North Korea Nullifies 1953 Armistice
Things are heating up on the Korean Peninsula again.
North Korea says that has withdrawn from the Armistace that ended the Korean War:
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea declared the 1953 Korean War armistice nullified on Monday, following through on a longstanding threat that it renewed last week amid rising tensions with South Korea.
The move comes as the United States and South Korea are in the midst of two months of joint military drills, which started on March 1, and on Monday they began another planned joint military exercise that involved bringing 2,500 troops from the United States. Stirring up a sense of crisis among its impoverished people, North Korea was also staging an unusually vigorous military drill of its own, South Korean officials said.
However, there were no signs of hostility along the border between the two Koreas. South Korean officials said they were increasing their vigilance amid fears that North Korea might use the United States-South Korean military drills and a fresh round of United Nations sanctions as an excuse to create an armed skirmish against the South.
“We must deal strongly with a North Korean provocation,” the South’s new president, Park Geun-hye, said during her first cabinet meeting on Monday. She called for the protection of people living on a border island that was attacked by North Korean artillery in 2010 and of South Koreans working in a joint industrial park in the North Korean border city of Gaesong.
But she also said her two-week-old government would work to build “trust” with North Korea.
During the cabinet meeting, Ms. Park also criticized senior military officers for playing golf last weekend amid the tensions with the North. Her office was investigating news reports that a military golf course in Seoul was crowded with senior army officers, including generals, on Saturday and Sunday.
Kim Min-seok, spokesman of the Defense Ministry, admitted that some some officers played golf at the weekend. But he added that none of them served in sensitive commanding posts.
The exchange of bellicose language between the two Koreas has recently intensified, recalling the level of tension after the North Korean artillery barrage in 2010, which left four South Koreans dead. After the United Nations imposed the new sanctions as a penalty for the North’s third nuclear test, on Feb. 12, the North said that it would nullify the armistice and that it was being threatened with a pre-emptive nuclear strike that it might itself pre-empt with nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul. South Korea responded that in the case of such attacks, the North Korean government would be “erased from the Earth.”
The North Koreans also cut a Red Cross hotline between Seoul and Pyongyang and threatened further escalation:
(Reuters) - North Korea has cut off a Red Cross hotline with South Korea as it escalates its war of words against Seoul and Washington in response to a military drill in the South and U.N. sanctions imposed for its recent nuclear test.
The North had threatened to cut off the hotline on March 11 if the United States and South Korea did not abandon their joint military exercise.
The Red Cross hotline is used to communicate between Seoul and Pyongyang which do not have diplomatic relations.
“We called at 9 a.m. and there was no response,” a government official from South Korea said. The line is tested each day.
Pyongyang has also threatened to cut off a hotline with U.N. forces in South Korea, at the border “truce village” of Pammunjom.
Cutting off both of these hotlines would be a potentially serious move, most especially because it would mean the end of communication between DPRK and United Nations (mostly, of course, United States) forces, which creates the risk that a mistake or error on one side of the border or another will lead to escalation far beyond what is justified. All this come at the same time as reports that the latest round of sanctions, along with Chinese efforts to crack down on cross border smuggling have caused the prices of basic commodities like rice to jump as much as 50-70%, creating an impossible situation for most North Koreans. Thus, we’re likely looking at yet another round of North Korean saber rattling prompted by a domestic crisis. This time, though, they’re taking steps that make the situation even more dangerous than it already is.
It seems that the DPRK may be more serious than mere saber rattling. Xinhua is reporting the Chinese calling for the six party peace talks to resume. And it has previously released state info not meant for Chinese consumption amidst reports of the new standing committee having a hard time establishing a working relationship with Pyongyang.
So our longest running war is heating up. The Armistice didn’t end the war, it simply halted hostilities, at least, large-scale ones. But if NK is pulling out of the Armistice, that can only mean that we are well on our way to a hot war. The Armistice might be historically seen as a naive failure by the UN that gave the North Koreans time to develop nuclear capabilities before resuming hostilities.
I think matters may develop differently. Kim Jong-Un’s craziness could cause his military to react and depose him. The course Kim has taken has a high risk of ruin for all of them or at least some of them may think so. Self preservation may kick in for some north of the 38th parallel.
No, it can mean a whole range of things from, “We’re just going to yell a lot,” to, “We’re going to cause a border incident that will be forgotten six months later,” to, “Let slip the dogs of war.”
I have no doubt that you are posting this en route to your local recruiting station.
