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North Korea officially in a ‘state of war’ with South Korea

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 30, 2013

North Korea announced Friday that relations with South Korea are in a “state of war”, following the surge in tensions between the two countries and sanctions by the United Nations Security Council.

“From now, North-South relations will enter a state of war and matters arising between North and South will be treated accordingly,” communicated the regime at Pyongyang, during a special announcement issued through he state news agency.

In his usual bellicose tone North Korean media published what it said to be a statement from Kim Jong-un, who ordered to set up missiles to strike at “any time” U.S. interests in the region as well as South Korea itself.

In this new announcement, North Korea said that “the situation in which there is neither war nor peace of the Korean peninsula is over.”

The two Koreas have remained technically at war since the end of the conflict that faced them between 1950-1953 and ended with a ceasefire, after which an armistice was signed to avoid further conflict.

The statement published by North Korea also warned of “major combat” beyond the region if South Korea and the U.S. continued their military operations in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. According to KCNA, the special announcement was issued today by the Workers’ Party, ministers and other institutions.

These ads are part of the campaign of threats directed by Pyongyang that directly threaten South Korea and the U.S.. The announcements began last March 7 after the UN approved sanctions against the communist country for running nuclear test in February.

In such sanctions, China, the main ally of North Korea, backed and supported the penalties against Pyongyang, a move that analysts say has deepened the isolation and inability to anticipate North Korea’s unexpected response. This week North Korea announced the suspension of the only line of military communication it had with South Korea and managed access to the Kaesong industrial complex amid escalating tension between the two countries.

The White House licks its fingers and responds

As it was expected, the White House in Washington did not take long to respond to North Korea’s declaration of war. In a statement published Friday, the US government says that the threats are taken ”seriously”. The White House “is serious about these threats and remains in close contact with the South Korean allies,” said the National Security Council’s spokeswoman  Caitlin Hayden.

The White House has made it clear in other opportunities that it has the will and the ability to protect the so-called interests of the United States in the region against threats from North Korea. The United States has military bases in the South Pacific region. U.S. President Barack Obama showed his intention to attack North Korea as he responded to questions from the press this week. In fact, the US is now conducting military exercises with South Korea. “This should be proof enough clear to the international community and the North Koreans that we have the ability and willingness to protect our interests in the region.”

The new Secretary of Defense of the United States, Chuck Hagel, has said that “the very provocative and belligerent actions and tone from North Korea increase the danger of more conflict.” Hagel also defended the decision earlier this month to increase defenses against missile threats from the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He insisted that the Pentagon had not  exaggerated in its reaction. “You just need to go wrong once,” said the Secretary of Defense.

The White House reiterated that the “war rhetoric” from North Korea “only deepens the isolation” of that country and that its aim is to resolve current tensions “in a peaceful manner.” “The road to peace is clear to the North Koreans.” The White House has said that Pyongyang must stop its nuclear program, comply with its international obligations and stop its “war rhetoric”.

Russia to the rescue

Today Russia has called both the Koreas as the U.S. to exercise ”maximum restraint and responsibility” in the escalation launched by the Pyongyang regime in recent weeks and that has culminated with the statement that North Korea had entered into a “state of war” with its southern neighbor.

The latest threat of the communist regime of Kim Jong-un follows a series of measures taken in recent weeks, as the placement of missiles in the direction of U.S. bases in the Pacific and cutting military communications with Seoul.

“We hope the two sides exercise maximum restraint and responsibility and that no one exceeds the point of no return,” said Grigory Logvinov, the Russian Foreign senior official in charge of Korean peninsula.

The last movement of Pyongyang does not awaken too many alarms in South Korea, which estimates that “there is not a new threat.”

Not surprisingly, the two Koreas are still technically at war since the end of the Korean conflict in 1953. The South Korean Defense Ministry has merely said his country will repress ”any provocation.”

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North Korea threatens to attack U.S. bases in Japan and Guam

BY JACK KIM | REUTERS | MARCH 21, 2013

North Korea said it would attack U.S. military bases on Japan and the Pacific island of Guam if provoked, a day after leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a mock drone strike on South Korea.

The North also held an air raid drill on Thursday after accusing the United States of preparing a military strike using bombers that have overflown the Korean peninsula as part of drills between South Korean and U.S. forces.

North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric in response to what it calls “hostile” drills between South Korea and the United States. It has also been angered by the imposition of fresh U.N. sanctions that followed its February 12 nuclear test.

Separately, South Korea said a hacking attack on the servers of local broadcasters and banks on Wednesday originated from an IP address in China, raising suspicions the intrusion came from North Korea.

“The United States is advised not to forget that our precision target tools have within their range the Anderson Air Force base on Guam where the B-52 takes off, as well as the Japanese mainland where nuclear powered submarines are deployed and the navy bases on Okinawa,” the North’s supreme military command spokesman was quoted as saying by the KCNA news agency.

Japan and U.S. Pacific bases are in range of Pyongyang’s medium-range missiles.

