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Saturday, April 15, 2017

North Korea In A Major Game Of Chicken

He knows he can't win but it would be an unimaginable humiliation for him to back down: In a deadly game of dare, Kim Jong-un will take the suicide option, says MARK ALMOND

As millions of North Koreans celebrate the Day of the Sun today, marking the birth of their cruel dynasty’s founding dictator, Kim Il-sung, his grandson’s nuclear ambitions have put the nation’s fate on a knife-edge and threatens peace throughout East Asia.
The chubby young tyrant, Kim Jong-un, has enjoyed playing the unpredictable despot ever since he inherited power in 2011. Now he is playing with fire.
This is a leader who would willingly take his small, poverty-stricken country to the brink of war with the world’s only superpower.
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The chubby young tyrant, Kim Jong-un, has enjoyed playing the unpredictable despot ever since he inherited power in 2011. Now he is playing with fire, writes Mark Almond 
The chubby young tyrant, Kim Jong-un, has enjoyed playing the unpredictable despot ever since he inherited power in 2011. Now he is playing with fire, writes Mark Almond 

Kim Jong-un is prepared for North Korea to take the suicide option with devastating consequences for the region. And so a terrible game of dare is unfolding between the Supreme Leader and America’s new President 
The US has been carrying out operations in the Korean peninsula alongside Japanese allies to enhance combat readiness
The US has been carrying out operations in the Korean peninsula alongside Japanese allies to enhance combat readiness
A North Korean soldier pictured today gazing across the Yalu river opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, on a day when China warned war could break out 'at any moment'
A North Korean soldier pictured today gazing across the Yalu river opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, on a day when China warned war could break out 'at any moment'
He knows he can’t win, but he also knows that a second Korean War will be a bloodbath because he has a vast arsenal – everything from primitive nuclear bombs, ballistic missiles and nerve gas to 150,000 cannon – with which he can hit South Korean cities and the US bases there.
To save his own rule – and after the ominous threats emanating from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, in recent days it would be an unimaginable humiliation for him to back down – Kim Jong-un is prepared for North Korea to take the suicide option with devastating consequences for the region.
And so a terrible game of dare is unfolding between the Supreme Leader and America’s new President.
Like his father and grandfather, Kim Jong-un has grown used to facing down America and the United Nations, ignoring sanctions and taunting them with repeated nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
Tensions are high after Trump tweeted that he had 'a very good call' with Chinese leader Xi Jinping Tuesday night dealing with 'the menace of North Korea'
Tensions are high after Trump tweeted that he had 'a very good call' with Chinese leader Xi Jinping Tuesday night dealing with 'the menace of North Korea'
 Trump's recent tweets on Tuesday said the North is 'looking for trouble' 
 Trump's recent tweets on Tuesday said the North is 'looking for trouble' 
North Korea has warned that the US President's comments on Twitter this week have brought the world closer to thermo-nuclear war 
But in Donald Trump, he is up against a man who likes to surprise, too.
In the past ten days, Mr Trump has reversed the US position on Syria, Russia and China. His furious rants on the election trail against sending American troops to solve foreign problems are forgotten.
He has launched airstrikes on Syria and there is talk of ‘boots on the ground’ to follow.
He has dropped the ‘Mother of All Bombs’ on Afghanistan to rout Islamic State.
Donald Trump was denounced at a rally in South Korea. Protesters condemned the US's policy against North Korea near the US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea
Donald Trump was denounced at a rally in South Korea. Protesters condemned the US's policy against North Korea near the US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea
People watch a TV news program showing a file image of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea
People watch a TV news program showing a file image of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea
Fully armed US Aircraft from the 18th Wing during the no-notice exercise in the Korean Peninsula
Fully armed US Aircraft from the 18th Wing during the no-notice exercise in the Korean Peninsula
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea on Sunday in what his aides said was a sign of the U.S. commitment to its ally
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South Korea on Sunday in what his aides said was a sign of the U.S. commitment to its ally
And he has sent an aircraft carrier group, with more strike power than the whole of the RAF combined, towards the Korean peninsula in response to intelligence reports that a sixth nuclear weapons test by North Korea was imminent.
Official images released yesterday of American troops on ‘exercise’ close to the border between North and South Korea, and fighter planes lined up at US airbases in Japan, suggest a war footing rather than war games.
Pyongyang is on notice that this administration is not afraid to use force against its enemies – or align itself with former enemies should the situation demand it.
Before his election, Trump talked tough about China as a trade rival, and as the protector of the North Korean regime. Then the Chinese President Xi Jinping was wined and dined at Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, last week and a diplomatic somersault followed.
US Army soldiers were pictured today taking part in exercises close to the border between North Korea in Paju, South Korea
US Army soldiers were pictured today taking part in exercises close to the border between North Korea in Paju, South Korea
US military officials fear North Korea has placed a nuclear test in a tunnel with the potential to detonate it on Saturday. Pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) flanked by vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission Choe Yong-Hae at an opening ceremony for 'Rymoyong street', a new housing development in Pyongyang today
US military officials fear North Korea has placed a nuclear test in a tunnel with the potential to detonate it on Saturday. Pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) flanked by vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission Choe Yong-Hae at an opening ceremony for 'Rymoyong street', a new housing development in Pyongyang today
Trump diverted the USS Carl Vinson (pictured in March) toward the Korean peninsula last weekend  in a show of force against North Korea
Trump diverted the USS Carl Vinson (pictured in March) toward the Korean peninsula last weekend  in a show of force against North Korea
Xi was told that Trump had taken a trade war with China off the agenda. China’s subsequent decision to abstain at the UN on Thursday, when its old friend Russia vetoed a Western resolution condemning Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons, was viewed by some as a reciprocal gesture.
Washington believes China is its trump card in dealing with Kim Jong-un. If the US and China act in tandem – one wielding the big military stick, the other threatening to cut fuel and food supplies – surely North Korea would have to give ground and denuclearise?
But President Xi sees things differently because he is closer to the crisis. Conflict on the Korean Peninsula would have huge repercussions for China as well as for US allies, South Korea, and Japan, drawing these countries in militarily, and triggering a flood of refugees.
Why else would the normally soft-spoken Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, have raised his voice in alarm yesterday, warning that war could ‘break out at any moment’ and urging all parties to stop before reaching an ‘irreversible and unmanageable stage’.
Military officers visit the birthplace of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, a day before the 105th anniversary of his birth, in Mangyongdae, just outside Pyongyang, today
Military officers visit the birthplace of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, a day before the 105th anniversary of his birth, in Mangyongdae, just outside Pyongyang, today
The tension around North Korea is high ahead of a major North Korean holiday, the birthday of its founding dictator Kim Il Sung, tomorrow
The tension around North Korea is high ahead of a major North Korean holiday, the birthday of its founding dictator Kim Il Sung, tomorrow
US Air Force 44th and 67th Fighter Squadron F-15 Eagles and 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron E-3 Sentries taxi down the runway in the joint drills with Japan which have provoked North Korean anger
US Air Force 44th and 67th Fighter Squadron F-15 Eagles and 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron E-3 Sentries taxi down the runway in the joint drills with Japan which have provoked North Korean anger
US troops carrying out military exercises near the border between North and South Korea in Paju, South Korea, today as tensions escalate
US troops carrying out military exercises near the border between North and South Korea in Paju, South Korea, today as tensions escalate
The Chinese know that Kim Jong-un is not their pliant puppet. He has been steadily purging North Koreans who are seen as too close to Beijing, even executing his own uncle Jang Song-thaek. They may have been quietly trying to find an alternative to Kim Jong-un’s leadership, but he has liquidated the obvious candidates, including his own half-brother who was assassinated by a North Korean hit-squad with a toxic nerve agent, VX, at a Malaysian airport in February.
Kim Jong-un may not have a missile that can reach Washington but he has weapons that can rattle the windows of the Communist leaders in Beijing.

