April 14, 2017

"The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering."

"We urge all sides to no longer engage in mutual provocation and threats, whether through words or deeds, and don’t push the situation to the point where it can’t be turned around and gets out of hand... No matter who it is, if they let war break out on the peninsula, they must shoulder that historical culpability and pay the corresponding price for this."

Said China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi.

And there's this from a spokesperson for the North Korean army:
“Nothing will be more foolish if the United States thinks it can deal with us the way it treated Iraq and Libya, miserable victims of its aggression, and Syria, which did not respond immediately even after it was attacked.”


AReasonableMan said...

Nukes everywhere. Making us safer.

Rae said...

So China is playing "good cop" now?

eric said...

Huge test for Trump here.

His Bernie Sanders supporters, they of the conspiracy crowd, went crazy when he threw 59 bombs at Syria.

I expect he will lose them completely over North Korea. But getting rid of the Norks, especially if he has China's blessing, would be a very good thing.

exiledonmainstreet said...

AReasonableMan said...
Nukes everywhere. Making us safer."

Which is why the Obama administration did its' part to make sure Iran gets them as well.

Michael K said...

The coal gambit is the key.

China will refuse to buy Nork coal and the US will replace it with coal exports. It will help the coal miners and put severe pressure on NK.

No attacks. Just pressure.

ARM no doubt supported Obama arming Iran.

jaydub said...

The little Dork Nork says he's not only going to whup us, he's going to make everyone of us get one those asinine haircuts he sports. Now, if that doesn't motivate the troops, nothing will.

dreams said...

I agree with this. And Apophasis, there is that word I keep seeing.

"The MOAB therefore sent a message to North Korea. It put an exclamation point on the military reprisal against the Syrian regime. It reiterated that the era of Obama foreign policy is over. Trump himself professed agnosticism on this point, but this was the message to North Korea: “I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not. North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.” What we see here is akin to the rhetorical device of apophasis or praeteritio."


pacwest said...

I had heard China already had most of the years quota of coal imported from NK before the ban, so it amounts to very little or no pressure. Good PR though. Very clever those Chinese.

oranges said...

China, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan actually all agree--none of these countries, to my knowledge, wants war to break out on the Korean peninsula, let alone nuclear war. And no surprise-- their civilians are on the line. Only the US is on its own. But there are 28,000 US troops in Korea and 49,000 in Japan in the line of fire. Also their families are there as well.

Michael K said...

Even WaPo gets it, Inga.

For the first time, the Chinese government appears to have laid down a bottom-line with North Korea and is threatening Pyongyang with a response of “unprecedented ferocity” if the government of Kim Jong Un goes ahead with a test of either an intercontinental ballistic missile or a nuclear device. North Korea will celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday, and some type of military show of force is expected.

In an editorial in the semi-official Global Times on Wednesday, Pyongyang was put on notice that it must rein in its nuclear ambitions, or else China’s oil shipments to North Korea could be “severely limited.”

Come on, Inga. Time to return to reality.

Unknown said...

Blustering with noko IMO is really irresponsible. Sad to see china being so much smarter here, but it is not as if our political class hasn't sucked for decades or anything.

Michael K said...

pacwest, have you heard this ?

You might have noticed that China halted coal imports from North Korea, specifically the type of coal used for making steel known as coking coal. The Chinese decision was made following a meeting between President Trump and President Xi Jingping in Florida.

[…] To make up for the shortfall from North Korea, China has ramped up imports from the United States in an unexpected boon for U.S. President Donald Trump, who has declared he wants to revive his country’s struggling coal sector. (link)

That’s the backdrop for a visit today by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to Western Pennsylvania coal country. Subtle, like a brick through a window, but still the media won’t discuss it.

Drago said...

AReasonableMan: "Nukes everywhere. Making us safer."

All nuke powers are exactly and precisely indistinguishable, eh?

Nice to know there is no real way to determine friend or foe, freedom/democracy loving nations and totalitarian states, etc.

Perhaps we could commission an academic study to help us figure all that out?

buwaya said...

This is a nicely poetic turn of phrase - "with swords drawn and bows bent", for an official statement.
Very Chinese and very traditional.
They have decent writers. Far better than in communist days, in spite of Mao being a poet.

Fernandinande said...

Errant Hanky Room = anagram("North Korean Army");

AprilApple said...

Leftists do not care about the people of North Korea.

Drago said...

buwaya: "They have decent writers. Far better than in communist days, in spite of Mao being a poet."

Yeah, a "communist" poet, so you know what that means.

Don't get me wrong, I'm quite certain Mao won every single poet literary award there was to win in China.

Sort of like Nobels for certain western presidents and "lifetime achievement awards" for certain no-achievement children of certain politicians.

Anonymous said...

Wang Yi is right. Trump needs to cool the saber rattling. If I had loved ones in the region I'd be pretty damned worried every time Trump opens his mouth. Ivanka and Jared better get him to see that what he's saying is just provoking the little chubby mad man.

wildswan said...

