North Korea has again threatened war against South Korea and the US, saying conditions for a simmering nuclear war have been created on the peninsula. North Korea openly informed the UN Security Council that the Korean Peninsula now has the conditions for a simmering nuclear war. They claimed that this is because of provocation moves by the US and the ROK. The North had announced that it was cutting all military hotline with the South, meaning that all direct inter-government and military contact has been suspended after it previously cut a Red Cross link. North Korea said its military would put all field artillery units, including long-range artillery units and strategic rocket units, into combat duty position that will target all “enemy objects” in the US, “invasionary” bases on its mainland, Hawaii and Guam. North’s “attention-seeking behaviour” is in response to it feeling “cornered” by the international community. The regime wants the people of North Korea to be consolidated behind its young leader Kim Jung-un. I doubt that the North will attack first. Its capability to target the US remains limited. This is just signs that the North is ready to negotiate. All the provocations from North Korea is just to get more leverage in future negotiations.
North Korea does not have the capability to start a full-scale war with the US and the ROK. In order to conduct a total war, a country needs to have combat rations, oil, munitions, and other military stock piles. North Korea, however, is devoid of the necessary goods to start a war. North Korea would not be able to support and sustain its armed forces. Moreover, North Korean leaders are fully aware of the fact that in case of war with the US and the ROK, North Korea would lose. The military capability of North Korea is nothing compared to the combined forces of the US and the ROK. Despite this, North Korea announced that the country was going into a No. 1 combat readiness status. This implies that North Korea is under immense pressure from the international sanctions. North Korea’s empty provocations and threats will persist. The international society must not give in and maintain the sanctions against the rogue state.
North Korea, China’s longtime ally, has vexed Beijing for years with its rocket launches, nuclear tests, kidnapping of Chinese fishermen and other erratic behavior. Yet, Beijing has run interference at the United Nations to temper punishments against Pyongyang, and has even helped Pyongyang circumvent sanctions. China is trying to punish ally North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests, stepping up inspections of North Korean-bound cargo in a calibrated effort to send a message of Chinese pique without further provoking a testy Pyongyang government. North Korea’s economic lifeline, China is showing signs of getting tough with an impoverished neighbor it has long supported with trade, aid and diplomatic protection for fear of setting off a collapse. The moves to crimp, but not cut off trade with North Korea come as Beijing falls under increased scrutiny to enforce new U.N. sanctions passed after last month’s nuclear test, Pyongyang’s third. Targeted in the sanctions are the bank financing and bulk smuggling of cash that could assist North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs as well as the luxury goods that sustain the ruling elite around leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang has reacted with fury and threatening rhetoric against South Korea and the U.S. China’s change of tack with North Korea unlikely foreshadows a total end to Beijing’s support. For Beijing, North Korea remains a pivotal strategic buffer between China and a U.S.-allied South Korea, and Chinese leaders worry that too much pressure could upend an already fragile North Korean economy and cause the Kim government to collapse, leaving Beijing with a security headache and possible refugee crisis.
On March 23rd, some 100 Japanese locals of Yonaguni island have opened a memorial service commemorating comfort women who were sexually enslaved by the Japanese imperial army. On 1944, Japan created 17 comfort women posts when it was anticipated that the US will invade the Japan. They forcefully brought women from occupied Korea and Taiwan to serve some 30,000 Japanese soldiers. On December 1944, a ship that was carrying 53 Korea comfort women were headed for Miyako island from Yonaguni island. The ship was bombarded by the US military, leaving 46 dead. Most of the bodies of the comfort women were missing. It’s believed that Japan has forcefully mobilized around 20,000 comfort women. Enslaving women into sexual labor is a crime, even in dire situations of war. Japan must give a sincere apology, and compensate for the damages.
South Korea will push to increase its cyber warfare forces to more than 1,000 to enhance preparedness against an unprovoked attack, as this week’s massive hacking highlighted the potential danger of cyber terror by North Korea. It may seem unlikely that impoverished North Korea, with one of the most restrictive Internet policies in the world, would have the ability to threaten affluent South Korea, a country considered a global leader in telecommunications. For several years, North Korea has poured money into science and technology. The cyber attack against three major broadcasters and three banks, the biggest in two years, brought fresh attention to potential cyber attacks in South Korea, one of the world’s most wired nations. Initial investigations found malware code used in the attack was from China. Authorities are focusing on possible links with North Korea as it has repeatedly threatened to launch various attacks on Seoul in light of new sanctions for its nuclear test and annual joint drills with the U.S. South Korea has about 400 personnel under the Cyber Command, a special unit launched in early 2010, but the military will increase the number of personnel to more than 1,000 in the wake of the growing cyber threat.
