North Korea announced on Friday that it saw little reason to maintain “personal relations between our Supreme Leadership,” in other words, Kim Jong Un, and “the U.S. President” Donald Trump. The bromance is over! Kim Jong Un Dumps Trump:
The statement, issued by Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon on the second anniversary of the historic Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, came immediately after the North threatened the U.S. with “terrible” things and hinted it would disrupt the November elections.
Moreover, Pyongyang at the same time launched a rhetorical barrage against the friendly South Korean government of President Moon Jae-in and cut off communications with Seoul.
After months of quiet, Kim Jong Un is starting a new round of provocations.
Bloomberg reports, North Korea Says Trump’s ‘Empty Promise’ Dashes Hopes for Deal:
North Korea accused the U.S. of breaking promises it made at a historic summit two years ago, saying the Trump administration had turned dreams for peace into “a dark nightmare” and dashed hopes for denuclearization.
Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said in a message to mark the second anniversary of the then-unprecedented June 12, 2018, meeting between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump that the U.S. had broken its word, adding that North Korea saw no benefit in engaging with Washington.
“Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise,” Ri was quoted as saying in a Friday report from the official Korean Central News Agency. He added the U.S. has shown over the past two years that it’s aiming for the “isolation and suffocation” of North Korea.
North Korea’s ultimate goal is to build up a more “reliable force” to achieve a full deterrence capability from “the long-term military threats” from Washington, Ri said. The comments come as leader Kim started the year by threatening to deploy a new strategic weapon, escalating tension after refraining from tests of nuclear weapons and missiles that could deliver a warhead to the U.S. to give diplomacy with Trump a chance.
The North Korean foreign minister blasted Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and others in the Trump administration for making “nonsensical remarks that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is still a secure goal of the United States.”
North Korea has celebrated what it sees as a “special chemistry” between Trump and Kim. But in March, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the leader, cautioned that the state of affairs “should not be judged in haste in the light of the personal relations between the two top leaders, and furthermore, neither predictions nor expectations should be made based on them.”
Kim Jong Un has given little indication that he is willing to make any sort of deal that could be seen as a diplomatic win for Trump, helping him as he faces re-election this year.
North Korea just blew up an inter-Korean liaison office on its side of the border, in an explosive rebuke to Seoul that appeared designed to draw maximum global attention. Kim Jong Un Destroys Joint Korea Office in Rebuke to Seoul:
The move represented North Korea’s most serious provocation in years and follows an escalating series of threats against South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s government. The state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a statement that the office — the most concrete achievement from a series of summits between the two Koreas in 2018 was — was “tragically ruined with a terrific explosion.”
South Korea’s Unification Ministry called the demolition of a 18 billion won ($15 million) facility that served as a de facto embassy for the two countries a “senseless act” that had “destroyed the hopes of those who wished for peace on the Korean Peninsula.” The country’s National Security Council warned North Korea of a strong response if it took further actions, but gave no indication of imminent retaliation.
North Korean state media said Kim Jong Un’s regime is reviewing a plan to send its army into some areas of the demilitarized zone separating the country from South Korea. North Korea Says It May Send Troops Into Parts of the DMZ:
The General Staff of the Korean People’s Army said it was on high alert, according to a report Tuesday on the official Korean Central News Agency, escalating its threats aimed at forcing South Korea to halt activists from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border by balloon.
“Our army is keeping a close watch on the current situation in which the north-south relations are turning worse and worse, and getting itself fully ready for providing a sure military guarantee to any external measures to be taken by the Party and government,” the army staff was quoted as saying by KCNA.
North Korea didn’t provide details of what areas it meant but appears to be referring to a disarmed region near a now-shuttered joint factory park with South Korea in the western city of Kaesong and a closed joint resort on the east around North Korea’s Mount Kumgang, Yonhap News Agency reported.
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The announcement follows rising tensions with Seoul since two activist groups sent anti-Kim leaflets by balloon across the border into North Korea early this month. That prompted Kim’s younger sister to issue an unusual statement saying that it was “high time” to break ties with South Korea.
The sister, Kim Yo Jong, said that the next action against the “enemy” would come from the army, raising memories of a decade ago, when North Korea shelled a South Korean island, killing four, and was suspected of torpedoing the South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors.
The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said it is “high time” to break relations with South Korean authorities, adding the next action against the “enemy” will come from the army.
It’s better to take a series of retaliatory measures rather than release statements condemning South Korea’s behavior, and which could be misinterpreted or dismissed, Kim Yo Jong said via the official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday.
“Rubbish must be thrown into dustbin,” she said. “By exercising my power authorized by the Supreme Leader, our party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with enemy to decisively carry out the next action.”
So is lil’ sister saying that she ordered blowing up the liaison office today? Are the rumors abut Kim Jong Un’s health true? Is there a power vacuum being filled by his sister? Or are we now dealing with a brother-sister tag team on the Korean Peninsula?
The Daily Beast reports, Does Trump Know How Scary Things Are Getting in Korea?
