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Thread: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    North Korea’s Newest Weapon: Nuke Torpedo?





    Just when you thought it was safe to take a dip in the West Sea, a report from North Korean dissidents claims that Pyongyang has already developed sea-borne nuclear weapons.


    If you read Korean, you can find their report here, but if not, Bill Gertz at the Washington Times has the gist. Citing a Pyongyang government official, the defectors claim that in March 2009, North Korean military units called “Thunder” and “Lightning” began technical nuclear torpedo and mine research to blunt the superiority of U.S. and South Korean naval weaponry.



    They claim that the “nuclear mines are technologically at a stage of completion, and the plan [is] to finish [developing] nuclear torpedoes by 2012.” North Korea is believed to have fewer than ten nuclear bombs.
    Now the caveats. U.S. intelligence officials have yet to check out the claim, Gertz reports, and Gertz’s reporting can be rather alarmist about east-Asian threats. The North’s record at testing nuclear weapons is spotty at best. Defectors have been known to inflate the threat from their home regimes. According to the defectors, one of the reasons Pyongyang wants the deep-sea nukes is to deter the U.S. from interfering in a potential Korean war. But it hasn’t boasted about developing them — even as U.S. warships recently drilled with the South Koreans after the North’s artillery attack three weeks ago, and the top U.S. military officer just left Kim Jong-il’s backyard on a trip to bolster the anti-Nork coalition. Hard to see how the U.S. could be deterred by something it doesn’t know about.

    Still, over at the U.S. Naval Institute’s blog, Raymond Pritchett observes that a recent WikiLeaked cable cited a Chinese diplomat’s claim that Pyongyang kept “critical information about secret underwater nuclear facilities located on North Korea’s coast” hidden from Kim’s big Chinese patron. (Although that cable is from 2008, from 2008, seemingly before the supposed launch of the North’s nuke torpedo and mine program.)
    These weapons are familiar to the U.S. Starting in the 1960s, its subs carried the Mark 45 and Mark 48 nuclear torpedoes, 19-foot-long weapons designed to take out Soviet nuclear subs with 11-kiloton yields. Moscow’s family of countermeasures, known as the Type 53-68 HWT, had 20-kiloton yields. Gertz notes that the Chinese navy has been intrigued by nuclear torpedoes lately, leading him to collect this awesome quote from defense wonk Richard Fisher: “China’s strategy is simply to have us negotiate with North Korea and Iran until its nuclear weapons start to kill us.”
    OK then. It’s possible we may get some clarity on the alleged nuclear torpedo and mine programs. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a frequent diplomatic backchannel to the North Koreans, is headed to Pyongyang at “the invitation of key people in the nuclear crowd over there,” according to the Washington Post Presumably they’ll want to talk about the North’s recent declaration of a new uranium-enrichment facility, but it’s the perfect opportunity to make additional nuclear boasts.
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Sometimes, I think it is ok to be alarmed, and alarmist.
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    This is from the Washington Post..... not sure about it. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...121002488.html

    Five myths about North Korea

    By Victor D. Cha
    Friday, December 10, 2010; 11:00 AM

    For years, experienced diplomats have referred to North Korea as the land of lousy options. That description has never been more apt than over the past month, as Pyongyang has made a series of deliberate escalations, first unveiling a vast new nuclear fuel plant, then shelling an island in South Korea, killing two civilians and a pair of South Korean marines. With tensions between North and South Korea running higher and higher, and America's options only getting lousier, it is worth taking a moment to look closely at what's happening on the Korean Peninsula ¿ and what isn't.
    This Story

    *
    Five myths about North Korea
    *
    Editorial: China's shame

    1. The North Koreans are crazy.

    They may be weird, but they are not crazy. Yes, the unpredictable, nuke-toting Kim Jong Il puppet in the 2004 movie "Team America" has come to define the real Kim Jong Il in many people's minds. But in truth, the country's diplomats are savvy and well-educated about the United States, and have an epicurean taste for California's red wines. In my negotiations with them as an official in President George W. Bush's administration, I always found them to be rational.
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    Of course, it is possible to be both rational and belligerent. In North Korea's case, belligerence is part of a calculated effort to win concessions of food, fuel and political recognition - an effort that has repeatedly paid off. A study I recently directed at the Center for Strategic and International Studies examined negotiations dating back to March 1984 and found that every North Korean provocation has been followed, sooner or later, by talks, many of which led to goodies for Pyongyang.

