Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Insider's take on North Korea's mindset

South Korean President Moon Jae-In delivers a speech during celebrations of the 72th anniversary of Korea's Independence Day from Japanese colonial rule in 1945 in Seoul South Korea What will North Korea do next? More nuclear tests seen critical
Nicole Thomas | 22 August, 2017, 13:30

The Pyongyang boasted its military might was so large its army can target the USA anytime, and neither Guam, Hawaii or the U.S. mainland can "dodge the mercliess stirke".

In air conditioned bunkers and at military bases across South Korea, it is with keyboards - not tanks - that South Korean and the USA forces will launch military exercises on Monday, denounced by North Korea as a rehearsal for war.

Reports say from August 21 to August 31 both countries will launch military exercises- no tanks involved but with keyboards in exercises involving computer simulations created to prepare for the unthinkable: war with nuclear-capable North Korea.

Both South Korea and the US intend to move forward with the scheduled exercises that are set to begin Monday.

The US has reduced the number of its participating service members to 17,500 from 25,000, according to the Pentagon. "The Ministers underlined the significance of continued engagement in the South China Sea, including through respective activities to support freedom of navigation, bilateral and multilateral training and exercises, and coordinated capacity building assistance", the statement said.

Once that happens, he says it will be very hard to ever convince them to give it up and misperceived military action by the United States or another country could leads Kim Jong Un to feel just threatened enough to launch a nuclear missile.

The manoeuvres come amid a war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump, who has threatened to unleash "fire and fury" if America and its allies are threatened.

"The ministers underscored the importance of cooperating to promote a rules-based global order, taking note of the United States" continued commitment to maintain a strong presence in the region and Japan's initiatives demonstrated by its "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy'", the statement said.

North Korea's recent progress in developing nuclear weapons - as well as missiles capable of reaching the US mainland - has ratcheted up tensions.

Muguruza downs Pliskova to move into final
The Romanian took a 0-40 lead in the seventh game and Stephens would drive one final ball long to put Halep in Sunday's final. Nadal returned to the court Friday after having his match against fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas rained out Thursday.

In his interview with the magazine The American Prospect, Bannon said the fact that Seoul, South Korea's capital, lies in range of the North's conventional weapons ruled out a military solution.

"North Korea should not exaggerate our efforts to keep peace nor should they engage in provocations that would worsen the situation, using (the exercise) as an excuse", he said. The U.S. has rejected this outright.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and their Japanese counterparts agreed at a meeting in Washington on Thursday to work more closely on North Korea.

'If the enemy provokes, (our military) will retaliate resolutely and strongly to make it regret bitterly, ' said General Jeong Kyeong-Doo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in his inauguration speech.

North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the US mainland has fuelled a surge in regional tension and United Nations -led sanctions appear to have failed to bite deeply enough to change its behaviour.

Choi Jin-wook, a professor of worldwide relations at Japan's Ritsumeikan University and former president of South Korea's state-run Korea Institute for National Unification, said a sixth nuclear test would be essential for North Korea to develop an operational nuclear-tipped ICBM.

Both sides have since tempered their rhetoric but with North Korea's military capabilities growing, Japan has been looking to strengthen its defences.

Pyongyang tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) last month that appeared to bring much of the U.S. within range.

As North Korean propaganda dominates outsiders' perception of its people's inner life, Thae provided a glimpse into a system that is heavily policed, but ultimately fragile. The question is how strong it will be.

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