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Asia-Pacific countries will work together to block sanctions evasion
TOKYO — Japan wants help from partners, including the U.S. and South Korea, to keep an eye on North Korea’s maritime smuggling and hold the hermit state to international sanctions.
H/t reader Squodgy:
Or part of DT’s ploy to disable the deep state?
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While the specter of a nuclear war with North Korea has faded in recent weeks, China is not taking chances, and ahead of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the Chinese government has deployed 300,000 troops and multiple mobile strike groups to its highly-guarded border with North Korea, a move which signals that Beijing is quietly gearing for a potential crisis between Kim Jong Un and the United States in the coming months.
According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo news, “China is preparing for a potential war on the Korean Peninsula by reinforcing missile defenses near the border with North Korea” citing a report from Radio Free Asia. “Military units in Yanbian were relocated from Heilongjiang Province, thus adding 300,000 troops along the border.”
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said that he agrees with the aggressive statements President Trump has made towards North Korea.
The former Secretary of State said that the Trump Administration “will hit that fork in the road, and the temptation to deal with it with a pre-emptive attack” against North Korea “is strong, and the argument is rational.”
The Trump administration has signaled that North Korea would be crossing a red line if it developed nuclear capability for its intercontinental ballistic missile program. Yet some policy officials and military experts claim that North Korea has already crossed that line, or is at least very close to attaching nuclear warheads to its missiles.
The unexpectedly-revealing description of what Rex Tillerson apparently considers successful diplomacy came from his own mouth on Wednesday as he was speaking at Stanford University with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“The Japanese… have had over a 100 North Korean fishing boats that have drifted into Japanese waters. Two-thirds of the people on those boats have died,” Tillerson said, citing the Japanese delegation that attended a conference in Vancouver, Canada, earlier this week.
He was referring to the regular phenomenon of so-called ‘ghost ships’ from North Korea, which have become stranded on the Japanese coast for years. Last year, a record 104 such cases were reported by Japanese authorities, with some 30 fishermen found dead on arrival. Any survivors usually ask to be returned to their home country, and Japan obliges.
So why are dozens of dead North Koreans a good sign?
Western European intelligence sources claim that Russia is helping North Korea bypass sanctions — pushed primarily by the United States — by acting as an intermediary to transfer North Korean coal to South Korea and Japan.
In an exclusive report on Thursday, Reuters cited three Western European intelligence sources as claiming that Pyongyang — which is banned by the United Nations Security Council from exporting coal — managed to send coal to two Russian ports last year.
H/t reader eric:
“Can’t believe what idiots the US Government make of themselves with their patronising condescension towards everybody else whilst pushing israel’s Rothschild agenda.”
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In an exclusive interview with Reuters, President Trump said on Wednesday that Russia is helping North Korea get supplies in violation of international sanctions and that Pyongyang is getting “closer every day” to being able to deliver a long-range missile to the United States. As a result, Trump said he hoped the standoff with Pyongyang could be resolved “in a peaceful way, but it’s very possible that it can’t.”
Having learned his lesson from his recent WSJ interview, Trump declined to comment when asked whether he had engaged in any communications at all with Kim, with whom he has exchanged public insults and threats, heightening tensions in the region. He did, however, blame Moscow:
“Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea,” Trump said during the Oval Office interview. “What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.”
Which is ironic because it was a Chinese, not Russian ship, that was recently observed illegally selling oil to North Korea. It’s even more ironic that in the interview, Trump praised China for its efforts to restrict oil and coal supplies to North Korea but said Beijing could do much more to help constrain Pyongyang.
Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard appeared on multiple Sunday news shows a day after her state’s false ICBM emergency alert sent the islands into a tense 40 minutes of panic before it was revealed to be a message sent in error, where she slammed the mainstream media’s reporting on the North Korean nuclear threat, saying, “We’ve got to understand that North Korea is holding onto these nuclear weapons because they think it is their only protection from the United States coming in and doing to them what the United States has done to so many countries throughout history.”