    North Korea is behaving perfectly rationally, then - much in the manner of a losing gambler who increasingly takes on more risk. If you have "winnings" to protect (as do most countries), then you value the peaceful status quo. You don't fire off missiles every time you want attention, because you have too much to lose if the situation gets out of control. But if you have little to lose (like North Korea), you are more willing to double down (by taking risky actions such as lobbing missiles) to achieve some winnings. North Korean brinksmanship may be dangerous and escalatory, but from their perspective, it makes sense.

    2. Kim Jong Eun is too young and inexperienced to successfully replace his father.

    It's true that Kim Jong Eun, Kim Jong Il's son and heir apparent, is only in his mid-20s (we believe he is somewhere between 25 and 27, though we don't know for sure). But if the planned succession fails, it won't be because of his youth. Kim Il Sung, the first leader of North Korea, came to power in 1948, when he was only 36 years old. His son Kim Jong Il was anointed leader-in-waiting in 1980, when he was in his late 30s. In the North Korean system, where the Kim family is basically royalty, the idea is to pick leaders while they're still young, in hopes that they will rule for 40 to 50 years. Moreover, Kim Jong Eun appears to be surrounded by regents who will help ease him into place, including Kim Jong Il's sister, brother-in-law and a handful of loyal generals.

    If the planned succession fails, it will be because the new regime is incapable of making the reforms it needs to survive. Despite Kim Jong Eun's Swiss education, there are indications that he is not progressive but rather a hard-liner, one who is associated with a revival of "juche," the ideology of self-reliance that dominated the country in the 1950s and 1960s, when the North was doing well relative to the South. Those who subscribe to this ideology blame the past 15 years of poor performance on a few piecemeal efforts at economic liberalization in the mid-1990s, reforms they regard as misguided and deviant.

    3. Negotiations can get us out of this crisis.

    Negotiations can contain the crisis, but only temporarily. Some pundits say that all North Korea wants is a return to the six-party talks (a suspended series of negotiations among China, the United States, North and South Korea, Japan and Russia over Pyongyang's nuclear program) or to bilateral negotiations with Washington over food, fuel and security. But having sat down with the North Koreans to negotiate exactly these things during the six-party talks, the prospect gives me deja vu. Such enticements have been part of every U.S. negotiating package dating back to the George H.W. Bush administration and have netted the regime $30 billion worth of assistance, most of it in the form of food and energy.

    The dilemma for the Obama administration is that it knows Pyongyang wants to use negotiations to again extort assistance for its starving economy, but it also knows that Kim is not willing to give up his country's nuclear program verifiably and irreversibly. This is why U.S. diplomats often use the phrase "hold your nose and negotiate with them" in talking about the North Koreans - they know that discussions may bring an agreement and a temporary reprieve from the crisis at hand, but they also know that in time, that agreement will be broken by the North, only to be followed by another crisis.

    So why do we keep renegotiating with North Korea? Mostly because we have no other options. A military response could ignite a war on the peninsula, resulting in hundreds of thousands of casualties. Trying to collapse the regime by other means is difficult without Chinese support. And slapping more sanctions on a country that has been under U.S. sanctions for more than half a century may be a tactic, but it clearly isn't a solution.

    4. China is the key to getting North Korea to cooperate.

    China may have leverage over North Korea, but leverage doesn't work unless it's applied - and China has reason to be timid about exercising its muscle. The collapse of the Soviet Union and, more recently, the end of South Korea's "sunshine policy" of unconditional engagement with the North have left the Chinese as Pyongyang's only supporters. President George W. Bush used to tell Beijing that it needed to step up and use its influence to push North Korea to denuclearize. The Obama administration has rightly continued that message.

    But China's motives are frequently misunderstood. Many see its stance toward North Korea as deriving mostly from ideology ("China is supporting its little communist brother"), incompetence ("China does not know how to discipline its neighbor") or tactical maneuvering ("Beijing wants to keep the United States preoccupied with North Korea while China grows stronger" and "China likes having North Korea as a buffer between itself and South Korea").

    While there is some truth to each of these perceptions, Beijing faces a deeper dilemma. Yes, China can cut off oil supplies to try to pressure Pyongyang. But because they are the only ones helping the North, China's leaders are afraid that such a move would collapse the regime and send millions of starving refugees flooding over its border. The Chinese have no easy way of determining how much pressure they should use, so they remain paralyzed, making ineffectual gestures (Chinese diplomat Dai Bingguo's visit to Pyongyang last week falls in this category) and issuing meaningless calls for calm.

