Q&A: The Growing Tension between America and North Korea
Question: The growing tension between the United States and North Korea is rising. The United States is carrying out large-scale military exercises in South Korea. As a result of this tension, America sent a large group of warships, including an aircraft carrier, while North Korea is warning of a nuclear war. The BBC reported on April 15, 2017: North Korea has warned the United States against any provocative actions in the region, saying it is “ready to respond with nuclear attacks.” What is the reality of this tension? Can a nuclear war erupt between them? And what is China’s position on this tension on its borders, especially since North Korea is considered to be its ally?
Answer: Yes, the tension escalated dramatically between North Korea and America after President Trump took office in America. The issue of North Korea’s missile tests is used by America to threaten North Korea. It was noticeable that the escalation of tension became more intense after the arrival of the Trump administration in America as if the administration’s top priority is to eliminate what it calls the North Korean “threat” to its interests and its allies in Asia, and the indicators are:
1- The issue of North Korea in the American strategy is not a question of an enemy military force, with its socialist system and is not subject to the American world order. The small size and strength of North Korea do not place it at the top of the American priority, but it is so because it is part of a whole called China. America is looking with great worry to the increasing growth of China and is looking at all options to curb China’s power. One of these options is to have tension at China’s borders, including North Korea. What confirms that is that America, under the Obama era, has been active in building alliances around China; its relations have been significantly increasing with India, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines as well as South Korea, and it wanted these alliances to be a cordon around China to limit the momentum of China’s investment policy of the South China Sea and to limit the strengthening of its trade routes with the world.
America’s tension with North Korea was one of the other tensions raised by America against China, such as the border dispute between China and India, and the islands issues between China on the one hand, and Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia on the other. Because of China, America has lifted too many restrictions on Japan’s military to confront China. Today, when America places this “threat” issue at the top of its priorities, it is part of its strategy against China. US pressures on North Korea are not new even if they are now taking a more heated approach. This strategy at first took the style of pressured negotiations. America and North Korea’s negotiations in 1994 resulted in the suspension of Pyongyang’s nuclear program. In 2008, the negotiations resulted in the six-party talks in the closing down of the Yongbyon reactor. In the year 2012, it resulted in North Korea’s suspension of its nuclear program and allowing inspectors to enter the country. Every time North Korea resumes its nuclear program because of America’s non-compliance with its commitments to provide light water reactors as alternatives, to provide fuel, or because of America’s humiliation to it through the aid provided by America. America was the one pushing Pyongyang to return to the square of tension … And then America adopted a new method in 2012 to transfer 60% of its naval power to the Far East, and it does so not against the small North Korea but in order to limit China’s power. And the tension today is only in continuation of this limitation.
2- Secretary of State Tillerson announced that the US strategic patience policy towards North Korea has ended. Tillerson said during a press conference with his South Korean counterpart Yun byung-se in Seoul: “Let me be very clear, the strategic patience policy has ended, we are studying new security and diplomatic measures, all options are on the table,” (Reuters, March 17th, 2017). This is also reinforced by the fact that America has been somewhat reassured about Syria after proving Turkey’s ability to force the revolutionaries to hand over Aleppo. That is, subsiding the danger of the Syrian revolution ( as America sees it) allows America to move and focus on North Korea. Thus, North Korea became the No. 1 issue at President Trump’s table after the Syrian issue had been one of the priorities in the Obama administration, and America had not yet prepared its plans for China’s borders as it was considering its options and preparing its alliances. Therefore, the tension with North Korea became the high tone in Washington, and America’s declaration of the end of the policy of strategic patience was the indication of the possibility of Washington’s resorting to a military solution with North Korea. As a result of that, America announced its response to North Korea’s military tests with provocative steps and statements including:
a- US Secretary of State Tillerson threatened North Korea by using nuclear weapons: US Secretary of State Tillerson threatened North Korea of using the “nuclear deterrence” to defend South Korea and Japan in the strongest response to Pyongyang’s latest missile test, and Tillerson issued a joint statement with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, in which he stressed that the United States is “determined” to defend Tokyo and Seoul even by using the “nuclear deterrence” … (Russian Sputnik agency, 17/2/2017).
