ALERT The Winds of War Blow in Korea and The Far East


Has No Life - Lives on TB
ELINT News Retweeted

Paul Tudor Owen

Verified account

2h2 hours ago
Intro of the day from AP:

North Korea threatened Thursday to resume insults of U.S. President Donald Trump and consider him a dotard if he keeps using provocative language, such as referring to its leader as rocket man.


Veteran Member
Geez, I feel like I'm back in kindergarden.

North Korea threatens to resume calling Trump ‘dotard’

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea threatened Thursday to resume insults of U.S. President Donald Trump and consider him a “dotard” if he keeps using provocative language, such as referring to its leader as “rocket man.”

Choe Son Hui, the first vice foreign minister, issued the warning via state media days after Trump spoke of possible military action toward the North and revived his “rocket man” nickname for North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un.

The comments came as prospects dim for a resumption of nuclear diplomacy between the two countries. In recent months, North Korea has hinted at lifting its moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests if the Trump administration fails to make substantial concessions in nuclear diplomacy before the end of the year.

Choe said Trump’s remarks “prompted the waves of hatred of our people against the U.S.” because they showed “no courtesy when referring to the supreme leadership of dignity” of North Korea.

She said North Korea will respond with its own harsh language if Trump again uses similar phrases and shows that he is intentionally provoking North Korea.

“If any language and expressions stoking the atmosphere of confrontation are used once again ... that must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard,” Choe said.

On Wednesday, the North’s military chief, Pak Jong Chon, also warned that the use of force against the North would cause a “horrible” consequence for the U.S. He said North Korea would take unspecified “prompt corresponding actions at any level” if the U.S. takes any military action.

During a visit to London on Tuesday, Trump said his relationship with Kim was “really good” but also called for him to follow up on a commitment to denuclearize.

“We have the most powerful military we ever had, and we are by far the most powerful country in the world and hopefully we don’t have to use it. But if we do, we will use it,” Trump said.

Kim, Trump added, “likes sending rockets up, doesn’t he? That’s why I call him rocket man.”

In 2017, Trump and Kim traded threats of destruction as North Korea carried out a slew of high-profile weapons tests aimed at acquiring an ability to launch nuclear strikes on the U.S. mainland. Trump said he would rain “fire and fury” on North Korea and derided Kim as “little rocket man,” while Kim questioned Trump’s sanity and said he would “tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”

The two leaders have avoided such words and developed better relations after North Korea entered nuclear negotiations with the U.S. last year. Trump even said he and Kim “fell in love.”

Kim and Trump have met three times, starting with a summit in Singapore in June 2018. But their nuclear diplomacy has remained largely deadlocked since their second meeting in Vietnam in February ended without any deal due to disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on North Korea.
Well, we can hope that Lil Kim's horse gets spooked and he gets bucked off the poor animal.
Kim, IMHO, is merely a puppet who does the bidding of his overlords - his personal desires and wishes are secondary, if they even matter at all.

Keep your eye focused BEHIND the curtain - that is where the meaningful players roam.

Eye-candy manufactured for mass consumption is just that - eye-candy.

Enjoy the show.



passin' thru
More eye candy for the unwashed masses.

. William Gallo liked
Chad O'Carroll
The DPRK appears to have conducted an engine test at the Sohae Satellite Launch Facility.

That's the facility KJU begun to demolish for
in summer 2018.

“I would be very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim," Trump said in March about reports it was being rebuilt.
7:48 PM · Dec 7, 2019·Twitter Web App
Quagmire #VOTELABOUR2019
Replying to

Israel did the same this past week didn’t they? A nuclear capable missile test too...why’s NK test making news and the other didn’t?
adam seven
Replying to

So much winning!
More replies
일반시민 (개혁국민본부)
Replying to
Who walked away from Hanoi?


