by Anugrah Kumar
Newscast Media BEIJING—Secretary of State John Kerry flew to China on Saturday and met with that country’s top leaders, seeking their help in dealing with North Korea, which has threatened attacks against South Korea and the U.S. and remains unwilling to return to nuclear talks.
After the meetings, Kerry told reporters in Beijing he urged China to take a more activist stance towards North Korea, and called his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping “constructive and forward-leaning.”
“Mr. President, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issues—issues on the Korean Peninsula, the challenge of Iran and nuclear weapons, Syria and the Middle East, and economies around the world that are in need of a boost,” Kerry told Xi at the Great Hall of the People, according to Reuters.
Kerry, who visited China for the first time as secretary of state, said both governments called on the North “to refrain from any provocative steps and that obviously refers to any future missile shoot.”
“We are able, the United States and China, to underscore our joint commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner,” Kerry said, adding there will be “further discussions to bear down very quickly with great specificity on exactly how we will accomplish this goal.”
China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who was with Kerry at the press conference, was quoted as saying, “We maintain that the issue should be handled and resolved peacefully through dialogue and consultation. To properly address the Korea nuclear issue serves the common interests of all parties. It is also the shared responsibility of all parties.”
Kerry also told Beijing that American missile defenses in the region, which has been a concern for China, could be reduced if North Korea discontinued its nuclear program.
“Obviously if the threat disappears—i.e. North Korea denuclearizes—the same imperative does not exist at that point of time for us to have that kind of robust forward leaning posture of defense,” The New York Times quoted him as saying. “And it would be our hope in the long run, or better yet in short run, that we can address that.”
The secretary of state said the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, and intelligence officials will visit Beijing this month. He said he wanted to ensure that the pledges made by Beijing were “not just rhetoric.” “There is no question in my mind that China is very serious—very serious, about denuclearizing,” BBC quoted him as saying.
Xi said Kerry is the second key member of President Barack Obama’s administration to visit China within a month after Xi was elected president in March, and this shows both countries’ full understanding of the importance of Sino-U.S. ties, according to China’s state-owned Xinhua news agency.
Currently the Sino-US relationship is in a new era with a good start, and both sides are devoted to building a new type of relationship between powers, Xi said, adding he believes Kerry’s visit will contribute to the positive momentum of the developing bilateral ties.
China is North Korea’s main trading partner and financial backer, and therefore has a unique ability to use its leverage against the impoverished, isolated state, Kerry said in South Korea on Friday before leaving for Beijing.
Kerry’s Asia visit, which includes a stop in Tokyo on Sunday, comes weeks after North Korean threats of war since the imposition of new U.N. sanctions in response to its third nuclear test two months ago.
Newscast Media BEIJING—China has started mobilizing military forces around the Korean Peninsula in response to rising tensions and recent threats by North Korea to launch missile attacks against its southern neighbor and the United States.
According to US officials, Pyongyang’s declaration of a ‘state of war’ against South Korea has led the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to increase its military presence on the border with the North. The officials say the process has been ongoing since mid-March, and includes troop movements and readying fighter jets.
The PLA is now at ‘Level One’ readiness, its highest. Chinese forces, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, have been spotted in the city of Ji’an and near the Yalu River, which splits China and North Korea. Other border regions were also reportedly being patrolled by planes.
China has also been conducting live-firing naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, scheduled to end on Monday. The move is widely viewed as open support for North Korea, which continues to show extreme opposition to the US-South Korean military drills that are to last until May.
The news comes as the US deployed its USS Fitzgerald destroyer off the coast of North Korea, adding to its Sunday deployment of F-22 fighter jets to take part in the drills with the friendly South, which has further served to heighten tensions on the peninsula.
Meanwhile, North Korea has been mobilizing its short and medium-range missile arsenal, according to analyses of satellite imagery. Officials say Pyongyang is set to test its new KN-08 medium-range mobile missile; they say preparations have been spotted in the past. Pyongyang claims that since March 26, its forces have been placed on their highest possible status of alert.