    5. Since Korean unification is not in any regional power's interests, the North will continue to muddle along.

    For the past decade, the fear of chaos following a North Korean collapse led many experts and diplomats in Asia and the United States to conclude that unification was too dangerous to pursue. Instead, they supported gradual engagement, with the hope that reforms might lead to a "soft landing" that would eventually reintegrate the two Koreas. However, as North Korea grows more belligerent, as its nuclear ambitions advance and as Kim Jong Il's health deteriorates, more observers have started thinking seriously about unification as the only real long-term solution.

    In South Korea, President Lee Myung-bak has lectured his nation on the need to be prepared for such an eventuality and has even proposed a unification tax, to be levied on South Korean income today to help cover the costs of future unification. Seoul's Unification Ministry, which used to be the designated agency for economic handouts to the North, is now using its funds to support Davos-style international conferences to educate Koreans and people around the world about the benefits of unification. Last year, President Obama and Lee issued a joint statement calling for a united Korea that is free and at peace. Japan and Russia, which traditionally had reservations about unification, have also come to see the North's current path as potentially more costly and threatening than unification.

    As a result, China is increasingly alone in clinging to the idea of a divided peninsula.

    Victor D. Cha is a professor at Georgetown University and a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served on the National Security Council staff as director of Asian affairs during the George W. Bush administration.
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    North Korea stresses commitment to nuclear weapons

    By Maria Antonova (AFP) – 4 hours ago

    MOSCOW — North Korea vowed on Friday to push ahead with its "army first" policy and rely on nuclear weapons to defend itself from the joint forces of South Korea and the United States.

    But the bellicose language of Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun was immediately followed by the announcement that he would travel to Russia next week in an apparent bid to negotiate a peaceful end to the nuclear crisis.

    The reclusive state's minister told Russia's Interfax news agency that he would pay a rare visit to Moscow on December 12-15 to discuss "bilateral relations and key international problems."

    But he stressed in comments from Pyongyang that his country would respond to any pressure with force, and that it would rely on nuclear weapons for deterrence.

    North Korea is "assured of the rectitude of our choice of the songun (army first) policy, and in strengthening a defence that relies on nuclear forces for deterrence," said Pak.

    His comments came amid a flurry of behind-the-scenes diplomatic activity aimed at calming tensions that escalated further with the Stalinist state's November 23 shelling of a South Korean island in the Yellow Sea.

    China -- which has failed to condemn the attack despite strong US pressure -- sent senior foreign affairs official Dai Bingguo to Pyongyang to meet leader Kim Jong-Il.

    Chinese news reports said the two sides had reached a "consensus" on the peninsula but provided no further details.

    US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg is also scheduled to visit Beijing next week in a bid to press the Chinese to take stronger action.

    Unlike Beijing, Moscow has lost much of its influence on Pyongyang since the Soviet era.

    As a consequence, it has also been far more critical of the Stalinist state, with which it does not even have a functioning rail link.

    Moscow has repeatedly urged North Korea to rejoin the six-party peace process with South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia, refusing to back Pyongyang's demand for direct negotiations with Washington.

    And Moscow repeated that message on Friday in a sign of what is to come in the Pak-Lavrov talks.

    "We need to think about creating conditions to restart talks between the six parties," Grigory Logvinov, said Russia's deputy pointman on North Korea, told Interfax.

    "The atmosphere in the region is in a heated state," Logvinov said in comments released moments after Pak's threat.

    "The main thing is to take steps to release the tension. All sides must avoid taking any actions that can escalate the situation," the Russian diplomat added.

    North Korea's Pak said Pyongyang was always ready to negotiate.

    "Even in the atmosphere of the escalated situation, we have expressed support of resuming the six-party negotiation process," he said.

    Some analysts suggested that North Korea was turning to its former Communist provider as an act of desperation and because it was running out of other options.

    "The visit of the North Korean minister to Moscow is a symbolic event. Russia is not the main actor in settling the Korean conflict, but no one else is able to do anything," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs.

    "North Korea does not perceive Russia as part of the hostile West, nor does it fear it like China. Russian diplomacy has the chance to play a positive role, relieve tension, quell passions, so that the sides stop looking at each other through their gun sights."

    Russia last played a major role in the crisis in 2001, when Kim Jong-Il famously took a train across the country from Kremlin talks with then-president Vladimir Putin.
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.a8f77417d0291e36102d6723ad98a57 c.611&show_article=1

    N.Korea 'will rely on nuclear might for defence'
    Dec 10 07:49 AM US/Eastern

    Pyongyang will rely on nuclear might to defend itself against the United States and South Korea,North Korea's Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun told Russia's Interfax news agency Friday.

    "We are once again assured of the rectitude of our choice of the songun (army first) policy, and in strengthening a defence that relies on nuclear forces for deterrence," he said.