Has No Life - Lives on TB
EndGameWW3 Retweeted
AFP news agency
#BREAKING Trump warns North Korea has 'everything' to lose though hostile acts
10:27 AM · Dec 8, 2019·
AFP news agency
Replying to
#UPDATE President Donald Trump warned Sunday that North Korea's Kim Jong Un had "everything" to lose through hostility towards the United States, after Pyongyang said it had carried out a major new weapons test
Trump warns Kim has 'everything' to lose through hostility


Has No Life - Lives on TB
EndGameWW3 Retweeted
Donald J. Trump
Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore. He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere....
Quote Tweet

Michelle Nichols
· 20h
In response to remarks by #NorthKorea’s #UN envoy, ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩ said on Saturday he did not think Kim Jong Un wanted to interfere in next year’s #US presidential election and said he would be surprised if Pyongyang acted hostilely.
10:17 AM · Dec 8, 2019


Has No Life - Lives on TB
U.S. to ask U.N. to discuss possible escalatory provocation by North Korea


UNITED NATIONS, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The United States will ask the United Nations Security Council to this week discuss North Korea’s recent missile launches and the “the possibility of an escalatory DPRK provocation,” said a U.S. State Department official on Monday.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing “everything” if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the Pyongyang said it had carried out a “successful test of great significance.”


Has No Life - Lives on TB
[B]ELINT News[/B] Retweeted
11m11 minutes ago
Possible date for North Korean shenanigans: December 11 (Wednesday), which is exactly two years on from the 8th Conference of the Munitions Industry. Kim Jong Un set forward the process of “ushering in a heyday of development of the Juche-base defense industry” then.

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Congress Wants to Ban Chinese Buses, Railcars in Defense Bill; Lawmakers are also poised to ban U.S. military from buying Chinese drones

Monday, December 09, 2019, 7:05 PM ET
By Lindsay Wise and Katy Stech Ferek
Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—Congress is taking aim at China in a must-pass defense-policy bill at the same time that the Trump administration is seeking to negotiate an interim trade pact with Beijing.
House and Senate Republicans and Democrats have reached agreement on language in the National Defense Authorization Act that would bar the use of federal funds to buy Chinese buses and railcars, congressional aides familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal, adding that the ban excludes pre-existing contracts

The legislation would affect the U.S. subsidiaries of two Chinese companies. One is China's state-owned CRRC Corp ., which has been making significant inroads into the U.S. market for railcars, estimated at $18 billion annually. The other is BYD Co ., a Chinese company that sells electric buses for the U.S. market through unit BYD Motors LLC.
The U.S. electric-bus market is expected to grow from $745 million in 2018 to about $1.95 billion in 2024, according to Prescient & Strategic Intelligence Pvt. Ltd., a market-research and consulting firm

Marina Popovic, human-resources director and chief legal counsel for CRRC Sifang America Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of CRRC, said it was unfortunate Congress decided to move forward on the ban.

BYD didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The companies have previously warned that a ban is unfair and would hurt U.S. workers at their factories in California, Illinois and Massachusetts.

"Under this legislation, U.S. transit agencies and taxpayers will ultimately have to bear the financial burden of modernizing passenger railcar fleets that must be updated and upgraded to ensure security, efficiency and safety of its passengers," she said.

Rep. John Garamendi , (D., Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on readiness, hailed the provision prohibiting the use of federal funds to purchase Chinese buses or railcars.

Mr. Garamendi said he is aware American workers at BYD's plant in his home state might lose their jobs because of this legislation. But he believes the ban on Chinese buses and railcars is necessary for national security and economic reasons.

"It's absolutely clear that the Chinese government has a strategic and tactical plan to dominate the rail and transit industry—both rail and bus—and have executed that in Australia and are clearly in the process of executing that in the United States," Mr. Garamendi said.

The National Defense Authorization Act establishes funding levels and sets policies for the Defense Department and Energy Department's national-security programs. The bipartisan agreement on the bill language was reached after months of negotiations. The final draft still must be signed by negotiators and pass floor votes in both the House and Senate before it can be signed into law by President Trump.

Lawmakers also are poised to ban the U.S. military from buying Chinese drones as U.S. officials grow worried the Chinese devices may be spying on Americans and putting critical U.S. infrastructure at risk.

That provision is a shot at DJI Technology Co ., the world's largest maker of consumer drones based in China's tech-concentrated city of Shenzhen.

DJI didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In the past, the company has said its drones have security features that prevent data transmission to China and that the Chinese government has never requested access to the data that the company does have.