Donald Trump warns 'problem' of North Korea 'will be taken care of'

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And North Korea’s nuclear weapons are not all that East Asia or the West has to fear. Kim Jong-un has accumulated a mountain of chemical weapons and toxic nerve agents that may pose a more immediate threat. Japan’s prime minister has spoken of his fears of a sarin-filled rocket fired at his country.
Building an intercontinental missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to the west coast of America is proving technically difficult for North Korean scientists. 
But as the assassination in Malaysia showed, nerve agents can be smuggled quite easily through airports. 
North Korea’s embassy in London, or its legation to the UN in New York could as easily have received VX in the diplomatic bag as it seems their post in Kuala Lumpur did.
As the prospect of a North Korean stand-off with the West grows ever more likely, we are facing the most dangerous game of chicken since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 
As the prospect of a North Korean stand-off with the West grows ever more likely, we are facing the most dangerous game of chicken since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 
Maybe North Koreans could find anti-Western terrorists to do their dirty work, just as they appear to have used Indonesians and Vietnamese in Malaysia.
As the prospect of a North Korean stand-off with the West grows ever more likely, we are facing the most dangerous game of chicken since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Will Kim Jong-un be crazy enough to lash out at the US convoy nearing his coast?
Could Trump turn a blind eye to a provocative act by North Korea? Each man knows his domestic position could implode if, after so much bluster, he shows weakness. Trump could live with that – but not Kim Jong-un.
Yes, avoiding all out war with America would save North Koreans from descending into an even lower circle of hell, but it could leave Kim Jong-un fatally weakened. His repressed subjects will sense the regime’s retreat and might be emboldened to challenge it. The dynasty has developed weapons of mass destruction to protect itself as much from internal threats as a foreign invader. If his grip on power at home falters, he might well take his country – and the rest – down with him.
  • Mark Almond is Director of the Crisis Research Institute in Oxford
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4413342/In-deadly-game-dare-Kim-Jong-suicide.html#ixzz4eKMl2YJm
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