy years, American Presidents, with rare exceptions, understood that squabbling with a pariah state whose economy is smaller than that of Rhode Island would diminish their own stature and America’s standing. Trump, by contrast, summoned the world’s attention and then sawed himself off at the knees.

After a year of the President’s casual threats of mayhem, of his belittling of American alliances, of claims so bizarre that a man shouting them on a public bus would get a wide berth, the response from Americans generally ranges from disbelief to despair to numbness. They are moments that defy the usual analysis, other than psychoanalysis.

Taking a legalistic tack, some wondered if the most immediate defense against an accidental nuclear exchange might be found in Twitter’s terms of service, since users have been suspended for far less than threatening nuclear war. But when the company was asked if the President had broken the rules, a Twitter spokesperson replied, unpersuasively, that “Trump’s North Korea tweets do not amount to a ‘specific threat,’ and thus do not warrant disciplinary action,” Business Insider reported.)

Nobody, including Trump’s national-security staff, assumes that there is strategy or forethought at work (“You just don’t know what’s going to send him over the edge,” an Administration insider told Axios), so, as is often the case, there was a public search for the triggering event. In this instance, the trigger appeared to be environmental: twelve minutes before Trump tweeted about his button, Fox News posted a chyron that read, “KIM JONG UN SAYS HE HAS ‘NUCLEAR BUTTON.’ ”

In the short term, Trump’s taunts will almost certainly compel North Korea to respond in words or actions. When I visited North Korea last year, officials in Pyongyang found it nearly impossible to imagine that an American President was actually improvising; they interpret Trump’s antics as chaotic but intended. At the time, the President had yet to start taunting Kim personally, and North Korean officials told me that they had specifically taken note of Trump’s willingness to mock his rivals, but not Kim. In the months that followed, that changed: Trump started calling Kim “Little Rocket Man,” mocked him as “short and fat,” and threatened to “totally destroy” his country. Even by the standards of dictatorships, Kim is acutely sensitive to his personal image because he is young and alert to the risks of looking weak in front of older, established military and intelligence officials.

Trump’s announcement about his button also provided an unexpected boost to North Korea’s strategy against the United States. In his New Year’s Day speech, Kim sought to drive a wedge between Washington and its partners, including Beijing and Seoul. He did so by offering to hold talks with South Korea about potential North Korean participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics. As expected, Seoul accepted that offer, cheered on by Beijing, over the protests of Washington, which is seeking to isolate North Korea as much as possible. By heightening the tension at the moment that Seoul and Beijing are trying to resolve it, Trump succeeded only in isolating himself.

In the long term, Trump’s outbursts erode America’s credibility as a source of steady, wise leadership. In the magazine this week, I described how some of American allies have taken to minimizing their contact with the White House, and how one of the beneficiaries of that change, China, is trying to adjust to a world in which the American President is voluntarily giving up his leverage. Yan Xuetong, the dean of Tsinghua University’s Institute of Modern International Relations, told me, “In 1991, when Bush, Sr., launched the war against Iraq, it got thirty-four countries to join the war effort. This time, if Trump launched a war against anyone, I doubt he would get support from even five countries. Even the U.S. Congress is trying to block his ability to start a nuclear war against North Korea.”

China will gain from this in ways that Americans may find difficult to see in real time. Instead of playing out in a single day on social media, the consequences will play out over decades. The U.S. and China used to joust mainly over specific issues—human rights, hacking, the South China Sea—but, today, they are engaged in a larger contest to shape the world order “by having their values and policies accepted on the global stage,” as Robert Daly, the director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson Center, recently wrote.The contest will hinge, Daly predicted, on whether Beijing or Washington is more successful in “strengthening partnerships and alliances, providing global public goods, building multilateral institutions, and enhancing their soft power and economic relations worldwide.”

For the moment, Trump’s and Kim’s bloviations about nuclear buttons on their desks remain in the realm of schoolyard fantasy. (Neither arsenal actually functions via desk button, though this is thin reassurance.) But the occasion is an awful reminder that, between them, they share less than eight years of experience in public office—and seven of them are on Kim’s side.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:40 am    Post subject: Trump Is Top Risk For Nuclear Conflict Reply with quote

Trump Is Top Risk For Nuclear Conflict
Global tensions continue to implicate the use of nuclear weapons as a potential occurrence in the coming years. Jonathan Capehart and his panel discuss how President Trump figures into that equation.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:02 am    Post subject: Button, Button, Who's Got the Button? Reply with quote

URL: https://www.creators.com/read/connie-schultz/01/18/button-button-whos-got-the-button

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?
By Connie Schultz
January 3, 2018

In the early evening of Jan. 2, the president of the United States tweeted
this boast:

"North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is
on his desk at all times.' Will someone from his depleted and food starved
regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a
much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

I'm going to try hard to ignore that missing hyphen and not think about
the commas looking for a home. There's so much else to worry about here.

I am not one to argue gender superiority, ever. However, it's hard to
imagine any female leader engaging in this "mine is bigger" idiocy. As a
rule, we do not, for example, think any good comes from saying, "You show
me yours, and I'll show you mine."

Let us find hope in this where we can. As New York Times senior staff
editor Russell Goldman helpfully explained, there is no such thing as a
presidential "nuclear button." That button doesn't exist anywhere except
in Donald Trump's head, which, of course, is the worst place it could be.

So many questions. Just how big is this nonexistent Button in the
supposedly existent mind of Trump? Where is this Button? What does this
Button look like? And why did he capitalize Button? Is Button his name for
something that isn't a small-b button?

Stop, wicked mind. Stop.

