Trump Takes Another Step Towards War with North Korea

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Written by Peter Symonds; Originally appeared at Wsws.org

In another menacing act of brinkmanship, President Donald Trump declared in a tweet yesterday that China had failed to force North Korea to accede to US demands, opening the door for unilateral US action, including military strikes. The tweet comes just ahead of top-level talks between US and Chinese officials due to take place in Washington today.

Trump Takes Another Step Towards War with North Korea

“While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi [Jinping] & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” Trump tweeted.

The Trump administration has put great pressure on Beijing to compel Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programs, but has indicated all along that time was limited. “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! USA,” Trump tweeted in April.

The US president’s latest tweet is clearly aimed at placing additional pressure on Chinese officials—State Councillor Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui—who will meet with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis in a US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue.

The US State Department has indicated that Washington intends to put North Korea at the top of the agenda, and to press China to agree to harsher sanctions, such as an oil embargo and bans on North Korean guest workers. Beijing, however, which has already helped impose harsh sanctions on North Korean mineral exports, is reluctant to make moves that could provoke a political crisis in Pyongyang—on China’s doorstep.

China’s ambassador in Washington, Cui Tiankai, told the Financial Times: “We should not make it [US-China dialogue] a platform where one side pushes a long list of demands on the other. It has to be a two-way street.” He said that China was “obviously important” in exerting pressure on North Korea, “but there is more the US should do.” Beijing has urged Washington to take steps towards reviving negotiations with Pyongyang.

Trump’s tweet that China’s efforts have “not worked out” is more than just a bargaining ploy at today’s talks. If Beijing refuses to agree to tougher sanctions, the danger of reckless US military action against Pyongyang rises. As a senior administration official told Reuters, the US has limited options to rein in North Korea without Chinese assistance.

Trump officials have already declared that the Obama administration’s policy of “strategic patience”—pressuring Pyongyang with increased sanctions—had failed. The possibility of a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which Trump suggested last month might be realizable under the right conditions, is highly unlikely. White House spokesman Sean Spicer declared yesterday, “clearly we’re moving further away, not closer to those conditions.”

In reality, the Trump administration, along with the American media, has seized on the death of Otto Warmbier to further demonise North Korea and create the conditions for war. Warmbier, a college student, was one of four American citizens convicted and jailed in North Korean prisons. He was flown home last week and died on Monday.

Trump joined the clamour in the media and political establishment for action over Warmbier’s death, declaring what happened “a total disgrace.” He branded the North Korean government “a brutal regime” and said that the death had deepened his determination to prevent other tragedies “at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency.”

US Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate armed services committee, bluntly stated that the Kim Jong-un regime had “murdered” Warmbier—even as doctors have yet to determine what caused the brain danger that led to the student’s death. McCain accused Pyongyang of “forced labour, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture and murder” and added that the US “cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers.”

All the preparations for a US-led war on North Korea have been made. The Pentagon has stationed what Trump referred to as “an armada” off the Korean Peninsula—two aircraft carrier strike groups are in place and another is on its way, along with nuclear submarines—supplementing substantial American forces already stationed in Japan, South Korea and Guam.

Yesterday, two US B-1 strategic bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula in another warning to North Korea. The 10-hour flight from Guam also involved training missions with both Japanese and South Korean F-15 fighters. Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis told the media: “We can launch and operate long-range bombers over the Korean Peninsula on very short notice.” He then ominously added: “And we hope not to have to do that.”

In another rather menacing signal, two US officials told CNN that American spy satellites had detected new activity at North Korea’s underground nuclear test site. The officials expressed concern that North Korea could detonate a nuclear test to coincide with the US-China dialogue taking place in Washington. Pyongyang has been publicly critical of Beijing’s willingness to agree to US demands for sanctions.

The CNN report also noted the very advanced character of the Pentagon’s plans for war against North Korea, stating: “Two senior US officials with direct knowledge also told CNN that military options for North Korea have recently been updated, and will be presented to President Donald Trump for a decision to act if there is a nuclear test.”

