Korean equation with Washington unknowns | Latest news The Moscow Post
04 December 2022

Korean equation with Washington unknowns

In their quest to harm both Moscow and Beijing, Washington and London exploit regional tensions wherever they can.

Retired American generals, who "conquered" Belgrade and Baghdad at one time, talk about the "justice" of the actions of the Russian Armed Forces in relation to the Ukrainian energy infrastructure. Talking about the "rules" of military operations, the Anglo-Saxon vanguard of NATO, led by Great Britain, switched to terror "in Kyiv" or tactics of terrorist operations at strategic sites.

In the sabotage on the Crimean bridge and in the attack on the bay of Sevastopol, London ears stick out.

With the undermining of the "Northern Flows," terrorist operations went beyond the borders of Russia and Ukraine, became acts of international terrorism. The Russian Foreign Ministry is waiting for a response from London that the former "prime minister" of Great Britain, after a sabotage in the Baltic, reported to the US Secretary of State, sending him a short message "it's done." About some of the nuances of the new US Defense Strategy announced by the Pentagon, which, in fact, became a continuation of the previously published National Security Strategy, in the material of The Moscow Post correspondent:

The document names the growing China and dangerous Russia as the main threats. The strategy involves encircling Russia and China with a ring of problems, regional conflicts and hybrid threats.

China is called "the most important strategic competitor for the coming decades," based on the PRC's "intentions" to remake the Indo-Pacific region for itself, and change the international system in accordance with "authoritarian aspirations."

Korean peninsula in place of "weak link"

The Korean Peninsula has a weak link in the security system of the Northeast Asia region and a point of pressure on both Beijing and Moscow. Perhaps the economic consequences of the conflict over Korea are inferior to the Taiwan Strait, but in terms of the possible scale of destruction and the potential number of parties involved, the divided and militarized peninsula is not equal, especially given the nuclear missile weapons in Pyongyang's hands.

In a soft form and at the working level, the Russian Foreign Ministry signaled about the "problem." Georgy Zinoviev, director of the first Asian department of the diplomatic service, told TASS that the situation in the Korean Peninsula "continues to degrade," that "the window of opportunity for a settlement has not been used."

It does not follow that the process has already gone beyond routine accusations in a mode of diplomatic dialogue. Claims about military maneuvers of the United States and the Republic of Korea (RK) have long and regularly come from Pyongyang. In response, Seoul, Washington and Tokyo accuse the DPRK of launching "at an unprecedented frequency" missiles of different "calibers."

Tests of rocket technology, like the nuclear program, the phenomena are relatively new both in the politics of the DPRK and in the regional situation. New and unusual, which puts politicians and diplomats in a difficult position in both Beijing and Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at the plenary session of the Valdai International Discussion Club, said: "As for the" DPRK nuclear problem, "in my opinion, this problem also lies in the unwillingness to talk, in such a boorish attitude towards North Korean interests, including in the field of security."

DPRK Nuclear Program

China, like Russia, voted for UN Security Council resolutions on the introduction of economic sanctions against the DPRK in connection with the development of its nuclear missile program. The number of official visits has decreased, their level has decreased. The situation changed in 2018, when Kim Jong-un, in the context of meetings with US President Donald Trump and Kazakh President Moon Jae-in, made two visits to China, where he was received by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Not surprisingly, North Korea's tests of rocket technology are condemned at the UN. Pyongyang responds that these launches are a "response" to military maneuvers in southern Korea and near the peninsula. The exercises are aimed at the DPRK. Recently, the Allies conducted them in the Sea of Japan with the participation of the aircraft carrier Chancellorsville and the destroyer Barry, as well as two South Korean ships. This week there is a five-day Vigilant Storm exercise involving about 240 aircraft, including about a hundred U.S.

They are attended by various elements of the army, navy, space and air forces, the US Marine Corps. Joint work with the South Korean Air Force will be worked out. Yonhap news agency reported that about 140 South Korean aircraft and an Australian fuel tanker will take part in the exercise.

The transition to a "sharp against sharp" policy, as the Russian diplomat Zinoviev called it, may have good reason. According to the North Korean Foreign Ministry, the scenario of a nuclear war with the United States is entering the final phase. "All the facts clearly demonstrate that the American scenario of a nuclear war with the DPRK entered the final stage," the diplomat emphasized, commenting on the Vigilant Storm maneuvers.

