As much of the world celebrates the Christmas Holiday, it’s business as usual on the geo-political front. And as we have repeatedly warned in recent years, numerous countries including military super powers Russia and China are actively mobilizing their armies for a widespread armed conflict. With North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowing this weekend to never give up his nuclear ambitions and President Trump having made it clear that the United States will not allow the North to possess nuclear weapons capable of striking America, it appears that confrontation is inevitable. Further signaling what may come to pass in 2018 is General Robert Neller, who spoke to Marines in Europe during his annual Christmas tour: Neller emphasized to the Marines that they should remain ready to fight at all times, predicting a ‘big-ass fight’ on the horizon. ‘I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,’ Neller said. ‘ … You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.’
This post was published at shtfplan on December 25th, 2017.
One day after the UN humiliated Donald Trump, when 128 nations voted for a UN resolution demanding the US president revoke his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on Friday Trump scored a significant victory at the same venue – his third of the day after signing off on the tax and stopgap bills – when the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions targeting North Korea’s economy after the latest launch of a ballistic missile last month that Kim Jong Un’s regime said shows it can now target the entire continental U. S. The new restrictions are meant to slash North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products, further restrict shipping and impose a 12-month deadline for expatriate North Korean workers to be sent home, according to Bloomberg. “Under the new sanctions, oil exports will be limited to their current level, which has already begun to result in shortages around the country,” the NY Times added. “Countries around the world will be ordered to expel North Korean workers, a key source of hard currency. Nations would also be urged to inspect all North Korean shipping and halt ship-to-ship transfers of fuel, which the North has used to evade sanctions.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.
In recent years, North Korea has frustrated the US intelligence community, which has struggled to determine exactly how Kim Jong Un and his regime have managed to make so much progress, so quickly in their quest to develop a nuclear weapon capable of striking the Continental US. The international community has authorized one round of sanctions after another, and yet they appear to have little impact on the country’s economy. If anything, these efforts have only served to strengthen the Kim’s grip on power by feeding the narrative – taught to every North Korean child – that the US is an evil, imperialist antagonist bent on subjugating the North. While the exact means by which the North has managed to survive such immense international pressure remain a mystery, the New York Times has a theory: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has cultivated an aura of reverence and celebrity around the country’s nuclear scientists. These celebrity scientists are known by nicknames like the ‘nuclear duo’ and the ‘missile quartet’.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2017.
Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, In the morning darkness of Wednesday, Kim Jong Un launched an ICBM that rose almost 2,800 miles into the sky before falling into the Sea of Japan. North Korea now has the proven ability to hit Washington, D. C. Unproven still is whether Kim can put a miniaturized nuclear warhead atop that missile, which could be fired with precision, and survive the severe vibrations of re-entry. More tests and more time are needed for that. Thus, U. S. markets brushed off the news of Kim’s Hwasong-15 missile and roared to record heights on Wednesday and Thursday. President Donald Trump took it less well. ‘Little Rocket Man’ is one ‘sick puppy,’ he told an audience in Missouri.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.
North Korea alarmed the international community on Tuesday when, after a two-month lull, it fired a Hwasong-15 ICBM into the waters west of Japan. State media touted the launch as its most powerful missile yet. Judging by the missile’s peak height reached during its flight, experts say the North now has the capacity to strike nearly any location in the Continental US. Now, the North’s state media released dozens of photos and a video after Wednesday’s launch of the new Hwasong-15 missile, which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared had ‘finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force’. The photos show Kim Jong-un personally overseeing the launch of the missile, an obvious source of national pride. Pyongyang claimed the Hwasong-15 reached an altitude of around 4,475 kilometers and flew 950 kilometers during its flight, which lasted 53 minutes. Kim Jong-un was shown in delight as the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15’s test was successfully launched, in these photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 30, 2017.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.