My uncle was a Marine at Frozen Chosin, among other places. A little time chatting with him about the realties of combat on the Korean Peninsula would probably cool some of the armchair warriors off.
For all us commenters know the Chinese have offered to tamp down the sabre-rattling in exchange for all of the islands they claim.
I understand Republicans have a call in to Netanyahoo for guidance as to how to proceed.
@BIll: Unlikely due to the fact that his uncle Jang Song Thaek has purged many of his enemies and anyone with dreams of power from the military. However, his power is tied to his wife who is blood relation to the Kim dynasty.
Far be it from me to interrupt the latest round of UN bashing, but what would have been the alternative to the Armistice? Escalating tensions with China during the original Korean War, perhaps…
Is Kim Jon-Un crazy, or is his military crazy?
I’m not sure what you are getting at. There is no reason for the UN, i.e., in this case the US, to alter our approach to the DMZ. Assuming, of course, NK doesn’t decide to cross it. Or Obama doesn’t need the conflict as a diversion from his domestic failures.
I’d expect China would take matters in hand and deal with North Korea before they’d want more US, I mean UN coalition, troops landing on what they consider their front yard. China eventually wants to be able to deny the US access to the waters inside the First Line Islands. Tough to do when those waters are designated as an area of combat operations due to a crazy neighbor.
And just how does your last comment square with your earlier assertion that “This means war!?”
War in Korea could be a very bad scene, especially for South Korea. We should do everything we can reasonably do to avoid it.
That said, if ever anyone had it coming . . .
I’m not sure what you’re getting at, either. There’s a vast difference between somebody who recognizes a hot war will occur and somebody who is actively cheering for that war.
Look, outside of a few armchair hawks, nobody really wants war. But at the same time, I gotta ask … what do you consider acceptable? Yes, war is awful to imagine. But at the same time, what is the United States supposed to do if North Korea attacks (or even appears to attack) South Korea? Are we supposed do say, “Yeah, war is bad,” and then withdraw all of our troops?
I don’t particularly want war. But if another nation attacks an ally that has long relied on a guarantee of US protection … then the United States has an obligation to respond.
What a completely ridiculous statement. Whether or not you like the UN, there actually hasn’t been an active war on the Korean Peninsula in about 3 generations. The people rattling sabers now weren’t even born when that was signed. Hell, the Treaty of Versailles didn’t even keep the Germans peaceful for 20 years – was that a naive UN mistake also?
@An Interested Party:
He probably thinks that MacArthur’s idea to bomb China was a good idea.
Indeed, I remember reading not to long ago that the DPRK has enough artillery on the other side of the DMZ to essentially reduce Seoul to a burning heap within less than a hour.
In the end, a renewed conflict on the Peninsula would mean the destruction of the DPRK, but they would take a lot of people out with them
To be fair, many historians would suggest that the Treaty of Versailles actually made the Second World War inevitable.
Let’s see, we had a ceasefire. The crazy, aggressive side has just renounced that ceasefire. I think, historically, I’m on firm ground that this means a hot war unless something serious changes.
When we are talking about Republicans, I think a few million armchair hawks is more like it.
I was talking to one of my buddies yesterday, his father was a Marine who served in combat during WW2 with enough distinction that his name pops up some of the books about the war many of us have read.
We were talking about GOP war cheerleading.
His comment was “F**king Republicans. There is no war, anywhere, anytime, that they are against. Every war is good in their books. As long as they are not the ones doing the fighting. If they actually knew what they were talking about, it would be a different story.”
And the guys who actually do the fighting? Just look how the GOP recently trashed Chuck Hagel.
If that happens? North Koreas military will have to be utterly destroyed, and their leaders have to die. Have I said anything that would lead a reasonable person to conclude I am a pacifist or an isolationist?
It’s a tricky situation that could enter an escalation spiral quite quickly. The ROK has had it to here after losing a destroyer and taking a shelling a couple years ago, and has sworn to take out some of the DPRK military bases next time. The DRPK is seeking attention, but they best be careful, Murphy is always lurking.
Of course, there was no United Nations when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. There was hope for the now defunct League of Nations.
After reading Legacy of Ashes and Ghost Wars, I’m quite skeptical of the quality of CIA intelligence regarding the elite circles in NK.
The new Kim hasn’t been long in power, and this might have much more to do with internal politics than it does an actual threat to our allies in East Asia.
That said, no doubt our forces there are on high alert. Let’s show some confidence in our military to make the correct decisions.
