Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Show Down or Show Off

"North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!
U.S. President Donald Trump

"We will hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions."
"This goes to prove that the U.S. reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario."
"If the U.S. dares opt for a military action, crying out for 'pre-emptive attack' and 'removal of the headquarters', the DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S."
North Korean foreign ministry statement

"If you violate international agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be undertaken."
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
North KoreA
North Korea is reportedly readying itself to launch a nuclear device   Getty

It is entirely possible that Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Beijing Politboro are quite fed up with their client state, as much as they would like to continue supporting it. Their efforts have given them no reason to believe that reciprocal respect and a willingness to be accountable has been forthcoming. Instead, any reasonable efforts to persuade Kim Jong-un that he would do best to ramp down his provocative ballistic missile and nuclear tests have been met with disinterest and defiance.

Yet the reality is that after President Xi's state visit to Washington and the surprise announcement by President Trump to his guest at the conclusion of a White House dinner, that he had given the go-ahead to send 59 Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian airfield, China has ordered 150,000 troops to assemble on its northern border with North Korea. What's more and far more troubling is the imminent launch of a nuclear device, and the order by Kim for residents of Pyongyang to clear out of the city.

The Russian newspaper Pravda Report has reported that over 600,000 people - representing some 25 per cent of the city’s population - are being evacuated, reflecting escalating tensions between Pyongyang and Washington. South Korean media reports that residents of the city have bade farewell, leading to concerns their volatile leader may be preparing some unknown action following on months of nuclear weapons testing.

Hundreds of foreign reporters, in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to report on the 105th anniversary celebrations of its founding, have been informed that a "big and important event" on North Korea's biggest national celebration, called ‘Day of the Sun’ is on the verge of erupting. "We’ve been told to be ready to move out at 6.20am, but no idea why. Also, no cell phones allowed", tweeted Channel NewsAsia’s Beijing Correspondent Jeremy Koh.

A few days ago North Korea stated it was "ready for war", threatening nuclear retaliation, when an American Navy carrier strike group was dispatched by the Trump administration to the Korean Peninsula. The aircraft carrier Carl Vinson was rerouted along with three guided-missile destroyers and cruisers, from Australia to the West Pacific, in an indication clear enough to Pyongyang of Washington's displeasure with its nuclear program.
USS Carl VinsonGETTY
The US has deployed forces near the Korean peninsula : The USS Carl Vinson

To Kim Jong-Un it is evidence enough that what occurred with Syria is also about to happen with North Korea and he has no plan to sit and await missiles or worse being lobbed at his empire. He doubtless feels his claims that the United States is preparing to assault North Korea is vindicated by current events, and due justification for claims that North Korea's nuclear weapon serve a purely defensive purpose to protect the country and its administration.

The military hardware tests and their frequency of occurrence, in violation of United Nations resolutions represented preparations for the country to defend itself, he contends. At a meeting on Monday, China and South Korea had reached agreement that they would take steps for the imposition of tougher sanctions on North Korea should it continue to carry out nuclear or long-range missile tests.

Now, it looks as though the deranged paranoia of North Korea's leader is on the cusp of taking charge of a new and desperately frightening agenda.

On the other hand, Kim Jong-Un thrives on making dramatic, threatening pronouncements and gestures, then gleefully pulling back on the cusp of what appears to be disaster-in-the-making. But if anyone is looking for reason and intelligent decision-making on the part of this cocky little egotist it won't be found anywhere in his near vicinity. There is this about the man; he is as indecisive and volatile, abrasive and thin-skinned as the man he now views as his supreme enemy.

North Korea gave no clues about surprise eventGETTY
North Korean officials have given no clues as to the nature of the 'surprise event'

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