"This may be the most irresponsible tweet in history," Colin Friedersdorf
wrote for The Atlantic — not the least bit hyperbolically, which is
where we are now.

Friedersdorf continued by quoting Julian Sanchez of the far-from-liberal
Cato Institute, who "articulated the best-case scenario: 'The good news
is, other countries won't take talk like this too seriously because they
understand Trump is a small man who blusters to make himself feel potent.
That's also the bad news; there's nowhere left to go rhetorically when we
need to signal ... we're serious.' Most likely, that's the fallout."

Friedersdorf argues that all world leaders should be banned from using
Twitter, in part because it is designed to stoke "needless conflict" by
fellow humans who publish "ill-considered" words.

That's a nice way of saying that America is on the verge of a collective
heart attack because our commander in chief is treating the presidency
like his favorite new video game. Pow-pow-pow. I know you are, but what am

Fortunately, we have a new movie, "The Post," to remind us of the
redemptive power of journalists, whom Trump likes to call "the enemy of
the American people." As a journalism professor, I've been meaning to
thank him for that. Nothing inspires this next generation of truth seekers
like a president who thinks that what he's doing to this country is a
whole lot of none of their business.

"The Post" is the story of two brave newspapers, really, but focuses on
one of them: The Washington Post. In 1971, after President Richard Nixon's
administration persuaded a court to temporarily bar The New York Times
from continuing to publish the Pentagon Papers, The Washington Post
stepped up.

At the heart of this story is the late Washington Post publisher Katharine
Graham, played in the film by Meryl Streep. I have yet to see it because
movies are released later in Cleveland than on the East Coast, even though
we share the same time zone. I add that as a helpful tip for those of you
in New York and Washington who, in the course of phone conversations with
us, ask, "What time is it where you are?" So annoying.

In preparation for the movie, I'm rereading Graham's 1997 memoirs,
"Personal History." Hours after Trump's tweet, I came across a favorite
passage. Graham addressed the "chauvinist tradition" of 1960s Washington
and noted the one exception: Adlai Stevenson.

She described President John F. Kennedy's lament that he didn't understand
Stevenson's hold over women. A Stevenson confidant explained the

"While you both love women," he said, "Adlai also likes them, and women
know the difference."

Again, I would never claim gender superiority, and heaven forbid I push a

But yes. Yes, we do.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:58 pm    Post subject: Battle of Words Reply with quote

N. Korea: Trump Nuclear Tweet the ‘Spasm of a Lunatic’

The newspaper of North Korea’s ruling party finally hit back at President Trump’s “nuclear button” tweet on Tuesday, calling it the “spasm of a lunatic.” The Rodong Sinmun paper bit back over the controversial recent tweet, in which Trump said: “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” An editorial in the newspaper said Trump was making a “bluff only to be diagnosed as a psychopath,” adding, “The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental state of a loser who failed to check the vigorous advance of the army and people of the DPRK.”

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:28 pm    Post subject: North Korea Sanctions as Worthless[ Reply with quote

John Bolton Blasts Trump's New North Korea Sanctions as Worthless
John Bolton said new sanctions against North Korea won't make a difference.
by Alexander Nazaryan

The newest round of sanctions levied against North Korea is unlikely to make any difference, according to John R. Bolton, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the administration of George W. Bush.

“We’ve tried for 25 years, through pressure and diplomacy, and it’s failed,” Bolton told Newsweek in a conversation on Friday afternoon during a break at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The famously hawkish Bolton’s skepticism comes as the Trump administration seeks to further isolate North Korea in hopes that it will give up it nuclear program.

“The measures target 27 shipping companies and 28 vessels, registered in North Korea and six other countries, including China,” The New York Times reported on Friday. “The Treasury Department said the shipping firms are part of a sophisticated campaign to help North Korea evade United Nations sanctions restricting imports of refined fuel and exports of coal.”

Bolton's sober warning comes as North Korea's nuclear program appears to be progressing rapidly. Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo recently said that North Korea could have the capacity to strike an American city with a nuclear weapon in "handful of months." As such, this last rounds of sanctions represents what could be among the last diplomatic measures available to American officials. According to Bolton, they won't do much good.

“The principal diplomatic option at this point” is “to persuade China” to “remove the regime in North Korea,” Bolton said. He added he liked another option, which was “to reunite the two Koreas, essentially South Korean control.” But neither of these, he acknowledges, is very likely. China has been a halting partner in containing Pyongyang. It is unlikely to participate in Bolton’s ambitious reunification plan.

Given the ineffectiveness of previous sanctions, Bolton believes that the United States is heading towards a deeply unfavorable “binary choice”: Either allow North Korea to become the world’s 10th nuclear power or use military force to prevent that very possibility.

“Now, neither of those options is good. Nobody wants to be there,” Bolton says. His sober assessment comes as North Korea's nuclear program appears to be progressing rapidly. Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo recently said that North Korea could have the capacity to strike an American city with a nuclear-tipped missile in "a handful of months." As such, this last round of sanctions represents what could be among the last diplomatic measures available to American officials. According to Bolton, they won't do much good.

The possibility of a strike at Seattle or Los Angeles aside, Bolton is concerned that a nuclear North Korea would “sell this technology to anybody with hard currency, like Iran,” or even a non-state terrorist organization.

“These sanctions, or any other sanctions, aren’t going to make any difference,” Bolton said. “Fifteen years ago, they would’ve made a difference.” Bolton plainly favors a more muscular approach, and though he wouldn’t say what, exactly, that might mean, he makes one thing clear. “I will not accept a North Korea with nuclear weapons,” he said.

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