November 07, 2017

At North Korea's Doorstep, Trump Warns of U.S. Power While Also Striking Conciliatory Note

Steve Holland, Matt Spetalnick, Christine Kim | Reuters
President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned North Korea he was prepared to use the full range of U.S. military power to stop any attack, but in a more conciliatory appeal than ever before he urged Pyongyang to “make a deal” to end the nuclear standoff. Speaking on North Korea’s doorstep during a visit to Seoul, Trump said that while “we hope to God” not to have to resort to the use of full U.S. military might, he was ready to do whatever was necessary to prevent the “North Korean dictator” from threatening millions of lives.

America's Efforts to Subdue North Korea Will Fail—Unless China Gets Involved

Tong Zhao
President Donald Trump will visit Beijing on November 8, against the background of North Korea’s repeated threat to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean and an increasing sense of cluelessness among the international community about how to deal with Pyongyang. One thing is certain when Trump meets President Xi Jinping in Beijing: he will push very hard for China to impose stronger pressure on North Korea. However, Trump is unlikely to achieve his goal. There has been a deep and fundamental divergence of views between China and the United States about North Korea’s nuclear ambition and how to deal with the threat. If Trump wants to make his upcoming summit meeting with Xi successful, it is time to take a step back and reflect on his overall approach to solicit China’s cooperation. To start with, he needs to understand why China hasn’t used all its seeming leverage and acted to constrain North Korea to the greatest extent possible.

Securing North Korean Nuclear Sites Would Require a Ground Invasion, Pentagon Says

Dan Lamothe and Carol Morello | Washington Post
The only way to locate and secure all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons sites “with complete certainty” is through an invasion of ground forces, and in the event of conflict, Pyongyang could use biological and chemical weapons, the Pentagon told lawmakers in a new, blunt assessment of what war on the Korean Peninsula might look like. The Pentagon, in a letter to lawmakers, said that a full discussion of U.S. capabilities to “counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities” is best suited for a classified briefing.

Satellite Images Spot Increased Activity at North Korean Nuclear Test Site Tunnel Complex

Jesse Johnson | Japan Times
Significant activity has been spotted at North Korea’s main atomic test site’s west portal — an as-of-yet unused tunnel complex where little or no activity had been observed over the past several months — raising the possibility of preparations for a fresh nuclear test, an analysis of new satellite imagery showed Monday.

White House Requests $4B for Missile Defense to Counter North Korea

Rebecca Kheel | Hill
The White House is requesting another $4 billion for missile defense in the face of growing threats from North Korea. “This request supports additional efforts to detect, defeat, and defend against any North Korean use of ballistic missiles against the United States, its deployed forces, allies or partners,” President Trump wrote in a letter to Congress on Monday.

How the U.S. Can Deal With Iran's Ballistic Missile Program

Richard Nephew | Foreign Affairs
When President Donald Trump announced last month that he had refused to certify the national security value of the Iran nuclear deal, giving Congress an opportunity to fatally undermine the agreement, he focused on a supposed shortcoming that has long concerned the deal’s critics: a “near total silence on Iran’s missile programs,” as he put it. The fact that Iran has continued its ballistic-missile program, the critics’ argument goes, demonstrates the failure of the nuclear deal (also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) to improve regional and global security.