The devastating character of any new war on the Korean Peninsula was again underscored last week by US Defence Secretary James Mattis. He told a congressional committee that such a conflict would be “catastrophic” but that the US would ultimately prevail.

“It will be a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we have seen since 1953,” Mattis said, referring to the Korean War between 1950 and 1953 in which the casualties ran into the millions. “It will involve the massive shelling of an allies’ capital [Seoul], which is one of the most densely packed cities on Earth. It would be a war that fundamentally we don’t want. Our allies and us would win at great cost.”

However, it is also a war that the Trump administration is relentlessly edging towards, having repeatedly declared that “all options are on the table.” Unlike the Korean War of the 1950s, a new conflict would not remain confined to the Korean Peninsula but would draw other powers into a far wider catastrophe for humanity.

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  • RogerM

    “draw other powers” namely who?
    Russia and China are more than happy to have NK be eiimintaed. And there’s no cold war ideological battle anymore

    • Alex Black

      I think there is some truth to that, but there is also much strategic value to having the mad midget unbalance south korea, and Japan

    • FlorianGeyer

      Russia and China will never accept the US controlling North Korea. Ever.

      • Ma_Laoshi

        Oh I’m sure they’ll express their concern to their American partners–eventually. But what are they going to do about it? Both countries have had a taste of the capitalist teat. They’re no longer what they were in the times of Mao and Stalin–mind you, in many ways a good thing for their citizens. Let’s remember, a big milestone in the Syria debacle was Hillary’s memo that the Russians might whine, but at the hour of truth wouldn’t stand and fight. By current estimates, she was 2/3 right I’d say: the cavalry came in late, in small numbers, and unwilling to kill anyone but those terrorists that are easiest to replace.

        Let’s just say that Chinese-Russian resolve hasn’t deterred Uncle Sam just yet.

        • FlorianGeyer

          I think you are wrong but history will prove one of us correct :)

    • Sonny73N

      You’re full of shit. YOU are the one who would be happy if NK it’s eliminated. Because you’re a fucking scum who’s living off everyone else and wanting to enslave the rest of the world. One thing I know for sure that NK is a much civilized country than wherever the shit hole you’re from.

  • rudy

    The US is since decades in a dire situation, the US Government debt is considered not possible to be payd back !

    • Ma_Laoshi

      The gold-standard backing for the dollar was a treaty, a promise. When they went off it they pretty much dared the rest of the world “Whatcha gonna do about it?” Frankly, in the seventies, nobody was in the position, individually or collectively. But is the rest of the world in that much better shape today? At least there is some alternative leadership available from China; if the US were to say “screw your debt, you’re not getting anything from us”–would it be enough?

    • FlorianGeyer

      Thats why the US wants to enslave the world. Friend and foe. Including the American people.

  • rudy

    In case of the entyre country could be confiscated coz literally the country is a corporation ! The United States Isn’t a Country
    — It’s a Corporation!
    by Lisa Guliani

    This article by Lisa Guliani was published on this Serendipity website sometime prior to February 2004. This is proven by the page as archived on the Wayback Machine. This article has also been published on many other websites.
    Someone using the name “Reality Bytes” published (no earlier than 2010) a ripoff of this article on The Hub under the title The Corporation Of The United States Of America Is It True? We Are Not Under Common Law? [Curiously, this link to the Wayback Machine no longer leads to an archived copy of “Reality Bytes”’ page as at 2011-07-20 but instead produces a pop-up inviting you to download an .swf file, which may be malware.] This person is now claiming copyright infringement. This is laughable. “Reality Bytes” is a blatant plagiarizer, as shown by the textual comparisons below.

    Note added in 2014: “Reality Bytes”, perhaps as a result of his plagiarism being exposed by this page, replaced his rip-off of Lisa Guliani’s article by a different article — though whether that is also a ripoff of someone else’s article can’t be known without further research, which we can’t be bothered to do.