Stopping illicit money flows are a key part of the sanctions imposed on North Korea in response to its February 12 nuclear test. China is Pyongyang’s sole diplomatic and economic ally, although it negotiated the latest sanctions with Washington and has said it wanted them implemented. It’s no secret that there is a fair amount of financial relationship between China and North Korea and Chinese financial institutions in North Korea
We encourage the Chinese regulatory authorities to inform the Chinese banking sector about Security Council Resolution 2094 to the provisions that call for preventing financial services to North Korea if they could contribute to nuclear/ballistic missile programs or North Korea’s conventional arms sales. Chinese banks and Chinese regulators will take heed of the Security Council resolution.
China has become increasingly frustrated with North Korea’s actions. Besides the February 12 nuclear test, North Korea tested a long-range missile in December and has stepped up its rhetoric against the United States and South Korea.
Chinese regulators appear to have issued a warning shot to North Korean banks, telling them to stay within the remit of their permitted operations in China or risk penalties. Beijing has joined every round of U.N. sanctions against North Korea although questions remain over how closely it imposes restraints on its neighbor.
The United States said it was flying training missions of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over South Korea, in a clear signal to North Korea at a time of escalating military tensions. The flights – part of annual joint South Korea-US military exercises – should be seen as underscoring US commitment and capacity to defend Seoul against an attack from the North. The Boeing B-52 was designed to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions. The bomber carries up to 31 tons of weapons. The zenith of B-52 attacks in Vietnam was Operation Linebacker II which consisted of waves of B-52s. Over 12 days, B-52s flew 729 sorties and dropped 15,237 tons of bombs in Vietnam. The B-52 strikes were an important part of Operation Desert Storm. With about 1,620 sorties flown, B-52s dropped 25,000 tons of bombs. The B-52 also contributed to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The B-52s are capable of carrying 24 2000 pound bombs that are capable of destroying underground facilities. If the B-52s are deployed and used against North Korea, it will literally rain hell on North Korea.
“They bang the spoon on the table and then suddenly they get food aid. Or they get other concessions. And then they come back to the table and negotiate a little bit, and then if they get bored they start- provocative actions again. We’ve broken that pattern. Now, what we need to see is whether they’re willing to come in a serious way to negotiate these issues.” This is what President Obama said on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ on the 13th. North Korea should take some confidence building measures to break the cycle of confrontation, which would prompt the US and other players in the frozen six-party talks to respond. They could start by ending nuclear testing. They could start by ending some of this missile testing. There is a whole battery of confidence-building measures that they could engage in. One thing the US must do is to make sure that North Korea is not being rewarded for bad behavior.
The US Treasury Department has added its own financial sanctions against North Korea to ones recently imposed by the UN Security Council. The new measures are expected to have major repercussions. The department included North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank, the country’s institution in charge of foreign banking transactions and foreign exchange, as one of the targets for sanctions as a means of “Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters.” The measure bar it from doing business with US banks and freeze all assets under US legal jurisdiction. The US already has executive orders sanctioning more than 20 North Korean institutions, but the latest measures are different in that they target the country’s key foreign exchange bank. The decision to halt transaction with the FTB is expected to have significant repercussions, since the business will have to migrate over to other banks. Moreover, the US Treasury Department issued a press release urging banks around the world to be wary of the risks of doing business with FTB. One factor that could affect the impact of the US sanctions is the response form China, which is far and away North Korea’s top trading partner. As with the UNSC sanctions, the question is how much cooperation can be expected from Beijing. China will probably go along with the US since have already took sides with the UN Security Council in imposing sanctions on North Korea. Moreover, Some observers have hinted that China may cooperate with the US for fear of encountering problems with its own dollar transaction system.
North Korean jet fighters have flown an unprecedented number of sorties in recent days in apparent response to a joint ROK-US military exercise. The number of sorties by fighter jets and helicopters peaked at 700 on the day Key Resolve exercise was launched. North Korea spent around $2.7m on air force sorties. This is the equivalent of a day’s worth of food for all of North Korea. It almost seems like North Korea is trying to compete with the ROK-US in the scale of the exercise. However, it is very obvious that North Korea lacks resources to conduct such exercise. The Soviet Union did not collapse because it did not have nuclear weapons. They collapsed because they invested in nuclear weapons when they could not really afford it. North Korea is taking the same path as the Soviet Union.