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USA former Vice President Dick Cheney sabotaged diplomacy efforts with North Korea

How Cheney and His Allies Created the North Korea Nuclear Missile Crisis,    December 28, 2017, By Gareth Porter, Truthout | News Analysis, The Trump administration has been telling people for months that the crisis with North Korea is the result of North Korea’s relentless pursuit of a nuclear threat to the US homeland and past North Korean cheating on diplomatic agreements. However, North Korea reached agreements with both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations that could have averted that threat, had they been completed.

Instead, a group of Bush administration officials led by then-Vice President Dick Cheney sabotaged both agreements, and Pyongyang went on to make rapid strides on both nuclear and missile development, leading ultimately to the successful late November 2017 North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test.

The record shows, moreover, that Cheney and his allies derailed diplomatic efforts to curb North Korean nuclear and missile development, not because they opposed “arms control” (after all, the agreements that were negotiated would have limited only North Korean arms), but because those agreements would have been a political obstacle to fielding the group’s main interest: funding and fielding a national missile defense system as quickly as possible. The story of Cheney’s maneuvering to kill two agreements shows how a real US national security interest was sacrificed to a massive military boondoggle that served only the interests of the powerful contractors behind it………


December 30, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Is Trump planning to kill the Iran nuclear deal, in January?

How Trump could kill the Iran nuclear deal in January The president will soon face a series of deadlines during which he could deliver on a campaign promise to rip up the 2015 agreement. Politico eu, By 12/28/17, President Donald Trump allowed the Iran nuclear deal to survive through 2017, but the new year will offer him another chance to blow up the agreement — and critics and supporters alike believe he may take it.

By mid-January, the president will face new legal deadlines to choose whether to slap U.S. sanctions back on Tehran. Senior lawmakers and some of Trump’s top national security officials are trying to preserve the agreement. But the deal’s backers fear Trump has grown more willing to reject the counsel of his foreign policy team, as he did with his recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital……..

The deal was negotiated in 2015 by the Obama administration, along with five other nations. It lifted U.S. and European sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict limits on Tehran’s nuclear program. …..

The deadlines for Trump begin on January 11, when the agreement requires him — as it does every 90 days — to certify whether Tehran is meeting its obligations under the deal. International inspectors who visit the country’s nuclear facilities have repeatedly said Iran is doing so. But Trump refused to certify Iranian compliance in mid-October……..

upcoming deadlines for Trump to continue the temporary waiver of U.S. sanctions on Iran, which the deal dictates will not be permanently repealed for several more years. The president must renew the waivers every 120 days. Sources familiar with the law said multiple waiver deadlines arrive between January 12 and January 17, forcing Trump to reassess the deal.

If Trump rejects the waivers and restores biting sanctions, Tehran is certain to claim the U.S. has breached the agreement and — supporters of the deal say — may restart its nuclear program. That could court a military confrontation with the U.S. and Israel. At a minimum, the U.S would find itself isolated abroad given that every other party to the deal — France, the U.K., Germany, China and Russia — all strongly oppose a U.S. withdrawal from the agreement.

Top Trump officials, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, all hope to avoid that outcome, telling others that while they may not love the nuclear deal, the potential fallout from a unilateral U.S. withdrawal would be too great to risk……….

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

USA and Russian Ministers say that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power

North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power by US or Russia, say Rex Tillerson and Sergei Lavrov Both sides agree to pursue a ‘diplomatic solution’ to the crisis, The Independent, Mythili Sampathkumar New York @MythiliSk 28 Dec 17 The US and Russia have insisted they will not accept North Koreaas a “nuclear state”, amid a series of missile tests by the East Asian nation and increased rhetoric from both Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone on a myriad of issues, but both agreed on their stance regarding Pyongyang’s continued development of nuclear weapons despite United Nations sanctions.

State Department Heather Nauert said in a statement that “both sides agreed that they will continue to work towards a diplomatic solution to achieve a denuclearised Korean peninsula”. However, on the same call on Tuesday, Mr Lavrov criticised President Donald Trump’s “aggressive rhetoric” towards North Korea……..