The tense situation over North Korea’s nuclear program has one top Russian diplomat sounding the alarm. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said that the world can no longer turn a ‘blind eye’ to alarming speed with which North Korea is advancing their weapons of mass destruction. North Korea’s nuclear program could evolve into an ‘apocalyptic’ scenario, Morgulov said. He was speaking at the opening of the eighth annual Asian Conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, which is being held in Seoul, South Korea, CNBC reports. ‘I hope that a common sense, pragmatism, and an instinct of self-preservation would prevail among our partners,’ Morgulov added. The Russian diplomat’s remarks come amid global concerns over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s refusal to abandon his nuclear ambitions despite mounting international pressure. North Korea has conducted a record number of long-range missile tests this year, and in early September it carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. Tensions continue to heighten as Kim and President Donald Trump trade numerous threats and insults. Over the summer, Trump warned Pyongyang it would be met with ‘fire and fury’ if it didn’t stop threatening the U. S. In late September while addressing the United Nations for the first time, he threatened to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea if it forced the U. S. to defend itself or its allies. In a speech to South Korea’s National Assembly, president Trump denounced Kim’s regime but also offered the erratic leader a path to peace if he agreed to cease long-range missile tests and move toward denuclearization. North Korea rejected his offer and said the president had ‘begged’ for nuclear war during his Asia trip.
This post was published at shtfplan on November 28th, 2017.
North Korea’s state-run propaganda machine has seized on Donald Trump’s aborted trip to the DMZ, calling him a ‘coward’ for canceling his visit to the heavily fortified border. And just to make sure there is nothing lost in translation, state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmin said Trump deserves the ‘death penalty’ for insulting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. An editorial in the ruling party newspaper focused its anger on Trump in a recent issue, criticizing him after he vowed to bring the North Korean regime to heel if it doesn’t surrender its nuclear weapons and half its program of nuclear enrichment during a speech to South Korean lawmakers last week during the beginning of Trump’s 12-day, five-nation tour across Asia – which was intended to rally regional support for the US’s push to force North Korea to disarm. ‘The worst crime for which he can never be pardoned is that he dared [to] malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership,’ the editorial said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.
President Donald Trump departed for China this morning, the third leg of his 12-day tour of Asia – his first visit to the continent since taking office – but not before delivering a “rousing speech” to South Korean lawmakers where he warned the North not to ‘underestimate’ the US – a sharp change in tone from yesterday, when he encouraged the North to ‘make a deal’ with the US that he said would be in their mutual interest. During his address in Seoul, Trump directed his words at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warning him that ‘the weapons that you are acquiring are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.’ More details on Trump’s speech from Reuters: ‘This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past,’ Mr. Trump said in an address to South Korean lawmakers Wednesday. ‘Do not underestimate us, and do not try us.’ The president called on Mr. Kim to abandon his country’s nuclear-weapons program as he contrasted the successful capitalist economy of South Korea with that of the North, whose economy is many times smaller. Both countries’ output was similar in 1953, when the end of the Korean War left the peninsula divided. ‘North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned – it is a hell that no person deserves,’ Mr. Trump said, referring to North Korea’s founding leader, Kim Il Sung. ‘We will offer a path to a much better future,’ he continued. ‘It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to the development of ballistic missiles and complete, verifiable and total denuclearization.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 8, 2017.
President Donald Trump’s 12-day Asia tour kicked off in Japan last night, where discussions between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were punctuated by the deadly mass shooting that claimed 26 lives in a small-town Texas church. But not before Trump could engage in some customary saber-rattling aimed at his favorite verbal sparring partner, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump’s meeting with Abe was the first time the two world leaders have met face to face since late September, when they discussed strategies for containing the North Korean nuclear threat on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, including how to pressure China and Russia to increase economic pressure on their restive neighbor, according to Reuters. Not much has changed since then; though South Korean and US intelligence have detected signs of movement around some of the North’s missile-launch sites, the country has so far refrained from engaging in any more missile or nuclear tests since it fired a medium-range missile over Japan on Sept. 15.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 6, 2017.
Nobody puts little Rocket Man in a corner. As we’ve noted time and time again, tensions between the US and North Korea have only intensified since Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed last month that the two countries were on the verge of a nuclear conflict, a warning that the North’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN echoed on Monday, but has so far done little to dent the rally in global stock markets. But with Russia at least ostensibly reining in support for Kim Jong Un’s increasingly isolated regime, Putin inadvertently channeled the late, great Patrick Swayze during a speech at the annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting on Thursday when he warned that foreign powers should avoid “backing North Korea into a corner.” Doing so would risk provoking a desperate, violent response, he said. Putin added that the North is a ‘sovereign state’ and reiterated his call that the standoff between the US and its regional allies and the Kim regime could only be resolved with dialogue – a solution that Russia and China – the North’s primary benefactor – have been pushing for months, NBC reported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.