The defense bill also would prohibit the removal until certain conditions are met of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co . from an export blacklist kept by the Commerce Department.

Commerce officials put Huawei on an export blacklist in May, citing national security concerns. U.S. officials have warned that Huawei products could be used to spy on or disrupt telecommunications networks, which the telecom giant denies.

Huawei didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Huawei has said that its equipment doesn't pose a security risk and that U.S. efforts against it are misguided.

Commerce Department officials have granted exceptions for some rural telecom carriers and U.S. suppliers to continue working with the company despite the ban. That move that has drawn criticism from lawmakers who pushed the Trump administration to remain tough.

The bill contains a number of other China-related provisions, including one intended to reduce reliance on foreign sources of rare-earth minerals, another that requires reports on Chinese military activities in the Arctic and Chinese foreign direct investment in the Arctic, and another that creates new reporting requirements for national security academic research.

Additional language supports improving Taiwan's defense capabilities by expanding joint training, foreign military sales, and senior level military-to- military engagements. And the legislation would order the Secretary of Defense to review Chinese military, economic, information, diplomatic, and digital influences in Taiwan.

Write to Lindsay Wise at and Katy Stech Ferek at

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Apple "Deeply Concerned" That Chinese-Born Staff Who Allegedly Stole Trade Secrets Will Try To Flee
by Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge
Mon, 12/09/2019 - 19:20

Given the international brouhaha surrounding the ongoing Huawei CFO extradition hearings in Canada to face fraud charges in the US, reports from Reuters that Apple has "deep concerns" that two Chinese-born former employees accused of stealing trade secrets from the company will try to flee before their trials if their locations are not monitored - could well throw yet another cog in the gears of any imminent US-China trade deal.

As detailed earlier in the year, the two former Apple employees worked in the company's secretive self-driving car program. As CNBC reported earlier in the year, Apple’s review found about 100 photos taken inside Apple’s building that housed the project on his personal devices along with “over two thousand files containing confidential and proprietary Apple material, including manuals, schematics and diagrams,” according to the affidavit.

Chen allegedly told Apple he backed up the work to his personal devices “as an ‘insurance policy’ to support his job applications after being placed on a PIP,” referring to the Performance Improvement Plan the agent claims Apple placed Chen on in December 2018. Apple allegedly found confidential and proprietary information on Chen’s devices collected prior to his placement on the improvement plan.

And now, after eleven months, Reuters reports that, during a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, prosecutors argued that Xiaolang Zhang and Jizhong Chen should continue to be monitored because they present flight risks... which seems reasonable since both men were arrested on criminal trade secrets theft charges while heading to airports to fly back to China and have been monitored after being released on bail.

Their defense attorney reportedly said Monday that both men had family reasons to visit China and had shown no signs of violating their pre-trial conditions so far.

But, once again echoing the Huawei executive case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marissa Harris argued that if either man fled to China, it would be difficult if not impossible for federal officials to secure their extradition for a trial.

“Apple’s intellectual property is at the core of our innovation and growth,” the statement said.

“The defendants’ continued participation in these proceedings is necessary to ensure a final determination of the facts, and we have deep concerns the defendants will not see this through if given the opportunity.”
Given Tim Cook's recent cozy relationship with President Trump, we can't help but wonder if a quiet call will be made to ensure this IP (allegedly stolen by these two Chinese-nationals) is not allowed to leave the country?

Additionally, the irony is not lost on us at the potential for Chinese officials to be angered by US attempts to surveil the every move of these two Chinese-born citizens.

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
New Book

Deceiving The Sky: Inside Communist China's Drive For Global Supremacy

Deceiving The Sky Book cover.jpg

by Bill Gertz
Hardcover September 3, 2019

The United States' approach to China since the Communist regime in Beijing began the period of reform and opening in the 1980s was based on a promise that trade and engagement with China would result in a peaceful, democratic state.

Forty years later the hope of producing a benign People's Republic of China utterly failed. The Communist Party of China deceived the West into believing that the its system and the Party-ruled People's Liberation Army were peaceful and posed no threat. In fact, these misguided policies produced the emergence of a 21st Century Evil Empire even more dangerous than a Cold War version in the Soviet Union.