"Democratic" partners - the United States, the Republic of Kazakhstan and Japan - have long, but unsuccessfully called on the "autocratic" North Korea to "surrender" nuclear weapons and start negotiations. After Pyongyang's attempts to negotiate with the "determined" Trump, the proposal to resume dialogue with the "leaders of all democracies" sounds like a mockery. What and how to offer the DPRK in Washington also do not say, because they do not know. Even if they knew, they would beware for domestic political reasons. DPRK for the White House is a "hot potato."

Tokyo is openly hostile to Pyongyang. Only Seoul continues to talk about a constructive dialogue on the North's nuclear disarmament in exchange for political and economic assistance. But across the board, dependent South Korean President Yoon Seok-yol calls his ideas a "bold plan." His predecessors used other epithets - the policy of "solar heat," for example. But these and other exercises in redness did not bring results.

Point versus point

Moreover, on September 8, during the next session, the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly adopted an updated law on nuclear forces, which allows for the possibility of a preventive strike. Speaking in parliament, the head of the People's Republic, Kim Jong-un, stressed that the country would never give up nuclear weapons due to the threat from the United States, and the new law makes denuclearization negotiations impossible.

In particular, it states that the DPRK, being a "responsible nuclear power," will not transfer nuclear weapons to other countries, will not share nuclear technologies, equipment and materials for its production. "Nuclear forces report exclusively to the Chairman of the Council of State. The right to make all decisions regarding nuclear weapons belongs to the chairman of the State Council, "the law says.

The conditions for the use of nuclear weapons are the use or irreversible threat of the use of nuclear weapons against the DPRK, an attack on the country's leadership, including using non-nuclear weapons, a military attack on important strategic facilities, the need to prevent the delay in hostilities or ensure initiative.

Separately, the document emphasizes that counterattacks will be applied "automatically" after the appearance of data confirming the threat.

The "Nuclear Forces Policy Act" replaced the previous document of 2013. In 2012, the Constitution of the DPRK was amended, and the country was proclaimed a nuclear state. Among the five conditions for the use of nuclear weapons, its use is envisaged in a preventive manner. In the previous edition, nuclear weapons were assigned the role of weapons of retaliation.

Pyongyang also reserved the right to launch a nuclear strike on non-nuclear countries if they joined the aggression of nuclear powers. This is a warning to Seoul and Tokyo, as allies of Washington. But the main task of the nuclear forces is to "prevent war" by restraining the enemy.

The enemy decided to be "restrained"

North Korea's main foe is already "restrained," but in a different sense. In the new edition of the US National Security Strategy, the DPRK factor is practically ignored. This document focuses on the "displacement of China and the containment of Russia." The White House said it would continue to seek diplomatic cooperation with Pyongyang and did not develop hostile plans towards the DPRK.

Washington has clearly muted priorities for North Korea and tried to dampen its de facto nuclear missile status. Apparently, it's easier to live like that! "We will seek sustained diplomacy with North Korea to make tangible progress toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," the National Security Strategy signed by President Joe Biden said.

The launch of DPRK missiles does not pose an immediate threat to either the US territory or the US military or its allies, summed up the US Indo-Pacific Command. "Although we assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to the military or US territory or our allies, missile launches emphasize the destabilizing impact of the DPRK's illegal programs for the production of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles," the US military said.

The South Korean authorities, on the contrary, are considering different options to contain the nuclear threat from the DPRK against the background of missile tests, Yonhap reports. In particular, options such as their return of American tactical nuclear weapons are being discussed.

The right to self-defence

The situation on the Korean peninsula is such that one careless step could drag the parties into a war that has the potential for uncontrolled escalation. Especially in light of the aggravation of relations between the United States and the PRC. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for preparations for the worst due to the "protracted nature" of the confrontation. It is possible that the DPRK would like to stand on a par with India and Pakistan. With their nuclear status, the world has actually come to terms.

"We will not give up the right to self-defense, on which the existence of the country, the security of the people and the state depend, no matter how difficult the situation is, no matter what the situation in the political and military spheres on the Korean Peninsula, created by the United States, we will not be able to abandon nuclear weapons, since it is necessary to restrain the nuclear state - the United States," says Kim Jong-un.

The DPRK will continue to strengthen its defense capability, he added. Washington fears that Pyongyang may decide to conduct new nuclear tests and threatens with new sanctions. The new test, after a five-year hiatus, will dramatically increase tensions and uncertainty for all parties, including Russia and China. Only the withdrawal of American troops from the Korean Peninsula can defuse the situation. Otherwise, the region will turn out to be a field of the nuclear arms race, and Korea may become the center of a full-scale nuclear conflict.

Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

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