As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: North Korea

North Korea Expands Long-Range Missile Program; Still Building Nukes

I don’t understand why President Trump is allowing this to proceed. I’m hoping there is something significant going on behind the scenes I don’t know about. But I doubt it.

Trump is more likely being played by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, who has gotten from Trump was he needs – time to complete his missile program so that his nukes can reach the United States.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

North Korea is expanding military facilities thought to house long-range missiles that can hit the U.S., according to a think-tank report that revives doubts about the regime’s sincerity in disarmament negotiations.

Pyongyang is still producing nuclear weapons and appears to be upgrading a missile base near the Chinese border, according to the analysis by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Calif., based on satellite imagery taken in recent months.

“The missile base at Yeongjeo-dong has long been a concern to U.S. and South Korean officials because of its unique location,” the report said, referring to the border site, which it said is likely to receive the North’s latest weapons.

Seven miles away, North Korea has been building new facilities that appear to be either another missile base or an expansion of the Yeongjeo-dong facility, said the Middlebury analysis, first reported by CNN.

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul declined to comment.

Trump’s North Korea Policy Continues to Fail Dangerously

President Trump, who has taken such a hard-headed approach to so many issues, is stuck in a land of happy talk on the most critical one facing us, the ongoing expansion of the North Korean nuclear weapons and nuclear missile program.

Kim Jong-un has played the author of the “Art of the Deal” masterfully, making a false show of friendship and cooperation that Trump immediately embraced.

Meanwhile, Trump claims progress because missiles are not being tested, even though their development expands. And he says we have all the time in the world while sanctions harm North Korea, even as North Korea has already proved itself impervious to such steps and the sanctions are undermined by Russia and China.

Let’s be clear. Once North Korea can credibly hit Chicago with a nuclear weapon, we are Kim Jong-un’s hostages. He can conduct his foreign policy with the confidence that we are unable to take decisive action against him.

What’s more, as in all nuclear standoffs, the possibility of a mistake or miscalculation is always present. Particularly with a backward country whose elite troops have intestines, and perhaps brains, filled with worms.

A North Korea with nuclear-tipped ICBMs is simply unacceptable. And yet Trump is allowing them to progress toward this goal. He took a hard line at first, and then fell for the usual North Korea nonsense about cooperation, which is always a tactic to buy time. Which is successfully being purchased.

According to the New York Times:

North Korea is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases that have been identified in new commercial satellite images, a network long known to American intelligence agencies but left undiscussed as President Trump claims to have neutralized the North’s nuclear threat.

The satellite images suggest that the North has been engaged in a great deception: It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads.

The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States.

“We are in no rush,” Mr. Trump said of talks with the North at a news conference on Wednesday, after Republicans lost control of the House. “The sanctions are on. The missiles have stopped. The rockets have stopped. The hostages are home.”

His statement was true in just one sense. Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to the halt of missile flight tests, which have not occurred in nearly a year. But American intelligence officials say that the North’s production of nuclear material, of new nuclear weapons and of missiles that can be placed on mobile launchers and hidden in mountains at the secret bases has continued.

And the sanctions are collapsing, in part because North Korea has leveraged its new, softer-sounding relationship with Washington, and its stated commitment to eventual denuclearization, to resume trade with Russia and China.

Hey John Bolton, where are you?

Trump Cancels Pompeo’s Trip to North Korea

I’m liking this. Maybe he read White House Dossier this morning. The accurate Dossier!

Anyway, there’s still a little too much carrot in this to go wtih the stick. But at least we’re seeing the President Trump again who had gotten Kim Jong-un rethinking his posture for a while.

IAEA Report: North Korea Engaged in “Further Development” Of Nuclear Program

In a newly released report, the International Atomic Energy Agency states that North Korea is continuing and expanding its nuclear program even as President Trump maintains that his outreach to Pyongyang is a success.

From the report, which uses the term DPRK for Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, the formal name of North Korea:

The continuation and further development of the DPRK’s nuclear programme and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern. The DPRK’s nuclear activities, including those in relation to the Yongbyon Experimental Nuclear Power Plant (5 MW(e)) reactor, the use of the building which houses the reported centrifuge enrichment facility and the construction at the LWR, as well as the DPRK’s sixth nuclear test, are clear violations of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2375 (2017) and are deeply regrettable.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travels to North Korea next week to try to salvage the process. As columnist Josh Rogin suggests in the Washington Post, Kim Jong-un is playing Trump, with success:

The fundamental problem with the Trump-Kim scheme remains: Until there is tangible evidence Kim is actually willing to denuclearize, each concession only plays into his strategy to stall for time, relieve financial pressure and normalize his regime’s status as a de facto nuclear state.

Unlike Trump, Pompeo has never said he believes Kim is sincere, only that the United States must test that sincerity. Time is almost up for North Korea to pass or fail that test. Pompeo must not return from his fourth trip to Pyongyang empty-handed.

Actually, returning with some new worthless commitment would be worse, because it buys North Korea more time. I have said since Trump agreed to play nice with Kim early this year that North Korea was doing what it always does, fooling everyone while it goes about creating a nuclear arsenal.

Trump was bold in actually credibly threatening North Korea. Kim needed more time to develop his capability to hit the United States with nuclear ICBMs, so he agreed to start a new “process.”

Unfortunately, with Trump’s cooperation, Kim is getting the time he needs to forever put the United States in peril of being destroyed by a third world, totalitarian dictator.

Trump told Reuters this week that there “most likely” will be another summit. Unfortunately, this will probably take weeks or months to arrange. But at the very least, Trump needs to deliver Kim an ultimatum. It’s time, and hopefully not past time, to transform back from good cop to bad cop.