Late last week, the UN Security Council also unanimously passed – including votes from Russia and China who have closer ties to Pyongyang – more sanctions on North Korea, further limiting its oil supplies and slave labour market. …..

according to Chinese customs data, China exported no oil products to North Korea in November – something that was above and beyond UN sanctions requirements. Beijing also imported no North Korean iron ore, coal or lead in last months, the second full month of those trade sanctions, the data showed…..

December 29, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s Path to Nuclear War  – a 2017 Timeline

Timeline of Trump’s Path to Nuclear War By Walt Gelles Global Research, December 26, 2017 Donald Trump’s reckless policies, belligerence, volatile personality, and rejection of diplomacy have brought the world to the brink of war in Korea.  Such a war could rapidly turn nuclear, killing hundreds of thousands or millions of people, spreading deadly radiation across the planet, and likely involving China and Russia.  North Korea will never give up its nuclear and ballistic missile program under pressure, as it views the program as an indispensable bulwark against U.S. aggression.

December 27, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A recipe for global catastrophe? Nuclear power for Saudi Arabia

Financial Tribune (Iran) 26th Dec 2017 A lawmaker denounced the prospect of a US uranium enrichment deal with Saudi Arabia, predicting a “global catastrophe” should the oil kingdom mix
nuclear technology with its takfiri ideology.

In a recent talk with ICANA, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of Majlis National Security and
Foreign Policy Commission, said, “Unfortunately, even human rights and international laws have not stopped the Saudi crimes in Yemen. Now, if Saudi Arabia is allowed the uranium technology, it would certainly use it in its military.” Takfiris are hardliners who accuse anyone, including Muslims, not following their extreme interpretation of Islam as infidels and apostates punishable by death.

December 27, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

2017 – the year of the Trump – Kim nuclear standoff

‘Dotard’ vs. ‘Rocketman’: The Nuclear Standoff That Rattled 2017 Days after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, he received a stark warning from America’s outgoing leader.

 In their first and only meeting, Barack Obama told his successor that North Korea ― a volatile nation hellbent on nuclear proliferation ― would pose the biggest foreign challenge his administration would face.
Trump, who has dedicated much of his presidency to erasing Obama’s legacy, seemed to heed this advice, briefly. After rarely mentioning North Korea during his election campaign, he swiftly elevated the issue to his primary foreign policy concern (and later declared an end to Obama’s “era of strategic patience” with the rogue state).
But under Trump’s leadership, the past year has seen brewing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang soar to unprecedented levels with a specter of nuclear war. Economic sanctions in response to a series of North Korean missile launches escalated into a direct exchange of heated insults and threats between Trump and Kim Jong Un, the hermit kingdom’s hostile dictator.

Clashes between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un dominated headlines this year. 

North Korea’s Nuclear Strides

The Pentagon’s efforts to stave off conflict with North Korea have been marred by a string of “decisive failures” this year, according to new analysis published this month from the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank.

“The United States and [North Korea] have engaged in bellicose rhetorical brinksmanship, making war between the two states seem increasingly likely,” wrote Katy Collin, a post-doctoral fellow at the Brookings Foreign Policy program. “Public acceptance of the possibility of conflict within the United States has ballooned. Mechanisms to head off escalation caused by misunderstandings do not exist.”

North Korea made remarkable technological advances to its internationally condemned nuclear program throughout 2017. It conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear teston Sept. 3, which the regime claimed was a hydrogen bomb loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Subsequent analysis of seismic data revealed the test was approximately 17 times stronger than the blast that decimated the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II.

Pyongyang has also expanded the reach of its missiles this year: The entire continental U.S. is now believed to be within ICBM striking range. Experts have expressed concern at North Korea’s alarming progress, and worry that it is on track to outpace America’s abilities to defend itself and its allies in the region.