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    — Preamble of the original “organic” Constitution

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
    — Excerpted from the Declaration of Independence of the original thirteen united states of America, July 4, 1776

    This page censored at Wikipedia Fourth of July 2002 has come and gone, and Americans honored the holiday with a renewed patriotic fervor that reminded me of the Bicentennial celebrations of 1976. As is customary, traditional fireworks displays took center stage and scores of people turned out to witness the dazzling show in the summer sky. With mixed feelings, I sat with friends on a crowded Pennsylvania sidewalk beneath a glittering, mesmerizing explosion of color, pondering the keen sense of sadness and betrayal that overwhelmed my spirit. Looking around at the huge crowds gathered for the annual events, I thought silently, “We are not free.” In truth, we have not been a free people for a very long time.

    We celebrate this day in honor of our “independence”. We call ourselves a free people in a land of liberty. Our anthems proudly sing the praises of this nation, and we raise our voices, wave our flags and join in song — but how many Americans realize they are not free? This is a myth perpetuated by the powers-that-be in order to avoid any major civil unrest, and to keep us all living under the thumb of a militaristic corporate Big Brother within the illusions that have been created for us. The truth of the matter is this: what freedom has not been stolen from us, we have surrendered willingly through our silence and ignorance. As Americans, most of us have no idea how our freedoms are maintained — or lost. Apparently, our ancestors didn’t have a good grasp of this either. It is sad, but it is also very true.

    Don’t point to that beloved parchment, the Constitution, as a symbol of your enduring freedom. It is representative of a form of government which seemingly no longer exists in this country today. The Constitution has been thrown out the window, the Republic shoved aside and replaced with a democracy. The thing is; most people in this country remain unaware that this is so because they simply do not know the truth — what lies beyond the myths. Your so-called government is not going to tell you, either.

    To even begin to understand what has happened to the Republic, we must look backward in time to the period following the Civil War. We must go back to the year 1871, which was the beginning of the decline of the Republic. When we examine what happened during that time in our history, we begin to piece together this troubling, perplexing puzzle that is “America” — only then should we answer as to whether we are indeed a “free” people or not.

    So, let’s roll backward into the past for a moment. It is time we learned what they didn’t teach us in school. It is far more interesting than what they DID tell us. I think you’ll stay awake for this lesson.

    The date is February 21, 1871 and the Forty-First Congress is in session. I refer you to the “Acts of the Forty-First Congress,” Section 34, Session III, chapters 61 and 62. On this date in the history of our nation, Congress passed an Act titled: “An Act To Provide A Government for the District of Columbia.” This is also known as the “Act of 1871.” What does this mean? Well, it means that Congress, under no constitutional authority to do so, created a separate form of government for the District of Columbia, which is a ten mile square parcel of land.

    What??? How could they do that? Moreover, WHY would they do that? To explain, let’s look at the circumstances of those days. The Act of 1871 was passed at a vulnerable time in America. Our nation was essentially bankrupt — weakened and financially depleted in the aftermath of the Civil War. The Civil War itself was nothing more than a calculated “front” for some pretty fancy footwork by corporate backroom players. It was a strategic maneuver by European interests (the international bankers) who were intent upon gaining a stranglehold on the neck (and the coffers) of America.

  • John Mason

    Problem is easily solved by China dropping its’ sanctions against NK and declares its’ protection for NK. Russia should do the same.

    • Ma_Laoshi

      Absolutely; the US is still top dog, but Russia-China-Iran plus whoever else will join could rein them in. When things become serious, Europe is more a burden for Uncle Sam than anything else. But in all fairness the US, being the official successor to the British Empire, seems to know a thing or two about divide & conquer. Not only does the rest of the world never get its act together, but, curiously, the sense of urgency doesn’t seem to be there. Pathetic.

    • Spanker Dane

      Somewhere, there’s a Chinese SCDC analyst laughing uproariously at your post right now.

      • John Mason

        Yours is not even worth a laugh, go and find something interesting to do.

