“Turning Point: North Korea tests advanced ballistic missile technology.
When the two met in the Oval Office soon after the 2016 election, Barack Obama reportedly told Donald Trump that the Democratic Republic of North Korea, or D.P.R.K., would be the most serious national security challenge he would face as president. After a year of provocative missile tests, fiery rhetoric and dangerous brinkmanship, Mr. Obama’s warning has proved prescient.”
via Madeleine Albright: How to Protect the World From North Korea – The New York Times
“When North Korean hackers tried to steal $1 billion from the New York Federal Reserve last year, only a spelling error stopped them. They were digitally looting an account of the Bangladesh Central Bank, when bankers grew suspicious about a withdrawal request that had misspelled “foundation” as “fandation.”
Even so, Kim Jong-un’s minions still got away with $81 million in that heist.Then only sheer luck enabled a 22-year-old British hacker to defuse the biggest North Korean cyberattack to date, a ransomware attack last May that failed to generate much cash but brought down hundreds of thousands of computers across dozens of countries — and briefly crippled Britain’s National Health Service.
Their track record is mixed, but North Korea’s army of more than 6,000 hackers is undeniably persistent, and undeniably improving, according to American and British security officials who have traced these attacks and others back to the North.Amid all the attention on Pyongyang’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon capable of striking the continental United States, the North Koreans have also quietly developed a cyberprogram that is stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and proving capable of unleashing global havoc.”
Scary. Here are three comments I endorsed.
Nicholas Kristof reports on his five days in North Korea.
“Ultimately, the best hope that is realistic may be a variant of what’s called a “freeze for a freeze,” with North Korea halting its nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a reduction in sanctions and in U.S.-South Korean military exercises — as an interim step, preserving the long-term goal of denuclearization. Unfortunately, both sides resist this approach; I was disappointed in the lack of North Korean interest.”
“A narrow ribbon of river, and in many spots barbed wire, separates China from North Korea. But politically the two countries are further and further apart.”
DL: Buckley takes a picture of North Korea from the Chinese side of the Yalu River, which is populated by modern looking high rise office and apartment buildings.
Trump should stop the tweets on Twitter, and go silent on North Korea. North Korea is China’s backyard, not ours, and China will stop the North Korean nuclear arms buildup, when they decide it is in their interest to do so.
China absolutely will not do so, if it makes them appear like they have been ordered or bullied by the United States. If we said we supported a fully nuclear armed North Korea, the Chinese would be more likely to stop the North Koreans from improving their nuclear weapons.
“TOKYO — When North Korea launched a missile that flew over Japan on Friday morning, prompting the authorities to broadcast an alert on cellphones and television, many people wondered: Why didn’t the Japanese military shoot it down?The government quickly judged that the missile was not targeting Japan, and it landed in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,370 miles east of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island.But officials in Japan who may have considered intercepting the missile faced two immediate constraints — the country’s missile defenses are limited, and the Constitution limits military action only to instances of self-defense.
Those same constraints have weighed heavily on the debate in recent weeks over how Japan should be responding to the North’s rapidly advancing nuclear program, including what role it should play as an American ally and to what extent it should upgrade its armed forces.Though Japan provided rear support for the United States during the Vietnam and Korean Wars, its alliance with America has never been tested as it would be in a conflict with North Korea.”
Excellent article. Here is a comment I enjoyed and endorse, because it acknowledges that we should look to the giant China to take care of their little neighbor North Korea.
As an old Vietnam War protestor, there is only one solution to this North Korean problem. The little Hitler/Stalin will not be giving up his nuclear capabilities or ambitions. Anyone who thinks so is remarkably naive.
The USA cannot do this preemptively because Seoul will get hammered with hardened artillery (and short range missiles). Therefore, only China can behead the regime. This should be straightforward. Amass about 200,000 troops on the border between China and NK. Tell NK, in particular the general staff, that they can either turn over the little punk to them and cooperate or they too will be removed. They will quickly turn on the punk. He will either have to go into exile (China can offer that to him) or the generals will have to kill him. China takes over NK. And, the whole thing can be done with an offer for the US to remove troops from SK. This is the only solution. Sanctions will not work against a megalomaniac like the little Hitler/Stalin. This just isn’t the same as Iran. He just won’t give up those nukes.”