U.S. President Donald Trump is so fixated on protest sweeping the U.S. and his plans for campaign rallies he seems oblivious to the scary turn of events in the land he claimed to have rescued from nuclear war by sucking up to North Korea’s despot.
While Trump has been absorbed elsewhere, Kim Jong Un on Tuesday literally blew up the glistening liaison office in the Kaesong Industrial Complex the South Koreans had built for cozy tête-à-têtes resolving differences with their North Korean counterparts. North Korean troops took over the zone despite entreaties from South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. The despot’s high-profile sister, Kim Yo Jong, had earlier denounced “the useless North-South joint liaison office.”
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South Korea was both angered and worried by what appeared as the death knell for whatever was left of a peace process. “We sternly warn we will strongly respond if North Korea takes any action that further worsens the situation,” said an official with Moon’s national security office after an emergency session.
“The North Korean leaders”—Kim, his sister and those closest to them—“have concluded Trump is not going to win reelection,” says Shim Jae-hoon, long-time analyst for Yale Global, “so in the short window between now and November they want to saber-rattle as much as possible to press him to make concessions.”
The North’s aggressive action added teeth to a torrent of invective, much of it from Kim Yo Jong, leading the charge against the South in ostensible retaliation for a barrage of balloons bearing anti-North leaflets wafting over the North Korean countryside. The leaflets bare the excesses of the Kim ruling family along with denunciations of the North’s nuclear and missile program for sapping vital funds needed to feed the country’s hungry, impoverished people.
The policy-makers up in Pyongyang were totally unimpressed by South Korean pledges to close down the leaflet campaign, which the North’s leading paper Rodong Sinmun blasted as “merely a measure to escape from crisis.” The paper pledged in an orgy of rhetoric before the blow-up of the liaison office that “the world shall see how our people will give a lightning strike on south [sic] Korean authorities as punishment and exterminate these scums.”
Of course, there’s a considerable gap between the demolition of a single building and the extermination of “scums,” but Pyongyang appears to be leaving the door wide open to escalation.
South Korean officials, from Moon on down, hardly knew how to respond beyond bland pleas to honor previous commitments. Moon, speaking on Monday with what he said was “a heavy heart,” expressed his hope North and South would “not stop the current inter-Korean relations again.” Having overcome “a long-time severance and the crisis of a war,” he said, “we cannot wait any more for the conditions to improve.”
Both the Pentagon and South Korea’s defense ministry promised to remain ready for any military moves by North Korea, but they were totally helpless to stop North Korean troops from taking over the Kaesong complex 40 miles north of Seoul above the North-South dividing line on the western side of the Korean peninsula. Nor would they be able to stop North Korean troops from reoccupying several guard posts that they had given up on their side of the demilitarized zone in a show of goodwill when Moon also shut down guard posts on the South Korean side.
All this comes in the wake of statement Friday by North Korea’s foreign minister, Ro Son Gwon, marking the second anniversary of the Singapore summit, said flatly that “personal relations between our Supreme leadership” and “the U.S. President” were pretty well over.
Trump appeared oblivious to this rude rebuff from the man with whom he had once professed in a flight of fancy to have fallen “in love,” but North Korea appears determined to get his attention if not his affection.
“North Korea has decided the nuclear issue is strictly between them and the U.S.,” said the veteran analyst Shim Jae-hoon. The atmospheric summits between Trump and Kim, first on June 12, 2018, in Singapore, then at the end of February 2019 in Hanoi and, finally, an impromptu session between Trump and Kim four months later at Panmunjom at which the two clasped hands on the line got nowhere in the process of denuclearization. But the prestige that accrued to Kim from such one-on-one summitry was considerable.
The North’s desires are well known—an end to sanctions, reduction in the number of U.S. troops in South Korea, now standing at 28,500, and marked decrease in Washington’s support for the Moon government.
“To achieve these objectives, Kim wants to raise tensions,” said Shim. “He knows he cannot expect a full-scale war without blowback, but he is going to resort to provocations.” As a dramatic example from the past, Shim cited the torpedo attack on the South Korean navy corvette the Cheonan 12 years ago in which 46 South Korean sailors died.
Other scenarios include a possible launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile or a submarine launched ballistic missile and another nuclear test. The last one was conducted by North Korea in September 2017.
But is Trump concerned about any of this? “Trump right now could care less about Korea,” said Tom Coyner, a long-time business consultant here. That is, he added, “unless something explodes in his lap.”
North Korean planners are well aware that Trump’s concerns lie elsewhere, Coyner observed, “so one may argue the timing may be excellent for a military provocation.” But then again, “these planners must also be considering that Trump may respond in a ham-handed manner to deflect Americans’ focus from domestic issues to Korea.”
A South Korean businessman had some pointed advice for Trump: Come here and test the atmosphere within range of North Korea’s heavy guns.
“For Trump to know how serious the situation is in Korea he needs to live in Seoul,” said Michael Kim.
Donald Trump’s “love letter diplomacy” with a murderous dictator is a complete failure. Kim Jong Un and his equally dangerous little sister are ready to challenge the West again.