    • they cannot do that without putting at risk the relationship with south korea.

      or they can give “defensive” weapons to NK , like SAM missiles , the modern ones.. now no one can protest defensive weapons because the only thing it endangers is any foreign plane intruding on Nk airspace

      • Ma_Laoshi

        South Korea endangered its relationship with China by letting those THAAD batteries onto their soil–the love has to be both ways. For me, just taking out the THAADs in a cruise missile strike should be on the table if all else fails.

        Wake up kids, “missile defense” is in reality about enabling (eventually) a sweet, sweet all-deciding surprise nuclear first strike. We’re talking survival here.

        • the stupidity of south korean neocons who supported the placement of US missile defense in their soil.. at the risk of angering china and losing south korea’s only guarantee of peace..

          they will pay for their stupidity with the destruction of Seoul

          • Ma_Laoshi

            Correct me if you know more, but AFAIK the rabidly anti-communist Korean hard right has its roots in the collaboration with the Japanese occupier (would also be completely logical for them to switch allegiance to the new US overlord). Certainly no movement with a monopoly on, or even claim to, Korean patriotism.

            So often we make assumptions of sanity or at least self-preservation instinct for developed countries. Are we really witnessing South Korea about to sacrifice itself for the US Empire? It can no longer be excluded.

  • Manuel Flores Escobar

    Bla bla…NK has nuclear weapons…can wipe off South Korea…so USA never will attack NK…what about air carriers?…surely are yet too far from there…

    • Alex Black

      a grave for several thousand sailors at sea in this day and age. They almost lost a destroyed to a civilian transport ship, imagine one of those loaded with container launched anti ship missiles.

  • RichardD

    I don’t think that the Chinese or the Russians would allow regime change in N Korea standing up a Jew 4 puppet government with China and Russia next on the list. If there is a war, it would be a horrific tragedy, but I doubt that the US would win it.

    • Spanker Dane

      China’s primary interest is to retain good trading relationships with the U.S. and SK. North Korea has become expendable, as long as a Chinese-influenced buffer to SK can be retained.

      • RichardD

        I think that your contention is unrealistic. But feel free to elaborate on how China and Russia would allow the US and SK to attack, invade and install a puppet government in NK in a manner that would be acceptable to China and Russia, and that would result in China and Russia abandoning NK and allowing US forces to advance to the Chinese and Russian borders? That is what the article is about.

        The article isn’t about China carrying out regime change in NK that would be acceptable to the US. Which appears to be what you’re implying. It’s about a US military attack to start a regime change war in NK. If you think that China or Russia are going to do the regime change dirty work for the US to keep the US happy. I see no evidence or scenario where that would happen. Exactly how do you envision a “Chinese-influenced buffer” being installed in NK by the US or anybody else that would be mutually acceptable to the US, China and Russia?

  • tigbear

    Whoever strikes first will lose. The US can try; it will reveal its strategy straightaway. North Korea will send missiles raining down on aircraft carriers and planes and send a shower of missiles to Seoul and Tokyo, Won’t matter if Pyongyang is hit, not a big city at all compared to Seoul and Tokyo. North Korean people will have places to go to as soon as the war sirens go off. They’ll have gas masks, everything. They’ve done war drills many times, they’ll know what to do and where to go.

    The US will try and flatten it and then enter when they think it’s safe and the population have given up. That’s when the real fun and games start. North Koreans will start popping up from their hiding holes and start sniping at the Yanks. Artillery will spring up from their hiding places and hammer down on the Yanks. The Yanks will have no idea where they came from. They would have thought nearly everyone was dead but they don’t know the Norks. These people have been defending this land for millennia. They know it like the back of their hand. Yanks are in for some nasty surprises. Norks are a stubborn lot. The more you push them, the more they will resist. They bear grudges. If they can kill you but they will have to die themselves, they will. They can’t bear the thought of losing. And they love fighting. This is great when they have an enemy like the US; it makes the North Koreans really feel alive; it pushes them to do their best and make sacrifices. It gives them a purpose for living. Not that they’re aggressive; they’re not. But they won’t back down from a fight. They won’t pick a fight, but if someone wants to fight with them, this will be when the Norks are at their most creative.