    Moments after his comments, the Russian foreign ministry issued a statement stating that "all sides must avoid taking any actions that can escalate the situation."

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Has South Korea finally had enough?

    By Ashley Rowland Stars and Stripes
    Published: December 10, 2010

    SEOUL, South Korea — Not since the end of the Korean War nearly six decades ago has South Korea appeared so willing to use significant military force against its northern neighbor, following North Korea’s shelling of a populated South Korean island last month and the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan eight months earlier.

    But would South Korea really respond with the kind of military force that could plunge the peninsula into war? Or is it making empty threats? And, how much influence does the U.S. have over South Korea’s response to the North’s next provocation?

    Political and military analysts say public frustration over Seoul’s perceived inaction against Pyongyang, as well as dwindling patience with leader Kim Jong Il’s erratic regime, could push the South to retaliate.

    “In normal times, this could be regarded simply as an exchange of words,” said Paik Hak-soon of the Sejong Institute in Seoul. “I think there is a danger to actually executing what they said, which may ignite a chain of reactions on both sides, escalating the conflict to quite a serious military conflict.”

    Kim Tae-woo of the state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses said South Korea has always weighed two options: Retaliate with force against the North and risk war, or remain patient and risk another attack.

    So far patience has won. But perhaps no more, Kim said.

    The shelling of Yeonpyeong island marked the first time since the Korean War that the North has indiscriminately fired on South Korean territory and killed civilians. And it marks a disturbing escalation in the North’s willingness to stake its claim to waters south of the maritime border it has never recognized, Kim said.

    Those waters are strategically important for the protection of sprawling Seoul and an international airport and port at nearby Incheon, Kim said.

    “It is our lifeline, and now North Korea is claiming it is theirs,” he said. “If North Korea continues to claim it as their territory, frankly speaking, this is serious enough to go to war.”

    Daniel Pinkston, an analyst with the International Crisis Group in Seoul, said he expects South Korea to respond with force to another assault, particularly if North Korea attacks civilians. But the likelihood that North Korea will attack again decreases if its leaders believe there will be a cost, he added.

    “They’re not interested at all in economic reform or economic prosperity or improving the standard of living for their people,” Pinkston said. “The only thing they think about or understand is power.”

    But Shunji Hiraiwa, a Korean studies professor at Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, Japan, said South Korean airstrikes are unlikely. The South is making the threat as a way to deter attacks from the North and pacify its own people, who are angry at the North, he said.


    The next attack

    Many analysts believe it’s a matter of when, not if, North Korea will launch another strike.

    Among them is Bruce Bechtol, author of “Defiant Failed State: The North Korean Threat to International Security,” who said nobody knows what form the next provocation will take – perhaps an air attack or special operations teams infiltrating one of the islands near the maritime border.

    “Whatever action they do, it’s something that will be very carefully planned for, and it’s something that’s probably been planned for the past two years,” he said.

    Bechtol said South Korean commanders should be given the flexibility and the force to respond as needed – something that wasn’t the case at Yeonpyeong.

    “I think the thing that makes the difference is taking the proper military steps - taking them immediately and with full force,” said Bechtol, an associate professor of political science at Angelo State University. “That’s what’s going to stop these things from happening.”

    It’s not clear whether the U.S. would support airstrikes against the North, which could escalate the conflict and threaten to draw in the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed on South Korean soil.

    Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday in Seoul that he “did not ask South Korea to take air options off the table” during a meeting with South Korean defense officials. He added that South Korea is a sovereign nation with the right to respond to provocations as it chooses.

    Still, the possibility of airstrikes raises thorny questions about how closely the U.S. and South Korea are working together.

    During peacetime, South Korea is responsible for responding to violations of the armistice that ended the Korean War. But during what U.S. Forces Korea spokesman David Oten calls a “general wartime scenario,” the top U.S. commander in South Korea would assume control of South Korea’s troops, as well as a scattering of other forces that compose the U.N. Command.

    Oten would not say whether South Korea had consulted with the U.S. before announcing its plan to retaliate with airstrikes.

    A spokesman for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said South Korea is not required to discuss the matter with the U.S., though the two militaries are always sharing information.

    “There was probably some ambiguity in the immediate aftermath of Yeonpyeong about the scope of force that the South Korean government might be able to consider,” said Scott Snyder, director of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at the Asia Foundation in Washington. “I think the purpose of this (Mullen’s visit) was to try to iron some of that out.”

    He said the only way airstrikes could be used effectively by South Korea would be by planning for the measure.

    “Without that prior consultation, both sides would be left staring at each other, saying, ‘Can we do this? Should we do this?’ ” Snyder said. “This is territory that the two Koreas really haven’t been in for over half a century.”


    Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this story. rowlanda@pstripes.osd.mil

    Last edited by BRVoice; December 10th, 2010 at 22:39.

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    From Stever Herman (W7VOA) on Twitter:

    1. Reading KCNA & monitoring Pyongyang radio give indications of #DPRK intent, as like Al Qaeda, they try to justify actions before strikes. 39 minutes ago via TweetDeck
    2. Pyongyang 0100UTC radio news reiterates US-ROK alliance preparing for an "aggressive war at any moment." (But no new threat from #DPRK) 42 minutes ago via TweetDeck
    3. Carrier back on 7220 khz now and newscast from Pyongyang resumes. #DPRK about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck
    4. Seems like I can still hear faint signal on 9730 khz. #DPRK Anyone in the Americas able to hear them? 11735, 13760, 15180? about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck
    5. Voice of Korea (#DPRK) abruptly went off air on 7220 khz just as English newscast was starting at 0100 UTC. Power failure? about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck
    Last edited by BRVoice; December 11th, 2010 at 02:03.

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    DPRK says its army and people ready for all-out war
    English.news.cn 2010-12-11 21:50:09


    PYONGYANG, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said its army and people were ready for escalated conflicts and all-out war that would not be confined to the peninsula, the official news agency KCNA reported Saturday.

    According to the KCNA, a spokesman for the National Peace Committee of Korea said in the statement released Saturday that the recent moves of the U.S. indicated that it was fully joining in South Korea's moves for a war of aggression against the DPRK after "throwing away the disguise of a hypocrite".

    It was clear that if the South Korean army mobilized all flying corps, warships and missiles for a war against the DPRK and the U.S. joined them with the latest weapons, it would develop into an all-out war, not a local war, he said.

    The spokesman said South Korea and the U.S. fabricated the sinking of the South Korean warship the Cheonan early this year and the recent Yonphyong Island shelling incident was aimed at sparking an all-out war.

    It was ridiculous for the south to talk about a "right to self-defence". It was no more than "war servants and colonial stooges" of the U.S., he said.

    "Should an all-out war break out again on this land, it will not be confined to the boundaries of the peninsula," he said.

    The army and people who are ready for both escalated war and an all-out war will "deal merciless retaliatory blows" at the provocateurs and aggressors and blow up their bases and thus honorably defend the dignity and security of the nation, he said.

    He warned South Korea and the U.S. to bear in mind that their ignition of a dangerous war would bring them nothing but self-destruction.

    It was reported that the U.S. and South Korea held a meeting of the chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea and the U.S. in Seoul on Dec. 8 over a military attack on the DPRK under the pretext of "deterring provocation".

    Tension on the peninsula increased after the exchange of artillery fire on Nov. 23 between South Korea and DPRK, which killed four people.

    Editor: Deng Shasha


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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Steve Herman (W7VOA) on Twitter:


    1. The few previous mentions of KJU had called him ch'o'ngnyo'n taejang (young general). #DPRK 9 minutes ago via TweetDeck
    2. First reference in #DPRK media spotted calling Kim Jong Un chongyo'nghanu'n taejang (respected General). 10 minutes ago via TweetDeck
    3. #DPRK Peace Comm.: ROK, US "better behave themselves" as starting war will bring them nothing but self-destruction." #Koreas 14 minutes ago via TweetDeck



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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Sounds serious today....
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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    N. Korean FM defends Pyongyang's decision to bolster nuclear arsenal

    MOSCOW, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) - The current tensions on the Korean Peninsula prove that North Korea made the right decision to bolster its nuclear arsenal, Pyongyang's top diplomat said, accusing South Korea and the U.S. of seeking confrontation with the communist nation.

    Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun made the remark in an interview with Russia's Interfax news agency Friday ahead of his planned trip to Moscow, set for Dec. 12-15. Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency said in a brief dispatch that Pak departed Saturday for the Eastern European nation.

    The visit comes amid a flurry of diplomacy to deal with high tensions over North Korea's artillery attack on South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island, which killed four people, including two civilians.

    "Recently the situation on the Korean Peninsula has been in quite a dangerous stage, while inter-Korean relations are worse than ever," Pak said in the interview. "The main reason behind this escalation is the United States' hostile policy in relation to the DPRK and the policy of confrontation with the North being pursued by the current ruling forces of South Korea."

    DPRK is the acronym for the North's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Unless Seoul and Washington drop "their hostile and confrontational policy" toward the North, Pak said, it will be impossible to reduce tensions on the divided peninsula.

