North Korea Bashes President Trump for Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem

Even the North Koreans have decided to join in and bash the US for announcing that the US embassy would be moved to Jerusalem:

North Korea has lambasted US President Donald Trump for recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, renewing its description of him as a “dotard” in a statement released Saturday on state media.

Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un have traded threats of war and personal insults in recent months as tensions remain high over the North’s missile and nuclear threats.

Now the hermit state has joined near-universal condemnation of the US president’s decision on Jerusalem, calling it a “reckless, wicked act”.

“Considering the fact that the mentally deranged dotard openly called for a total destruction of a sovereign state at the UN, this action is not so surprising”, a foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the state-run KCNA news agency.

“But this move clearly shows to the whole world who is the destroyer of world peace and security, pariah and rogue in the international community”, he said, using epithets usually reserved for the North.  [AFP]

You can read more at the link, but last I checked President Trump was not the one causing violence in the Middle East instead Palestinian rioters were.

Philadelphia Council Woman Pushes Bill Targeting Korean-American Business Owners

Here is the latest social justice cause that is targeting Korean-American business owners:

Earlier this month, Councilwoman Cindy Bass introduced a bill to better regulate the hundreds of “stop and go” convenience stores that operate predominantly in Philadelphia’s low-income neighborhoods. Among its stipulations, the controversial measure would prohibit any physical barrier that separates cashiers from customers at these so-called “nuisance” establishments – including protective bulletproof glass.

According to Bass, these storefronts take advantage of the city’s lax restaurant liquor license provision while contributing to a variety of quality-of-life issues in low-income communities. Content to rely solely on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, along with a bag of Doritos or two, many of these business owners don’t even sell the food that they advertise.  [PhillyMag.com]

The councilwoman claims that these stores help promote crime because they sell alcohol and cigarettes.   I find it interesting how she puts the onus on the business owners to stop crime instead of the police or the public.  What else is interesting is that many of these business owners are Korean-American:

Rich Kim’s family has run the deli, which sells soda, snacks, meals and beer by the can for 20 years.  He says the glass went up after a shooting and claims it saved his mother-in-law from a knife attack. Now, he may be forced to take some of the barrier down.

“If the glass comes down, the crime rate will rise and there will be lots of dead bodies,” he said.

A bill moving through city council reads: “No establishment shall erect or maintain a physical barrier.”

It’s called the ‘Stop and Go’ bill and is being offered by City Councilwoman Cindy Bass.

“Right now, the plexiglass has to come down,” she said.

She wants to put some controls on these small stores that she says sell booze, very little food and are the source of trouble in her district.

Rich Kim resents the charge stores like his attract loiters and argues calls to police are often met with a slow response.

Mike Choe runs a non-profit supporting Korean-owned businesses. He plans on raising $100,000 to fight the measure.

“I do think it’s a bad bill that will endanger Korean Americans,’ he said.

Bass says she’s battling for her constituents.

Kim argues as a Korean-American he’s being targeted.

“This bill targets Korean Americans,” Cole asked. Bass responded, “Absolutely not. I find that offensive.” [Fox 29]

The tensions between Korean-American business owners and African-American communities has been simmering since the 1992 LA Riots when Koreantown was a major target of the rioters.  It has continued in recent years when riots in Baltimore and Missouri targeted Korean-American businesses.  There was also the protests to shutdown a Korean-American gas station in Dallas:

Muhammad, 44, who was appointed to his post in 1994 by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, says Pak must go. So should other Asian-American merchants in black neighborhoods, he says.

Could you imagine the uproar if legislation was passed that targeted African-Americans to make them more easy victims of crime and to put them out of business?  That is clearly what some of the social justice warriors are trying to do with violence, legislation, and protests to push the Korean-American business owners out of black communities.  Yet racism directed towards Korean-Americans draws little national media attention.

F-22 Raptors and F-35A Lightning Jets to Come to Korea for Joint Exercise Next Month

Here is another example of strategic assets being used as a show of force towards North Korea:

The United States is planning to send six F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets to a joint air force exercise in South Korea next month in what is believed to be U.S. action to put maximum pressure on North Korea, military officials here said on Thursday.

