- 'Bloody nose' strikes and diplomatic drama: US officials push back on reports of a preemptive North Korean strike
The front-runner candidate and eventual nominee for US ambassador to South Korea is no longer being considered by the White House. Speculation over the decision to cancel Victor Cha's nomination follows reports that he disagreed with the National Security Council's approach to a "bloody nose" strike. Officials reportedly pushed back on the notion of an imminent strike against North Korea. Cha is the former director for Asian affairs for the National Security Council and a leading authority on matters regarding the Korean Peninsula. And US officials told The Washington Post's Josh Rogin that a possible first-strike at North Korea was not imminent.
- Expert: Trump Aims to Increase Anxiety in Pyongyang to Prime Regime for Talks
How worrisome is it in context of the tensions between the US and North Korea? But there is no chance that if North Korea did that that the North Korean regime would survive doing that. Because he has definitely claimed that he could stop the North Korean nuclear program before it could actually get operational. One thing that is absolutely sure is that the vast [number of] North Korean artillery aimed at Seoul will do appalling damage immediately if North Korea is attacked. They are much too close: North Korean artillery is just on the other side of the North Korean border, so you couldn't actually stop that attack if you try to take out the North Korean nuclear program.
- A ‘bloody nose’ attack on North Korea is not happening anytime soon
But everybody should take a deep breath; President Trump isn’t about to push the “bloody nose” button. There are two reasons that old reports that the administration is considering a “bloody nose” strike are resurfacing now. Officials insist that any suggestion the NSC is pushing the “bloody nose” option is wrong. But the term “bloody nose” did not come from the White House, and NSC officials share many of the concerns Cha expressed in his op-ed. People should follow the new National Security Strategy’s more detailed policy on North Korea, he said: “People need to start reading the translations and stop listening to Trump.”The confusion about America’s North Korea policy is a problem the Trump administration must address.
- Russia Warns Against Cutting Off North Korea’s Oil
North Korea has severe shortages of gas and diesel, and this situation could lead to serious problems, including a humanitarian crisis. Cutting off all supplies would mean a total blockade, and this would be seen by North Korea as a declaration of war, Matsegora told the Russian news agency. The United States has been trying to persuade Russia and China to do more to cut oil supplies to North Korea in order to rein in Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program. Chinese vessels have been caught illicitly selling oil to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions. We are sanctioning additional oil, shipping, and trading companies that continue to provide a lifeline to North Korea to fuel this regime’s nuclear ambitions and destabilizing activities,” Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin said.
- Why a North Korea Hawk Couldn't Find a Home in the Trump Administration
For weeks now, speculation has swirled that the Trump administration is seriously thinking about conducting limited military strikes against North Korea to give Kim Jong Un a “bloody nose”—with the aim of deterring him from further developing a nuclear arsenal that could soon threaten the U.S. mainland. South Korea’s president claimed that Trump had denied such plans in a private phone call, but publicly Trump and his advisers haven’t commented on the reports. They also believe that the United States could keep the conflict from spiraling out of control and exacting massive human and economic costs even if North Korea retaliates. Cha is no dove on North Korea. He maintained that the administration’s military plans are premised on “hope” rather than sound reasoning—and that there are less perilous ways to deter North Korea from using its nuclear weapons and proliferating nuclear technology while preparing military responses should deterrence fail.
- North Korea Is Not the Threat Trump Would Have You Believe
Trump cited Warmbier and Ji to personalize Pyongyang’s iniquities, and, possibly, plant the emotional seeds for a military strike against North Korea. Ji’s experience in North Korea, while extraordinary, is not singular. But such declarations conflate the threat Pyongyang poses to its own people with the threat it poses to Americans. What, then, is the threat that North Korea poses to the United States? Besides encouraging Americans to believe North Korea is a dangerous place to visit, that move also ended one of the few channels Americans had for interacting with actual North Koreans.
- Trump Just Sent a Terrifying Signal About His Plans for North Korea
A former director of Asia policy in the George W. Bush administration, Cha is widely respected in Seoul, and widely regarded as a “hawk” on foreign-policy questions in Washington. In December, the White House formally notified the South Korean government that Trump would ask the Senate to confirm Cha to the ambassadorship. The White House has leaked word that the reversal was caused by a “red flag” in Cha’s background. McMaster has repeatedly sounded belligerent notes about North Korea. In his State of the Union address last night, Trump said of North Korea, “Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.
- The Axis of Evil Is Back, and It's Never Going Away
Back in 2002, in his first full-fledged State of the Union address, President George W. Bush called Iraq, Iran, and North Korea a terror-sponsoring "axis of evil." President Trump spent a significant portion of his State of the Union last night on North Korea. He also invited a North Korean defector who helps other victims of the regime escape to freedom. Those dictatorships, while brutal, pose even less of a threat to the U.S. than North Korea or Iran. A motivated president can always find countries to fit into an "axis of evil."