External actions from the DPRK often have internal explanations, but that doesn’t mean that these aren’t potentially alarming developments. The idea of shutting down one of the only two means of communication between the North and South, and threatening to shutdown the other one, is particularly worrisome.
Wars often start because of mistakes or misinterpretations and without a means of communication, it’s not too hard to see how action on one side or the other of the DMZ could lead to an overreaction.
Part of what is worrisome is that NK leadership is further and further away from actual war experience. Any NK generals that still remember the war must be pretty old by this point. Kim Il Sung had personal experience, Kim Jong Il had none but would at least have grown up around people who had fought. Kim Jong Un has no personal knowledge and may be more prone to error. They may think they’re ready for war, but the war they’re ready for was fought in the 40’s.
Indeed. I’d be surprised if any of the members of the DPRK military leadership had any direct war experience at this point. If they did, then, they’d have to be between 90 and 100 years old.
More worrisome, I think, is that the NoKo’s seem to be more and more willing to ignore China. Of course, that may mean that, at some point, Beijing will just step in and decide the issue.
Weren’t we told back in the 1990’s that Richardson and Albright had solved this mess?
In any event, Kim 3.0 is just as nutty as his predecessors. Making matters worse I’m not completely sure he’s actually gotten through puberty. Not a good combination. Plus it’s not entirely comforting to know that JFK (the lesser) is our point man on this shindig.
That said, however, if I were a betting man, which of course I am, although no longer on Intrade (sigh), I’d wager that we’re in for another round of sabre rattling followed by some concessions by the Norks in exchange for food. For theirs is a failed system even by leftism standards and their people quite literally are starving to death. Will sabre rattle for food appears to be the most likely explanation for this latest nuttiness.
@Doug Mataconis: I find it reassuring that China seems to be backing down from their support of the DPRK. There was initial hope that with the new standing committee Zhang Dezhang would help stabilze this problem, part of the reason he was fast tracked after helping solve the illegal immigration problems in the 90’s. NoKo may be bold but they know without China there is no hope. I think that with China calling for a renewed round of the six party talks, the US would be smart to listen.
Um…you’re aware this is 2013 right?
What a maroon. I mean seriously.
If you were a stock I’d short you.
@Doug Mataconis: Very true – both that historians would suggest it and that (IMHO) they would be correct. But screwing up an actual peace treaty led to another world war within 2 decades. The UN-brokered armistice has lasted more than 3 times as long (and hasn’t failed back to war yet)… if the UN was “naive”, what then were the US, Britain, and France?
Weren’t we told that Eisenhower solved our road problems?
Thinking like Tsar is fun.
@C. Clavin: I understand Republicans have a call in to Netanyahoo for guidance as to how to proceed.
How nice. The resident Jew-hater has seven “helpfuls” for that bit of anti-Semitism. And yes, dragging in Netanyahu when the topic is North Korea is anti-Semitic. The slurring of his name into an insult is just a bit of frosting on the cake.
Nice crowd you have here, Doug.
I still want to know what this looks like. You guys are giving China too much credit for running things in NK.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
You do realize that by making Netanyahu the litmus test for anti-Semitism, a large segment of the Israeli population would be composed of inveterate Jew-haters.
@Surreal American: No, by making Netanyahu the litmus test for policy vis-a-vis North Korea, Cliffy outs himself as a Jew-hater. There was literally no reason to bring that up, with a slur on the name, unless one wants to establish one’s Jew-hating credentials.
For which he was promptly applauded.
@Jenos Idanian #13: Ever meet a Jewish person? Thought not. Sincerely, a real Jew who doesn’t want your phony caring.
China doesn’t run NK, but neither do they want the US conducting military operations in what they consider their front yard. With US warships operating in war mode in waters they consider the same way we consider the Caribbean. But if NK becomes an active threat to the US, South Korea or Japan, there will be combat operations on the peninsula, the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan .
No, actually we were told that when a president lies about having sex with an intern, that that is the most serious issue we will have to deal with.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
So, one hates Jews if one does not support Netanyahu?
i thought rodman threw water on the flames last week…wth? nk just wants some food to tease/control their starving masses with- and test the female leader to the south and apologist to the east. that’s all, china won’t tolerate anyone messing with their economy- ’nuff said.
It appears that Jenos is an even bigger imbecile than we thought. This is pretty common stuff in the sewers of the right though. Bithead once went on a daylong rant about how I am an anti-semite because I said the Menachem Begin was once a wanted terrorist – which is, after all, a historic fact.
