Media Criticizes President Trump for North Korea Strategy Review

As everyone has seen the US government has been filled with leakers ever since President Trump took office and here is the latest leak:

A White House internal review of strategy on North Korea features the possibility of both military force as well as regime change in order to thwart Pyongyang’s nuclear-weapons threat, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday citing sources familiar with the process.

The strategy review, reported to have begun a fortnight ago, combined with U.S. President Donald Trump‘s January vow to prevent North Korea from ever testing intercontinental ballistic missiles. The report – which could not be verified by CNBC – hints at a possible shift in U.S. foreign policy which could potentially rattle allies of both nations.  [CNBC]

A strategy review is just that, a review of different strategic options to address the North Korean threat which military strikes and regime change has long been potential options.  I am sure there are other options in the report to include negotiations or the strategic patience option the Obama administration followed.  Just because a report has military options does not mean he is going to use them.  I bet the Obama administration had similar reports that looked at the viability of military options as well.

This looks like another example of media sensationalism to me.

Korean Illegal Immigrants Fear Being Deported By New US Immigration Enforcement Policies

I hope the Korean consulate and advocacy groups are recommending to the illegal immigrants calling them to go back to Korea instead of remaining as criminals in the US:

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs take an undocumented immigrant to a patrol car in Los Angeles on Feb, 7, 2017, in this photo released by The Associated Press. (Yonhap)

Park Sang-ok, a consul responsible for immigration affairs at the South Korean Consulate General in Los Angeles, was inundated with telephone calls all day long on Friday.

Many Koreans who are not legally in the United States called him for inquiries, as they were becoming aware that the anti-immigration polices of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration were imminent and are scared of possibly being deported.

According to Park, the callers, including one from Boston, Massachusetts, were responding to the consulate general’s posting of a notice about the U.S. administration’s measures to toughen immigration polices and related information.

Advocacy groups supporting the rights of Korean immigrants, such as the Los Angeles-based Korean Resource Center (KRC), have been dealing with an increasing number of callers seeking more information about the administration’s campaign to crack down on illegal immigration. The center, founded in 1983, was created to educate, serve and organize the Korean-American community in Los Angeles.

One of the officials at the KRC, Chung Sang-hyuk, said, “We received an average of 20 calls a day last week. There were calls from Ohio State and New York as well as Los Angeles.”

The Korean-American community has been gripped by fear since the Trump administration on Tuesday announced new guidelines that could lead to more aggressive deportations of undocumented immigrants inside the country and at the border.  [Yonhap]

The new immigration policy deports illegal immigrants arrested for crimes.  Such as this guy here quoted in the article:

A Korean-American in his 20s living in Georgia State said to Yonhap News Agency, “I have been fined for drunk driving in the past and my visa has expired. I am so worried about agents coming after me.”

If an illegal immigrant is driving around drunk, putting people at risk, why should American citizens be expected to let this person stay?

Here is the other effect from President Trump’s new immigration policy, it is forcing people to apply for residency and citizenship:

Against the backdrop, lawyers specializing in immigration law are cashing in on many Koreans’ needs to obtain permanent residence rights and citizenships earlier.

A 49-year-old Korean resident near Los Angeles said on the condition of anonymity that he hurriedly applied for citizenship right after President Trump’s inauguration. “But it remains to be seen whether I will get it in due time,” he said.

I have little sympathy for illegal immigrants that have had years to apply for residency and did not do it.

Was North Korean Missile Launch In Response to Trump and Abe Meeting?

I think it is more than coincidence that the Kim regime decided to interfere with President Trump’s and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s golf game this weekend by firing off this missile:

This photo first released on Jan. 24, 2017, by North Korea’s state-run news organization, KCNA, shows a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile being test-fired from a launcher in North Korea on June 22, 2016. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

Pyongyang fired a missile into waters off its eastern coast Sunday morning, the first test-firing by North Korea this year and since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Launched from Banghyon Air Base in North Pyongyan Province at 7:55 a.m., the missile reached an altitude of about 550 kilometers (342 miles) and flew 500 kilometers before splashing into the East Sea, both figures which indicate that it wasn’t an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), said an official from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It appears that the missile was a Rodong medium-range class meant to target Japan, according to another South Korean military source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

The Rodong or Nodong missile is a missile developed primarily to target Japan which is further evidence that the Trump-Abe meeting this week is why they fired the missile when they did.  With that said it is important to keep things in perspective.  The Nodong is a missile they have fired plenty of times in the past and this test firing was on a known test trajectory that safely impacted in the Sea of Japan.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it was North Korea test firing this missile most people would not care.

Here is how President Trump and Prime Minister Abe responded during a hastily called news conference at Trump’s golf club:

United States President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch.

United States President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch.

Trump and Abe issued their statements on the North’s surprise ballistic missile launch on Sunday during an unscheduled joint news conference in Florida.

Abe said that North Korea’s most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable, urging the North to fully comply with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Trump said that he wants everybody to understand and fully know that the United States stands behind its great ally Japan 100 percent.  [KBS World]

Here is how the ROK has responded:

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) denounced North Korea for its latest ballistic missile launch.