Successive American presidential administrations were fooled by ill-advised pro-China policymakers, intelligence analysts and business leaders who facilitated the rise not of a peaceful China but a threatening and expansionist nuclear-armed communist dictatorship not focused on a single overriding strategic objective: Weakening and destroying the United States of America.

Defeating the United States is the first step for China's current rulers in achieving global supremacy under a new world order based an ideology of Communism with Chinese characteristics.

The process included technology theft of American companies that took place on a massive scale through cyber theft and unfair trade practices. The losses directly supported in the largest and most significant buildup of the Chinese military that now directly threatens American and allied interests around the world. The military threat is only half the danger as China aggressively pursues regional and international control using a variety of non-military forces, including economic, cyber and space warfare and large-scale influence operations.

Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China's Drive for Global Supremacy details the failure to understand the nature and activities of the dangers posed by China and what the United States can do in taking needed steps to counter the threats.



Has No Life - Lives on TB
ELINT News Retweeted
North Korean space agency reappears amid speculation over renewed activity:

Developments by National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) is promoted in a banner on a new intranet portal.
North Korean space agency reappears amid speculation over renewed activity | NK PRO


Has No Life - Lives on TB
Aircraft Spots
USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk (AE5415) on task over the Korean Peninsula at 52,000 feet
7:31 PM · Dec 10, 2019·


Has No Life - Lives on TB
N. Korea most likely to test Hwasong-15 ICBM: U.S. expert
All Headlines 15:04 December 10, 2019
By Yi Wonju
SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is most likely to test its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental United States if it decides to conduct an ICBM launch in protest over stalled nuclear talks with the U.S., an American expert said.
Concerns have deepened recently that the communist nation could test-fire an ICBM from its Dongchang-ri satellite launch site, after Pyongyang announced it conducted a "very important test" at the site Saturday without specifying what was tested.
But the announcement, which followed reports of preparations for a rocket engine test, was seen as a warning that the North could use the rocket engine to fire an ICBM if the U.S. fails to comply with its demand for a new acceptable negotiating proposal by year's end.
Speculation has since arisen over whether the North would fire an existing ICBM or a new type.
Vann H. Van Diepen, a former U.S. State Department and intelligence official with expertise on weapons of mass destruction, said the North is likely to test-fire its most advanced ICBM, the Hwasong-15, also known as the KN-22.
"The North's rocket force developers and operators are most likely to seek to improve the reliability and operational effectiveness of the KN-22 and possibly also the KN-20," Van Diepen said in an article carried by the 38 North website that monitors the North.
"Further launches would improve the North Koreans' confidence that these systems will perform as designed and would provide an opportunity to verify any modifications or improvements made to address whatever shortcomings they might have perceived in the 2017 launches," he said.
The North successfully test-fired the Hwasong-15 ICBM in November 2017. The missile is believed to be capable of striking anywhere in the continental U.S. Earlier that year, the North also test-launched the shorter-range Hwasong-14 ICBM, also known as KN-20, twice in July.
Van Diepen said chances are low of the North firing a newly developed liquid-fuel or solid-fuel ICBM.
"A next round of ICBM testing is unlikely to feature new types of ICBM systems: new liquid-propellant ICBMs probably are unnecessary in the near-term given the KN-22's potential, and North Korea probably is not technically capable of developing solid-propellant ICBMs so soon," he said.
Pyongyang has ramped up pressure on the U.S. to meet its demand for a new acceptable negotiating proposal by the end of the year, strongly suggesting that otherwise, it could restart testing of nuclear weapons and ICBMs.
An ICBM launch or a nuclear test would represent a blow to U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of next year's presidential election as he has boasted of the North's suspension of such weapons tests as one of his key diplomatic achievements.
Trump has warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un not to interfere with his reelection bid, saying the communist nation could lose "everything." The North said in response that the country has nothing more to lose.

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Stratfor‏Verified account @Stratfor 4h4 hours ago

"#China is an island. Not in the sense of being surrounded by water on all sides, but in the sense of being what we will call a Han core surrounded by difficult terrain creating a buffer between the core and surrounding populations."