The regime’s most recent missile launch in late November exceeded 8,100 miles in range. As tested, such a rocket would be able to travel more than enough distance to reach Washington, D.C., or New York City, although it is unclear if it could transport a warhead that far.

“North Korea knows what they’re doing,” David Wright, a physicist and the co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told HuffPost at the time. “It’s hard to say if it’s six months or two years before they can deliver a nuclear warhead, but it’s heading in that direction.”

Donald Trump’s Fire And Fury

Yet Trump, undermining diplomatic efforts by his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, has repeatedly confronted North Korea’s provocations with aggravations of his own. He infamously vowed in August to meet the defiant country with “fire and fury,” prompting Pyongyang’s threat to launch a missile at the U.S. island territory of Guam.

Months later, Trump said the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea, which is home to an estimated 25 million people, if provoked. “Rocketman is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump said in his first speech before the United Nations General Assembly, referring to Kim.

In an extremely rare personal address, Kim responded by pledging to “tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.” Soon after, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said the regime might detonate an H-bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

As hostilities boiled over, experts urged the “America First” leader to “stick to the script” and avoid making incendiary comments about North Korea during his 12-day trip through Asia last month. But Trump couldn’t help himself:

The president’s taunts “create an incentive for the North Koreans to stage provocations to show him up,” Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told HuffPost in November.

If the situation deteriorates into an acute crisis, such remarks from Trump could give North Korea the impression a military strike is imminent, Lewis added. “If that happens, my belief is the North Koreans would use their nuclear weapons first, in order to try to repel an invasion.”

A turbulent 2017 has stirred fears and uncertainty for the year ahead.

“Trump has been impatient with multilateral, diplomatic containment of nuclear proliferation,” Collin said. “While diplomacy, sanctions, and targeted engagement have been successful in preventing conflict on the Korean peninsula for decades, 2017 marks decisive failures in terms of North Korea’s nuclear capacities.”

December 27, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabi keen for nuclear power – and for nuclear weapons?

Saudi-US talks on civilian nuclear program to begin within ‘weeks’  Riyadh’s energy minister insists kingdom seeks energy for peaceful purposes, but will not agree to American limitations on uranium enrichment

December 22, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Trump administration planning to punch North Koreans in the nose

US preparing ‘bloody nose’ attack on North Korea, New York Post, By Yaron Steinbuch, December 21, 2017 The US is preparing plans to deliver a “bloody nose” attack against North Korea to knock out its nuclear weapons program.

The White House has “dramatically” ramped up its military plans amid fears that diplomacy won’t thwart North Korean despot Kim Jong Un from making good on his threats, sources told the UK’s Telegraph.

One option is destroying a launch site before the rogue regime uses it for a new missile test, while another is targeting weapons stockpiles, according to the news outlet.

The Trump administration hopes that pre-emptive action would show the trigger-happy dictator that the United States is serious about stopping his bellicose pursuits and persuading him to negotiate.

“The Pentagon is trying to find options that would allow them to punch the North Koreans in the nose, get their attention and show that we’re serious,” a former US security official briefed on policy told the Telegraph…….

December 22, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Government advisers urge China to prepare for war: anxiety over North Korea

‘North Korea is a time bomb’: government advisers urge China to prepare for war, risk of conflict on the Korean peninsula is the highest its been in decades and Beijing must mobilise resources for fallout, observers say, SCMP, Wendy Wu, China must be ready for a war on the Korean peninsula, with the risk of conflict higher than ever before, Chinese government advisers and a retired senior military officer warned on Saturday.

Beijing, once seen as Pyongyang’s key ally with sway over its neighbour, was losing control of the situation, they warned.

“Conditions on the peninsula now make for the biggest risk of a war in decades,” said Renmin University international relations professor Shi Yinhong, who also advises the State Council, China’s cabinet.

Shi said US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were locked in a vicious cycle of threats and it was already too late for China to avert it. At best, Beijing could stall a full-blown conflict.

