North Korea added the United States to its list of state sponsors of terrorism on May 18, 2017. Discuss among yourselves. pic.twitter.com/dPF5nUA2LA
— Joshua Stanton (@freekorea_us) May 18, 2017
Here is an interesting experiment put together by the New York Times:
An experiment led by Kyle Dropp of Morning Consult from April 27-29, conducted at the request of The New York Times, shows that respondents who could correctly identify North Korea tended to view diplomatic and nonmilitary strategies more favorably than those who could not. These strategies included imposing further economic sanctions, increasing pressure on China to influence North Korea and conducting cyberattacks against military targets in North Korea.
They also viewed direct military engagement – in particular, sending ground troops – much less favorably than those who failed to locate North Korea.
The largest difference between the groups was the simplest: Those who could find North Korea were much more likely to disagree with the proposition that the United States should do nothing about North Korea. [New York Times]
What I am wondering is who were the people who thought North Korea was in Australia?
Here is something that many people may find surprising, the stupidest of the stupid people who could not find North Korea on a map were Democrats:
What drives these differences? Simple partisanship is one possibility. On average, Republicans – and Republican men in particular – were more likely to correctly locate North Korea than Democratic men. And Republicans were more likely to be in favor of almost all the diplomatic solutions posed by the researchers. (Women tended to find North Korea at similar rates, regardless of party.)
Who would have thought the warmongers were uneducated Democrats?
The Kim regime has welcomed the new ROK president the way they typically do by conducting a provocation:
North Korea launched a ballistic missile Sunday morning from a site north of Pyongyang, South Korea’s military said, as President Moon Jae-in immediately convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss the issue.
“North Korea fired an unidentified missile at around 5:27 a.m. today from an area in the vicinity of Kusong, North Pyongan Province,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement
The projectile flew some 700 kilometers, it said, adding it’s analyzing more details.
The flight distance suggests a success of the missile test, the North’s first military provocation since the inauguration of Moon last week. [Yonhap]
The type of ballistic missile has not been disclosed yet, but PACOM has already said that it was not an ICBM. However, the Japanese are calling this the highest fired missile they have seen yet from North Korea:
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile flew for about 30 minutes, reaching an altitude of more than 2,000 kilometers and was believed to have traveled some 800 kilometers before falling about 400 kilometers outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to the Japan Times.
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada was quoted as saying that the launch, which was likely conducted at a steep or “lofted” trajectory, could be of a “new type of ballistic missile.” It hit the highest-ever altitude recorded by Japan’s defense authority for a North Korean missile. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
At least one scientist thinks this is a new type of missile that has been tested:
“I don’t believe the missile test Sunday involved existing models, such Pukguksong-2 or Scud-ER, considering its flight distance was about 700 kilometers,” said Kim Dong-yup, a professor at the Institute for Far East Studies of Kyungnam University. “The test appears to be aimed at developing a new type of missile with an improved performance.”
David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Associated Press that Sunday’s launch may have been of a new mobile, two-stage liquid-fueled missile that North Korea displayed during an April 15 military parade to mark that 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung
Wright estimated that the missile had a range of 4,500 kilometers if it travelled on a standard, instead of lofted, trajectory. [Korea Times]
If the range of this missile is 4,500 kilometers that means it is not designed to strike South Korea or Japan which it already has SCUD and Nodong missiles to hit these two countries with. Instead the only reason to develop a missile with this range would be to strike Guam which would be within its 4,500 kilometer maximum range since it is roughly 3,300 kilometers from North Korea:
This test may be a response to the fact that the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group is supposed to be in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) conducting exercises.
In response to the provocation the Chinese are urging all parties to show the typical “restraint” they always seem to put out after a North Korean provocation. The United States is trying to play the Russians against the North Koreans after this test since the missile landed close to Russia:
Fox News reported that the White House said North Korea has been a “flagrant menace for far too long” and that Trump “cannot imagine that Russia is pleased” with the latest missile test because the missile landed closer to Russia than to Japan. U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster also condemned the launch in a 25-minute phone call with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin and agreed to combine forces towards denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
I doubt Putin really cares, and then in South Korea new President Moon Jae-in wants North Korea to change its attitude if it wants negotiations:
During his first NSC meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, President Moon strongly condemned the launch, saying, “It was an apparent violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and also a serious challenge to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula as well as the international community.”
Moon said he found North Korea’s provocation regretful, citing that it came despite his speech to make full-pledged efforts to bring peace to the peninsula during his May 10 inauguration ceremony.
“I’m strongly warning North Korea, and at the same time, I find its reckless provocation deeply regretful.”
