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The Korean Dilemma

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  • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
    Never mind the click bait title, the meat is in Bolton's quote. It shows how dangerously naïve and stupid Donald Trump is.

    About the only thing he did right was walk away.
    Some history here first. It was Trump who cowed Kim with the threats of war. NK belligeance went from sinking South Korean military vessels and shelling a South Korean village to mere tests. The threat of a KJU war disappearred under Trump.



    • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
      Some history here first. It was Trump who cowed Kim with the threats of war. NK belligeance went from sinking South Korean military vessels and shelling a South Korean village to mere tests. The threat of a KJU war disappearred under Trump.
      From what I've read about Mattis during his time as Secretary of Defense, Trump came pretty goddamn near to starting a war with Kim Jong Un.
      Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value


      • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
        From what I've read about Mattis during his time as Secretary of Defense, Trump came pretty goddamn near to starting a war with Kim Jong Un.
        That is right and that is what scared KJU to back down and to the bargining table. It was the first time that North Korea was directly threatened and KJU did everything he could to placate Trump.




          New satellite images reveal North Korea took recent steps to conceal nuclear weapons site

          By Zachary Cohen and Kylie Atwood, CNN

          Updated 6:00 AM ET, Tue March 2, 2021
          New satellite images taken by Maxar show that North Korea sometime in the past year built a structure that may be intended to obscure entrances to an underground facility where nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons components are stored.Washington (CNN)New satellite imagery obtained by CNN reveals North Korea has recently taken steps to conceal a facility US intelligence agencies believe is being used to store nuclear weapons, a move that could add to the growing sense of urgency from critics who argue the Biden administration needs to articulate a clear strategy on how it will deal with Kim Jong Un going forward.

          The image, captured by Maxar on February 11 and analyzed by experts at the Middlebury Institute, shows North Korea built new structures at its Yongdoktong site over the course of 2020 -- an effort researchers say is likely intended to obscure a pair of underground tunnel entrances that lead to the facility where nuclear weapons are stored.
          "Images released by Maxar show the pair of tunnel entrances as late as December 2019 and a new building-like structure visible by February 2021," according to Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, which specializes in open-source intelligence.
          Yongdoktong has been previously identified by US intelligence as a suspected North Korean nuclear weapons storage facility and is still believed to be used for that purpose, a US intelligence official told CNN.Tunnel entrances seen on December 5, 2019.
          New structure over tunnel entrance on February 11, 2021
          The satellite images obtained by CNN reaffirm what has been widely known among US national security officials and experts for years: North Korea continues to actively develop nuclear weapons at sites around the country while taking further steps toward hiding the stockpile it has already accumulated.
          Recent construction at the site will certainly catch the attention of US intelligence agencies as they carefully monitor sites suspected to be part of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, according to two former intelligence officials and congressional lawmakers.
          Lawmakers and key US allies are eagerly awaiting details about President Joe Biden's North Korea policy, which they expect will be announced publicly in the coming weeks when the administration has completed a policy review, according to multiple sources familiar with the internal discussions.
          The clear evidence North Korea's nuclear program is continuing adds to the urgency of the situation, with critics arguing that a policy review that goes on for too long risks developments occurring that will further complicate achieving the administration's goal of denuclearization.
          "No matter how comical the effort, North Korea continues to upgrade its nuclear weapons facilities and makes efforts to conceal them," Lewis said, referring to the fact that US intelligence agencies have been watching the site for years.
          The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Pentagon, citing intelligence matters, declined to comment. The State Department did not respond to CNN's request for comment on the new imagery.Biden mulls options as North Korea employs 'deception and denial'

          Beyond stressing a commitment to work alongside regional allies, the Biden administration has said little about its plans for engaging with North Korea during its first weeks in office, with top officials only offering vague statements reaffirming the US commitment to "denuclearization" but offering few specifics.
          "The President's view is --- without question that North Korea's nuclear ballistic missile and other proliferation related activities constitutes serious threat to the international peace and security of the world and undermine the global non-proliferation regime," said White House spokesperson Jen Psaki last month.
          Rep. Andy Kim and other former US officials told CNN that they hope the Biden administration moves quickly to engage with North Korea before they conduct another missile test or take other provocative steps later this year that may make diplomacy more difficult.
          "I think there's an opportunity for us to really push on a number of fronts ... and not just have everything live or die based off of denuclearization. I think that if we go down that route again, we will be hit with the same problems that we've had time and time again. I do hope the Biden team takes a different tack this point," Kim, a Democratic member of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees, told CNN in a recent interview.
          Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he still believes the Biden administration should continue to work towards a "nuclear-free North Korea" but acknowledged there are no easy answers as far as how to pursue that goal.
          "Deposing Kim Jong Un is not realistic right now and it shouldn't be our state of policy. Korean reunification is probably not very realistic, so how do we prevent a nuclear war from breaking out or North Korea from using their supposed of nuclear capability as a way for leverage," he told CNN.
          Close up view of building over tunnel entrances. February 11, 2021
          Close up view of tunnel entrances before shelter. November 16, 2019
          The timing of the movements at Yongdoktong is noteworthy but requires some examination because North Korea's actions can never be taken at face value, said a former senior US intelligence official. If North Korea is seeking to speed up engagement with the Biden administration and does not want to use a provocation like a missile test this move could be undertaken to catch the attention of the US.
          Former intelligence officials say recent efforts to obscure the view of American spy satellites could be intended to remind the Biden administration that work on these programs continues even as the White House deliberates on a diplomatic path forward.
          North Korea's tactic to try to use "deception and denial" is not something new, one former official explained. North Koreans are known to use the tactic to draw US attention to a matter, allow miscalculation, and deny that they are doing it.Biden team looks to increase pressure and use diplomacy