b- America’s threat to provide South Korea and Japan with nuclear weapons: US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, announced earlier today that he does not rule out a solution that could lead to the emergence of nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan. He did not specify if he means the deployment of US nuclear weapons in those areas, or that these weapons belong to South Korea and Japan … (Russian Sputnik agency, 18/3/2017)
c- With words of provocation, Trump reminded North Korea of several American weapons that the US can strike it by: “The US president also said that he had telephoned the Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday and asked him in an hour-long call to let the ears of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hear that: “The United States has not only aircraft carriers but nuclear submarines too,” he said firmly: “North Korea cannot be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, they do not yet have the means to launch nuclear weapons, but they will have it …” ( Russia Today, 13/4/2017 quoting the American newspaper Wall Street Journal)
d- Due to the recent escalation of tension between the United States and North Korea after Pyongyang’s announced a new missile test and fears of preparing it for a sixth nuclear test, the United States sent a large US force of destroyers and aircraft carriers near North Korea. “The spokesman for the US Pacific Command confirmed that the US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and its aircrafts, as well as two destroyers of missile launchers and rocket launcher, headed towards the Korean Peninsula after it was supposed to stop in Australia, and that it was put in place “as a precautionary measure.” The spokesman added that the source of the number one threat in the region is from North Korea because of its missile program …” (France 24, 9/4/2017)
US Vice President Mike Pence confirmed this on Saturday, 22/4/2017. He told reporters in Sydney: “The aircraft carrier ” will be in the Sea of Japan within days before the end of this month, with two destroyers and a rocket launcher. He continued: “The North Korean regime must make no mistake, for the United States has the resources, personnel, and presence in this region of the world that allows it to safeguard our interests and the security of these interests, and the security of our allies.” Pence vowed that there will be “an overwhelming and effective response” to any attack by North Korea, stressing that the country poses “the most serious threat to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.” (AFP 22 /4/2017)
e- The US large scale military exercises by the American army in South Korea: “The South Korean and US troops began large-scale military exercises on Wednesday, which takes place yearly, to test their defense readiness in the face of North Korea’s threats … The drills come amid heightened tension after the latest attempt to launch a ballistic missile by North Korea on 12th February …” (Reuters, 1/3/2017). It is worth mentioning that the US military has a large military base in South Korea with 28,500 US troops, part of a military system in the countries of the China Basin and the Pacific Islands, with more than a quarter of a million troops, not to mention the naval force that are sailing in the seas.
3- Thus, Trump threatens as if war is imminent. But there are indications that America does not want war now including:
a- America threatened and showed its readiness with a strong response to any new North Korean test, so North Korea responded with a major military parade on 15/4/2017. It was broadcasted by Pyongyang Television, and it showed North Korea’s capabilities to launch ballistic missiles from submarines and the possibility that some of its intercontinental missiles are capable to reach the American territories. This reflected that the reality of power in North Korea is a dilemma for America. America wants to plan a war without facing significant harm, or it does not strike its territory. When North Korea has revealed the reality of its strength, the credibility of the American threats was put in a critical situation. Moreover, Pyongyang did not stop at its highlighted military display and television broadcast (specifically the ability of submarines to carry ballistic missiles and launching them) but it followed that with a missile test on 16/4/2017 as if it was an intercontinental ballistic missile. Although it failed, it increased its defiance of America. This shows that the America’s threats are not real, and that America is now unable to implement them, that is, America is not ready for war yet.