China and difficult terrain create a buffer Stratfor December 11 2019.jpg
Last edited:


Has No Life - Lives on TB
US warns N.Korea of consequences of missile test

December 11, 2019

Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to the United Nations seen here in December 2019, has warned North Korea against a long-range missile test

Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to the United Nations seen here in December 2019, has warned North Korea against a long-range missile test (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)
United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The United States on Wednesday warned North Korea of consequences if it makes good on threats of a spectacular missile test in the New Year, while offering flexibility if it stays in talks.
Frustrated by the lack of sanctions relief after three summits with US President Donald Trump, North Korea has warned of a New Year's surprise if the United States does not come up with concessions by the end of the year.
At a UN Security Council session on North Korea, the US ambassador, Kelly Craft, voiced concern that the authoritarian state was indicating it would test intercontinental ballistic missiles "which are designed to attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons.
"Missile and nuclear testing will not bring the DPRK greater security," Craft said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"We trust that the DPRK will turn away from further hostility and threats, and instead make a bold decision to engage with us," she said.
Hinting at further sanctions, Craft said: "If events prove otherwise, we, this Security Council, must all be prepared to act accordingly."
Craft appeared to rule out meeting North Korea's demands for an offer in the year's final weeks, saying: "Let me be clear: The United States and the Security Council have a goal -- not a deadline."
But she said the United States was willing to keep talking.
"We remain ready to take actions in parallel, and to simultaneously take concrete steps towards this agreement," Craft said.
"We are prepared to be flexible in how we approach this matter."


Has No Life - Lives on TB
North Korea says U.S. has nothing to offer regarding any nuclear deal

Jane Chung, Sangmi Cha

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said on Thursday the United States had nothing to offer it in possible renewed talks aimed at getting Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and missile programs after Washington said it was ready to take “concrete steps” toward securing a deal.

FILE PHOTO: A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Picture
It criticized the United States for convening a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday, calling it a “foolish thing” which would help Pyongyang to make a clear decision on which path it would take.
“The U.S. talks about dialogue, whenever it opens its mouth, but it is too natural that the U.S. has nothing to present before us though dialogue may open,” North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in statement carried by the state news agency KCNA.
The 15-member Security Council met as concerns grow internationally that North Korea could resume nuclear or long-range missile testing, suspended since 2017, because denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington have stalled.

The U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, said the United States was ready “to simultaneously take concrete steps” toward a deal on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs but she added that the Security Council must be prepared to respond to any provocations.
“The U.S. talked about a ‘corresponding measure’ in the meeting. However, as we already declared, we have nothing to lose more and we are ready to take a countermeasure corresponding to anything that the U.S. opts for,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
North Korea also defended its right to missile and weapons tests, while calling the United States “bandit-like” in the statement.

U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, is expected to visit Seoul next week to meet South Korean officials, leading to speculation he could try to salvage talks by reaching out to North Korea ahead of the deadline.
Meanwhile, China’s U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, said on Wednesday it was imperative the Security Council ease sanctions on North Korea in a bid to support talks between Pyongyang and Washington and “head off a dramatic reversal” of the situation.
North Korea has said it will wait until the end of the year for the United States to drop its “hostile policy” toward Pyongyang, and to offer something other than demands for unilateral disarmament.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said he could decide to take an unspecified “new path” if the United States fails to offer a compromise.



passin' thru

The Associated Press


North Korea has performed another "crucial test" at its long-range rocket site. The announcement comes as an end-of-year deadline set by leader Kim Jong Un to salvage faltering nuclear negotiations with the U.S. approaches.

North Korea conducts another test at long-range rocket site
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Saturday it successfully performed another “crucial test” at its long-range rocket launch site that would further strengthen its nuclear deterrent....


passin' thru

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Saturday it successfully performed another “crucial test” at its long-range rocket launch site that would further strengthen its nuclear deterrent.

The test possibly involved technologies to improve intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially reach the continental United States.

The announcement comes as North Korea continues to pressure the Trump administration for major concessions as it approaches an end-of-year deadline set by leader Kim Jong Un to salvage faltering nuclear negotiations.

North Korea’s Academy of Defense Science did not specify what was tested on Friday. Just days earlier, the North said it conducted a “very important test” at the site on the country’s northwestern coast, prompting speculation that it involved a new engine for either an ICBM or a space launch vehicle.