Although officials believe Pyongyang will not provoke Seoul during the war games, they also fear that a miscalculation by South Korea could lead to all-out war, following its promise of retaliation against the North, should it launch its missiles first.
Newscast Media SEOUL—South Korean President Park Geun-hye has warned North Korea that any provocation will be met with a “strong response,” after Pyongyang said it was in a state of war with Seoul.
“If there is any provocation against South Korea and its people, there should be a strong response in initial combat without any political considerations,” Park said at a meeting with the country’s senior military and security officials on Monday.The President also said that she “sees the recent (North Korea’s) threats very seriously.”
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-Jin also said at the meeting that Seoul would target the North’s nuclear and missile facilities if hostilities erupted.
“We will… establish a so-called ‘active deterrence’ aimed at neutralizing the North’s nuclear and missile threats quickly,” the minister said.
The remarks came a day after the United States sent F-22 stealth fighter jets to South Korea in order to join military drills with Seoul amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula. On Saturday, Pyongyang announced that it is in a “state of war” with South Korea, warning that any provocation by Seoul and Washington will trigger an all-out nuclear war.
Pyongyang said henceforth “the North-South relations will be entering a state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly.”
Pyongyang also warned that if Washington and Seoul launched a preemptive attack, the conflict “will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war.”
The warnings came days after South Korea and the US signed a new military pact in response to what they called even low-level provocations by Pyongyang.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia cautioned against aggressive posturing in response to increasingly bellicose North Korean rhetoric on Friday, saying that it could spiral into violence.
“We are alarmed that along with the adequate reaction from the UN Security Council and the collective reaction of the international community, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that involves increased military activity,” Lavrov told reporters after talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara.
Lavrov did not single out any specific country, but urged all sides involved in the Korean standoff to refrain from muscle-flexing. This appeared to be a reference to the recent flare-up in tensions between
Pyongyang and Washington in the wake of joint US-South Korean military exercises close to the border.
South Korea and the United States began annual large-scale military exercises, codenamed Key Resolve, on March 11. The drills involve 10,000 South Korean and 3,500 US troops. Prior to the exercises, Pyongyang threatened the United States with a preemptive nuclear strike amid warnings that it plans to terminate the Korean War Armistice Agreement.
It warned of retaliatory countermeasures if the United States and South Korea went ahead with the drills. The United States on Thursday dispatched two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers on an “extended deterrence” practice run over South Korea.
US officials said the exercise should serve “to demonstrate very clearly the resolve of the United States to deter against aggression on the Korean Peninsula.”
North Korea responded on Friday by placing its strategic rocket forces on standby to strike US and South Korean targets.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—North Korea says it is informing the United Nations of an imminent nuclear war on the Korean peninsula due to provocation from Seoul and Washington.
“Our people and army are entering the final stage of preparations for war against the United States to defend their country’s dignity and sovereignty,” the North Korean foreign ministry said in a Tuesday statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Meanwhile on Wednesday, the KCNA also reported that top North Korean leaders are scheduled to meet in the coming days to make a decision on an “important” issue.
According to the agency, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party’s Central Committee will hold its meeting before the end of March in a move to “discuss and decide an important issue for victoriously advancing the Korean revolution.”
The date of the meeting and the issue to be discussed have not been specified, yet. However, analysts in South Korea believe decisions on international relations, security and also the reshuffling of personnel will be made at the meeting.
This comes as in a separate statement on Tuesday, the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army said that it has elevated its artillery and strategic missile forces to “combat-ready posture,” adding that it was ready to strike US territory.
North Korea said it would “show off our army and people’s stern reaction to safeguard our sovereignty and the highest dignity through military actions.”
In reaction to the comments, Pentagon spokesman George Little said that, “We are concerned by any threat raised by the North Koreans,” adding, “We take everything they say and everything they do very seriously. They need to stop threatening peace—that doesn’t help anyone.”