“Six F-22 fighters from the U.S. Air Force are scheduled to join the joint South Korea-U.S. air force exercise Vigilant Ace from Dec. 4-8,” the officials said.

The fighters will fly to the Korean Peninsula from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan and stay at an air base in South Korea throughout the exercise, according to officials. Up to four F-35A Lightning stealth fighters are also likely to join the deployment, they said.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

85 South Koreans Denied Entry at Atlanta International Airport

Anyone want to take any guesses on what business 85 South Koreans were being flown into Atlanta to do?:

Eighty-five South Korean travelers were ordered to fly back after they were denied entry into the United States earlier this week, foreign ministry here said Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the South Korean Consulate General in Atlanta was notified on Monday that 85 South Korean passport holders were refused U.S. entry at Atlanta International Airport in Georgia on Sunday and were ordered to leave the country.

The travelers arrived at the airport via two separate flights. All of them tried to enter the U.S. through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a travel document under the South Korea-U.S. visa waiver program.

ESTA permits citizens of South Korea to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa, but U.S. authorities found that they tried to enter the country for other purposes, according to the foreign ministry. The ministry, however, refused to give the details of their visiting purposes, citing privacy reasons.

“The South Korean Consulate General in Atlanta contacted the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to find out why our citizens were denied entry and were ordered to leave,” an official with the foreign ministry said. “We’ve checked whether the travelers received translation services and other amenities in the process.”  [Yonhap]

Three US Aircraft Carriers Conduct Joint Drills in Show of Force Against North Korea

The long advertised joint drills involving three US aircraft carriers is currently taking place:

Three U.S. aircraft carriers steam in formation in the East Sea, leading South Korean and U.S. warships during the allies’ joint naval exercise on Nov. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by South Korea’s Navy. (Yonhap)

The Reagan, the flag ship of the 7th Fleet’s Carrier Strike Group 5, was conducting a combined exercise with two other supercarriers — the USS Nimitz and the USS Theodore Roosevelt — in the Korea Theater of Operations (KTO) and was also joined by South Korea’s naval ships.

“There’s an advantage to operate together, in that combined three carriers really create a tremendous amount of combat power very flexible and create a lot of options for our national leadership,” Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, commander of the Reagan strike unit, said in an interview at the ship’s “flag bridge,” which commands a view of the whole flight deck.

He would not reveal the exact location of the carrier.

According to an informed source, it was transiting the waters 50 nautical miles, or 92 kilometers, south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de-facto inter-Korean sea border, and 40 nautical miles north of Ulleung Island.

It’s unusual for the Japan-based carrier to sail so close to the NLL. It’s unprecedented for the South’s Navy to train with three U.S. flattops at the same time.

The last time three U.S. carriers were mobilized for joint drills in the Western Pacific was in 2007 near Guam.

The current training is apparently a warning message to the North’s Kim Jong-un regime and a way to put pressure on it. [Yonhap]

You can read the rest at the link, but this is a tremendous amount of fire power sitting such a short distance from North Korea.  Hopefully a strong message was sent to the Kim regime.

Democratic Congressmen Want Pentagon to Predict How Many People Would Die In Ground Invasion of North Korea

Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember any lawmakers asking questions about how many casualties there would be in Libya and Syria before the Obama administration promoted conflicts in those two countries:

The only way to locate and destroy with complete certainty all components of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is through a ground invasion. That blunt assessment from the Pentagon is in response to a letter from two Democratic congressmen asking about casualty assessments in a conflict with North Korea.

Rear Adm. Michael J. Dumont of the Joint Staff offered the assessment in response to a letter from Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Ruben Gallego of Arizona.

Dumont noted that the U.S. is evaluating North Korea’s ability to target heavily populated areas of South Korea with long-range artillery, rockets and ballistic missiles. He also pointed out that Seoul, the South’s capital with a population of 25 million, is just 35 miles from the demilitarized zone. The amount of casualties would differ depending on the advance warning and the ability of U.S. and South Korea forces to counter these attacks, he said.

