US Secretary of State Announces Strategic Patience Policy With North Korea Has Ended

It appears to me that the Trump administration’s get tough on North Korea policy that includes increased emphasis on military strike rhetoric is aimed more at China than North Korea.  Tillerson seems to be basically signaling to the Chinese that if they don’t enforce stronger sanctions and reign in North Korea then the US will by military means:

In a press conference in Seoul, Tillerson declared the end of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” policy and signaled a sharp turn toward a tougher policy involving ramped-up sanctions, pressure and even military actions.

“The policy of strategic patience has ended,” he said. “We are exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table.”

Tillerson said that military measures could be one option if the threat from the North gets too high.

He also ruled out the possibility of any immediate negotiations. He noted that conditions are “not ripe” for any talks with the North, while calling on China to do more to induce a meaningful change in its behavior.

In Tokyo, he emphasized the need for a “new approach” after the failure of the past two decades of talks and aid to the North on hopes that it will take the path to denuclearization.

He didn’t provide details but provided a glimpse into what appears to be the Trump administration’s new policy toward the recalcitrant North, experts said.

Wang, meanwhile, hinted that China doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the U.S. on how to deal with the North. He said that diplomacy should be pursued and called for the resumption of the long-suspended six-party denuclearization talks.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

US Secretary of State Strongly Criticizes Chinese THAAD Retaliation Against South Korea

Thehe retaliation by China against the ROK is extremely petty and not something an aspiring super-power should be doing:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, talks with USFK Commander Gen. Vincent K. Brooks in the truce village of Panmunjom on Friday while a North Korean soldier outside the building takes photos of them through a window. Tillerson began his two-day trip to South Korea on Friday, flying from Japan. [YONHAP]

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that China’s economic retaliation against South Korea for its decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) U.S. antimissile system was “inappropriate and troubling,” and that Washington asks Beijing to “refrain from such action.”Although the U.S. “acknowledges” China’s opposition, Tillerson urged China to “address the threat that makes Thaad necessary.”

The statement was Tillerson’s first time personally addressing the issue in public. It was made during a 20-minute joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Yun Byung-se in central Seoul, ahead of his closed-door meeting with Yun.

Tillerson touched down at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, 70 miles south of the capital, Friday morning for his second of three-leg trip in Asia. He had flown in from Tokyo, where he had talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, among others.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Police Looking for Chinese Woman Vandalizing Lotte Marts Because of THAAD

This THAAD nonsense from China is getting stupider and stupider:

Chinese police are looking for a woman who has posted more than 100 videos of herself vandalizing products in a Lotte Mart in retaliation against the U.S. deployment of missile defense system in South Korea.

In the video, the woman, who appear to be in her 20s, crushing the instant noodle cups, stealing snacks, giving her middle finger in an obscene gesture at the main gate and drinking beverages before putting the containers back on the shelf.

These videos began to appear one after another on Chinese portal Sohu from early this month, and have gone viral.  [Korea Times]

With Park Out, Japan Comfort Women Agreement Could Be Next to Go

The below article once again uses the term that Japan has not given a “sincere apology” for its transgressions during World War II, but I have yet to see these critics demand that China apologize for their transgressions during the Korean War that killed millions of Koreans and ensured the continued division of the country.  The same Chinese government is now actively trying to economically punish the country for defending itself from the Kim regime the Chinese continue to back.  Despite all of this just one guy can be found protesting outside the Chinese embassy while critics can’t wait to end a security deal with Japan that enhances the ROK’s security:

Calls are expected to mount for reconsideration of former President Park Geun-hye’s controversial policies following her removal from power, Friday.

They include the county’s sex slavery deal with Japan, which has drawn strong protests from victims.

In accordance with the agreement in 2015 to resolve disputes over Tokyo’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II, Japan offered 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) to give aid to the surviving victims of wartime sex slavery. But it still has faced strong objections from opposition parties and civic groups, arguing that Tokyo has yet to offer a sincere apology for its wrongdoings conducted during the 1910-1945 colonial rule of Korea.

The country’s leading presidential contenders, including Moon Jae-in from the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung, have called for a reassessment of the accord.

The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Tokyo is one of the Park administration’s key policies that is likely to be reviewed.

The military intelligence-sharing pact — signed in November last year — has stirred up a strong backlash from opposition parties and civic groups, who accused the Park government of pushing for it despite the then growing calls for Park to step aside from all state affairs due to the corruption scandal involving Park and her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

US Government Fines Chinese Firm a Record $1.19 Billion for Doing Business With Iran and North Korea

This is something we need to see more of, financially going after the companies who supply the Kim regime with banned goods and technology:

The Donald Trump administration fined Chinese tech giant ZTE a record $1.19 billion Tuesday for selling American telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea, breaching sanctions.

Between January 2010 and last April, ZTE conspired to evade U.S. embargoes by obtaining contracts and sales with Iranian entities, including those affiliated with the Tehran government, said the U.S. Department of Commerce, earning it hundreds of millions of dollars.

ZTE, China’s second-largest maker of telecom equipment, is said to have bought American equipment and software and illegally shipped them to Iran, supporting building of large-scale telecommunications networks there.

In addition, ZTE was charged in connection with 283 shipments of telecommunications equipment to North Korea, with knowledge it violated U.S. Export Administration Regulations.

The civil and criminal penalty of a combined $1.19 billion is the largest fine levied by the United States in a sanctions case.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: Empty Streets In Jeju

Chinese tourists

A street located on the southern resort island of Jeju remains silent on March 4, 2017, after China reportedly ordered local travel agencies to stop selling tour products for South Korea. China has been expressing strong hostility toward South Korea’s decision to allow the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in the country. (Yonhap)

China Bans Group Travel Tours to South Korea Due to THAAD Deployment

Here is the latest retaliation from the Chinese for the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea:

A notice instructing Chinese tourists how to fill in disembarkation cards is posted Friday in the arrival hall of Incheon International Airport. China’s government ordered travel agencies to stop selling packaged tours to Korea starting March 15 as retaliation for the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in Korea. [YONHAP]

China’s government ordered travel agencies to stop selling tour packages to Korea starting March 15 in the latest retaliation against the deployment of a U.S.-operated anti-missile system in Korea.

Under the ban, all travel agencies in China will be barred from selling travel packages to Korea, both group and individual, from March 15, a move certain to harm the local tourism industry.

It was reported that the China National Tourist Office summoned executives of travel agencies Thursday to a meeting at which the government instructed them to halt all tour packages to Korea to rebuff Seoul’s decision last July to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) anti-missile system.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Six Armed North Korean Soldiers On the Run in China

Here we go again with rogue North Korean soldiers on the run in China.  Hopefully they don’t kill anyone this time:

A total of six North Korean soldiers armed with weapons crossed into China, prompting Chinese authorities to track their whereabouts, a source said Thursday.

The North Korean soldiers deserted their posts along the border area with China and illegally entered Changbai County in the country’s northeastern province of Jilin on Tuesday, according to the source.

“Chinese authorities notified residents to be on alert and immediately report their location if they are observed,” the source added.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.