The North Korean Deception

As expected, the North's nuclear development continues.

Via the NYT: In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception

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.

In other words, North Korea is behaving exactly how anyone with any knowledge of the situation said they would behave.  And, moreover, that the Trump-Kim summit was exactly the sham that the critics said that it was.

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.

Kim full understands that he can proceed with his weapons program and exploit Trump naivete if he just refrains from the louder, more public elements in his limited tool box.  Yes, the fact that they have stopped live missile tests is good, but it is not evidence that they are complying with US goals for the peninsula.

This is not what denuclearization looks like and Trump either doesn’t really care or has been utterly fooled (or both).

 

FILED UNDER: Asia, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    But will any of this get mentioned in the Fox Bubble?

  2. mattbernius says:

    Let’s not forget that Iran was following to the parameters of the multi-national agreement far better than the Koreans have been sticking to this unilateral framework agreement.

    Not to mention they, the Iranians, were still talking with all parties. The North Koreans just canceled another diplomatic meeting (https://www.wsj.com/articles/pompeos-meeting-with-north-korean-officials-is-postponed-1541569238). The going belief is that they want to wait until another meeting with Trump because they know they can get the best US concessions (not to mention another PR win) out of him.

    But what do all those egg head experts and scholars know?

  3. @mattbernius: It is truly distressing to know that that current administration is actively making the world more dangerous our of a combination of immaturity and ignorance.

  4. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Yup. BTW the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) just certified for the 13th time in a row that Iran is in compliance with the agreement. But of course, their compliance with the agreement was not the issue that Trump gave for withdrawing from that agreement.

    10
  5. Kathy says:

    It is a sad state of affairs, when the guy who was fooled can fool his base into believing he wasn’t fooled.

  6. @Kathy: Reminds me of a line from Star Wars: “Who is more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?”

  7. Mister Bluster says:

    “I was really being tough and so was he,” he said. “And we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters.”
    Love Stinks

  8. Cheryl Rofer says:

    No deception – this is what the North Koreans have been saying all along.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    But but but trump makes the best deals! He told us so!

  10. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m sure that we will hear about it in June 2021, when Fox starts with “WOW, President Hickenlooper really screwed up North Korea. Trump had them under control”

    (Hickenlooper chosen for having the funniest name, this does not imply a prediction or an endorsement. Have we had a President with a four syllable last name?)

  11. Matt says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m sure it will be mentioned….as fake news.