No Military Options to Crisis with North Korea
On the radar: White House Chief Strategist: no military solutions to North Korea; War games used as bargaining chips?; Moon: let’s jumpstart diplomacy; Nuclear blustering at a standstill; Russia urges Iran not to pull out of nuclear deal
No military solution to North Korea - “Steve Bannon says there's no military solution to the conflict with North Korea over its nuclear program,” writes Josh Siegel for the Washington Examiner. “Bannon gave an interview to the American Prospect, in which [he] indirectly criticized his boss's threat to impose ‘fire and fury’ on North Korea. ‘There's no military solution [to North Korea's nuclear threats],’ Bannon said. ‘Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons... there's no military solution here.’" Full article here.
See also - “Military action on North Korea is not an option, China tells visiting US general” by Catherine Wong for South China Morning Post here.
Military exercises as bargaining chips - “Twice a year, American and South Korean troops get together for large-scale war games to prepare for a possible attack by North Korea,” writes Motoko Rich for The New York Times. “Now, with President Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, recently trading threats of nuclear war, another round of the biannual drills is set to begin on Monday in South Korea. They are the first to be conducted since North Korea test-fired missiles that appear capable of hitting the United States, and some are asking whether they might be used as a bargaining chip to persuade the North to freeze its nuclear program.”
--“‘There is an opportunity here to put an offer on the table,’ Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress said. Even if the United States does not want to suspend or cancel the exercises entirely, he said, ‘we absolutely should be considering ways to modify their scope.’ Even if the two sides could agree to some kind of temporary suspension of the exercises to open the way to talks, said Lee Jong-won, professor of East Asian international relations at Waseda University in Tokyo, ‘that will be only the beginning of very long and tough negotiations, because the positions of the two are very far apart.’” For the full article, click here.
See also - “Bulletin experts in the news on North Korea” – a comprehensive list of North Korea news and analysis compiled by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists here.
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South Korean envoy for diplomacy - “In an effort to jump-start diplomacy, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that he would consider sending a special envoy to North Korea for talks if the North stops its missile and nuclear tests,” reports the Associated Press. “‘The people worked together to rebuild the country from the Korean War, and we cannot lose everything again because of a war,’ Moon said. ‘I can confidently say there will not be a war again on the Korean peninsula.’”
--“Moon said he believes dialogue with North Korea can happen when it stops its missile and nuclear tests. ‘A dialogue between South and North Korea must resume. But we don't need to be impatient,’ Moon said. ‘I think lots of effort and time could be necessary to overcome a decade of severed ties and to reopen a dialogue.’” For the full article, click here.
See also - “No American strike on North Korea without my consent, says South’s president” by Anna Fifield for The Washington Post here.
Nuclear escalation at a standstill - “North Korea and the Trump administration have stepped back from the belligerent threats of the past week, raising hopes that diplomacy might replace brinksmanship,” writes Jim Michaels for USA Today. “Even so, progress on that front anytime soon is unlikely, foreign policy experts caution. ‘For the time being, we're at a standoff with the North Koreans,’ said Robert Einhorn, a former State Department special adviser. Kim Jong Un's retreat from imminent military confrontation followed remarks by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other administration officials saying that their focus is on diplomacy to address North Korea's nuclear program.”
--“There appears to be little progress on the diplomatic front, however. The two sides remain too far apart now to start serious talks, which Trump previously said he would consider. ‘The leaders have diametrically opposed views,’ said Patrick Cronin, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security. ‘Nobody wants to make concessions to another side that's not interested,’ Cronin said. ‘I think there will have to be some sort of summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.’” For the full article, click here.
Russia stands by Iran Deal - “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday he hoped that Iran would not quit the agreement Iran reached in 2015,” writes Denis Pinchuk for Reuters. “Lavrov also said he hoped the United States would not violate its obligations under the nuclear deal with Iran. ‘I think unilateral sanctions ... are irresponsible actions that can hurt and undermine the balance achieved,’ Lavrov said, commenting on new restrictions recently imposed by Washington on Iran.” Full article here.
--“North Korea gives US a clear choice: Restraint or missile launches” by Adam Mount for CNN here.
--“Kim Jong Un Steps Back from the Nuclear Cliff” by Robert Carlin for 38 North here.
--“Trump and Israel Must Not Conflate North Korea Nuclear Threat with Iran” by Reza Marashi for Haaretz here.
--“Do US-South Korean war games risk escalating North Korea crisis?” by James Griffiths for CNN here.
--“US: War would be ‘horrific’ but NKorea nukes ‘unimaginable’” by Christopher Bodeen, Hyung-Jin Kim and Kim Tong-Hyung for The Washington Post here.
--“A Reader’s Guide to Sorting Out Truth From Hysteria on North Korea” by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub for The New York Times’ Interpreter newsletter here.
--“The trio that pulled the U.S. back from the nuclear brink” by Doyle McManus for the Los Angeles Times here.
--“What the Intel Leaks Are Telling Us About North Korea’s Nukes” by Ankit Panda for POLITICO here.