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U.S., North Korea menace each other

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The US President said North Korea is “behaving very badly” and China has done little to help, hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said a US policy of strategic patience with North Korea had ended, reported News.com.au (Australia).
“North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!” Mr Trump said in a message on Twitter.

Mr Tillerson, who is currently in Seoul, is due to visit China on Saturday and Sunday to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mr Tillerson said on Friday it may be necessary to take pre-emptive military action against North Korea if the threat from their weapons program reaches a level “that we believe requires action.”
He outlined a tougher strategy to confront North Korea’s nuclear threat after visiting the world’s most heavily armed border near the tense buffer zone between the rivals Koreas.

He also closed the door on talks with Pyongyang unless it denuclearises and gives up its weapons of mass destruction. Asked about the possibility of using military force, Mr Tillerson told a news conference in the South Korean capital, “all of the options are on the table.”

He said the US does not want a military conflict, “but obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten South Korean forces or our own forces that would be met with (an) appropriate response. If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action that option is on the table.”

***

These days the new U.S. administration was reported to be comprehensively examining its DPRK policy options, reported KCNA (North Korea).
Its purpose is to examine various proposals in political, military, diplomatic and economic and other fields and thus seek an effective way of halting the DPRK's development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

What matters is that its options include extremely reckless and dangerous ones such as use of its military force including a preemptive strike at the DPRK, multi-faceted military and diplomatic pressure upon it, harsh economic sanctions, scenario to bring down its system and redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons in south Korea.

Commenting on this, Rodong Sinmun Saturday says that the U.S. administration is examining all policy options which had been thrown into a dustbin, a clear proof of the great agony it has suffered repeated shame and setbacks in the confrontation with the DPRK and an indication of the fate of the American Empire going to its final ruin.

The commentary goes on:
The new U.S. administration should bear in mind truth that Songun Korea is sure to emerge victorious while the U.S. is fated to suffer a defeat in the history of standoff between the two.
Whatever policy option the U.S. may take towards the DPRK, it will be accompanied by the latter's tailored counteraction of its style and in that case regret will come too late.

The U.S. administration would be well advised to recollect the epigram "sinister purpose ends in poor result".

***

According to Patrick Lawrence (columnist and author), the visit to South Korea is the key leg of Tillerson's trip, as Park's impeachment has jeopardized US plans to deploy the THAAD anti-missile system in the country. The move, to counter the North Korean nuclear threat, is facing fierce opposition among South Koreans. President Park has been playing along with the United States on this issue, reported Sputnik News (Russia).

Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, however, is obliged by law to call new elections in 60 days. Described by Lawrence as a "creature of Park Geun-hye," Hwang's tenure may create a short window of opportunity for the US to deploy the controversial system. But, as he is associated with the impeached president, Hwang's chances of winning the election are extremely low. South Korea's celebrated democracy, then, may very well backfire on the US.

Aside from the THAAD issue, Washington must decide on its approach to North Korea.
"There is no standing still on North Korean question," Lawrence says. "Either we open the new negotiations with them, or we become more aggressive militarily."

In fact, military confrontation is not the only way the United States might approach North Korea. While the DPRK is consistently portrayed as aggressive, irrational and totalitarian, it was not until Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama's presidency that that the US ceased negotiations with DPRK in 2009: both Presidents Clinton and Bush engaged in negotiations with Pyongyang, while South Korea implemented the Sunshine Policy which opened opportunities for cooperation between the two countries.

Lawrence reminded listeners that during the Korean War, the US Air Force destroyed every structure higher than one story in the country.
"The main complaint of the US pilots during the war was that there was nothing left to bomb," Lawrence says.

Bombings also eliminated 20% of North Korean population, and this, according to Lawrence, is the real reason behind North Korea's determination to ensure its safety through nuclear weapons and its reluctance to negotiate.
"This has been erased [from history textbooks]," Lawrence says. "That's how we maintain the fiction of wild North Korean irrationality."

Lawrence pointed out that, in theory, there could be a deal between Washington and Pyongyang: the US ceases the military drills in the region and North Korea in return halts its nuclear program. But North Korea has a lengthy record of having the United States violate their own agreements: Lawrence recalls that each time an agreement on nuclear weapons was signed with North Korea, the United States started picking on Pyongyang's missile program, which was never covered in the agreement. Lawrence compares it to the nuclear deal with Iran, since Washington also criticized Tehran for a missile program which has to be perceived separately from the nuclear deal itself.
Should it nevertheless resort to negotiations, the United States will have to face a very strong resistance from within, since the military industrial complex is the force that is critically interested in keeping tensions in the region high; keeping significant numbers of US armed forces in the region is necessary to project US power in Asia, but this can only be justified if there is a clear and present danger: "demonic" North Korea and its nuclear weapons.

"We are heavily dependent on the conflict in this country. We are absolutely dependent on maintaining the high degree of tension on the Korean Peninsula," Lawrence says.

There is even a possibility that US generals will denounce President Trump's direct order to withdraw from the region. This happened in 1977, right after then-President Jimmy Carter announced the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea. A very similar thing, according to Lawrence, happened after President Trump announced his intention to de-escalate, or "normalize" US relations with Russia.

"Nobody should be under any illusion as to the limited extent to which the civilian government in Washington is in actual control of the Pentagon," Lawrence says.

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