- 'State of the Union Could Be Read as Groundwork for US Strike on DPRK' – Analyst
At Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Trump warned that he would put "maximum pressure" on North Korea, and not repeat the "mistakes of past administrations" over Pyongyang's nuclear program. How worrisome is it in context of the tensions between the US and North Korea? I think what we saw with Trump's State of the Union address was the more combative side of the administration's position. So I think what we saw in Donald Trump's State of the Union address could be read as setting the groundwork for a military strike against North Korea. The US State Department issues its own annual reports on human rights around the world, regularly ranking North Korea among the world's worst offenders.
- The big North Korea news last night was not from the State of the Union speech
“It will be eye-opening,” the source added, predicting the portion of the address dedicated to North Korea is likely to drive headlines on Wednesday. This section was like the rest of Trump’s State of the Union speech: long on bombast and short on specifics. He participated in the Six-Party talks with North Korea as the deputy head of the U.S. delegation and was generally considered hawkish on security issues involving the North. I spoke with Cha earlier this month and knew that he was decidedly uneasy with the rhetoric coming from the administration on North Korea. That he felt the need to write such an op-ed is way more important — and ominous — than anything in Trump’s State of the Union speech.
- One team, one nation
It is heartening to see 23 South Korean and 12 North Korean players mingle with each other in a cordial atmosphere. The final standing for the joint South-North Korean team will be especially crucial given the controversy over forming the unified team. So one can imagine the embarrassment they faced with the stiffer-than-expected opposition to the team from a majority of South Koreans. They criticized the Seoul government's ignorance of the South Korean pucksters' reluctance to make a joint team because it will reduce their opportunities to enter the rink. Political leaders should then persuade younger people why the two Koreas should maintain one team, must remain one nation before it's too late, and how the ultimate goal ought to become a reality.
- Russia Closer to North Korea's Nuclear Test Range Than Other Countries - Envoy
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia is closer to North Korea's nuclear test range than other countries, there is a threat to Russia's security, Russian Ambassador to Pyongyang Alexander Matsegora told Sputnik in an interview. "Russia is the closest to their nuclear test range (some 150 kilometers to the Russian border) and to the water area where North Korean missiles fall," Matsegora said, adding that there is a threat to Russia's security. He said Moscow is aware which missiles and technology North Korea possesses, adding that Pyongyang does not notify Russia in advance of its plans to fire missiles or hold nuclear tests. Ban on Oil Supplies to North KoreaMatsegora said that “North Korea is already experiencing an acute shortage of gasoline and diesel fuel, which leads to serious problems, including humanitarian ones. "If oil and oil products supplies are ceased, this will mean a complete blockade of North Korea… Pyongyang’s official representatives have repeatedly stated that the blockade will be perceived by North Korea as a declaration of war with all the attendant consequences."
- [Newsmaker] US scraps Victor Cha as pick for ambassador to S. Korea
The official added that the administration was looking for the “right person” to nominate without elaborating why Cha had been dropped from consideration.In a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday, Cha, who is widely seen as a hawkish, stressed that Washington’s “bloody nose” strategy carries a huge risk of escalating into a war.The strategy is to respond to continued North Korean missile or nuclear tests with a limited military strike to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and missile programs.“The answer is not, as some Trump administration officials have suggested, a preventive military strike,” he wrote. The post has been vacant for more than a year since Trump took office in January last year. In the interim, Marc Knapper has served as the charge d’affaires to Korea.In December, the Trump administration requested Seoul’s approval of Cha, which Seoul promptly did. Seoul officials had hoped that the post would be filled before the PyeongChang Olympics.The US Embassy in Seoul declined to comment on the decision.“There is nothing the South Korean government can confirm regarding an appointment of a US ambassador to South Korea,” the Foreign Ministry said. (email@example.com)
- Trump zeroes in on North Korea, Iran threats
Trump zeroes in on North Korea, Iran threatsBy Dave ClarkWashington (AFP) Jan 31, 2018US President Donald Trump used his biggest stage Tuesday to warn of the nuclear threat from North Korea, as fears grow again in Washington that conflict may be looming. But he saved his harshest words for Iran and North Korea. "North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland," he warned, implying he has a narrow window to respond to Pyongyang's ambition. Singling out Iran and North Korea -- which along with Iraq formed his predecessor George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" -- seemed calculated to raise the specter of new conflicts. Beijing (AFP) Jan 28, 2018Japan's foreign minister called on China to increase cooperation on curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons programme Sunday during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing.