Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Whistling In The Dark

"We are going to work diligently together with the most recent UN sanctions that are already placing North Korea under the most intense sanctions regime ever."
"We’re going to work together to make sure that we’re closing loopholes and making them even more effective. President Park and I agreed that the entire international community needs to implement these sanctions fully and hold North Korea accountable."
U.S. President Barack Obama

"Taking into consideration the importance of China’s role in effective implementation of sanctions and the resolution process of the North Korean nuclear issue, our two countries have agreed to continue to communicate with China through various channels."
South Korean President Park Geun-hye  

"The [US] administration talk about turning up the volume of its message, which seemed to me a bit ironic as Kim Jong-un is always photographed at these missile launches with earplugs. They can turn up the volume but he can’t hear them for the sound of launching missiles."
"They just don’t care what the Chinese say any more, so the industrial and political constraints are off."
"They’re getting better at it [missile manufacturing]. They collaborate with the Russians and the Egyptians and the Iranians, but they can build this stuff on their own too. Testing missiles simultaneously shows you can overwhelm a missile defence system."
Jeffrey Lewis, director, East Asia Non-Proliferation Program, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, California. 
Benjamin Hall reports from London
Missile launch, still from video
"Further significant measures" are being threatened by the United Nations after the UN Security Council met to agree to condemn North Korea's latest launch of their improved, lighter, faster, stronger ballistic missiles. That threat must have Pyongyang quaking in Kim Jong-un 's boots. A closed-door emergency meeting was called by the United States, Japan and South Korea to respond to the firing of three missiles on Monday by the North Korean regime. The missiles extended their reach about 1,000 kilometres, to land close to Japan.

Whatever "further significant measures" the Security Council is considering to punish and deter North Korea, was not exactly spelled out in any detail, but it's clear enough from past such events and subsequent condemnations that North Korea's boyishly spontaneous demi-god doesn't much care. And nor does its regional powerful ally's offhand displeasure at this continual acting-out appear to influence one way or another what the regime plans are at any given time to aggravate its neighbours with, next on the agenda.

Nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles are the game-toys that cerebrally-arrested juvenile minds tend to want to play with, and the tendency of juveniles to heed the good advice of their mentors with all brain cells intact hasn't a very good track record. Boys simply insist on being boys. And if and when their games constitute a very real threat to the comfort and security of those around them it makes for a very uneasy situation. But then, look at the situation in the round: Kim Jong-un only has to look at what China does with its neighbours.

And the conclusion he must reach is that bullying, aggression, and threats quite obviously work. Make claims of territorial ownership and although those nations whose geographic holdings are deleteriously affected and they lodge their protests, even to appealing to a world court body that finds in their favour, North Korea's mentor simply shrugs the findings and the protests off as irrelevant. With that kind of demonstrably successful formula for illegal and dangerous provocation, what works for the gander works for the goose.

In the instance of North Korea and its bold initiatives threatening the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula, those tensions go much further, of course than simply its close neighbours. North Korea, or rather Kim Jong-un, has his sights on bigger fish he'd like to fry, and the United States is directly in his cross hairs. For a man of strange powers in dominating his people and keeping them in a state of vassalage and poverty, a man capable of condemning to death those who have been faithful to him as members of extended family, nothing as slight as confronting a world super-power fazes him.

So the sobering fact that North Korea is in possession of advanced land-based missiles capable of striking South Korea and Japan, inclusive of American military bases located in those countries, is just the start of his intimidation campaign. Pause for alarm was initiated when a submarine-launched missile was set off last month. Kim keeps taking his critics who would prefer not to give North Korea credit for engineering advances, nor its president the status of chief threat in the region, for a ride. It's a tossup at times, which country represents the greater concern: China or North Korea.


norte
Reuters -- Business Insider


China doesn't hesitate from airing its opinion that it is the United States that is to blame for the face-off between North and South Korea. The United States has been busy in the region reassuring its allies that it will continue to have their interests in mind and offer them the protection of a staunch ally as it demonstrates to China that the U.S. will not allow the Asian giant to deprive its neighbours of territory that is their own, and nor will it permit North Korean aggression to endanger its neighbour's free status.

To that end it has installed a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in the region; the interceptors are capable of  identifying and obliterating incoming enemy threats both inside and outside of the atmosphere. "If you look at the factors contributing to the tension in the Korean peninsula I think the answer is self-evident", said China's UN ambassador. Perspectives and their accompanying conclusions, do have a tendency to differ.

missile defense THAADA Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful flight test. Missile Defense Agency


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