She further called for Trump to hold direct talks with Kim Jong Un in order to prevent the real thing from ever happening.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) Gabbard is an Army reserve officer who previously served two tours in the Middle East, including in Iraq. Image via the Ron Paul Institute
On Saturday Gabbard had immediately criticized President Trump for mishandling North Korea, taking to MSNBC to proclaim that “our leaders have failed us. Donald Trump is taking too long… he’s not taking this [nuclear] threat seriously…” During Sunday interviews she elaborated on a plan of action, advising Trump to enter talks with Pyongyang which should “happen without preconditions” and that Trump should “sit across the table from Kim Jong Un” in order stamp out the climate of fear which contributed to the “unacceptable” alert issued on Saturday.
We’ve got to understand that North Korea is holding onto these nuclear weapons because they think it is their only protection from the United States coming in and doing to them what the United States has done to so many countries throughout history. pic.twitter.com/EVmPBEg0Ay
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 15, 2018
“All our weapons including atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs and ballistic missiles are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, nor China and Russia,” the chairman of the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, Ri Son Gwon, said during a joint statement with South Korea on Tuesday.
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According to the same report, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces have been building up military assets in the cover of the night around the Tumen River in Yanji city, Jilin province, which borders North Korea.
One source told the Daily NK, “there were so many soldiers in the car that there was a lot of traffic. I have not seen so many soldiers trucking to Yanji so far.”
Another source said, “Chinese troops are gathering around the Yalu and Tumen rivers. It is also heard that the tanks are moving to the North and the Chinese border.”
Chinese authorities have reportedly told local residents near the Northern Korean border: “Trump to hit North Korea in the New Year, we are preparing for war on the peninsula.”
And according to the Daily Star: Chinese military officials have recently conducted the so-called “war ceremony” – urging their troops to be ready to fight.
Having worked closely with U.S. intelligence agencies over the last two decades, James Rickards was once asked to simulate asymmetric economic attacks on the U.S. financial system. He is an expert at escalation scenarios and end games, and in a recent article at The Daily Reckoning he warns that the geopolitical situation on the Korean Peninsula will soon come to a head.
According to Rickards, author of The Road To Ruin: The Global Elites Secret Plan For The Next Financial Crisis, while the world concerns itself with stock bubbles, bitcoin and debt, the most imminent threat we face is military confrontation with North Korea.
And while the rogue state has been an ongoing threat for many years, the first half of 2018 will likely see the trigger that sets the whole powder keg off:
The most important financial or geopolitical issue in the world today is a coming war between the U.S. and North Korea, probably in the next twelve weeks.
How can I be so sure about the timing? The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency told me.
In a private conclave in Washington DC on October 20, 2017, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told a small think tank group (including me) that it would be imprudent to assume it would take North Korea more than ‘five months’ to have a reliable arsenal of nuclear-armed ICBM missiles. These could strike U.S. cities and kill millions of Americans.
Five months from October 20, 2017 is March 20, 2018. That’s an outside date but the war will likely begin before then.
With headlines full of successful (anthrax and radiation-soaked) defections from North to South Korea, RFA reports a sdarker reality for those going North as a North Korean nuclear scientist who defected to China has killed himself after being forced home (taking poison in a state security cell while awaiting interrogation).
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A full-scale military action on the Korean peninsula would kill tens of thousands of Americans living in South Korea, the head of Russia’s Security Council warned.
The US is well aware that a possible attack on North Korea would inflict heavy casualties on 250,000 Americans residing in the South, Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told Russian media on Tuesday.
“If large-scale hostilities break out on the Korean peninsula, tens of thousands of US citizens will die,” Patrushev stressed. He added such an outcome is known as “unacceptable casualties in every country’s military language.”
The security official reiterated that North Korea’s artillery and rocket launch sites are positioned just 50 kilometers from Seoul, a vibrant metropolis accommodating some 10 million people.
The 1533th Regiment was previously armed with three older S-300SP systems, but received the modern S-400 Triumf batteries this year. The S-400 has a range of 600km, compared to the 400km range of the older surface-to-air missile, and has better target tracking and simultaneous engagement capabilities. The service members trained to use them earlier in 2017 and confirmed their expertise at the Kapustin Yar range in central Russia, the regiment commander, Col. Aleksey Morokov, told journalists after a deployment ceremony.