Korean Crisis: Countdown to Armageddon

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at a parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea is preparing to hold a once-in-a-generation congress of its ruling party that is intended to rally the nation behind leader Kim Jong Un and could provide an important glimpse into Kim’s plans for the country’s economy and military. The congress is set to begin May 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

I’m not an authority on Korea. But you don’t have to be an authority on Korea to realize that tomorrow is going to be a very significant day no matter what happens.

Let’s review the bidding.

Last year the North Koreans detonated two nuclear weapons. You didn’t hear much about it because what passes for a free press in this nation had it’s nose jammed so far up Obama’s butt, huffing LightWorker farts, that they couldn’t be bothered to really notice. Those tests were on January 6 and September 9. This represents a significant escalation of DPRK nuclear testing as there had only been three previous tests (2006, 2009, 2013). Kim Jong Un has been trying really hard to get Trump’s attention. Since Trump has been in office they have fired six medium-range ballistic missiles. One of the missiles was fired while Trump was meeting with the Japanese prime minister. Another was fired shortly before the Chinese president arrived in the US.

For our part, we’ve deployed air assets to Japan

We’ve ordered the USS Carl Vinson strike group to Korean waters. The Japanese navy will be conducting exercises with the US Navy once the USS Carl Vinson arrives

As part of the multiple moving parts, China has begun observing a UN-directed embargo of DPRK coal imports and an official Chinese military newspaper issued what could pass as an ultimatum to North Korea to not conduct nuclear tests.

https://twitter.com/omriceren/status/852310556010741760

Via the Washington Post in a story titled China is suddenly leaning on North Korea — and it might be thanks to Trump

In an editorial in the semi-official Global Times on Wednesday, Pyongyang was put on notice that it must rein in its nuclear ambitions, or else China’s oil shipments to North Korea could be “severely limited.” It is extraordinary for China to make this kind of threat. For more than a decade, as part of its strategy to prop up one of its only allies, China refused to allow the U.N. Security Council to even consider cutting oil shipments to North Korea. Beijing’s calculus was that the maintenance of the North Korean regime took precedence over everything. Now Beijing seems to be reconsidering its position.

Perhaps even more significantly, on April 5, the Global Times, which is owned by the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, laid out what it called China’s “bottom line” on the increasingly tense situation on the Korean Peninsula. First, the editorial said “the safety and stability” of China’s northeast must be assured. To that end, the editorial continued, no North Korean nuclear fallout can be allowed to “contaminate” the region. Second, North Korea cannot be allowed to “descend into the kind of turbulence that generates a huge outpouring of refugees,” the editorial said, adding that China will also not allow “a hostile government” in Pyongyang. It concluded by vowing that Beijing would not tolerate a U.S. military push towards the Yalu River.

But North Korea is North Korea. Tomorrow, Holy Saturday, is the 105th anniversary of the birth of the founding psychopath of the North Korean regime, Kim Il Sung. And Kim Jong Un has promised something big.

The Punggye-ri nuclear test site seems to be prepped for a nuclear test:

(Lots of great satellite images here and good explanatory graphics here.)

To say that nations in the region are tense is an understatement. They are approaching you-couldn’t-drive-a-needle-up-their-butts-with-a-sledge-hammer level of concern.

China warned on Friday that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could spin out of control, as North Korea said it could test a nuclear weapon at any time and an American naval group neared the peninsula in a show of resolve.

“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.

The North Korean military issued a statement on Friday threatening to attack major American military bases in South Korea, as well as the presidential Blue House, warning that it could annihilate those targets “within minutes.”

The statement also denounced what it called the Trump administration’s “maniacal military provocations,” like threats of possible unilateral action coming from Washington and the deployment of warships in waters near the Korean Peninsula.

The Japanese news media reported that the government’s National Security Council had been discussing the possible evacuation of an estimated 57,000 Japanese 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.

In South Korea, whose people have lived through saber-rattling involving the North for decades, there were few signs of panic. Nonetheless, the South Korean Foreign Ministry warned on Friday that if the North conducted another nuclear test or launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, it would suffer an “unbearably strong punishment.” All the major candidates in the presidential election set for next month have called on the United States not to do anything that might initiate war on the peninsula without first seeking the consent of South Korea, its military ally.

Into this mix was the NBC story from last night claiming the US was planning a preemptive strike. This story, itself, is open to a lot of interpretations but as it was announced that we were exercising a decapitation strike back on March 31 it has plausibility, especially with the USS Carl Vinson/Japanese strike group in the area and US Air Force massed in Japan. If that is actually under consideration this leak was either wildly irresponsible on the part of NBC — or they were encouraged to run with it. And the leak to NBC was either an attempt to prove self-importance, an attempt to prevent the attack by making it public, or it was a government leak. Because if you were actually considering a preemptive strike what better way to get lots of important North Koreans suddenly communicating and enable you to target them than to let slip that you were coming for them.

Tomorrow Kim has to do something. If he doesn’t, you can date the beginning of the end of his regime from April 15. If he pops a nuke, it seems like China will either be forced to take action or have zero credibility with anyone. The only person not forced to take action is Trump. And your guess is as good as mine as what he’s up to.