Following North Korea’s missile launch Sunday morning, the JCS issued a statement, calling the military action a “grave threat to peace and safety of South Korea and the international community.”

The JCS warned that the Kim Jong-un regime will only see its collapse unless it wakes up from the delusion of nuclear and missile provocations.

The JCS said the missile launch is unacceptable and the military is prepared to immediately respond to any North Korean provocation.

The South Korean military stressed that the missile launch came in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.  [KBS World]

I think the response was handled well by everyone because on the scale of North Korean provocations this is very low and people should not over react to it in my opinion which so far no one is appearing to do.

President Trump and PM Abe Appear to Have Developed Strong Relationship

It looks like out of the all the world leaders so far that have interacted with President Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seems to be the one that has developed the best relationship with him so far:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe arrive ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

With a hug and a handshake, President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened a new chapter in U.S.-Japan relations on Friday with Trump abruptly setting aside campaign pledges to force Tokyo to pay more for U.S. defense aid.

The two leaders appeared to have established a quick friendship during a day of talks at the White House and a flight together aboard Air Force One to Florida for a weekend of golf.

At a joint news conference with Abe, Trump avoided repeating harsh campaign rhetoric that accused Japan of taking advantage of U.S. security aid and stealing American jobs.

It was a welcome affirmation for Japan in the face of challenges such as China’s maritime expansion and North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.

“We are committed to the security of Japan and all areas under its administrative control and to further strengthening our very crucial alliance,” Trump said. “The bond between our two nations and the friendship between our two peoples runs very, very deep. This administration is committed to bringing those ties even closer,” he added.

A joint U.S.-Japanese statement said the U.S. commitment to defend Japan through nuclear and conventional military capabilities is unwavering.

The statement amounted to a victory for Abe, who came to Washington wanting to develop a sense of trust and friendship with the new U.S. president and send a message that the decades-old alliance is unshakeable.

Japan got continued U.S. backing for its dispute with Beijing over islands in the East China Sea that China also claims. The statement said the two leaders affirmed that Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty covered the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.  [Reuters]

You can read more at the link.

Expert Believes North Korea Using Iranian Missile Test to Judge Trump’s Reaction

It does make me wonder if the Kim regime and the Mullahs in Iran coordinated their recent missile test in order to test the reaction of the Trump administration:

North Korea missile test

North Korea is expected to watch closely how the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump responds to Iran’s missile launch and what policy the new administration puts together on Pyongyang before it carries out its threatened missile test, a U.S. expert said Sunday.

“It has been my contention that N.K. would delay testing an ICBM or a nuclear test until they had a better read on the Trump administration. They will closely watch the U.S. response to Iran’s test,” Ken Gause, a senior North Korea analyst at CNA Corp. in Washington, told Yonhap News Agency.  (…….)

The Trump administration has shown toughness on Iran’s missile test. The Treasury Department slapped fresh sanctions over the missile test. National Security Advisor Mike Flynn warned the U.S. was “officially putting Iran on notice.” Asked if he’s willing to consider a military option, Trump said Thursday that “Nothing is off the table.”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I think if North Korea tries anything I think they would do it in March during the Key Resolve military exercise timeframe.  They have historically launched their shorter range SCUDs during military exercises which I expect they would likely do again this year.

 

Report Says Secretary Mattis to Keep General Brooks as USFK Commander

In this Yonhap article about Secretary Mattis’ recent visit to South Korea, there is blurb that states that General Vincent Brooks is likely to stay on as USFK commander:

Another military source said that during the visit, Mattis also expressed his confidence in the U.S. Forces Korea commander, Gen. Vincent Brooks, who was named under the Obama administration and is likely to continue in his current position after the recent administration change in the U.S.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but I hope General Brooks stays on since I believe he has done a great job as the USFK commander.  However, my concern is that President Trump is known for holding grudges and General Brooks did testify to Congress with information contrary to what President Trump claimed during his campaign.

Navy Special Warfare Unit Faces Investigation for Flying Trump Flag on Military Vehicle

I can’t remember an incident like this happening before, but it is a good reminder to troops to not display partisan political advertisements on military vehicles:

Steve Thompson was on his way to pick up some feed for his goat farm Sunday morning when he noticed an impressive-looking military convoy and started filming. When he neared the lead vehicle in the convoy, the 32-year-old Shepherdsville, Ky., man noticed something else: A large blue and white Trump campaign flag.

“I just thought it was just a bunch of military vehicles,” Thompson, who was driving near Louisville at the time, told the Lexington Herald Leader . “I was surprised because I figured you wouldn’t be able to fly anything on a Humvee other than an American flag.”

The Navy has since confirmed that the convoy was from a Virginia Beach-based special warfare unit.

Thompson’s video is one of two that have been circulating on social media this week, drawing both praise and outrage, and prompting the Navy to open an investigation into the flag-flying display. One of the Facebook videos showing the convoy was viewed close to 80,000 times before it was taken down Thursday afternoon – but not before unleashing a flood of comments.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.