In what is probably a “slightly” exaggerated figure, North Korea claimed on Thursday that some 4.7 million students and workers have volunteered to join or re-enlist in the North Korean army since Kim Jong Un called Donald Trump a ‘dotard’ and vowed to retaliate against the US for President Donald Trump’s threats to “destroy” North Korea. If accurate, that figure would represent nearly 20% of the North’s population (the country is believed to be home to 25 million people, making it about half the size, population-wise as South Korea). Furthermore, according to the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s biggest newspaper among the volunteers were 1.2 million women, which was cited by South Korean news agency Yonhap. Of course, North Korea has made similar claims in the past when tensions with the US have intensified. Pyongyang usually claims that its young citizens voluntarily enlisted in the military in its propaganda campaigns aimed at bolstering national solidarity – even as recently as last month.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.
The United States has declared war on North Korea, according to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong. In a brief news conference in New York on Sept. 25, Ri said that US President Donald Trump’s recent statements to the UN General Assembly were tantamount to a declaration of war and that all of the members of the United Nations clearly heard that it was the United States that first declared war on North Korea. Therefore, Ri argued, Pyongyang has a right to self-defense under the UN charter and would be justified if it were to shoot down US strategic bombers, even outside North Korean territory. Over the past week, the rhetoric between the United States and North Korea has rapidly escalated. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un responded to Trump’s Sept. 19 UN speech by saying that Pyongyang was seriously considering the “highest level of hard-line countermeasures in history.” The statement, accompanied by a pic The United States has declared war on North Korea, according to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong. In a brief news conference in New York on Sept. 25, Ri said that US President Donald Trump’s recent statements to the UN General Assembly were tantamount to a declaration of war and that all of the members of the United Nations clearly heard that it was the United States that first declared war on North Korea. Therefore, Ri argued, Pyongyang has a right to self-defense under the UN charter and would be justified if it were to shoot down US strategic bombers, even outside the North Korean territory.
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U. N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
The war of words between Trump and Kim escalated once again in the late hours on Saturday night, when President Trump sent another belligerent tweet directed at North Korea saying that if the country’s foreign minister was speaking for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in his threatening speech at the United Nations, “they won’t be around much longer.” “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U. N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 24, 2017.
In a considerably more aggressive, and less diplomatic, ‘story’ in China’s government mouthpiece Xinhua, writers warn: “It is not hard to tell that the situation has become a vicious circle where more missile tests trigger more sanctions, while more sanctions trigger more tests…” urging the double-freeze solution once again, saying that “the parties concerned need to respect each other’s security concerns.” At this moment, the United States and the DPRK, two key actors in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, should stay calm and exercise restraint, and avoid any provocative action or rhetoric that might further escalate tensions. Political courage, wisdom and a responsible attitude are required to address the current crisis, instead of provocations or threats. However, following last night’s less than veiled threat from North Korea that the next escalation will be to test a hydrogen-bomb over the Pacific: North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho suggested leader Kim Jong Un was considering testing ‘an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb’ over the Pacific in response to U. S. President Donald Trump’s threat at the United Nations to ‘totally destroy’ the country.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 22, 2017.
During an appearance CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ Sunday morning, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley admitted something that most of the international community – perhaps including Kim Jong Un himself – has known for weeks: The United Nations Security Council has just about reached the limit of its ability to economically punish North Korea. Responding to a question by CNN’s Dana Bash about whether President Donald Trump’s famous ‘fire and fury’ remark was an empty threat, Haley insisted that the US has held back out of a sense of ‘responsibility.’ But now that diplomatic solutions appear to be dwindling, she would be ‘perfectly happy’ handing the situation off to Defense Secretary James Mattis, the source of some of the US’s harshest rhetoric against North Korea. Mattis, Haley said, would ‘take care of it.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 17, 2017.