The president said he is open to resuming dialogue with North Korea, but added his government would deal sternly with the North’s provocations to ensure that the reclusive state does “not make a misjudgment.”
“We must show the North that dialogue will be possible only when it changes its attitude,” he said. [Korea Times]
Good luck with that since people have been waiting decades for North Korea to change its attitude. As this test proves, a new ROK President promising Sunshine Policy 2.0 is not going to change the nature of the Kim regime.
Maybe there is something to the claims that the US is launching a cyber and electronic warfare campaign against North Korean missiles because they sure are having a lot of failures over the past year:
North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Saturday, which apparently exploded minutes after liftoff, according to South Korean and U.S. militaries.
“North Korea fired an unidentified missile from a site in the vicinity of Pukchang in Pyeongannam-do (South Pyeongan Province) in the northeastern direction at around 5:30 a.m today,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. “It is estimated to have failed.”
The U.S. Pacific Command also said it detected the launch from an airfield there.
“The missile did not leave North Korean territory,” its spokesman Cmdr. Dave Benham said. “The North American Aerospace Defense Command determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.” [Joong Ang Ilbo]
Considering the subdued reaction from the US military and government I think it is safe to say this was not an ICBM test which President Trump has voiced before would be a red line with North Korea. Here is what President Trump had to say in response to the failed launch:
North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2017
Trump is definitely conducting the charm offensive with Chinese President Xi considering all the positive comments he has made about him and even rebuffed a phone call from the Taiwanese President this week.
Like I have been saying since the beginning of this story, the real issue is not what Trump said, but that the Chinese President thinks Korea was once part of China:
The White House said Friday it is well aware that Korea has been “independent for thousands of years,” after President Donald Trump quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as claiming, falsely, that Korea used to be part of China.
“We generally do not comment on the details of what is said between the President and other leaders. We know well that Korea has been independent for thousands of years,” Michael Anton, deputy assistant to the president for strategic communications, told Yonhap News Agency. [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link.
If the US was to do a preemptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear program I seriously doubt the North Koreans would respond by launching an artillery strike that would flatten Seoul:
North Korea has a massive amount of artillery dug into bunkers and pointed toward Seoul, and missiles that can reach Japan and other key U.S. allies in the region.
A pre-emptive U.S. strike might slow North Korea’s advancing nuclear program, but there is no effective way of knocking out its ability to retaliate.
“A military strike might alleviate our concerns” about North Korea developing nuclear missiles capable of reaching U.S. cities, said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security. “But it would mean Seoul could get flattened.”
U.S. intelligence agencies have only sketchy knowledge of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, which includes ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads. They are scattered around in hardened bunkers. Specialized bombs capable of penetrating bunkers would be required to destroy them.
Some of the missiles are mounted on trucks and can be hidden. “All they would have to do is successfully hide the no-dong missiles,” Albright said. “They have hundreds of them.” The missiles have a range of about 800 to 900 miles. [USA Today]
You can read the rest at the link, but if North Korea flattened Seoul this would lead to a regime change invasion of North Korea by the ROK and the US. Kim Jong-un is not suicidal and I believe would instead respond in a limited way that would not lead to a regime change scenario. I think the Kim regime would focus on conducting an asymmetrical retaliation focused against the United States that would include cyber attacks and possibly launching a limited number of ballistic missiles at US targets.
Does anyone have any opinions on how they think the Kim regime would respond to a preemptive strike on their nuclear and missile programs?
It would probably be interesting to be a fly on the wall to over hear what President Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping will discuss this weekend:
Claiming North Korea is a “matter of urgent interest” for President Trump and his administration, the official added that Trump “has been pretty clear in messaging how important it is for China to coordinate with the United States, and for China to begin exerting its considerable economic leverage to bring about a peaceful resolution to that problem.”
Such issues will come up in their discussions, the official said. “Even though we hear sometimes that China’s political influence may have diminished with North Korea, clearly its economic leverage has not,” pointing out that nearly 90 percent of Pyongyang’s external trade is with its closest ally Beijing.
The Trump administration has been suggesting a paradigm shift from previous U.S. governments on policy toward the North Korea issue, putting the Pyongyang nuclear issue as a top priority for the first time.
Trump’s administration also isn’t shy about the pressure it intends to put on China over North Korea.
In a town hall meeting with business CEOs on Tuesday, Trump said on his upcoming summit with Xi, “I’m sure we’re going to have a fantastic meeting and we’re going to talk about a lot of things, including, of course, North Korea,” which he described as “really a humanity problem.”
“China has great influence over North Korea,” Trump declared in an interview with the Financial Times on Sunday.
“China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don’t it won’t be good for anyone.”
He also said that he will solve the North Korea issue if China won’t do it – and without China’s help. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
You can read more at the link.