“A classified briefing would be the best place to discuss in detail the capability of the U.S. and its allies to discuss capabilities to counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities,” he said. He also mentioned the possibility that chemical and biological weapons might be used by the North in case of a conflict.

Military officials would be happy to join “the intelligence community to address these issues in a classified briefing,” he said.

In a joint statement issued Saturday, 15 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican— all military veterans — called the assessment that a ground invasion would be required to destroy the North’s nuclear arsenal “deeply disturbing” and that such an action “could result in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of deaths in just the first few days of fighting.”

“It is our intent to have a full public accounting of the potential cost of war, so the American people understand the commitment we would be making as a nation if we were to pursue military action,” the lawmakers said.

They also said the Trump administration “has failed to articulate any plans to prevent the military conflict from expanding beyond the Korean Peninsula and to manage what happens after the conflict is over.”

“With that in mind, the thought of sending troops into harm’s way and expending resources on another potentially unwinnable war is chilling. The President needs to stop making provocative statements that hinder diplomatic options and put American troops further at risk,” they said.  [Associated Press]

I think the assessment that needs to be made is not a ground invasion, but what would happen in the aftermath of a limited bombing strike on their strategic facilities?  Would the Kim regime respond with a ground war that would lead to regime change and them getting the Muammar Gaddafi treatment?

US & ROK Defense Chiefs Fail to Reach OPCON Transfer Agreement

Like I have said before I will believe it when I see the OPCON transfer happen:

South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, right, shakes hands with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis before a joint press conference in Seoul Saturday. [YONHAP]

The Moon Jae-in administration’s ambition to regain wartime operational control from the United States has hit a snag, as the latest security consultation by U.S. and Korean defense chiefs failed to approve a restructuring plan for the combined forces.

Defense Minister Song Young-moo and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis attended an annual Security Consultative Meeting on Saturday in Seoul, accompanied by top military officials. North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, and other key issues concerning the Korea-U.S. alliance, were discussed.

Following the discussion, the 49th of its kind, a joint communique was issued. Song and Mattis also addressed reporters in a press conference.

According to the joint communique, Song and Mattis pledged to work together to implement an agreement made in June by Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump to “enable the expeditious conditions-based transfer of wartime operational control.”

But conspicuously missing from the communique was the much-anticipated approval of a plan for a new Combined Forces Command to oversee Korean and U.S. troops on the peninsula after the transfer. Song and Mattis were updated on the draft organization of the future Combined Forced Command and decided to continue to refine the draft through combined exercises and certifications, it said.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of National Defense told the National Assembly that the structure of a future combined forces would be discussed and approved at the Song-Mattis meeting. According to the draft, a Korean general would act as chief commander of the combined troops and an American general was to serve as deputy commander.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but the talk of an OPCON transfer has been going on for many years due to Korean governmental delay games.  You can read more about the OPCON transfer at the below link:

“Early” Transfer of OPCON of Military Forces to Korea Will Not Happen Until Early 2020’s

North Korean Official Says there “May Be An Exit” from Current Crisis

I don’t get what the supposed smart people in the diplomatic community are getting excited about after these comments from a North Korean official.  Basically the official said that if the US backs off and gives the Kim regime everything they want then there may be an exit from the current nuclear crisis.  Does anyone think President Trump is willing to settle this current crisis by signing some agreement that leaves Pyongyang with nuclear tipped ICBMs pointed at the United States?:

The head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s North American bureau, Choe Son-hui, speaks at the 2017 Moscow Nonproliferation Conference on Oct. 20. “[North Korea] will not be returning to the Six Party Talks until issues with the US have been resolved,” she said. (ITAR-TASS/Yonhap News)

Choe Son-hui, the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s North American affairs bureau chief, recently said there “may be an exit” from the North Korean nuclear crisis if the US “makes the right choice to abandon its hostile policies and co-exist with North Korea as a nuclear state,” it was reported on Oct. 24.