    They are famous for fighting epic battles where they are outnumbered 100:1 and they wipe out their enemy. The Sui know this only too well. 300,000 came but only 2,000 went home. That was about 1,500 years ago. It’s about time North Koreans got tested again, and showed what stuff they’re made of, and fight another battle that will make the world history books.

    • Nweke Afam

      THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WATCH TOO MANY JACK BAURE MOVIES AKA 24HRS.

    • Spanker Dane

      Comedy gold. Thanks!

      • Don’t read butthurt replies

        Hopefully with first nuke lands where you are.

  • Mountains

    This war is pointless.. China will never allow it. Trump and the media is wasting their time on this. North Korea will never happen as long China is their neighbour and big brother period.

    I think We need to concentrate on saving our dollar and Eastern syria Oil and gas resources. Iran and RUSSIA has to be dealt with

    • Alex Black

      Correct as to China NK, delusional as to Russia, Iran.

    • Jesus

      You do not save the dollar by creating trillions on a computer keyboard, such fiscal irresponsibility devalues the dollar. Roman gold coinage was debased so many times that after a while a gold coin had a minuscule gold content…….worth vey little.

      As far as dealing with Russia and Iran, you are in the wrong neighborhood, strategically US is boxed in ME……the same way they are boxed in at al Tanf.

    • FlorianGeyer

      Mountains, go back to playing Call of Duty. Only your lack of real facts exceeds your stupidity’

    • Manuel Flores Escobar

      All petrol resources in Syria are now under Syrian army hands..except south of Deir ezzor( coming soon SAA will retake it), also the petrol yields of Raqqa in Rusafa town are under SAA…so what is the problem?…USA want to appear as the liberator of Raqqa..while SAA dont want any invaders troops in that Syrian Arab area!..thats all!

      • Mountains

        The Biggest Oil field is the Al-omar Oil field in Raqqah… US controlled! Within weeks. Deir Ezzor is next.. The worlds largest Oil reserve is found in these 2 cities along the euphrates river.

        The Kurds are moving towards Deir Ezzor and will be their within the coming next weeks. The Dollar will be saved as a result. The Rest of Syria we could careless… AS for NK it’s pointless with CAPITAL NO thanks

  • Ma_Laoshi

    Why is China so weak with the US? Why didn’t they start negotiations by stating “You’ll get nothing from us until the THAAD batteries are withdrawn from Korea”? I think China is paying a big price for doing nothing in Syria. That was the time when they (and ideally also India) should have stood shoulder to shoulder with Iran and Russia, and show the hegemon that the world has had enough. Instead, each country is proceeding with its own pathetic appeasement schemes.

    And what about the South Korean poodles, are they really prepared to sacrifice themselves for the Empire? Didn’t work that great for Ukraine; this one would be MUCH worse.

    • Manuel Flores Escobar

      China deployed movile nuclear balistic missile and sent warships to China meridional sea…it was months ago…and Trump left the idea to send warship to artificial China island in that part!

      • Ma_Laoshi

        Well maybe indeed China is just talking softly. But boy I hope their stick is sharpened and good to go. We normally don’t think of Gadhaffi and Uncle Saddam as having been too soft for the real world. And yet, at the moment of truth, they couldn’t imagine the US would just go for it without any valid excuse.

        There is a risk of cultural miscommunication here. The US has always spoken cowboy, but the civilized world should understand that at this point, they also only *understand* cowboy. The signal to back the hell off has not been received, in part because it has not been delivered by all people of good will in unison.

  • Nuno Cardoso da Silva

    Trump is completely crazy. He is willing to cause the death of hundreds of thousand people – friend and foe – just to try and get rid of a regime he objects to but which in no way endangers the US. As he is particularly stupid and reckless, he risks causing a much bigger war which may end up killing many millions of Americans.