The announcement suggests that the country is preparing to do something to provoke the United States if Washington doesn’t back down and make concessions to ease sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang in deadlocked nuclear negotiations.

An unnamed spokesman for the academy said scientists received warm congratulations from members from the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee who attended the test that was conducted from 10:41 to 10:48 p.m. Friday at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, where the North has conducted satellite launches and liquid-fuel missile engine tests in recent years.

The spokesman said the successful outcome of the latest test, in addition to the one last Saturday, “will be applied to further bolster up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” referring to North Korea’s formal name.

During a provocative run in weapons tests in 2017, Kim conducted three flight tests of ICBMs that demonstrated potential range to reach deep into the U.S. mainland, raising tensions and triggering verbal warfare with President Donald Trump as they exchanged crude insults and threats of nuclear annihilation. Experts say that the North still needs to improve the missiles, such as ensuring that their warheads survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric reentry, for them to be considered as a viable threat.

Relations between Kim and Trump became cozier in 2018 after Kim initiated diplomacy that led to their first summit in June that year in Singapore where they issued a vague statement on a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, without describing when and how it would occur.

But negotiations faltered after the United States rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of the North’s nuclear capabilities at Kim’s second summit with Trump in Vietnam in February.

Trump and Kim met for a third time in June at the border between North and South Korea and agreed to resume talks. But an October working-level meeting in Sweden broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans’ “old stance and attitude.”

Kim, who unilaterally suspended nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests last year during talks with Washington and Seoul, has said North Korea could seek a “new path” if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure against the North.

North Korea has also conducted 13 rounds of ballistic missile and rocket artillery tests since May, and has hinted at lifting its moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests if the Trump administration fails to make substantial concessions before the new year.

Some experts doubt that Kim would revive the tensions of 2017 by restarting nuclear and ICBM tests, which would cross a metaphorical “red line” and risk shattering his hard-won diplomacy with Washington. They say Kim is likely to pressure Trump with military activities that pose less of a direct threat to the U.S. and by bolstering a united front with Beijing and Moscow. Both are the North’s allies and have called for the U.N. Security Council to consider easing sanctions on Pyongyang to help nuclear negotiations move forward.

Saturday’s news of the test came after U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft on Wednesday criticized the North’s ballistic testing activity during a U.N. Security Council meeting, saying that the tests were “deeply counterproductive” and risk closing the door on prospects for negotiating peace.

She also cited North Korean hints of “a resumption of serious provocations,” which she said would mean they could launch space vehicles using long-range ballistic missile technology or test ICBMs, “which are designed to attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons.”

While Craft said that the Trump administration is “prepared to be flexible” and take concrete, parallel steps toward an agreement on resuming talks, North Korea described her comments as a “hostile provocation” and warned that Washington may have squandered its chance at salvaging the fragile nuclear diplomacy


Veteran Member

U.S.-led pressure fractures as China, Russia push for North Korea sanctions relief

Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) - A proposal by China and Russia to ease U.N. sanctions on North Korea increases pressure on the United States and signals what is the likely end of unified efforts to persuade Pyongyang to give up its growing nuclear and missile arsenal.

On Monday China and Russia proposed the United Nations Security Council lift a ban on North Korea exporting statues, seafood and textiles, and ease restrictions on infrastructure projects and North Koreans working overseas, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters.

The plan comes at a crucial moment - just weeks before the deadline set by North Korea for Washington to offer more concessions - and highlights deepening divides over how to engage with North Korea.

Russia and China, which both wield veto power on the Security Council, were key votes in imposing the sanctions in recent years under the “maximum pressure” campaign championed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

The United States says it would be premature for the U.N. to consider lifting sanctions right now and has called for North Korea to return to the negotiating table.

Since North Korea and the United States established a detente in 2018, however, both Moscow and Beijing have increasingly voiced support for easing sanctions. Now, the official proposal represents a new level of public pressure on the United States, analysts said.

Last week, China’s ambassador to the U.N. said a major cause of the deadlock and rising tensions was a failure to respond to “positive steps” taken by North Korea toward denuclearization.

