Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Crisis on the Korean peninsula - 04/18/2017

Pentagon Considers Shooting Down North Korea Missile Tests


18 April, 2017

Just when a few hours had passed without any escalation around the Korean Peninsula, The Guardian reports that the US military is considering shooting down North Korean missile tests as a show of strength to Pyongyang according to two sources briefed on the plans.

As the USS Carl Vinson heads towards the peninsula, along with two oither carriers, the Pentagon is looking for ways short of war to pressure North Korea into denuclearization, particularly if Pyongyang goes forward with an anticipated sixth nuclear test.


The option, which defense secretary James Mattis has briefed to Congress, has, as The Guardian reportsyet to mature into a decision by the military to intercept a tested missile. One US official said the prospective shoot-down strategy would be aimed at occurring after a nuclear test, with the objective being to signal Pyongyang that the US can impose military consequences for a transgression Donald Trump has said is unacceptable. But experts and former officials said shooting down a North Korean missile during a test risks an escalation that Washington may not be able to control, one that risks war on the Korean peninsula and potentially devastating consequences to allies South Korea and Japan.



I would see such an action as escalatory, but I couldn’t guess how Kim Jong-un would interpret it,” said Abraham Denmark, the senior Pentagon policy official for Asia in Barack Obama’s administration.
But I would be concerned he would feel the need to react strongly, as he would not want to appear weak.”

Both sources said the military was not looking to use the high-profile missile-defense system the US is providing to South Korea, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad). Thaad’s 200km range and sophisticated radar have unnerved China, whose president, Xi Jinping, has been coaxed by Trump into pressuring North Korea. 

In the past, several US administrations have considered shooting down North Korean missile tests, only to turn away from the option when considering the consequences of escalation against an unpredictable and bellicose adversary. Rumors have circulated since Trump took office that he has been mulling a shoot-down. A US official said the military was discussing a potential shoot-down ahead of Trump’s meeting with Xi on 6 April at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The discussion also preceded Friday’s North Korean military parade, during which Pyongyang displayed advancements in its intercontinental ballistic missile program and anti-ship missiles, as well as a test-launch failure on Saturday. Senior Pentagon officials pondering the shoot-down option are said to have conceded they are unsure how North Korea would respond, especially considering North Korea's comments...





"If the U.S. is reckless enough to use military means, from that very day, there will be all out war. Our nuclear weapons protect us from that threat," Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC's John Sudworth. "We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis," he threatened. He said that an "all-out war" would result if the US took military action.

Neither Pentagon nor US Pacific Command representatives responded to a request for comment. Another factor complicating a shoot-down would be the risk of embarrassment should Aegis interceptors miss a North Korean target, which might embolden Pyongyang and unnerve US regional allies.

Ken Gause, director of the international-affairs group at the CNA thinktank influential with the Pentagon, said US planners have grown frustrated with coercive diplomacy amid North Korea’s maturing nuclear and missile capability. But Gause said that while Washington might spin a shoot-down as a step below an attack on North Korea or an attempt to overthrow its government, it risked validating Kim’s position that North Korea needs nuclear weapons and long-range missiles to respond to American aggression.
I still see this as escalatory and playing with potential fire. At the end of the day, Kim Jong-un cannot be seen internally as backing down from pressure”, Gause said.

It seems odd that the US would telegraph this intent - given Trump's campaign discussions of not doing exactly this. Or is this simply a way of showing that the Pentagon remains on a war footing despite a very temporary lull in global thermonuclear ware rhetoric.