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2017
It looks like Trump’s social media filter, Gen. Kelly, finally lost control (again) of Trump’s twitter feed, because in a barrage of Sunday morning tweets, which including both original content as well as retweets of others – as well as himself – president Trump has tweeted and retweeted at least 15 different things in the span of 2 hours, most notably his summary of his Saturday call with South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in, in which he called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ‘Rocket Man,’ and said that long gas lines forming in the rogue state are ‘too bad!’ after new U. N. sanctions cut oil exports to North Korea. ‘I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!’ Previously, the White House said Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed North Korea’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches during a call on Saturday. ‘The two leaders noted that North Korea continues to defy the international community, even after the United Nations strongly condemned North Korea’s repeated provocations twice in the past week,’ the White House said in a statement. ‘President Trump and President Moon committed to continuing to take steps to strengthen deterrence and defense capabilities and to maximize economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea. The two leaders noted that they will continue their close consultations next week when they meet on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 17, 2017.
Shortly after the UN Security Council “strongly condemned” North Korea’s ‘highly provocative’ ballistic missile launch over Japan on Friday, Kim Jong Un vowed he would complete his nation’s nuclear program despite escalating international sanctions. On Saturday, state-run news agency KCNA quoted the leader, who said that North Korea is nearing its goal of “equilibrium of real force’ with the U. S. and claimed that North Korea’s nuclear program is nearly complete. KCNA added that Friday’s latest missile test was aimed at ‘calming down the belligerence of the U. S.’ and ‘confirming action procedures of actual war,’ the state-run agency said in a statement. Kim personally guided the launch of the latest Hwasong-12 missile, it added.
Hwasong-12 missile lifting off from Pyongyang, on Aug. 29. KCNA also said that Kim expressed great satisfaction over the launch, which he said verified the ‘combat efficiency and reliability’ of the missile and the success of efforts to increase its power. While the English version of the report was less straightforward, AP noted that the Korean version quoted Kim as declaring the missile as operationally ready. He vowed to complete his nuclear weapons program in the face of strengthening international sanctions, the agency said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 16, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… Eminent author and filmaker, John Pilger speaks to RT about the ratcheting up of tensions between the US and North Korea, led, of course, by the US and its vassal states in the EU. In the last two days, the UN Security Council imposed the harshest-ever sanctions againstNorth Korea. These sanctions restricted North Korea’s oil imports and banned textile exports, all an attempt to severely inhibit the recalcitrant nation’s defensive nuclear and ballistic missile capability and to increase pressure to bring DPRK supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, to the negotiating table with the US. ‘Today, we are attempting to take the future of the North Korean nuclear program out of the hands of its outlaw regime,’ said Nikki Haley, the U. S. ambassador to the United Nations. ‘Today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea,’ she added. ‘And today the Security Council is saying if North Korea does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves.’ Russia’s President Putin had previously made it clear that North Korea would not bow to such pressure: ‘They would rather eat grass but will not give up the [nuclear] program if they do not feel safe,’ In an article written in April 2017, John Pilger, expressed fears regarding the escalation of military conflict by the Trump administration: ‘The United States is at a critical moment. Having exported its all-powerful manufacturing base, run down its industry and reduced millions of its once-hopeful people to poverty, principal American power today is brute force. When Donald Trump launched his missile attack on Syria – following his bombing of a mosque and a school – he was having dinner in Florida with the President of China, Xi Jinping.
Just over a week after North Korea’s test of a nuclear device, the United States has secured a fresh set of UN sanctions against the country. The speed with which the United Nations Security Council adopted these measures is unprecedented – sanctions on North Korea ordinarily take weeks of back and forth with China, North Korea’s main defender, as well as consultations with Russia. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley even thanked China, in particular, Chinese President Xi Jinping. The new UN sanctions will bite deeper into the North Korean economy than those past, but fall short of the sweeping measures included in a version leaked Sept. 7. That draft included a full ban on a range of oil products sold to North Korea, a freeze on the assets and travel of top North Korean leaders – including Kim Jong Un – as well blacklisting military-controlled airline Air Koryo. These broad measures – particularly the oil embargo – were unpalatable for both China and Russia, neither of which wants to see North Korea collapse. Negotiations toward the end of the week led to a second draft of the resolution, circulated Sept. 10.