“The Russia-China initiative at UNSC is likely coordinated with Pyongyang as the proposal reflects North Korea’s demands to be rewarded for the concessions it has already taken,” said Artyom Lukin, a professor at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok. “Pyongyang’s recent threats of escalatory action are now backed by the Sino-Russian diplomatic offensive.”

China and Russia are effectively undercutting the United States’ current strategy on North Korea, he said. “Pyongyang has again demonstrated its unrivalled capacity to exploit rivalry between great powers.”

China hopes the U.N. Security Council forms a consensus on the draft resolution, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday, urging North Korean and the United States to keep talking.

Other analysts noted Beijing and Moscow have shown increasing unity on the issue of security on the Korean peninsula.

Sanctions relief is crucial for both China’s Northeast Area Revitalization Plan as well as Russia’s economic interests in the Russian Far East, said Anthony Rinna, a specialist in Korea-Russia relations at Sino-NK, a website that analyses the region.

“Recently the Chinese government has stated that sanctions relief for North Korea is imperative, and Beijing has a much higher chance than Moscow of being taken seriously in Washington,” he said. “Furthermore, sanctions are a part of the joint Sino-Russian action plan for peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

The call to lift sanctions affecting rail infrastructure and foreign workers, for example, are two areas that are key economic interests for Moscow, Rinna added.

North Korea has set a year-end deadline for Washington to make concessions like easing sanctions. Otherwise, leader Kim Jong Un has said he may be forced to choose an unspecified “new path.”

China and Russia appear concerned about what North Korea’s next steps may be, and the call for sanctions relief is a way to try to avoid a return to the nuclear weapons tests and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches that led the two countries to join the United States and its allies in imposing the strict sanctions, analysts said.

“Moscow generally feels that pressure is the wrong track to take with North Korea, yet if Pyongyang engages in more provocations in the coming year this could be a serious test for both China and Russia’s tolerance of North Korea,” Rinna said.

China, meanwhile, appears to be wielding ever-greater economic clout over North Korea.

A recent report by a South Korean trade association found China’s proportion of the North’s overall external trade rose to 91.8 percent last year, compared with 17.3 percent in 2001. Thousands of Chinese tourists provide a further, much-needed economic lifeline.

Behind the scenes, there are reports that unofficial trade between China and North Korea has also increased.

“This could give Pyongyang pause if they’re pondering a hardline approach for next year” said Andray Abrahamian, a visiting scholar at George Mason University Korea. “That said, they traditionally have pushed back hard against supposed Chinese leverage, aware that China is willing to punish North Korea.”

Daniel DePetris, a fellow at Defense Priorities, a Washington-based think tank, said he hopes Russia and China teaming up could keep Kim restrained for the time being.

“We don’t know what China and Russia’s red-lines are, but it’s reasonably safe to assume another ICBM or nuclear test would force both countries to recalculate its current position,” he said.

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Japan deploys 2 Aegis destroyers as North Korean ICBM test looms
As Pyongyang's deadline nears for US nuclear talks, Tokyo steps up monitoring
RIEKO MIKI, Nikkei staff writer December 21, 2019 01:23 JST

Aegis-equipped vessels can track missiles using radar. (Photo courtesy of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force)

TOKYO -- Japan's Self-Defense Forces will have two Aegis-equipped ships conducting surveillance in the Sea of Japan and East China Sea, anticipating missile tests by North Korea around the new year.

The Japanese government, which made the decision on Friday, is believed to have deployed one such vessel in November. The U.S.-developed Aegis system uses radar to track and intercept missiles.

North Korea has fired 13 ballistic missiles since May. The rogue nation also said it conducted two "very important" tests this month, which many experts suspect focused on an engine for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Pyongyang unilaterally set a year-end deadline for nuclear talks with the U.S., suggesting that it could resume testing of ICBMs.

Japan had deployed one or two Aegis-equipped vessels to monitor the Sea of Japan around the clock starting in summer 2016 as a response to repeated North Korean missile launches. Tokyo relaxed the surveillance in summer 2018 after North Korea halted the tests following a bilateral summit with the U.S.

Japan deploys 2 Aegis destroyers as North Korean ICBM test looms