On March 11, Seoul and Washington launched a week-long annual joint military maneuver near the Korean Peninsula despite warnings from Pyongyang. The maneuver involved 10,000 South Korean soldiers and about 3,000 US troops.
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media SEOUL—Iran’s semi-official news outlet Fars News Agency reported that North Korea is accusing the U.S. of causing instability between the North and South. North Korea is facing further UN sanctions for its underground nuclear test explosion two weeks ago, its biggest and most powerful to date which prompted warnings from Washington.
“The US is to blame for the situation on the Korean peninsula which is inching close to an unpredictable phase now,” So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.
“The US should no longer be allowed to seriously infringe upon the independent right of the DPRK to use space for peaceful purposes nor should it be allowed to abuse the UN Security Council as a tool for executing its hostile policy toward the DPRK,” he added, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The third nuclear test was carried out as part of the practical countermeasures for defending the country’s sovereignty and security to cope with ruthless hostile behaviors of the US, which wantonly infringed upon the DPRK’s legitimate right to satellite launch for peaceful purposes,” So said.
by Anugrah Kumar
Newscast Media TOKYO, Japan—A day after North Korea announced it would launch another satellite this month, believed to be cover for a ballistic missile test, and causing concerns in the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda threatened to shoot down the rocket if it threatened Japanese territory.
“The defense minister has today issued orders to prepare for the interception and defense against ballistic missiles,” ABC News quoted Noda as saying on Sunday. “If they do indeed go ahead with the launch, then it is indeed very regrettable. Not only our country, but the entire international community must take strong measures to deal with this.”
Noda’s statement comes the day after Korean Central News Agency quoted the Korean Committee for Space Technology as saying that the North “plans to launch another working satellite, which has been manufactured true to the behest of great leader comrade Kim Jong Il with our own efforts and our own technology.”
The launch of Unha-3 rocket from the Sohae Space Center in North Phyongan Province will take place between Dec. 10 and 22, around the time when Kim Jong-un will complete one year in office as the nation’s supreme leader, and about eight months after a failed rocket launch in April.
North Korea’s sole ally China also expressed concerns Sunday. “China … expressed its concern about the satellite launch plan of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, saying it hopes relevant parties can act in a way that is more conducive to the stability of the Korean peninsula,” Xinhua news agency said. “North Korea has the right to the peaceful use of outer space, but this right is limited by the relevant Security Council resolutions,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang was quoted as saying.
North Korea notified neighbors, including Japan, of the route of the rocket, South Korea’s Yonhap News said Sunday. “The North has notified aviation authorities in nations including Japan that could come under potential danger…of the timing and expected path [of the rocket],” a senior official was quoted as saying.
On Saturday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland responded in a statement, saying, “A North Korean ‘satellite’ launch would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region. Any North Korean launch using ballistic missile technology is in direct violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions.”
Nuland also criticized warped priorities of the isolated and impoverished nation.
“Devoting scarce resources to the development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles will only further isolate and impoverish North Korea,” she said. “The path to security for North Korea lies in investing in its people and abiding by its commitments and international obligations.”
South Korea has also expressed “serious concern” over the planned launch. The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Saturday said it was a “long-range missile test in the name of working satellite,” and warned that “it will be faced with a strong response.”
“The launch is a severe provocation as it is ignoring the concern and warning from the international community and is a direct challenge to the international community as a whole,” the ministry’s statement said.
U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague joined in condemning the planned exercise on Saturday. “Failure to do so [abandon the project] must lead to a further response by the international community, and will damage the prospects for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” he said in a statement.
The North has launched several long-range rockets in the last one and a half decades, seen as cover for intercontinental ballistic missile tests. Most of the rockets either exploded in midair or failed to put satellites into orbit, but North Korea claims partial success.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C. — This will be one of the most challenging years for Barack Obama as President of the United States, because crucial decisions that could affect his re-election are underway. Despite preparing to embark on his re-election campaign, he still has to deal with the distraction that Israel could launch an unexpected attack on Iran.
