Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed

North Korea (7): Is April 15, A Nuclear “D-Day” For Pyongyang..?

As North Korea continues to escalate its war rhetoric, Washington attempts to put emphasis on the regional implications of a possible open conflict with Pyongyang. The US Secretary of State John Kerry carries this message to Beijing today, in a direct effort to persuade China for taking a more open mediation role for defusing the current nuclear war crisis rhetoric with Pyongyang:

John Kerry looks to press China on North Korea – Zee News

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Beijing on Saturday to seek China’s help to rein in a belligerent North Korea and provide a foundation for Seoul to lower soaring tensions with Pyongyang.  Kerry flew to the Chinese capital from South Korea where he held talks on Friday with President Park Geun-Hye and offered public US support to her plans for initiating some trust-building with the North.  The Korean peninsula has been engulfed by escalating military tensions and dire threats of nuclear war ever since North Korea conducted a rocket test last December and a nuclear test in February.  Despite intelligence reports that the North has prepared what would be a highly-provocative, medium-range missile launch, Park has in recent days made some conciliatory gestures to the regime in Pyongyang.  In a meeting with her ruling party officials on Friday, Park said that the South should meet with the North and “listen to what North Korea thinks”.

North Korea, John Kerry 1

More importantly, Kerry put emphasis on the denuclearization dimension of the US foreign policy on the Korean peninsula:

US Secretary of State John Kerry to meet China’s top leaders to discuss North Korea … – NDTV

Travelling to Beijing for the first time as secretary of state, Kerry made no secret of his desire to see China take a more activist stance toward North Korea, which in recent weeks has threatened nuclear war against the United States. As the North’s main trading partner, financial backer and the closest thing it has to a diplomatic ally, China has a unique ability to use its leverage against the impoverished, isolated state, Kerry said in the South Korean capital Seoul late on Friday. ”There is no group of leaders on the face of the planet who have more capacity to make a difference in this than the Chinese, and everybody knows it, including, I believe, them,” Kerry told U.S. executives. ”They want to see us try to reach an amicable resolution to this,” he said. “But you have to begin with a reality, and the reality is that if your policy is denuclearization – and it is theirs as it is ours as it is everybody’s except the North’s at this moment – if that’s your policy, you’ve got to put some teeth into it,” he said. Kerry is scheduled to meet the top echelon of the Chinese leadership on Saturday. He will lunch with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, then see President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and finally State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat who outranks Wang. His visit to Asia, which will include a stop in Tokyo on Sunday, takes place against after weeks of shrill North Korean threats of an impending war since the imposition of new U.N. sanctions in response to its third nuclear test in February.

Additionallly, the US reassures its allies in the region about its support, as John Kerry faces its first Asian- Korean crisis since taken his new position:

‘Stern test’ for John Kerry over North Korea – BBC News

As North Korea threatens a new missile launch, US Secretary of State John Kerry will reassure allies in Seoul and Tokyo about American support, but his diplomatic skills will be tested in Beijing. The four-day tour of Asia is Mr Kerry’s first visit to the region and his first diplomatic crisis since starting in his new job. North Korea has threatened to launch a mid-range missile in the coming days. American officials have speculated that the launch could take place on 15 April, the birthday of the country’s founder Kim Il Sung. He is the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un. A US official in Seoul said that they were keeping a close watch on developments and were worried about a miscalculation by the young, inexperienced North Korean leader. But the official was also keen to emphasise that there were no mass troop movements inside North Korea. Other officials indicated the latest tension was part of a cycle that people had to wait out. ”The launch of a Musadan missile is one of many potential provocations that could happen that could give Kim Jong-un an off-ramp,” said the US official in Seoul. He explained that the launch would be a way for the North Korean leader to tell his citizens that he had stood up to the world and could now back down from his rhetoric and save face.

On the other hand, Washington declares that it would never recognize Seoul as a “nuclear power:”

US tells North Korea new missile launch would be “huge mistake” – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea on Friday that it would be a “huge mistake” to test launch a medium-range missile and said the United States would never accept the reclusive country as a nuclear power. Addressing reporters after talks with South Korea’s president and leaders of the 28,000-strong U.S. military contingent in the country, Kerry also said it was up to China, North Korea’s sole major ally, to “put some teeth” into efforts to press Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Kerry, like other U.S. officials, played down an assessment from the Pentagon’s intelligence agency that North Korea already had a nuclear missile capacity. In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, “I want to be clear that North Korea has not demonstrated the capability to deploy a nuclear-armed missile.” Kerry said the United States wanted to resume talks about North Korea’s earlier pledges to halt its nuclear program.

More importantly, the US officials estimate that North Korea’s capabilities have started to erode due to equipment shortfalls and relevant training deficiencies:

In Seoul, John Kerry Warns North Korea Against Missile Test – New York Times

American officials have said that they have not detected efforts by the North Koreans to mobilize forces or make serious war preparations. And Mr. Kerry said the greatest risk would be a conflict that arose out of a series of miscalculations by North Korea, not a deliberate attack. Still, he underscored the risks. “Kim Jong-un needs to understand, as I think he probably does, what the outcome of the conflict would be,” Mr. Kerry said in a pointed reference to the United States and South Korean military capabilities. American officials say that the capabilities of North Korea’s Army have begun to erode because of equipment shortfalls and training deficiencies. But it has sought to compensate by fielding a large number of Special Operations forces, producing ballistic missiles and developing chemical arms and nuclear weapons, officials say. While the United States and South Korea have publicly said a launching would be a serious provocation, some American officials say it might also serve as a way for Mr. Kim to back away from a confrontation while saving face.

Finally, it seems that April 14 is to be a crucial “D-Day” for the current war escalation on the Korean peninsula, as John Kerry takes his first North Korea type US foreign policy test…

What Next?

Related Articles

Animated Social Media Icons Powered by Acurax Wordpress Development Company