b- The missile defense system (THAAD) has not yet been deployed in South Korea, but it is being prepared although it has been agreed on for about a year. “US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton has confirmed that the missile shield system (THAAD) in South Korea is not yet deployed according to the drawn plan, note that the US missile systems were scheduled to be deployed in South Korea in June or July this year, but the United States and South Korea apparently decided to speed up the operation on the back drop of North Korea’s missile tests. The agreement between Washington and Seoul for the deployment of (THAAD) missile systems in South Korea was reached in July 2016. The plans for the deployment of (THAAD) missiles on the Korean Peninsula are of concern to Russia and China, while Japan considered that this will strengthen the security of the region …” (Russian Sputnik agency, 17/4/2017).
c- It is unlikely that America will engage in a war against North Korea before the 100-day deadline agreed upon with the Chinese president to conclude a major trade agreement that would review the overall trade relations between the two countries. America wants to show some softness in trade with China, contrary to what President Trump promised during his election campaign of imposing a 45 percent tax on Chinese goods, that is, it is trying to lure China into putting pressure on Pyongyang, which would justify abandoning it and leaving it alone facing America and its allies, and this helps America to achieve two objectives:
First, if this succeeds, it will diminish China’s status by showing its abandonment of its allies. As to underestimate China, President Trump’s instructions to authorize Syria’s missile strike on April 7th, 2017 was during a dinner between Trump and the Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida, and that what some considered as an insult to China. Al-Arabiya Net reported on 8/4/2017 (the website reported that Jack Keane, a retired general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, as quoted by Fox News as saying regarding Trump’s behavior: “He’s doing what he says. He’s sending a message to the Chinese ” i.e., regarding his intention to wage war against North Korea, and that China should press on and abandon North Korea. If it did, it would be treated with leniency in the trade agreement.
Second: America wants to try to show the Chinese card against North Korea by increasing the American statements on the consensus of the two countries on the dangerous situation in North Korea, and this will speed up things to achieve the US-Russian consensus; America will use the Korean card to be a playground for the race between Russia and China! The increase in such statements was striking. Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States, said in a press conference with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull: “We were excited by the steps China has taken so far,” Last week, Trump praised China’s efforts to rein in the Korean threat. North Korea after North Korean media warned the United States of a massive pre-emptive strike. “(Al-Hayat Newspaper, Sydney 22/4/ 2017)
d- America wants to face North Korea from a position of power that can weaken Pyongyang, and this is by positioning Russia militarily alongside America against Pyongyang, and perhaps as a spearhead as in Syria, as this would confuse many of the calculations of North Korea which thinks that Russia is an enemy of America. This new old Kissinger plan is what the US sanctions on Russia from the Obama administration are centered around, and temptations for Russia from the Trump administration, was delayed by America, and the most important issue was the alliance against North Korea on the agenda of US Secretary of State Tillerson in Moscow on 11/4/ 2017, as confirmed later by Russian sources on Wednesday, 16/4/2017, quoting the Russian newspaper Kommersant,”As for the United States, according to the outcome of the Moscow talks, it can consider the discussion of the Korean problem a success. This was the priority of Tillerson’s visit to Moscow.” And if the Korean war breaks out before the US-Russian agreement, America could suffer heavy losses. America also wants to make China affected by the escalation of the threat to intervene in the face of North Korea for fear of a nuclear war.
