North Korea–That Was The Week That Was

There has been a wealth of news on and about North Korea this week…..let me catch everyone up that was smart enough to ignore most of it…..but if you did not get enough speculation and innuendo then I can help out….

President Trump escalated his war of words with North Korea on Thursday by declaring that his provocative threat to rain down “fire and fury” might not have been harsh enough, as nuclear tensions between the two nations continued to crackle. – New York Times

With the United States and North Korea locked in an escalating exchange of threats, South Korea told its people on Friday that the White House had agreed not to do anything on the Korean Peninsula that would catch the South off guard. – New York Times

China won’t come to North Korea’s help if it launches missiles threatening U.S. soil and there is retaliation, a state-owned newspaper warned on Friday, but it would intervene if Washington strikes first. – Washington Post

North Korea’s vow to ignite an “enveloping fire” of test missiles near the American island of Guam is the first time it has specified a target with so much detail, escalating a showdown between Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, and President Trump. – New York Times

Some have urged President Trump to open negotiations with him. But it is unclear whether Mr. Kim is interested in talking, or what if anything he might demand in exchange for freezing or abandoning his nuclear program. He has made building a nuclear arsenal a top priority, arguing that it is the only way the North can guarantee its security and develop its economy. – New York Times

North Korea’s rapid progress toward a nuclear weapon that could strike the United States, and the escalating war rhetoric in both capitals, has raised fears of atomic annihilation — a sense of dread not experienced since the coldest days of the Cold War. But the nuclear standoff also carries the risk that future, smaller disputes with Pyongyang, however manageable in the past, will become far more consequential. – Washington Post

The CIA and other key U.S. intelligence agencies agree with the assessment that North Korea has miniaturized a nuclear weapon to place atop a ballistic missile, U.S. officials told NBC News. – NBC News

The United States and its allies have military options for confronting North Korea — including an all-out invasion, more limited air and missile strikes, cyberattacks or a covert effort to oust the regime of Kim Jong Un. But those scenarios carry enormous risks, including the possibilities of loss of life, loose nukes falling into terrorists’ hands or the conflict spreading to a wider Asian war. – Politico

The Trump administration is asking U.S. allies to cut back on the number of North Korean workers they allow in the country, in a bid to starve North Korea of money it uses to fund its weapons program. – Washington Examiner

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Thursday that North Korea’s expanding nuclear weapons program marks a ‘failure’ on the part of the United States. – The Hill

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday said President Trump doesn’t need congressional approval for a military strike against North Korea, but he urged his colleagues to give it “as a last resort.” – The Hill

South Korea has sought to damp down escalating tensions between North Korea and the US over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme, telling its northern neighbour that the door to dialogue is still open. – Financial Times

The escalating threat arising from nuclear-armed North Korea’s recent series of missile tests is prompting South Korea to beef up its military muscle and experts warn it could spur an arms buildup elsewhere in Northeast Asia. – Reuters

Interview: The Cipher Brief’s Mackenzie Weinger reached out to former Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin for his thoughts on the president’s comment and why he thinks resumed negotiations at some level are still worth a try. – The Cipher Brief

Michael Mazza writes: For too long, the regime has sown terror among its own people and wreaked havoc on the international stage. Bringing about its downfall and, potentially, peaceful unification with Seoul, is the best way to eliminate the North Korean threat once and for all while bringing freedom and prosperity to its long-suffering people. – Forbes

Patrick Cronin writes: The Korean Peninsula has been a dangerous flashpoint ever since the war resulted in an armistice just over sixty-four years ago. North Korea’s latest achievements in weapons of mass destruction make the situation even more dangerous and yet, as with the past, manageable. We have reached a culminating point, and we should brace ourselves for a new level of permanent crisis even if hot war never breaks out. – The National Interest

Kori Schake writes: Stock markets in the U.S., Asia, and Europe unsurprisingly registered their worry in retreat. What is surprising is how little alarm has been expressed so far by the governments of South Korea, Japan, and China. This suggests that governments are beginning to ignore the president’s statements. Disbelief of the president may be a stabilizing factor for foreign governments, but as Eliot Cohen points out, it will be a major liability if the president needs to persuade the American people to go to war against North Korea. – Defense One

Now if you still have your sanity then go out and enjoy your weekend…..if all this bummed you out…then welcome to the club.

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3 thoughts on “North Korea–That Was The Week That Was

  1. A comprehensive overview indeed, chuq. I think it is best to look at the way South Korea is reacting. It appears to be relatively unconcerned. That country is used to such threats, and has heard it all before of course. It still seems unlikely that the DPRK really has this much-discussed miniaturised nuclear capability anyway, and I am sure that is very much propaganda, disguised as fake news.
    I won’t be worrying about Armageddon just yet. Not this weekend, anyway.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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