    "We once again saw the rightness of our choice in favor of the Songun policy and the comprehensive strengthening of our self-defense potential based on nuclear deterrence forces," he said. Songun refers to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's "military-first" policy of putting priority on building stronger armed forces.

    Despite the high tensions, the North supports resuming the six-party nuclear talks, Pak said, accusing Washington of opposing dialogue and ignoring its proposal of a peace treaty.

    South Korea and the U.S. say that the North should first improve relations with Seoul and demonstrate its denuclearization commitment through action so as to create the right atmosphere for resuming the nuclear talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S.

    The nuclear talks have been stalled since the last session in December 2008.

    (END)

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    We are ready to wage full-scale war: North Korea
    The Korea Times
    12-12-2010 03:37


    North Korea has lashed out at South Korea and the United States for the meeting between their joint chiefs of staff regarding the North’s recent artillery shelling on a border island of the South in the Yellow Sea.

    “The Korean Peninsula has been escalated into the situation of full-scale war due to provocative scheme by the United States and pro-war fanatics of the South,” the (North) Korean Central News Agency quoted Saturday the spokesman of the (North) Korea’s National People’s Council for Protection of Peace, a propaganda mouthpiece of the North against the South, as saying in a statement. “Our military and all the citizens are ready to deal with all, whether it is limited or full-scale war.”

    North Korea claimed that it has regarded the meeting of the joint chiefs of staff between the two allies as the declaration of war meaning that they actually intended to break out a total war through the expansion of the skirmishes in a dangerous conspiracy of attacking the North militarily.

    Washington accepted the guidelines on Seoul’s invocation of self-defense right, while the two allies agreed to overhaul measures against limited provocations by the North at the meeting in Seoul, December 8.

    “It is crystal-clear that the provocations will expand to the full-scale war not confined to limited war if the South fires at us with aircraft, war ships and missiles and the U.S. intervene in war with its up-to-date weapons,” said the statement.

    “It will not remain as limited to the Korean Peninsula if the all-out war breaks out on this soil,” the statement said. “We will punish provocative forces and invaders cruelly and protect the dignity and security of the people gloriously.”

    Last edited by BRVoice; December 11th, 2010 at 20:17.

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    No progress from Dai in Pyongyang
    ‘We warned of shelling,’ envoy from China told
    December 13, 2010



    North Korea’s state television reported Saturday that Kim Jong-il visited a sock factory in Pyongyang, without specifying the date. Kim’s son and named successor Kim Jong-un is also shown in this video capture of the visit. [YONHAP]


    A meeting on Thursday between Chinese envoy Dai Bingguo and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il failed to break the impasse on the Korean Peninsula after the bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island, Seoul officials said yesterday after being debriefed by China.

    “Chinese officials told us that the North Korean side said [to Dai] that it attacked Yeonpyeong because South Korea provoked the North by continuing shooting drills despite being warned several times,” said a government official. “Chinese officials said North Korea said it wouldn’t have done it if South Korea and the U.S. hadn’t held the drills.”

    However, North Korea told China it will talk with the United States if the U.S. arranges conditions for talks by ending hostile policies against the North, the official said.

    Bingguo, China’s state councilor on foreign affairs, made the visit to Pyongyang amid growing pressure on China to rein in its communist ally after the unprovoked shelling of Yeonpyeong Island near the maritime border in the Yellow Sea. South Korea and the U.S. have demanded an apology from the North over recent provocations, including the shelling, which killed four South Koreans - two of them civilians.

    China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that the two sides “reached consensus on the situation on the Korean Peninsula” at the meeting, but another Seoul official said there was no news from the meeting.

    “China said it requested North Korea refrain from any further military provocation, but it seems just to be paying lip service.”

    A diplomatic source said more details of the Dai-Kim meeting could come to light when U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg meets Chinese officials on Tuesday.

    South Korean and U.S. military officials will also hold the 27th Security Policy Initiative meeting today in Seoul to coordinate countermeasures to North Korean threats, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

    Deputy Defense Minister Chang Kwang-il and Michael Schiffer, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, will preside over the meeting to be attended by defense and diplomacy officials from both sides. The SPI meeting, aimed at discussing mutual security cooperation, has been held bimonthly since 2005.

    The meeting comes after North Korea raised its belligerent rhetoric on Saturday, saying through a statement from its National Peace Committee that, “The army and people of the DPRK [North Korea] are ready for both escalated war and an all-out war.”

    North Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Ui-chun, in an interview with Interfax, defended the North’s nuclear program, saying it’s needed to fend off hostility from the South and the U.S.