The message is being interpreted as suggesting Pyongyang is leaving the possibility of dialogue open.  Choe’s remarks were made during a closed-door session on “Detente on the Korean Peninsula” at the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference on Oct. 21, a South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs official reported.

When asked what was specifically meant by the US “abandoning its hostile policies,” Choe reportedly replied, “For a diplomatic and peaceful resolution to happen, the right atmosphere must be formed, but North Korea cannot sit down at the negotiating table when there are threatening tweets from President [Donald] Trump every day.”“North Korea will not move an inch if the US’s policies of pressure with military and nuclear threats and economic sanctions continue,” she was also quoted as saying.“We will not be bound by the Sept. 19 Joint Statement [of 2005] stipulating denuclearization, nor will we return to the Six-Party [Talks] framework.”

Choe’s remarks differ little from Pyongyang’s other recent statements of principle on the international stage. But her use of the terms “exit” and “right atmosphere” are drawing notice, as they could be seen as a signal that Pyongyang may pursue negotiations.“Choe’s remarks could be taken a signal that [North Korea] is starting to negotiate,” said University of North Korean Studies (UNKS) professor Koo Kap-woo.  [Hankyoreh]

You can read more at the link.

Trump To Be First US President to Make Two Day Visit To South Korea in 25 Years

It is going to be really interesting to see what President Trump says during his visit to South Korea.  On prior foreign visits since taking the Presidency he has been pretty restrained with what he has said.  However, it will be interesting to see if he makes any “tear down this wall” like statements to North Korea during his visit:

President Donald Trump

South Korea will provide the best treatment it can offer to a foreign dignitary when U.S. President Donald Trump arrives here Nov. 7 for a two-day state visit, Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.

Trump will be the first sitting U.S. head of state to make a “state visit” in 25 years following George H. W. Bush in 1992. He will also be the first head of state to visit Korea since the Moon Jae-in government was launched in May.

“A state visit is made only once for a country during a Korean president’s term,” presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun said.“Considering this, Trump’s state visit means we are treating him with the best respect as a top guest.”

Foreign leaders’ visits are divided into state, official, working and private visits, with each governed by different protocols.

A state visit usually includes welcome and farewell ceremonies upon arrival and departure, an artillery salute, an official welcome ceremony at Cheong Wa Dae, a state dinner with a performance, a summit and cultural programs. Trump’s visit this time will include almost all such events, according to Park.

Trump and first lady Melania will arrive here in the morning following their visit to Japan. They will leave for Beijing in the afternoon the next day. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, will also accompany the first couple as a member of the official entourage.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but President Trump will arrive on the morning of November 7th and is scheduled to give a speech to the National Assembly after visiting the Blue House.  There are no plans to visit the DMZ during his visit because of the current tensions with North Korea.

US Strategic Assets To Participate In Joint Exercise with ROK Forces This Week

There is going to be a lot of firepower in the Korea area of operations this week so it will be interesting to see what North Korea’s reaction to this will be:

This photo, provided by the U.S. military Oct. 13, 2017, shows the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727) arriving at the southern port of Busan in South Korea. (Yonhap)

The United States is poised to show off its military might this week through joint drills and a defense exhibition in South Korea, deploying an aircraft carrier, nuclear-powered submarine, stealth fighters and other strategic assets.

The show of force comes amid growing tensions on the peninsula, with North Korea expected to engage in additional provocations in protest against the South Korea-U.S. military drills  (…..)

The allies’ militaries are set to hold a joint exercise in the East and West Seas from Monday to Friday, during which the U.S. will deploy its nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).

It is one of America’s key power projection means of countering military threats in a volatile region.

The 333-meter-long, 100,000-ton Nimitz-class flattop is stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, as part of the Seventh Fleet in charge of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The Reagan has a deck the size of three football fields, with some 70 aircraft on board, ranging from fighter jets to helicopters.

During the maritime drills, the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, the airborne battle management aircraft, is expected to be deployed. It is capable of monitoring North Korea’s ground force movements and coastal artillery.

The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727) has already arrived at the southern port of Busan as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific, military officials said.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.