Well, not quite that old, but old, around 77-80 at youngest, say. The armistice was signed 60 years ago.
it is the most serious issue we will have to deal with. http://www.hqew.net
@anjin-san: My father-in-law said that in eighteen months in Korea, he experienced both the coldest and the hottest weather he’d ever seen. He was from Louisiana, so I presume he knew hot weather when he saw it.
At the moment, all that has definitively changed is in the realm of the rhetorical and the symbolic.As such, it is a bit of a jump to assume any of this means a hot war.
It is worth noting that this may have been done for domestic political consumption or as an attempt to alter the negotiation situation (or other reasons).
The potential for resumed hostilities has always been present, so it isn’t like the situation has changed as dramatically as some are asserting.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
You really don’t have a clue, do you?
This is incredibly moronic…even by the incredibly moronic standards you set for yourself daily.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
What?!? Do you not remember the election campaign we had just a few months ago, when Republicans made such a big deal about getting Bibi’s backing for _anything_ we did in the Middle East? Cliffy’s comment had _nothing_ to do with anti-semitism, or Israel for that matter – it was a shot at Republican chair-hawks who don’t actually know anything about military or foreign policy.
Really, these attempts of yours to derail literally every single thread you comment on into your own rabbit-hole of stupid are becoming downright pathological. You’re losing your troll cred, man.
I’m waiting for my apology…
@Jenos Idanian #13:
This really is silly.
Let’s go through the steps:
The man’s name is Netanyahu.
The pronunciation of the last two syllables sounds like the English word “yahoo”
The word “yahoo” can be defined as “A rude, noisy, or violent person.”
So, this is really just a bit a fun-poking of a fairly low-level intensity. It is hardly a slur.
The overall point is based in a critique that some think that the GOP looks too much to Israel to help define US national security interests.
This really isn’t that difficult to understand and is hardly anti-Semitic. It is a criticism of a specific politician and, really, more aimed at domestic US political actors.
I point this out not because it would have been my choice to go the Netanyahu (or Netanyahoo) route, but to point out how ridiculous your alleged outrage in on this topic.
I haven’t bothered to read all 53 comments, but I don’t see it mentioned anywhere that North Korea has *already* nullified the Armistice something like 15 times previously, and has cut the hotline several times as well. It’s their only recourse, and it’s weak tea.
I should say, only recourse besides starting war and effectively committing suicide.
Nothing to see here folks.. The NK elites and power class have a nice life carved out for themselves. They ain’t gambling that away for the sake of war which, even if they won, would force them to grow their control apparatus orders of magnitude bigger than it already is to keep what they have from slipping away. Of course when they lose then its goodbye nice life. Anything but the status quo is a lose-lose for these clowns. Seriously, in 1950, their aeriel capability was equal to the US which allowed their superior numbers on the ground to fight us to a stalemate. Fast forward a half century and their 60s-70s technology is going to fare them as well as it fared the Iraqis. China is too busy making money around the world to intervene in the foolishness of their drunken cousins. Their power elite kool-aid drinkers put on corporatist regailia years ago. The only trump card NK has is the capability to hold the south hostage with their artellery and nukes. But for that we’d have shaved this heel spur down decades ago.
Oh and Jenos, there is a difference in Judiasm (the culture and religion) and Zionism the political movement. Don’t get it twisted. People like you purposely muddy the waters between the two in order to stiffle legitimate political criticism with anti-semetic accusations.
@SC_Birdflyte: Sounds like central Illinois weather. -10 – 110f winter to the peak of summer with +70% humidity. Not even accounting for windchill.
There are a few significant differences this time. Close watchers of NK note that many of those past instance’s preceded a bit of shooting, most recently the shelling of a SK island and the sinking of a small destroyer. Combined with the new ROK stance, which, roughly paraphrased, is: “Next time we flatten something of yours, count on it!”, new, unknown, leadership in both countries, it’s not quite same ol’ same ol’.
Un’s willingness to give the finger to China is rightfully troubling. He just might be a spoiled brat looking to be a “wartime President”, as it were…
@Steven L. Taylor: I apologize. I should have responded in kind, saying that Obama first had to check with his Kenyan puppeteers before he “decided” what course to take.
Would that have been more to your liking?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Oddly enough, no.
@Jenos Idanian #13: Let’s see… Netanyahu vocally supported Romney in the last election; the GOP embraced that support whole-heartedly and ran with it. Obama… doesn’t really talk to anyone in Kenya, and nobody on that entire continent has any influence over Obama or the Democratic party of any kind, so… yeah – they’re totally equivalent!
