North Korea attacks South Korea and now Japan is on high alert:
North Korea’s artillery attack on a South Korean island put the Japanese government on high alert, with Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordering his cabinet members to step up information-gathering and prepare for emergencies.
China sends two ships to patrol islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by Japan, the latest sign of heightened tension between the two nations.
After Mr. Kan gathered his key cabinet ministers for an emergency meeting late Tuesday, Tokyo issued a statement that harshly condemned Pyongyang for its attacks on civilian targets and expressed strong support for South Korea.
At about 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Korea, North Korea commenced a fusillade of artillery fire across the disputed maritime border between North and South, attacking an island in what the Koreas call the West Sea. For just over an hour, the North bombarded Yeonpyeong Island, killing two South Korean marines, injuring 16 more marines and injuring at least three civilians. More than 50 homes caught fire because of the bombardment, and residents of the sparsely populated island scrambled for safety in a bomb shelter. The South responded by scrambling F-16s — which did not cross into North Korean airspace, the South Korean Joint Chiefs said — and returning artillery fire, to unknown effect.
The assault — the second in the area in the past year — came in the midst of a nine-day live-fire exercise conducted by South Korean forces in the waters near the so-called Northern Limit Line, the U.N.-mandated maritime border that Pyongyang does not recognize. Late Tuesday, the North explicitly blamed these exercises for its attack: “Despite our repeated warnings, South Korea provoked us by firing artillery shells into our territory,” said a statement from Pyongyang that was carried on the Korean Central News Agency, the North’s primary external propaganda arm. “Our revolutionary forces countered with stern military actions. It is our traditional military countermeasure to punish perpetrator’s fire with a thunderbolt of fire.” The South, for the record, said the exercises were conducted on its side of the so-called NLL.
But the timing, with U.S. special envoy Stephen Bosworth in the region, was probably not coincidental. The skirmish comes less than two weeks after North Korea allowed a prominent American nuclear scientist to see a brand-new facility for the production of highly enriched uranium — one of the two possible source materials for producing a nuclear bomb. Siegfried Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Labs in the U.S., described the facility, which sits next to the North’s plutonium reactor in Yongbyon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang, as “stunning.” Though the North told Hecker during his 3½-hr. visit that the centrifuges in use there were intended to enrich uranium only to produce electricity, the revelation heightened fears that Pyongyang seeks to develop nuclear weapons with highly enriched uranium.
Heightened fears? Gimme a break. Of course it’s to develop even more nuke’s. The new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, decided it was the best time to flex his muscles and he did just that.
According to the article the US has no plans to re-engage with the fruitless six-party talks with North Korea, which is good. They wouldn’t do any good with a regime such as North Korea’s. But what could work is a strategy laid out by Charles Krauthammer:
I think we have to completely redirect the policy. It’s not to aim at the leadership in [North] Korea. It’s to aim at the leadership in China. We heard earlier in the show that the Pentagon is considering a request by the South Koreans for tactical American nuclear weapons … We ought to go one step beyond that, to offer South Korea its own nuclear program and to encourage the Japanese to arm themselves if they need to. The way to say it is: All our [Six-Party] negotiations including China — with China — have not succeeded. You’re going to have to arm yourselves and develop a deterrent.
That will get the attention of the Chinese. Up until now the Chinese have played a double game. They have no interest in helping us on the [North Korea] issue. They like having it as a thorn in our side. It’s distracting us as China expands its influence in all of Asia.
What we ought to say is: What they’re worried about is a Japan with nukes or a South Korea with nukes. Let them [the Chinese] imagine that will be the outcome of this double game — and they will begin to act. They control what happens in Pyongyang. All the fuel, all the food comes through China and they could turn it off.
He is so right on target here. Negotiations with NK will produce absolutely nothing except getting our chain yanked. Make their benefactors worry and results may come about quite quickly.
Of course there is one thorn in this plan.
Obama, being a weak liberal, wouldn’t even consider a plan like this. The man was made to have his chain yanked.