Kim used to be the wild and crazy one of the world. But Wapo (Where Democracy dies in Darkness) has done us the service of promoting Donald Trump to that eminence. Bigger than you, Kim, and crazier. And heading your way ... with another Moab somewhere.

Meanwhile Real Donald Trump has replaced Lil' Kim as coal supplier to China. Bigger than you, Kim, and friends with China.

But a mad tyrant like Kim can't back down. You might as well expect Hillary to acknowledge why she lost the election or Assad to acknowledge he got Saddam Hussein's WMDs and has used them. And so? What does great power co-operation (as compared to the UN's feeble, vicious impotence) look like in 21 C?

pacwest said...

Michael K, I have heard this:

China had issued a ban on North Korean coal imports in April 2016, but later exploited a loophole to let it import $858 million worth nonetheless. Then, in December 2016, Beijing exceeded the monthly U.N.-imposed cap on North Korea's exports.

The cap restricted Pyongyang from exporting coal amounting to more than one million metric tons or worth $53.5 million for that month - whichever was lower. For its part, Beijing imported more than double the allowed amount and more than triple the value.

In November 2016 the U.N. also imposed a cap on North Korea's coal exports for 2017 at 7.5 million tons or $400 million, whichever is lower. In February 2017 China reported to the U.N. that it had imported just over 19 percent of the allowable 2017 imports in January alone. China's foreign ministry also stated this week."

Since our news media is unreliable I try to read a lot of different sources and interpolate. I wish there was somewhere I could go to get "Just the facts Mamm"

Balfegor said...

Re: Inga:

Wang Yi is right. Trump needs to cool the saber rattling. If I had loved ones in the region I'd be pretty damned worried every time Trump opens his mouth. Ivanka and Jared better get him to see that what he's saying is just provoking the little chubby mad man.

I am worried . . . but not as worried as I am that Moon Jae-In could be elected the next President in May. Please, Korea! WAKE UP!!!

On the other hand, I am also worried that Trump is going to pull an Obama here, and tell Koreans they should vote for someone other than Moon Jae-in, thus making his election certain. Hopefully Trump is smarter than that . . .

buwaya puti said...

The Chinese import a lot of coal, from Australia for one. This is largely a state-enterprise-driven business. They are also extremely corrupt and prone to penny pinching. The NK have no other major market so they are stuck with selling to the Chinese, at prices the Chinese, it seems at several levels, can dictate. And this whether or not it corresponds with explicit national policy.

One of the perennial problems of Chinese governance is the near-impossibility of maintaining control of the various entities of the state. It is simply too big. Also, it is because of the propensity of the state to have explicit and implicit policies. The state itself contains factions and these are likely to be deceptive as to policy. Of course, being a despotism, there are policies such that are only meant for public consumption. All this leads to ambiguity in interpretation by lower officials, besides simple corruption.

Quaestor said...

Nukes everywhere. Making us safer.

ARM should take this up with Obama, and he should ask about Iran and that $150 billion cash gift he sent them.

buwaya puti said...

Shorter comment - never trust the Chinese.

Drago said...

Quaestor: "ARM should take this up with Obama, and he should ask about Iran and that $150 billion cash gift he sent them."

This is not possible.

For the leftists, a black man clearly outranks ARM on the "Victim Totem Pole" and therefore, by definition, is always "correct" when in a discussion with some white dude.

ARM is not allowed to even POTENTIALLY approach obambi on this issue without first becoming a transgendered "identifying as black" but still Native American person.

Rules are rules after all.

AReasonableMan said...

Nothing to see here. The North Koreans are merely concerned citizens looking for a means of self protection in a dangerous world. It's probably in their constitution. Nukes everywhere. Making us safer.

BillyTalley said...

It's astounding. People seem to forget the precipitating situation: that NK has been moving fast towards confrontation. In order to head it off, we have to present a more powerful force to chill them out. If they are unable to chill, we would have had a problem anyway, with catastrophic damage to SK, Japan or even Hawaii... and the Norks will have proven to be suicidal because retaliation is inevitable. If they are bellicose but not suicidal, then the only way forward is to be a little bit more bellicose that they. It's finely calibrated ante and raise on the bet. It's nation state poker, and our hand is stronger, for now... but only now. We have to remember that the pre-Trump situation was a disaster in progress.

Drago said...

ARM, according to your team, there was certainly "nothing to see here" for the last 8 years.

But now, all of a sudden (or at least within the last 90 days), all this concern about potential nuke players became an "issue" again.

I wonder what occurred approximately 90 days ago to create all this new-found concern?

Perhaps you could clue us in.

Drago said...

BTW, this can't be happening because I distinctly remember Bill Clinton and his band of merry geniuses "solving" this NK problem no less than 3 times in 8 years!

I mean, how many times can a problem be "solved" before it's finally solved?

In much the same way that obambi "solved" the Iranian nuke problem and the Syria Sarin Gas problem.

AReasonableMan said...