To his credit, Obama is doing everything he possibly can to avert a war with the Islamic Republic and is engaging the country in talks and negotiations regarding its nuclear program. Yet Obama is mindful of the warmongers trying to bypass the diplomatic means that are being employed to accomplish a win-win situation in this whole ordeal.
In a speech given on Tuesday, Obama scolded Republican candidates for “beating the drums of war” and ignoring the potential human cost of such a confrontation.
“The one thing that we have not done is: We haven’t launched a war. If some of these folks think that it’s time to launch a war, they should say so. And they should explain to the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be,” he said.
“This is not a game. There is nothing casual about it. Those who are suggesting, or proposing, or beating the drums of war should explain clearly to the American people what they think the costs and benefits would be. I’m not one of those people,” Obama said.
Should Israel launch an attack on Iran, it would sabotage Obama’s re-election for the following reasons:
He would immediately lose the moderates, independents and some of his hardcore base who have denounced previous wars would stay home. An attack on Iran would also send the gas prices to the $8-$10 neighborhood and would affect the world markets. As voters sit at their kitchen tables and sorting out their bills, they will equate the high gas prices and cost of living to Obama’s failure to cure the defects within the economy. That alone would be their justification not to vote for him.
China will not sit by and Russia because they have interests in Iran they would want to protect. Sleeper-cells in the West would then be activated, and those who wished for war would have a lot of explaining to do for endangering the general public. This reflects what Obama said in his remarks that they (the warmongers) would have to “explain clearly to the American people what they think the costs and benefits would be.”
North Korea’s Kim Jung-un would not want to miss in action and would want to prove to his countrymen that he too is made of steel, as reflected in the comments he made on Friday Dec. 30, 2011 when he said: “On this occasion, we solemnly declare with confidence that foolish politicians around the world, including the puppet forces in South Korea, should not expect any changes from us.”
Right there you have China, Russia, Iran and North Korea could align itself with them including Pakistan, Iran’s next-door neighbor. You then have a perfect scenario of East vs. West. There is no way such a war can be won on the seas or in the air. A ground invasion would have to take place whereby troops are sent into Iran, which would be the perfect chance for Afghanistan to side with Iran and seek revenge for the Quran incident.
All the war advocates who hide behind computer keyboards or their ivory towers encouraging an invasion of Iran should use “critical thinking” rather than make this an emotional event. For the past seven years, we’ve heard that Iran was 6-12 months away from acquiring a nuclear weapon. If you do the math, it means Iran has acquired nuclear weapons seven times over. At the beginning of last year, Iran was six months away from a nuclear weapon. June came and went, and the “six-month narrative” continues to be sold to the public.
Americans and people across the world are weary of the wars that have been happening continuously for the past 10 years. Soldiers just want to raise their kids, repair their marriages, finish school or find jobs, while the general public just wants to mind its own business.
Whether you agree with Barack Obama or not, the man is not being fooled, or allowing himself to be induced into an unnecessary military confrontation, and recently said, “I don’t bluff.” Which means he knows who the bluffers are—the media being one of the major players. He has exclusive intel that is not available to the public, and can see what the button-pushers can’t.
George W. Bush experienced what Obama is going through and warned Israel not to bomb Iran. He was very clear about it and said the U.S. did not want to get involved in a third war.”This is a very unstable part of the world and I don’t need it to be more unstable,” Adm. Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman, said at a briefing. Bush said, “I have made it clear to all parties [including Israel] that the first option is diplomacy,” in getting Iran to stop enriching uranium that could be used for a nuclear weapon.
Barack Obama’s greatest challenge is not a battle with the GOP nominee or media or even his critics. Obama’s greatest battle, in my analysis, will be to get Israel to stay put.