    Meanwhile, the South Korean military is to conduct more naval firing drills from today to Friday at 27 locations in all the three seas surrounding the peninsula. Fifteen of the locations are in the Yellow Sea, but areas near five border islands like Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong are not being considered.


    By Kang Chan-ho, Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    Ex-US intel chief: SKorea may act against North
    December 12, 2010

    (AP) – 2 hours ago


    WASHINGTON (AP) - South Korea is losing patience with North Korea and probably will take military action, former national intelligence director Dennis Blair said Sunday.


    Blair, who just returned from the Korean peninsula, said he doesn't see a major war starting, but he believes recent aggression by the North will press South Korea into some lower level military confrontations.


    He said there's support among South Koreans for their military to take a stronger stance, adding that "a South Korean government who does not react would not be able to survive there."


    He told CNN's "State of the Union" that the North's recent moves to sink a South Korean ship and fire artillery rounds on a South Korean island near a disputed sea border have frayed Seoul's patience. The artillery attack killed four South Koreans, while 46 sailors died in the sinking of the ship.


    Blair said that what is needed is a united Korea under Seoul's influence, but China would have to exert its influence on the North for that to happen, and Beijing prefers the two countries to remain divided.




    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    South Korea calls Kan's remarks on Japanese troop dispatch 'unrealistic'


    SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) - South Korean officials on Sunday brushed off as "unrealistic" Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's remarks on a possible dispatch of his country's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to the Korean Peninsula in case of contingencies.

    In a meeting Friday with the families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea, Kan was quoted as saying that his government plans to hold talks with South Korea on sending SDF to rescue the abductees in the event of a contingency in the region.

    "I don't know in what context Prime Minister Kan's remarks were made," an official at the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said, adding that they may not have come after thorough consideration. The Korean official said criticisms by Japanese media indicate that there was not anything concrete being planned.

    Jittered by North Korea's deadly artillery attack on the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong last month, Japan has been looking at its own ability to deal with the belligerent Pyongyang regime.

    The United States suggested trilateral cooperation when Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of its Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during his Asia visit last week that he hoped Japan would participate in future joint drills by South Korea and the U.S. Japan had sent observers to such drills in July.

    South Korea is cautious about deepening military cooperation with Japan, given the history of Tokyo's brutal colonization of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945.

    "Following the North's attack on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea has strengthened strategic communication with the United States and Japan. But we are not in a situation to discuss that kind of an idea. (The two sides) have not had deep discussions on the issue," the Cheong Wa Dae official said on condition of anonymity.

    Some officials saw Kan's remarks as aimed at conservatives in his country who demand revising Japan's pacifist constitution that limits the dispatch of its troops overseas and bans the settlement of international disputes through the use of force.

    "There was no discussion (on the issue) with the South Korean government in advance," a senior official at Seoul's foreign ministry said, adding that Seoul was "rather surprised" by Kan's comments.

    ejkim@yna.co.kr
    (END)

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    South Korea to Hold Maritime Shooting Drills at 27 Sites
    KBS World
    2010-12-13 07:44

    South Korea will hold maritime shooting drills at 27 locations this week.

    According to sailing alerts issued by the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration, the nation’s military will hold shooting drills from Monday through Friday at 15 sites in the Yellow Sea, six in the East Sea and at six sites in waters south of the country.

    Drills are not scheduled to take place on the northwestern islands of Baengnyeong or Yeonpyeong near the Yellow Sea border with North Korea. Yeonpyeong was hit by a North Korean artillery attack last month that left two soldiers and two civilians dead.

    A military official says that shooting drills will likely be held in areas near South Korea’s five Yellow Sea islands this week but that the schedule has not yet been set.
    Last edited by BRVoice; December 13th, 2010 at 01:18.

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    South Korea, U.S. discuss forming committee to deter North Korea's nuclear threats

    SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) - South Korea and the United States on Monday began talks on security issues including a plan to set up a joint committee to effectively deter threats from North Korea's nuclear programs and other weapons of mass destruction, officials said.

    Monday's meeting of the Security Policy Initiative (SPI) forum, the 27th of its kind, comes as tensions run high on the Korean Peninsula following the North's deadly bombardment of a South Korean island last month that killed four people.

    Deputy Defense Minister Chang Kwang-il and his U.S. counterpart, Michael Schiffer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia and Pacific security affairs, were leading the SPI talks in Seoul.

    "The two sides plan to sign terms of reference to systemize the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee, which would be headed by Chang and Schiffer," said an official at the South's defense ministry.

    South Korea and the U.S. agreed to form the committee at their annual defense ministers' meeting in October.