The relevant clause in the North Korean constitution appears to be as follows:

"A well regulated nuclear force being necessary to the security of a communist state, the right of the people to keep and bear nukes shall not be infringed."

Fernandinande said...

buwaya said...
They have decent writers.

Oh, I dunno.

Pratie Makes perfect
"As ralph waldo Emerson said who are you speak loudly I can't hear what you're saying.challengin are times when ethiics important than ever be THE DIE CAST"

Rusty said...

Blogger AReasonableMan said...
"Nothing to see here. The North Koreans are merely concerned citizens looking for a means of self protection in a dangerous world. It's probably in their constitution. Nukes everywhere. Making us safer."

It looks like you have a lot to thank the Clintons for.

MikeR said...

Sounds reasonable. China is concerned. Hopefully they can pressure North Korea. If so, that's a whole lot better place than we've been till now.
Or if not, maybe China will take them out. That is also for sure a net gain, even if China gains as a result. Can't afford loose cannons with nuclear warheads.

Balfegor said...

Re: BillyTalley:

If they are bellicose but not suicidal, then the only way forward is to be a little bit more bellicose that they.

I think it is literally impossible to be more bellicose than North Korea. They literally threaten -- I mean word for word -- to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire" (불바다) on a regular basis.

tcrosse said...

It reminds me of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was resolved by a back-room deal between the US and USSR, with a Stalinist client state in the middle.

David Baker said...

North Korea's fate is now in the hands of fully authorized Mad Dog Mattis.

And personally I couldn't have hoped for a better scenario.

buwaya said...

"I think it is literally impossible to be more bellicose than North Korea."

More, besides all the threats, they regularly shoot at the South Koreans whenever the mood strikes them.

In the last few years they have torpedoed an SK corvette, shot at SK personnel and positions, bombarded SK positions with artillery, laid mines (that have caused SK casualties), and made numerous incursions with patrol boats and drones.

buwaya said...

"Pratie Makes perfect"

I think the big bosses hire actual translators.

cubanbob said...

I don't think Fatty Kim has thought this through. He is now dealing with T-Rex at State and Mad Dog at Defense. This ain't his dad's Clintonites he is dealing with.

Owen said...

I think Kim Jong-Un is in a box. Behind him are those who want him dead, either to prevent him killing them or to usurp his place. On his flanks are China, South Korea, Japan, all provoked and alarmed and, in the case of China, newly cool to his claims of patronage. And in front of him is the US military, credibly led by a CINC who seems ready to negotiate by using airstrikes and who knows what else.

Syria and the cruise missiles: message to Kim was "hello, I can act quickly and without waiting for anybody's blessing. And sometimes I will act just because I'm pissed off at truly outrageous behavior."
Afghanistan and the MOAB: message to Kim was, "hello, just a second notice along the lines of the Syrian message. Plus we want to demonstrate our ability to apply lethal overpressure to tunnel complexes in rugged terrain. Taking out a few dozen terrorists was valuable, but equally valuable will be the after-action reports and damage assessments. The MOAB may be increasingly useful in our arsenal. You can imagine why."

Chinese poetry is nice, but Trump is saying a lot without saying anything.

buwaya said...

"I think Kim Jong-Un is in a box."

The North Korean regime has been in a box since 1991. They were actually Soviet satellites at the time, living off Soviet subsidies. China was not their sugar daddy until later.

The survival of the regime has been quite an achievement. The only comparable post-Soviet zombie state is Cuba.

The Vietnamese regime has also survived, but only through comprehensive reform.

Paul said...

First, put MRBMs in South Korea as well as nuke capable Tomahawks and SRBMs with neutron bombs (to stop any non-nuclear armored attack.) Might even try to see if one can fit MOABs on ICBMS.

Second, cut NK's oil, coal, and food. Embargo anything and everything. Make it a no-fly zone.

Then lastingly order the Navy to shoot down any missiles fired from the NK, test or no test.

By the time you hit step three, NK will either do something really stupid and become an instant radioactive waste dump or fold. But either way, Kim Jong will die.

AReasonableMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crazy Jane said...

There may be a simpler solution and a private one at that: A GoFundMe campaign to raise $100,000,000 or, even better, $1 billion, to be awarded to the person who brings in the last Kim's scalp on a platter. Who wouldn't contribute to a cause like that?

China doesn't want to deal with the situation as it is. The South Korean capital is very close to the DMZ. The problem is not really the people of North Korea, who have endured much over the three generations of Kim rule.

If that nasty little twerp were removed, some of the many high-level defectors who think more normally could be parachuted in to take the reins, disarm the weapons (with help from the US and China), dismantle the police and army and speak sense to their fellow citizens. It would be messy, true, but any way this ends is going to be messy.

We wouldn't have to place more anti-missile defenses in South Korea, which might make China happy enough to supervise a tamed client state. And we wouldn't have to repeat Inchon.

Lyle Smith said...

Haha... authoritarian China is trying to blame the United States for totalitarian North Korean. Too cute.