“The North Korean nuclear threat is worsening by the day. Tougher economic sanctions have not accomplished much, if anything. Nor has President Trump’s bellicosity. Sunday’s nuclear test was the North’s most powerful blast in the 11 years it has been detonating nuclear weapons. There are signs of another test soon.
Mr. Trump’s approach has so far consisted of sanctions, pressure on China — North Korea’s chief ally — and taunts against the government in Pyongyang. These messages have not only produced zero positive results but they have also sowed confusion about his intentions. The president and his team seem unable or unwilling to put together a realistic and coherent strategy that goes beyond pressure tactics and harsh rhetoric to include a serious effort to engage the North Koreans.
There have been some inexplicable errors along the way. The latest was to pick a fight with South Korea, an ally whose cooperation is vital to resolving the North Korea crisis. At a moment when South Korea needs to be able to trust America’s commitments, Mr. Trump has unwisely hinted at abrogating an important bilateral trade deal, thus potentially ceding more economic ground to China, and accused its new president, Moon Jae-in, of “appeasement” toward North Korea. The South Koreans are so upset, there is talk among some of developing their own nuclear weapons, which would compound the present insanity.”
Get a grip Trump Administration, it is not our backyard. We need to quietly go about listening to China, Japan, and South Korea, and support them in managing the North Korean Government.
Here are too well recommended comments I endorse:
“BEIJING — It was supposed to be Xi Jinping’s moment to bask in global prestige, as the Chinese president hosted the leaders of some of the world’s most dynamic economies at a summit meeting just weeks before a Communist Party leadership conference.But just hours before Mr. Xi was set to address the carefully choreographed meeting on Sunday, North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, detonated his sixth nuclear bomb.Mr. Kim has timed his nuclear tests and missile launches with exquisite precision, apparently trying to create maximum embarrassment for China. And on Sunday, a gathering in southeast China of leaders from Russia, Brazil, India and South Africa, members of the so-called BRICS group, was immediately overshadowed by news of the test, which shook dwellings in China and revived fears of nuclear contamination in the country’s northeast region.”
I really like this article, more than the other one in todays NYT, since it makes clear that the North Koreans, and the Chinese, are deeply involved in their relationship, and it has very little to do with us. I wonder at the claim that the North Koreans carefully try to always embarrass the Chinese premier as much as possible. First, I think that they just are going full steam ahead with their nuclear bomb development. Second, I do not yet understand it. They can never go too far in antagonizing the giant to their north and west, since the Chinese control 80% of their oil, and much of their fresh water.
“We carefully studied this contingency. “Preventive war” would result in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of casualties. Metropolitan Seoul’s 26 million people are only 35 miles from the border, within easy range of the North’s missiles and artillery. About 23,000 United States troops, plus their families, live between Seoul and the Demilitarized Zone; in total, at least 200,000 Americans reside in South Korea.
Japan, and almost 40,000 United States military personnel there, would also be in the cross hairs. The risk to American territory cannot be discounted, nor the prospect of China being drawn into a direct conflict with the United States. Then there would be the devastating impact of war on the global economy.”
“. . . By most assessments, Mr. Kim is vicious and impetuous, but not irrational. Thus, while we quietly continue to refine our military options, we can rely on traditional deterrence by making crystal clear that any use of nuclear weapons against the United States or its allies would result in annihilation of North Korea. Defense Secretary James Mattis struck this tone on Wednesday. The same red line must apply to any proof that North Korea has transferred nuclear weapons to another state or nonstate actor.
Second, to avoid blundering into a costly war, the United States needs to immediately halt the reckless rhetoric. John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, must assert control over the White House, including his boss, and curb the Trump surrogates whipping up Cuban missile crisis fears.
Third, we must enhance our antimissile systems and other defenses, and those of our allies, which need our reassurances more than ever.”
I posted the following at the NYT:
via It’s Not Too Late on North Korea – The New York Times