    Extended deterrence means the U.S. can provide tactical and strategic nuclear weapons, conventional strike and missile defense capabilities to defend South Korea in case of an attack from North Korea. It is the first time for the U.S. to create such a committee with a non-NATO ally.

    During the SPI talks, the allies are expected to reaffirm their commitment to respond firmly should North Korea strike the South again, as it did on Nov. 23 when it shelled the southern border island of Yeonpyeong.

    The bombardment also injured 18 people and destroyed dozens of homes, marking the first attack by the North on a civilian area on the South's soil since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

    South Korea and the U.S. have held SPI talks regularly since 2005 to discuss a wide range of military and defense issues. The U.S. has about 28,500 troops in South Korea to help defend its ally against North Korea.

    kdh@yna.co.kr
    (END)

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    From Steve Herman on Twitter:


    1. NKPLF: #DPRK provocations will continue so #ROK military needs to carry out preemptive strikes. #Koreas 5 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®
    2. NKPLF members (ex-DPRK military) say N. Korea soldiers believe Korean unification will only come through an attack. 13 minutes agoTwitter for BlackBerry® via
    3. NKPLF members wearing khaki uniforms at Korea Press Ctr. Briefing media on #DPRK unit which shelled Yeonpyeong on Nov. 23. 33 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®
    4. At NK Peoples Liberation Front seminar in Seoul where ex-DPRK soldiers giving insiders' briefing on N. Korean military capabilities. 36 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    From Steve Herman on Twitter:

    1. AFP: S.Korea on Wed. (2pm) to hold biggest air raid drill in years. Evacs to shelters, fighter jets overhead will simulate #DPRK airstrike. about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

    2. Japan gov't spokesman retracts Prime Min. Kan's assertion JSDF might be dispatched to Korean peninsula to rescue citizens in emergency. about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

    3. Rodong Sinmun (#DPRK): US-ROK military cooperation "bringing the dark clouds of a nuclear war to hang over the Korean peninsula." about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck

    4. NKPLF member, ex-DPRK special forces, warns his former colleagues pose more serious threat to #ROK than atomic bomb. about 8 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

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    Default Re: North And South Korea On The Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns

    If this information is correct, the possibility of a real shooting war is very big



    Signs Suggest that North Korean Regime Is Cracking
    The Chosun Ilbo - December 13, 2010


    South Korean, U.S. and Japanese foreign ministry officials talked about the possibility that the North Korean regime has lost control and gone off the rails since the artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island, it emerged Friday. On Thursday, President Lee Myung-bak said North Koreans are now much aware of the outside world. "I feel reunification is now not far off."

    A senior government official said, "Having watched the North launch a series of provocations such as the torpedo attack on the Navy corvette Cheonan, its uranium enrichment program and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, officials in Seoul, Washington and Tokyo recently discussed the need to look at the North's latest movements from a completely new viewpoint."

    He said some officials saw the Yeonpyeong attack as merely another round in a familiar pattern of provocations, "but others said that it shows that the situation on the Korean Peninsula has entered a new phase." This may mean the regime "has lost control internally," he added.


    PROVOCATIONS

    In the past, the North regularly alternated tensions and charm offensives to gain material aid and political profit, either through the six-party talks or direct contact with the U.S. It then launched another round of provocation if the aid dwindled.

    "But when we were trying to create an atmosphere for dialogue early this year, they torpedoed the Cheonan," the government official said. "And when we were trying again to create such an atmosphere after the Cheonan attack, they shelled Yeonpyeong. The signals the North sends out are not as consistent as in the past."


    CRACKS IN THE REGIME

    There are two possible explanations. One is that the regime with its nuclear capabilities judged that South Korea would not dare to respond to any provocation, but would have to accept negotiations for fear of escalation. The other is that the regime is cracking.

    After leader Kim Jong-il had a stroke in August 2008, speculation emerged that the regime has changed. Before he collapsed, power was concentrated only in his hands. Nobody had talked about a "second-in-command," let alone a "successor."

    Kim reacted swiftly to a rumor in 2004 that supporters were gathering around Jang Song-taek, the husband of his younger sister Kyong-hui, and ruthlessly purged Jang and his associates.

    But with Kim's health deteriorating and his third son Jong-un established as his heir, the North has changed, say observers.

    A North Korean source said, "There are some unusual signs now that it's difficult for Kim Jong-il to make all the decisions alone as before." He speculated that the process of transferring power to Kim Jong-un is going badly.

    "After he was established as the heir apparent in the early 1970s, Kim Jong-il concentrated power around him for more than 10 years, but this is not the case with Kim Jong-un," said a former senior North Korean official who defected to the South.

    englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 13, 2010 10:32 KST

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