 

Trump’s Detente with Kim Fails as North Korea Continues to Develop ICBMs

President Trump’s feeble policy toward North Korea is headed in the same direction as his predecessors’, with attempts to “negotiate” answered by Pyongyang’s successful effort to buy time and continue to develop its nuclear and missile programs.

The Washington Post reports that the North Koreans are working diligently on their ICBM program, hoping to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that could hit the United States. Once that happens, the game completely changes, with Kim Jong-un able to hold America hostage to his policies and the chances of an accidental launch something Americans will forever have to live with.

Once Kim has ICBMs, we cannot attack him and his nuclear program is forever.

According to the Post:

U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, according to officials familiar with the intelligence.

Newly obtained evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, indicates that work is underway on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility in Sanumdong, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe classified intelligence.

The findings are the latest to show ongoing activity inside North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities at a time when the country’s leaders are engaged in arms talks with the United States. The new intelligence does not suggest an expansion of North Korea’s capabilities but shows that work on advanced weapons is continuing weeks after President Trump declared in a Twitter posting that Pyongyang was “no longer a Nuclear Threat.”

The reports about new missile construction come after recent revelations about a suspected uranium-enrichment facility, called Kangson, that North Korea is operating in secret. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged during Senate testimony last week that North Korean factories “continue to produce fissile material” used in making nuclear weapons. He declined to say whether Pyongyang is building new missiles.

Trump began his administration with an admirably tough approach to North Korea. But Kim effectively neutralized him by tempting Trump into a bilateral summit that produced little of substance, at least that we know about, and that appears to have given North Korea more time to develop its capabilities, which is exactly what it needs.

Trump Gifts Kim Jong-un a Recording of Elton John’s “Rocket Man”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea bearing a gift from President Trump for Kim Jong-un, a recording to Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” South Korea’s Chosunilbo news agency reports.

According to the story:

Sources in Washington said the gifts reflect Trump’s expectations that Kim will follow through on the pledges in an agreement the two signed at their summit.

One diplomatic source in Washington said, “The ‘Rocket Man’ CD was the subject of discussion during Trump’s lunch with Kim. Kim mentioned that Trump referred to him as ‘rocket man’ when tensions ran high last year” after a series of nuclear tests and missile launches by the North. “Trump then asked Kim if he knew the song and Kim said no.”

Trump remembered the conversation and told Pompeo to take a CD with the song for Kim. He reportedly wrote a message on it and signed it.

I think that, given the unlikelihood Kim is going to follow through on any kind of “deal,” Trump would have been better advised to send him a recording of Elton’s “Don’t go breaking my heart.”

Anyway, now that the song is in your head, here’s a video of Elton John in a superb performance of the single in February 1972, before it was released. A great artist at the height of his powers, long before he became a parody of himself.

More Evidence Kim Jong-un is Playing Trump for a Chump

See, this is what I’m talking about. I keep saying that Kim Jong-un is putting on a big show of wanting a deal because he got scared that President Trump was going to attack him before he could complete his nuclear ICBM program and be able to strike the United States.

But you don’t believe me. You think Trump is a genius and could never get played by this little Rocket Man punk.

Well, I hope you are right. Honestly. But this is very serious stuff. Once North Korea can reliably state that it can hit the U.S. mainland with nukes, all bets are off. The situation changes from prevention to containment.

From the Wall Street Journal:

North Korea is completing a major expansion of a key missile-manufacturing plant, said researchers who have examined new satellite imagery of the site, the latest sign Pyongyang is pushing ahead with weapons programs even as the U.S. pressures it to abandon them.

The facility makes solid-fuel ballistic missiles—which would be able to strike U.S. military installations in Asia with a nuclear weapon with little warning—as well as re-entry vehicles for warheads that Pyongyang might use on longer-range missiles able to hit the continental U.S.

New images analyzed by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Calif., show that North Korea was finishing construction on the exterior of the plant at around the time North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last month. The U.S. is pushing Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic-missile programs.

Last week, 38 North, another organization that monitors North Korea, published satellite images of the country’s main nuclear-research center in Yongbyon, showing that Pyongyang was rapidly upgrading its facilities there.

It could be that behind the scenes, Trump has extracted unprecedented concessions from Kim Jong-un after dazzling him with his charm and deal-making acumen.

But I have seen nothing to suggest that we’ve gotten anything more than the usual fake promises from North Korea. Only now, with an ongoing “process” in place and Kim having shown the world he’s actually just another cuddly little fat guy, it is all the more difficult to launch a military operation against him.

The North Koreans have been building a nuclear program for three decades. They’re not going to give it up just because Trump asked them. The president had done a masterful job in scaring the shpinkings out of them. But I’m very concerned he has squandered the leverage he had created.

Trump: If Obama Did Like Me North Korea, Media Would Say He’s A Hero

This is absolute, 100 percent, entirely pure, grass-fed, organically grown, TRUTH.

White House: Talks With North Korea Moving “More Quickly Than Expected”

From the White House: The discussions between the United States and North Korea are ongoing and have moved more quickly than expected. President Donald J. Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Following the initial greeting, President Trump and Chairman Kim will participate in a one-on-one meeting,… Continue Reading

Stop All This Nobel Peace Prize Talk; It Only Leads to War!

From a piece I have running in the Washington Examiner. I hope you have a chance to take a look! Another effort is afoot to get inside a president’s head with a Nobel Peace Prize. It worked out very poorly the last time, when the leftist Norwegians who dole out the award gave it to… Continue Reading

Trump on Kim Meeting: “I Don’t Think I Have to Prepare Very Much”

Rut Roh. “I think I’m very well prepared. I don’t think I have to prepare very much.” Politico is reporting that President Trump is already sick of National Security Advisor John Bolton, at least about half the time, and that they are not holding the kind of interagency meetings that would normally proceed such a… Continue Reading