From Fake News Network (aka CNN)



Officials Just Revealed Trump Botched His North Korean Aggression. The Reason is Humiliating


If you don't want to believe the Dems (I don't!) take it from the Russians

USS Carl Vinson gets lost at sea on the way to North Korea


USS Carl Vinson gets lost at sea on the way to North Korea. 60309.jpeg


More than a week has passed since the moment when the assault group of the US Navy, led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, headed to the shores of the Korean Peninsula. However, the group has not arrived yet.
US warships are currently traveling in the strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. They did not go directly from Singapore to the Korean Peninsula, but made a stop in the Indian Ocean to take part in exercises with the Australian Navy.
The assault group includes missile destroyers, as well as a missile cruiser.
In early April, US President Donald Trump ordered the assault group of USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to go to North Korea and stop near the Korean Peninsula in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. The military were instructed to be prepared for an attack.
Earlier, it was reported that the USA would send three aircraft carriers to South Korea. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson will enter the Sea of Japan on April 25. Aircraft carriers Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and Nimitz (CVN 68) will also stay in the Sea of Japan.
It was also said that Pyongyang was going to conduct a regular missile test on April 25 to mark the 85th anniversary of the Korean People's Army.
Pravda.Ru



Here are some headlines from yesterday. The US added another two warships which are being monitored by the Chinese and te Russians. Apparently Trump's armada has been sailing in the wrong direction!


Russia Moves Troops Within Striking Distance of South Korea

Russia Moves Troops Within Striking Distance of South Korea, could this be the reason why Trump has backed down from the immediate strike on North Korea, 

links:

https://www.rt.com/news/385006-pence-...
http://www.newsweek.com/russia-china-...
https://already-happened.com/2017/04/...
http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/7...
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20...
https://www.theguardian.com/world/201..



These comments are from Kisilev from "Vesti" on Russian TV



US vs. North Korea: a Battle of Nerves



Meanwhile, US sent a naval armada to the North Korean shore, led by Carl Vinson, an assault carrier, with the support of two missile destroyers. Washington has been threatening to strike North Korea the whole week, hoping to make them to abstain from nuclear testing. North Korea responded with threats of a nuclear attack on US military bases in South Korea, Japan, and on the Territory of Guam. 

Technically, Pyongyang is equipped to do this. Also, North Koreans don't talk about it, but besides nuclear warheads, their missiles may be equipped with chemical ammo, according to the experts. In this case, one of the targets is the South Korean capital, the megapolis Seoul. So North Korea asks to abstain from provocations in its address, because as they say, in response to an all-in war, they'll declare an all-in war. As a result, by this weekend the tension around North Korea reached a boiling point.



Russia warns US against ‘Syria-style’ actions in N. Korea



Russia warns US against ‘Syria-style’ actions in N. Korea
FILE PHOTO: The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) © Woody Paschall / U.S. Navy photo

Mike Pence’s statement on the US running out of “strategic patience” towards Pyongyang does not contribute to resolving the crisis, Sergey Lavrov said, voicing hopes there will be no repeat of the US strike on Syria in North Korea.
I hope that there won’t be any unilateral actions like we recently saw in Syria and that the US will follow the policies Trump repeatedly declared during his election campaign,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, regarding the statement made by US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday during his visit to South Korea.


According to a report by South Korea's primary news outlet, Yonhap, the Pentagon has directed a total of three US aircraft carriers toward the Korean Peninsula, citing a South Korean government source.

Yonhap reports that in addition to the CVN-70 Carl Vinson, which is expected to arrive off the South Korean coast on April 25, the CVN-76 Ronald Reagan - currently in home port in Yokosuka, Japan - and the CVN-68 Nimitz carrier group - currently undergoing final pre-deployment assessment, Composite Training Unit Exercise off Oregon - will enter the Sea of Japan next week.  According to the senior government official. the US and South Korea are discussing joint drills, which will include the three aircraft carriers and other shpis.


US and South Korea agree 'early' deployment of THAAD missile defence system

Decision comes as US Vice President Mike Pence warns North Korea that the 'era of strategic patience is over'
The US and South Korea have agreed to the early activation of a defence system designed to shoot down North Korean missiles, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
The decision to activate the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system came during talks between the acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo Ahn and Mike Pence, as the US Vice President warned North Korea that the "era of strategic patience is over".





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