          While the details of Biden's plan for North Korea are being developed by the administration, the White House is not counting out the possibility of direct engagement down the line.
          Trump broke the mold when it comes to broaching the intractable challenge of North Korea. Instead of working in lockstep with US allies in the region, he prioritized developing a personal bond with Kim Jong Un. The leaders exchanged frequent letters and met in person three times. Yet, despite this unprecedented engagement, North Korea is more dangerous today than it was when Trump took office.
          As Biden's national security team begins to develop their North Korea policy, they will face the challenge of shaping a nuanced approach that rejuvenates a commitment to allies, avoids simply reverting back to the pre-Trump North Korea strategy characterized as "strategic patience" during the Obama administration, and can produce results on the ultimate goal of denuclearization.

          Secretary of State Tony Blinken said the administration will both consider how to increase pressure on Pyongyang and how to draw them in with diplomacy, adding that nothing can be done without consulting with allies.
          "We intend to review the entire approach in policy toward North Korea, because this is a hard problem that has plagued administration after administration after administration and it's a problem that has not gotten better. In fact, it's gotten worst," Blinken said during his confirmation hearing. He added that they will look at options "that can be effective in terms of increasing pressure on North Korea to come to the negotiating table as well as what other diplomatic initiatives may be possible."
          Anthony Ruggiero, who previously served as the National Security Council Director for North Korea during the Trump administration, also said he believes the Biden administration can use sanctions as leverage for negotiations.
          "Sanctions need to be at a level where it can provide leverage for negotiations. The sanctions toward the end of the Trump administration on North Korea were sporadic at best, and in some cases non-existent, so they do need to spend some time rebuilding some more of the pressure to allow productive negotiations," according to Ruggiero, who is currently a senior fellow at the Washington-based think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
          The Biden administration is also expected to begin publicly speaking out against any future North Korean provocations unlike the approach in the latter part of the Trump administration, current and former administration officials tell CNN.

          Provocations from North Korea, which traditionally mark the beginning of every administration, could be delayed due to the pandemic, former US officials told incoming Biden officials during transition meetings. They believe that the pandemic has put North Korea in a delicate position where it cannot afford further sanctions and cannot engage in diplomacy.
          But Kim Jong Un hates being out of the spotlight and it is likely that he will want to test the incoming team, making it virtually impossible to predict how the despot will act in the early days of Biden presidency.Some North Korea experts believe that the Biden administration should send a direct signal to North Korea to demonstrate willingness to engage, sooner rather than later.
          "It is a moment of opportunity," said Gen. Vincent Brooks, a retired US Army general who commanded United States Forces Korea during the Trump administration. "I hope they will seek communication early on. It may begin through backchannels first but there must be a conduit of communication directly to Kim Jong Un."
          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain


          • North Korea unresponsive to behind-the-scenes Biden administration outreach - U.S. official

            WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea has not responded to behind-the-scenes diplomatic outreach since mid-February by President Joe Biden’s administration, including to Pyongyang’s mission to the United Nations, a senior Biden administration official told Reuters on Saturday.

            The disclosure of the so-far unsuccessful U.S. outreach, which has not been previously reported, raises questions about how Biden will address mounting tensions with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

            It also adds a new dimension to a visit America’s top diplomat and defense secretary will make next week to South Korea and Japan, where concerns over North Korea’s nuclear arsenal are expected to be high on the agenda.

            The senior Biden administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, offered few details on the diplomatic push. But the official said there had been efforts to reach out to the North Korean government “through several channels starting in mid-February, including in New York.”

            “To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang,” the official said.

            North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

            The Biden administration has so far been cautious in publicly describing its approach to North Korea, saying it is carrying out a comprehensive policy review following former President Donald Trump’s unprecedented engagement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

            Trump’s efforts failed to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

            The Biden administration official said it appeared there had been no active dialogue between the United States and North Korea for more than a year, including at the end of Trump’s administration, “despite multiple attempts during that time by the United States to engage.”

            The U.S. official declined to speculate about how the silence from Pyongyang would impact the Biden administration’s North Korea policy review, which was expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

            During his election campaign, Biden described Kim as a “thug” and said he would only meet him “on the condition that he would agree that he would be drawing down his nuclear capacity.”

            U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has held out the possibility of additional sanctions, in coordination with allies, to press North Korea to denuclearize.

            Sanctions have so far failed to convince Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.

            Blinken is slated to host the first face-to-face discussions between senior Biden administration and Chinese officials on March 18 in Alaska. The Trump administration accused China of failing to enforce sanctions against North Korea. A confidential U.N. report here found that North Korea maintained and developed its nuclear and ballistic missile programs throughout 2020 in violation of international sanctions, helping fund them with some $300 million stolen through cyber hacks.

            The report by independent sanctions monitors said Pyongyang “produced fissile material, maintained nuclear facilities and upgraded its ballistic missile infrastructure” while continuing to seek material and technology for those programs from abroad.
            Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value