4- Because of all the above, America is not prepared for the war in North Korea now, and has no other suitable solutions. It is waiting for China to pressure North Korea, and is trying to speed it up, and its statements that America is ready to solve the problem on its own (i.e., without China) is increasing, as if it is threatening China to obey America and pressurize Pyongyang to disarm its nuclear weapons. America is also waiting for its agreement with Russia to involve it in solving the Korean dilemma. In the face of these imperfect conditions for the war, the United States has retreated from its threats even though North Korea has not retreated from its missile and nuclear tests and continues to threaten a full-scale war on American soil, showing its fearlessness of a nuclear war. The evidence for America’s toning down is its latest statements:
The Associated Press quoted a US military source, who asked not to be identified, that Washington currently has no real intention to strike North Korea even if the latter continued in its nuclear and missile tests. The source added that Washington’s plans will change only when Pyongyang attacks South Korea, Japan, or the United States, and that the US leadership agreed at the present time to wait and not to escalate (Russia Today, 15/4/2017). America is de-escalating matters that it has escalated out of a rash decision. “The Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Susan Thornton, said her country is not seeking conflict with North Korea or changing its regime: “The United States has clearly stated that it wants to solve this problem with North Korea through disarmament of nuclear weapon peacefully on the Korean Peninsula, we certainly do not focus on conflict or regime change.” (Russia Today, 17/4/2017). US Vice President Mike Pence said: “Nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula could still be peaceful, thanks to Washington’s new engagement with Beijing, despite growing fears that North Korea would conduct a new nuclear test soon”. Pence said: “We really believe that if China and the allied countries in the region put pressure, there is an opportunity to achieve the historic goal of making the Korean peninsula nuclear-free by peaceful means … ” (Al-Hayat Newspaper, Sydney, 22/4/2017)
5- This is the reality of the situation and the tension on the Korean peninsula caused by the American recklessness and planning, and those were the active parties, and this is the general line. However, the situation is flammable at any moment, and the threat of war breaking out remains waiting for the conditions to be completed by special agreement expected between America and Russia. If agreed, the likelihood of escalation will increase and if their agreement is delayed too much or did not take place, the situation on the Korean peninsula will remain on a moderate state of tension in order to keep pressure on Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament. If the US administration rush in dealing with North Korea, then the ramification will be devastating.
This administration does not have the wisdom to implement accurate strategies: “Former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned against Washington’s preemptive strike on North Korea, saying any move in this direction would ignite a nuclear war that would cost millions of lives, “This is why the former US presidents stopped pushing the trigger and hit North Korea.” He added: “The US administration must be careful in choosing its words, avoiding escalation, and be cautious and not take any hasty decisions, “he pointed out to the necessity to wait for what China will be able to achieve in the direction of calm, especially as Washington has recently given it a chance to intervene, and it may be able to influence”. (Russia Today, 15/4/2017)
6- As for the reality of China’s position, it is fully aware that it is indirectly targeted by America’s igniting tension not to mention the war, so it is doing what it can to defuse the ignition. It calls for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, rejects military solutions, and openly rejects the militarization of the Korean Peninsula, including its categorical rejection of setting up “THAAD” the American anti-missiles system in South Korea, “and China’s Foreign Ministry expresses Beijing’s opposition to deploy THAAD system, demanding at the same time North Korea and its neighboring countries to refrain from committing any acts of incitement …” (Al-Jazeera Net 17/4/2017). However, it is bracing for the worst, and is preparing for the probability of war, and it is worried about it. The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, said: “If the war broke out, there will be no victorious side” (BBC 15/4/2017). As for the Chinese military readiness, Russia Today reported on 14/4/2017, United Press International the American agency revealed that the Chinese armed forces had received orders directly from the General Command of the Army to maintain high alert in five military zones. According to the agency based on the non-governmental Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Hong Kong that artillery battalions in the military areas of Chongqing, Sichuan and Yunnan in China were ordered to move and station on the border with North Korea. According to the center, some 25,000 military personnel from the 47-army stationed in the west have been ordered to move with their war machinery for long distances towards a military base near the North Korean border. A Japanese news agency reported that the reason behind the move of Chinese troops to the North Korean border is Beijing’s concern that Washington may preemptively attack Pyongyang, similar to the scenario of the US missile attack on Al-Shayrat military base in Syria).
This is what we think in this matter according to the analysis of current events at least during the foreseeable future, and even beyond, and we say this because the world is controlled by monsters in human clothes who have no value for human blood. if their bloody interests require that, they will rush to shed rivers of blood with their nuclear and non-nuclear weapons as they did and do. The world will not feel safe and secure unless capitalism and other man-made systems cease to exist and no longer control the world, and the system of the truth and justice, the righteous Khilafah, the system of the Lord of the Worlds, dominates this world and spread the good and the joy of living and tranquility. The Creator is the one Who knows what works best for His creatures
أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ
“Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?”
26 Rajab 1438 AH