The war of words between North Korea and Trump has been mostly soft-pedaled this past week in the "newspaper of record," though this morning there is the appropriately alarming dispatch, "North Korea Says Nuclear War Could Break Out ‘At Any Moment’," by Gerry Mullany and Chris Buckley:
HONG KONG — North Korea said on Friday that nuclear war could break out on the Korean Peninsula “at any moment,” accusing the United States of escalating tensions that have set off fears of war and calls for calm by countries in the region.
Alluding to the Trump administration’s decision to send a naval flotilla to the region amid fears that Pyongyang is about to test a nuclear weapon, North Korea accused the United States of introducing “nuclear strategic assets” to the peninsula and of “pushing the situation there to the brink of war.”
“This has created a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out any moment on the peninsula,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Disarmament and Peace said in a statement published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
Recent satellite images from North Korea suggest that it might soon carry out another underground detonation, analysts say, despite pointed warnings by the United States not to do so. On Saturday, the North will celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il-sung, and it often uses such occasions as an opportunity to show off its military advances. A United States Navy strike group led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson has been diverted to the region in a show of resolve.
China, North Korea’s main ally, warned on Friday that regional tensions could run out of control. “The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering,” China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said in Beijing, according to Xinhua, the state news agency.Yesterday Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe added to the anxiety by tapping into newly aroused fears of a chemical weapons attack:
The Japanese news media reported that the government’s National Security Council had been discussing the possible evacuation of an estimated 57,000 of its citizens in South Korea, should war break out. “We will take all necessary steps to protect our people’s lives and assets,” said Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary. The Kyodo news agency said the council was concerned about the possibility of North Korean refugees arriving in boats on its shores.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan expressed concern on Thursday that North Korea could have the capability to deliver missiles equipped with sarin, the nerve agent whose recent use against civilians in Syria prompted Mr. Trump to order a missile strike there.The gist of Trump's plan to deal with North Korea is to bribe China; that, and obliquely threaten a first-strike decapitation of Kim Jong-un.
South Korea is about to elect a progressive leader, Moon Jae-in, though a deep-state-friendly candidate, Ahn Cheol-soo, is being puffed at the eleventh hour. A lot of the U.S. saber-rattling, diverting the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to the Korean peninsula, is really intended for South Korean voters. Moon is opposed to the recent U.S. installation of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. Ahn was originally opposed and then reversed himself.
THAAD is a key part of U.S. strategy to keep the Chinese Dragon penned in. Moon's election creates real problems for the U.S. What better way to mobilize conservative voters than to mock up a thermonuclear crisis?