It is not known if North Korea possesses drones, although a report on South Korea’s Yonhap news agency last year said it had obtained 1970s-era U.S. target drones from Syria to develop into attack drones.

“The (drone) planes were assigned the flight route and time with the targets in South Korea in mind, Kim Jong-un said, adding with great satisfaction that they were proved to be able to mount (a) super-precision attack on any enemy targets,” KCNA reported.

It is extremely rare for KCNA to specify the day on which Kim attended a drill. It also said a rocket defense unit had successfully shot down a target that mimicked an “enemy” Tomahawk cruise missile.

North Korea has said it has abrogated an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War and threatened a nuclear attack on the United States.

Although North Korea lacks the technology to carry out such an attack, Washington said it would deploy more anti-missile batteries in Alaska to counter any threat.

PYONGYANG HAS HACKED SOUTH KOREA BEFORE

The hacking attack brought down the servers of South Korean broadcasters YTN, MBC and KBS as well as two major commercial banks, Shinhan Bank and NongHyup Bank.

South Korean communications regulators said the attack originated from an IP address based in China.

An unnamed official from South Korea’s presidential office was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying the discovery of the Chinese IP address indicated Pyongyang was responsible.

Investigations of past hacking incidents on South Korean organizations have been traced to Pyongyang’s large army of computer engineers trained to infiltrate the South’s computer networks.

At least one previous attack was traced to a Chinese IP address.

South Korea’s defense ministry said it was too early to blame the North but said such a cyber capability was a key part of its arsenal. Experts say thousands of North Korean engineers may have been recruited for the purpose.

“Throughout the world, states that create cyber warfare and engage in those types of activities are precisely the same countries that develop nuclear weapons,” Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.

“North Korea has strongly stepped up development of asymmetrical strategy with nuclear development and many types of ballistic missiles as well as a special forces of 200,000 strong.”

North Korea supposedly targeting Japan as Korean Peninsula conflict heats up

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 18, 2013

North Korea said today that Japan is “no exception” if the North decides to carry out a preemptive nuclear strike on whomever it considers as threats. The announcement came after Tokyo announced possible additional sanctions from the UN as a consequence of Pyongyang’s third nuclear test.

In a dispatch issued today by the North Korean agency, KCNA, the secretive communist regime accused Japan of trying to “add fuel to the fire” in the already “serious situation on the Korean peninsula, where a bullet can cause accidental nuclear war. ”

In his usual bellicose tone, the office, which includes an editorial in the party, “Rodong Sinmun”, warns that “it would be a terrible mistake to think that Japan is safe in case of triggering a war on the Korean peninsula”.

In early March, North Korea announced that its army is ready to launch nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, a new threat after the new sanctions were approved by the UN in retaliation to the third atomic test that the communist country carried out last February 12.

“If the Japanese reactionaries haywire in complicity with EE.UU., they will face a terrible blow, and the Korean people will be able to unleash their long-suppressed resentment,” concluded the editorial.

In addition, North Korea has radicalized his usual threats after the beginning of military exercises called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle currently being done by the U.S. Army and South Korea in the region.

The beginning of these maneuvers, considered by Pyongyang as a threat to the country, prompted North Korea to cut off the only line of communication with South Korea, located in the border village of Panmunjom, and declare void the armistice reached after the Korean War between 1950-1953.

U.S. and South Korea carry out military drills in defiance of North Korean threats

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 11, 2013

South Korea and the U.S. began joint military exercises on Monday, at a time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula has reached one of the most tense levels in recent years.

Pyongyang has called the military exercises an invasion and announced the cancellation of the armistice treaty that ended the Korean War (1950-1953). The conflict ended with a ceasefire that never became a final peace treaty.

The maneuvers, called Key Resolve will last 11 days and, though they are largely conducted by computer simulation, it includes the participation of more than 10,000 U.S. troops and 3,500 South Koreans.

The U.S. military has said that the maneuvers, which are part of a broader, two-month campaign, began on March 1 and are not related to the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula. Washington has a contingent of 28,500 troops in South Korean territory.

Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers Party of North Korea, has confirmed the “end all” of the armistice treaty of 1953 and warned about the volatility of the situation.

“With the ceasefire ended, no one can predict what will happen on this land from now on,” said the daily. Pyongyang has also canceled all non-aggression pacts with the South, like the one signed in 1991, which set the peaceful resolution of disputes and prevents accidental military skirmishes.

Military exercises are especially important this year, say the Americans, because it is the first time the South Korean Joint Chiefs planned and executed the joint maneuvers. It is expected that in December 2015 Seoul will assume operational control of the combined forces in case of war.

The North said last Friday that, beginning Monday it will break all non-aggression pacts with the South and cut direct communication lines, in response to sanctions adopted last week by the Security Council of the UN against the Asian country for nuclear testing that took place in February.

The South Korean Ministry for Unification has confirmed that Pyongyang broke the connection. Both parties usually speak twice a day, but the North has not responded to the calls made this morning. The hotline was installed in 1971, and since 2010 Pyongyang has canceled the lines of communication five times.