Really dude, your trolling has very been sub-par lately. You need to step up your game before the Tsar eats your lunch.
@ Jenos Idanian #13
Do you actually think these little chestnuts you generate are displays of wit? I am here to tell you they are not. In your little fantasy, you may think you are C. D. Bales, effortlessly dancing verbal rings around your hapless opponents, but that is simply not the case – and not by a long shot.
In reality, you are quite a bit like Harcourt Fenton Mudd.
@anjin-san: Harcourt Fenton Mudd was amusing.
@ Steven L. Taylor
Amusing? To the audience perhaps. To the people who actually had to put up with him – what was Kirk’s parting line to Mudd? – Oh yes:
“You’re an irritant Harry. You’ll stay here and provide a first-class example to the androids of a human failure.”
@anjin-san: Are you suggesting that Jenos is amusing to the audience?
@anjin-san: “In reality, you are quite a bit like Harcourt Fenton Mudd. ”
Which makes Tsar N Trelayne…
@ Steven L. Taylor
I think the reason Mudd provided amusement is that he was a clown that did not realize he was a clown. Its not the comparison I started out with, but I think it fits Jenos. Sadly, he does not even provide amusement, just irritation. I suspect annoying people has been his go-to method for getting noticed his entire life. It would explain why he is so good at it.
There really is no audience here among the commentariat, we are all participants. We are part of the show. If “The Life of Jenos” was a TV show, I suspect it might be mildly amusing to it’s audience in a pathetic sort of way – for three episodes, followed by a swift and unlamented cancellation.
I certainly don’t think he is amusing to any of us, he has single-handedly lowered the quality of OTB. I was a bartender for a long time, I know all about the boring barfly that won’t shut up and won’t go away. That’s Jenos.
Of course if this was a bar, he would have long since gotten his ass kicked for doing things like calling people Jew-haters.
Where does bithead fit into the OTB/Trekverse? How about Drew? Matt Decker perhaps?
@Steven L. Taylor: I at least try to make my response to him amusing… Sometimes, as with puns, the focus of the humor is the reaction of the audience itself…
Everything I have ever heard about the Korean War is dismal. My father was lucky, he spoke five languages, so he got sent to Europe to be a translator. The Army being the Army, he never worked a day as a translator, instead ending up as a clerk to a base commander, spending his leave time in Paris and touring Bavaria. He said the guys from his basic training unit got chewed up pretty badly in the war.
There may indeed be another war in Korea. I hope not, it would be very bad. For the people fighting it, for the civilians, and for the world economy.
I want to see an apology from Grassley.
@anjin-san: I guess I could see Drew as a Ferengi. Bit’s kind of a problem, because I think utopian Roddenberry was specifically trying to envision a future without people like him.
But where do we classify GA?
It would have to be a TNG Ferengi. DS9 Ferengi were far better developed characters.
McCoy on an OD of cordrazine?
Where do we classify GA? A tribble.
More like a Cardassian vole…
Regulan bloodworm? Denebian slime devil?
@ Surreal American
He called the Enterprise a garbage scow!
“I see. And… that’s when you hit the Klingon?”
“You hit the Klingons because they insulted the Enterprise, not because they…”
“Well, sir, this was a matter of pride.”
@Dazedandconfused: That’s all true, although they do have a history of testing new South Korean leadership, as well, so to me that’s part of their normal game. I’m no expert, I’m just pointing out that the headline isn’t really that jarring.
Mind you, I believe something has to give at some point. I’m just not yet convinced it’s this time.
Yes. The sad thing is they could have found as much or more juicy drama had they had dug deeper rather than shallow it up. NK sortied all their diesel subs, which is consistent with expecting to get hit, and we have a joint exercise running with a super-carrier in the neighborhood. There will be some jervous and nerky people minding the red buttons out there.
China’s sorta stuck between two hards rocks on the Nork issue–they historically were propping them up as being Best Buddies against those running dog capitalists, but have gotten less and less in return over the years. Plus they’re worried about collapse of the regime and all the hordes stampeding over the border. They probably wouldn’t mind offhand if Kim Jong-Un and his band of crazies were to take out Seoul, but they’re terrified of the ramifications (everybody and his brother in Asia getting into a nuclear arms race.)
I’m pretty sure if the Chinese could figure out how to take out the entire country they’d do it.