    • Spanker Dane

      Try to resist commenting on the real world. You university types too often look foolish when you do so.

  • Rodney Loder

    Trump is moving away from KSA and over to Turkey Qatar, this is just a diversion of media interest.

    • Concrete Mike

      Care to elaborate Wise one?

      • Rodney Loder

        Duterie and Trump have one thing in common they are subordinate to their military who join together in little groups and have olicial forums, my informants in Heaven that some say are only the Djinns tell me that apart from homosexual activity these groups lately have decided it’s best to keep transposition going for a time until Jesus Christ turns out to be the homosexual Sid Loder God almighty because only He can save them.

  • Kim Jong

    There won’t be a war. Trump is a clown. I have ceased reading his tweets. Waste of time.

  • Kim Jong

    NK should start longe range rocket in coordination with Anti-Terror-Coalition Iran/Syria/Russia against isis.

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    Well why is China no longer helping NK? Is something wrong with NK?
    If no one in the world is friends with them, then what is wrong with them?
    Iran has not even stationed 100 IRGC in North Korea to help them shore up there defenses.
    Iran is more advanced then they are in terms of Missiles and Airplane production…
    Seems to me even Iran does not want to help them.
    I want to know why no government on earth (not even governments anti-US-government) will send hundreds of troops there to train and upgrade there offensive and defensive equipment.
    http://ihr.org/

    • tigbear

      This is not true. North Korea is ahead of Iran in missiles and equipment, not that it’s trying to compete with Iran. And there is still cooperation going on behind the scenes when they need to do something together. It’s just not shown. While North Korea is doing the missile and nuclear tests, Iran is keeping its distance for the time being. It doesn’t want to jeopardize the nuclear deal. But there is no problem in the relationship; they are just busy with their own problems. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spvVA0cEiXI

      As for China, China has to keep its distance for financial and business reasons. There are many links between China and the US. The US is an important market for the Chinese. Many US companies do their offshoring in China. The relationship is getting intertwined as the Chinese move toward capitalism. This means that its relationships with socialist nations get weaker and its relationships with nations like South Korea get stronger.

      In other words, China wants to make money. If they are seen to be supporting North Korea too strongly, the US may punish it by imposing sanctions, bringing in tariffs and other similar ways.

      China is at the stage where it’s not a complete colony of the Zionists, but it’s got one foot there.

      The Soviets’ economy is more independent of the USA than China’s economy so they have more room to maneuver. Hence, they are helping out North Korea a little bit more.

      However, China doesn’t want to break off the relationship with North Korea completely. Strategically, it might be better to keep the nation socialist and in its current state. If it gets invaded by the South and the USA, China will lose an ally. Basically, North Korea doesn’t really cause China problems. Its allies are China’s allies. North Korea does its own thing. It makes its money its own way.

      Yeah, China is two-faced but that’s what happens when countries become capitalist. They start selling out their principles for money.

      There is a lot of secret trade and business connections going on behind the scenes. Because North Korea attracts all the flak because it’s the only one testing nukes and ICBMs these days, when it comes to selling its arms to other nations, they’re going to have to pay a pretty penny because:

      – they can’t get them from other nations so easily, especially ICBMs
      – no other nations are testing missiles etc except for a few
      – North Korea had to undergo sanctions and embargoes to get the tests done.

      So, when North Korea comes to selling stuff, it will recoup the money it lost, and put it back in its treasury. But North Korea is principled, unlike the US. It would never sell missiles to Saudi Arabia, for example. Its main customers have been Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Myanmar and some African nations. These are all small countries that are not strongly aligned with the Zionists.

      The people are strong and united so this will get them over the difficult period. Once they have an ICBM that can deliver nukes to the US mainland, they can have a rest. Once they have that deterrent built, the US won’t threaten it so easily, and the North Koreans will become sort of powerbrokers because many countries would like to have those nuclear deterrents too, and their other missiles. North Korea makes good missiles.

  • Don’t read butthurt replies