But at least two other channels of communication between their military and aviation administrations are still functioning. The South Korean Defense Ministry has said that North Korea plans to launch its own large-scale military maneuvers along its eastern front this week. Those maneuvers will include the participation of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The North Korean artillery bases on islands near the disputed sea border with the South have placed their guns in firing position. “The North seems to be increasing its military activities,” said Kim Min-seok, spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry.

The regime of Kim Jong-un has intensified the usual bellicose rhetoric in recent weeks, saying that a second Korean war is “inevitable” and threatened to carry out “preemptive nuclear strikes” against the U.S. and South Korea.

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Imposing Sanctions is a Declaration of War

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 8, 2013

If one looks through the list of events that can unleash military conflict between two or more nations, short of an unexpected military attack, sanctions is probably one of the top triggers for aggression. In a world as interconnected as the one we live today, sanctions are not only ineffective in curbing a country’s intention to achieve a goal, as recent history shows, but it is also a dangerous precedent that directly harms the prospect of international diplomacy.

It does not matter whether it is Diplomatic, Economic, Military, Trade or Sports sanctions, countries will always find a way to move around the limitations imposed by say, the United Nations, to get access to raw materials, money, equipment or to form strategic alliances. The only sure outcome that the imposition of sanctions brings is conflict. If anyone believes that Iran’s or North Korea’s threats to attack neighboring nations or western countries is exaggerated and dangerous, it is necessary to ask why would so-called non-aligned nations threaten with nuclear attacks or other forms of retaliation.

Under international law –something western countries love to cite when their interests are at stake, but now when they intend to harm non-aligned nations– sanctions are not only illegal, but also a provocateur action. As established by a 1996 report issued by the International Progress Organization, sanctions of any type, but especially those of the economic type, are “an illegitimate form of collective punishment of the weakest and poorest members of society, the infants, the children, the chronically ill, and the elderly.”

Governments punished with sanctions do not actually suffer any harm. The oligarchical or political classes in a country that is punished with sanctions do not suffer any harm, either. In fact, despite imposing sanctions, many supporters of such a tool of aggression continue to trade raw materials, military equipment and other products with sanctioned nations.

Although aggressor nations such as the United States, France, Germany, Italy and other that support sanctions on non-aligned countries claim that sanctions are the only way to stop a country from doing something they do not agree with, the truth is that as it is shown with every new round of sanctions, the next step is usually more conflict, more isolation and more suffering for the poorest people. Thus, sanctions are a step towards war, not towards peaceful solutions to bilateral or multilateral conflict.

The first step that needs to be taken to diplomatically solve a bilateral or multilateral problem is to avoid imposing sanctions or to remove all sanctions that already exist. This is so not only because punishment is not a positive incentive to negotiate, but also because no smart leader will seat to debate what to do about any issue with most of his or her people dying of hunger, disease or with an economy that is in the hole due to limitations imposed by aggressors. Of course, it is also possible that dictatorial regimes use sanctions and aggression from outside to manipulate the population in order to amass power, as it happens in North Korea, for example.

So what to make of North Korea’s latest threats towards the United States and its allies, after they met and voted in favor of imposing even more sanctions on that country? North Korea responded to the latest round of sanctions from the U.N. Security Council, which attempts to hurt the regime so it stops working on its nuclear program by directly threatening the United States with a preemptive nuclear attack if it continues to push for more aggression. Pyongyang also threatened South Korea in the last few days by saying it will abolish the armistice agreement that stopped the Korean War in 1953.

The latest round of sanctions imposed on North Korea, the U.N. Security Council says, is a response to Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, which incidentally were a reaction to the joint military drills conducted by the United States and South Korea. These drills occur every year and Kim Jong Un has cataloged them as a direct threat to his country.

An interesting premise for a complete analysis of this situation would be to invert reality and suppose that Cuba agrees to carry out military drills together with Iran or Venezuela somewhere in the Caribbean or a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida. How comfortable would the United States be? How would Washington react if one of its dearest enemies comes by to run drills with nations located close to its coast?

If sanctions imposed on Iraq, Syria and Libya did not yield positive results –the final outcome was war, which is what they are supposed to avoid–, if sanctions have not worked against Iran and certainly have not worked against North Korea, why are imperialist western powers still imposing more sanctions on third world nations? Is it not abundantly clear that sanctions is not one of the best tools to curb a country’s appetite for whatever western powers dislike? The answer is, conflict is everything that those who control western nations want to have, because it furthers their agenda to divide and conquer, to balkanize and bring unrest to nations that, just as they do, have the natural right to defend themselves if directly or indirectly threatened.

Having said that, it is clear that power drunk men such as Kim Jong Un, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Barack Obama should not be simply left alone or much less encouraged to do what they please with their war toys. If dictators are taken down in the East, they should also be removed in the West. Or is that the threat posed by a dictator in the West is less dangerous just because he is a western educated ‘sane’ man?

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