North Korea

by JASON | 1:01 PM in |

May 29, 2009 "The Guardian" -- The big power denunciation of North Korea's nuclear weapons test on Monday could not have been more sweeping. Barack Obama called the Hiroshima-scale ­underground explosion a "blatant violation of international law", and pledged to "stand up" to North ­Korea – as if it were a military giant of the Pacific – while Korea's former imperial master Japan branded the bomb a "clear crime", and even its long-suffering ally China declared itself "resolutely opposed" to what had taken place.

The protests were met with ­further North Korean missile tests, as UN ­security council members plotted tighter sanctions and South Korea signed up to a US programme to intercept ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction. Pyongyang had already said it would regard such a move as an act of war. So yesterday, nearly 60 years after the conflagration that made a charnel house of the Korean peninsula, North Korea said it was no longer bound by the armistice that ended it and warned that any attempt to search or seize its vessels would be met with a "powerful military strike".

The hope must be that rhetorical inflation on both sides proves to be largely bluster, as in previous confrontations. Even the US doesn't believe North Korea poses any threat of aggression against the south, home to nearly 30,000 American troops and covered by its nuclear umbrella. But the idea, much canvassed in recent days, that there is something irrational in North Korea's attempt to acquire nuclear weapons is clearly absurd. This is, after all, a state that has been targeted for regime change by the US ever since the end of the cold war, included as one of the select group of three in George Bush's axis of evil in 2002, and whose Clinton administration guarantee of "no hostile intent" was explicitly withdrawn by his successor.

In April 2003, North Korea drew the obvious conclusion from the US and British aggression against Iraq. The war showed, it commented at the time, "that to allow disarmament through inspections does not help avert a war, but rather sparks it". Only "a tremendous military deterrent force", it stated with unavoidable logic, could prevent attacks on states the world's only superpower was determined to bring to heel.

The lesson could not be clearer. Of Bush's "axis" states, Iraq, which had no weapons of mass destruction, was invaded and occupied; North Korea, which already had some nuclear capacity, was left untouched and is most unlikely to be attacked in future; while Iran, which has yet to develop a nuclear capability, is still threatened with aggression by both the US and Israel.

Of course, the Obama administration is a different kettle of fish from its ­predecessor; it had earlier floated renewed dialogue with North Korea and has made welcome noises about nuclear disarmament. Whether such talk was ever going to impress the cash-strapped dynastic autocracy in Pyongyang – which had had its fill of broken US commitments and the new belligerence from its southern neighbour – seems doubtful. In any case, having gone so far, it was surely inevitable the regime would want to rerun its half-cocked 2006 test to demonstrate its now unquestioned nuclear power status.

Yet not only has America's heightened enthusiasm for invading other countries since the early 1990s created a powerful incentive for states in its firing line to acquire nuclear weapons for their own security. But all the main nuclear weapons states have, by their persistent failure to move towards serious disarmament, become the single greatest driver of nuclear proliferation.

It's not just the breathtaking hypocrisy that underpins every western pronouncement about the "threat to world peace" posed by the "illegal weapons" of the johnny-come-latelys to the nuclear club. Or the double standards that underpin the nuclear indulgence of Israel, India and Pakistan – now increasing its stock of nuclear weapons, even as the country is rocked by civil war – while Iran and North Korea are sanctioned and embargoed for "breaking the rules". It's that the obligation of the nuclear weapons states under the non-proliferation treaty – and the only justification of their privileged status – is to negotiate "complete disarmament".

Yet far from doing any such thing, both the US and Britain are investing in a new generation of nuclear weapons. Even the latest plans to agree new cuts in the US and Russian strategic arsenals would leave the two former superpower rivals in control of ­thousands of warheads, enough to wipe each other out, let alone the smaller fry of global conflict. So why North Korea, no longer even a signatory to the treaty and ­therefore not bound by its rules, or any other state seeking nuclear protection, should treat them as a reason to disarm is a mystery.

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22734.htm

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- North Korea threatened a military response to South Korean participation in a U.S.-led program to seize weapons of mass destruction, and said it will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

“The Korean People’s Army will not be bound to the Armistice Agreement any longer,” the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement today. Any attempt to inspect North Korean vessels will be countered with “prompt and strong military strikes.” South Korea’s military said it will “deal sternly with any provocation” from the North.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak ordered his government to take “calm” measures on the threats, his office said in a statement today. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Takeo Kawamura, echoed those remarks and called on North Korea to “refrain from taking actions that would elevate tensions in Asia.”

The threats are the strongest since North Korea tested a nuclear weapon on May 25, drawing international condemnation and the prospect of increased sanctions against the communist nation. South Korea dispatched a warship to its maritime border and is prepared to deploy aircraft, Yonhap News reported, citing military officials it didn’t identify.

“This rapid-fire provocation indicates a more aggressive shift in the Kim Jong Il regime,” said Ryoo Kihl Jae, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “Kim is obviously using a strategy of maximum force.”


http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aS17xp.yHokM&refer=home



SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea's military says it considers South Korea's participation in a U.S.-led program to intercept ships suspected of spreading weapons of mass destruction tantamount to a declaration of war against the North.

The communist North's military said in a statement Wednesday that it will respond with "immediate, strong military measures" if the South actually stops and searches any North Korean ships under the Proliferation Security Initiative.

The statement, carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency, said North Korea no longer considers itself bound by the armistice that ended the Korean War, as a protest over the South's participation.

South Korea announced its participation in the anti-proliferation program Tuesday, one day after the North conducted a nuclear test.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D98EBO2G1&show_article=1

More with analysis...

http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/05/nk-calls-sk-decision-to-join-anti.html

Update: Many people don’t realize this, but the UN Security Council has already spoken. See UNSC 1718 of 2006. The North has completely ignored every section of the resolution. The UN is powerless here, like it was with Iraq.

http://fwcon.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/north-korea-declares-war-on-south/

“In Korea in the state of armistice confrontation means escalated tension and it may lead to an uncontrollable and unavoidable military conflict and a war,” it said.

The states, technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended with a cease fire and not a peace treaty, have more than 1 million troops near their border. There are about 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea to defend the country.

The North’s bureaucracy works slowly to form policy and it may still be trying to figure out its approach with the new Obama team, analysts said, making it easier for Pyongyang to direct its anger at Washington’s allies, including Seoul.

The North in recent months has repeatedly threatened to destroy the conservative government of President Lee Myung-bak, which ended a decade of free-flowing aid to Pyongyang after taking office a year ago.

Lee’s government mostly ignores Pyongyang’s taunts.

http://defencedebates.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/north-korea-warned-on-sunday-that-the-downward-spiral-of-relations-with-the-south-has-pushed-the-peninsula-to-the-brink-of-war/

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