“North Korea is a time bomb. We can only delay the explosion, hoping that by delaying it, a time will come to remove the detonator,” Shi said on the sidelines of a Beijing conference on the crisis.

Addressing the conference, Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Region, warned that war could break out on the Korean peninsula at any time from now on until March when South Korea and the United States held annual military drills.

“It is a highly dangerous period,” Wang said. “Northeast China should mobilise defences for war.”

Yang Xiyu, a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies affiliated with China’s foreign ministry, said conditions on the peninsula were at their most perilous in half a century.

“No matter whether there is war or peace, regretfully, China has no control, dominance or even a voice on the issue,” he said.

China might already be preparing for the worst.

Last week, Jilin Daily, the official newspaper of the province bordering North Korea, published a full page of advice for residents on how to respond to a nuclear attack.

A document purportedly from telecom operator China Mobile about plans to set up five refugee camps in Jilin’s Changbai county also surfaced online last week.

Wang said the Jilin Daily article was a “signal to the country to be prepared for a coming war”.

He said China was also worried about the threat North Korea’s frequent nuclear tests were posing to unstable geological structures in the region.

Nanjing University professor Zhu Feng said that no matter how minor the possibility, China should be prepared psychologically and practically for “a catastrophic nuclear conflict, nuclear fallout or a nuclear explosion”.

“Why do we always act like ostriches? Why do we always believe a war won’t occur?” Zhu said.

“What China needs is a sense of urgency about its declining influence in strategy related to the peninsula and the way it brings down China’s status and role in East Asian security issues.”

He also said Kim’s failure to meet Chinese envoy Song Tao during his trip to Pyongyang last month was a “humiliation” for China.

Meanwhile at the United Nations in New York, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on China and Russia to increase their efforts to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.

Tillerson also backtracked on his previous unconditional offer for talks by saying that Washington would not negotiate with Pyongyang until it stopped “threatening behaviours”.

North Korean ambassador to the UN Ja Song-nam accused the United States, Japan and the United Nations Security Council of waging a hostile campaign to stop Pyongyang from gaining nuclear weapons that it saw as necessary to defend itself.

Renmin University professor Shi said hopes for peace could not rest on Kim and Trump, and China and Russia should work together to argue against war.

In a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said war on the peninsula was not acceptable.

December 20, 2017 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump administration looks to use of nuclear weapons against non nuclear attacks

US could broaden its use of nuclear weapons, Trump administration signals
Wider role for weapons to counter ‘non-nuclear strategic attacks’ unveiled as part of Trump’s new security strategy, which also failed to address climate change,
Guardian, Julian Borger , 19 Dec 17, The Trump administration signaled that it could broaden the use of nuclear weapons as part of a new security strategy, unveiled by the president on Monday.

The wider role for nuclear weapons against “non-nuclear strategic attacks” was one of several ways in which Trump’s approach differed from his predecessor. The threat of climate change went unmentioned. The word “climate” was used only four times in the National Security Strategy (NSS), and three of those mentions referred to the business environment. Americans were instead urged to “embrace energy dominance”.

Announcing the NSS, Donald Trump depicted his election victory and his presidency as an unprecedented turning point in US history……..

Under the slogan of “peace through strength”, Trump emphasised the military buildup he had ordered, involving what the president described (wrongly) as a record in defence spending, $700bn for 2018.

“We recognise that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unrivaled power is the most certain means of defence,” he said.

The NSS policy document criticises the downgrading of the role of nuclear weapons in the US security strategy by previous administrations since the cold war, and suggested it had not prevented nuclear-armed adversaries expanding their arsenals and delivery systems.

“While nuclear deterrence strategies cannot prevent all conflict, they are essential to prevent nuclear attack, non-nuclear strategic attacks, and large-scale conventional aggression,” the NSS said.

“Non-nuclear strategic attacks” represents a new category of threat that US nuclear weapons could be used to counter, and points towards likely changes in the Nuclear Posture Review expected in the next few weeks…….

Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists. “It’s a taste of what will come in the Nuclear Posture Review. What is interesting is the broadening of the nuclear weapons mission against non-nuclear attacks. The question is – are we creating more pathways to potential nuclear war?”

Much of Trump’s speech launching the NSS was devoted to denigrating his predecessors, who he portrayed as having let their country down.  They lost sight of America’s destiny. And they lost their belief in American greatness. ……

December 20, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump vows to take ‘ALL NECESSARY STEPS’ against North Korea nuclear missiles

DONALD Trump has vowed to take “all necessary steps” to stop North Korea’s nuclear arms race as tyrant Kim Jong-un bids for recognition as a nuclear power. Express UK, By REBECCA PINNINGTON, 20 Dec 17 Vowing  America would stand up for itself like never before, the US president vowed to tackle Kim’s hurried arms testing “head on”.

Mr Trump said the US had made an “unprecedented effort” to isolate dictator Kim’s regime in a bid to put a stop to the frenzied nuclear developments.

However, he said: “There is much more work to do. America and its allies will take all necessary steps to ensure denuclearisation and ensure that this regime cannot threaten the world.”

Mr Trump said: “This situation should have been taken care of long before I got into office, when it was much easier to handle. But it will be taken care of. We have no choice.”…….“In addition, many actors have become skilled at operating below the threshold of military conflict—challenging the United States, our allies, and our partners with hostile actions cloaked in deniability.”

Mr Trump also labelled China and Russia “rival powers” in the landmark speech, outlining his administration’s national security strategy……

 The strategic document says: “They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”…….

December 20, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson changes his mind: now will not talk with North Korea without “conditions”

Tillerson backtracks on offer of unconditional North Korea talks 16 Dec 17

December 16, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

British parliamentarians worried that the UK nuclear industry will suffer as Britain leaves Euratom, in Brexit move

Independent 13th Dec 2017, Britain should retain as a close as possible a relationship with the European civil nuclear regulator after Brexit, a Commons committee has demanded ahead of a crucial vote on the issue. MPs on the committee warn that the impacts of leaving Euratom will be “profound”, putting the UK in a much weaker position to drive regulatory standards at a European level.

“We conclude that the Government should seek to retain as close as possible a relationship with Euratom, and that this should include accepting its delivery of existing safeguards requirements in the UK,” the report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee states.

The committee’s report comes as more than 100 MPs signed an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, dealing with the
Government’s intention to leave Euratom after Brexit. They want the Prime Minister to guarantee protections for the nuclear industry.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Trump, ready to make it easy for Saudi Arabia to get ‘peaceful” nuclear, AND nuclear weapons

Trump Considers Easing Nuclear Rules for Saudi Project By Jennifer Jacobs,  Ari Natter,and Jennifer A Dlouhy  

  • Westinghouse is looking for new markets after bankruptcy
  • Past deals barred uranium enrichment for overseas projects

The Trump administration is encouraging Saudi Arabia to consider bids by Westinghouse Electric Co. and other U.S. companies to build nuclear reactors in that country and may allow the enrichment of uranium as part of that deal, according to three people familiar with the plans.

 Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Saudi Arabia this month where the projects were discussed, according to two people. The people familiar asked not to be identified discussing the confidential negotiations.
Previous U.S. agreements have prohibited the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium, and that had scuttled negotiations to use U.S. technology in Saudi nuclear projects during the Obama administration. The administration is mulling easing that requirement now as a way to help Westinghouse and other companies win Saudi Arabian contracts, two people said.

A meeting to hammer out details of the nuclear cooperation agreement, known as a 123 Agreement for the section of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act that requires it, will be held at the White House Wednesday, two administration officials said.

A successful U.S. bid would help deliver on President Donald Trump’s promise to revive and revitalize the domestic nuclear industry, helping American companies edge out Russian and Chinese competitors to build new fleets around the world. Saudi Arabia plans to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 to 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Westinghouse, the nuclear technology pioneer that is part of Toshiba Corp., went bankrupt in March, after it hit delays with its AP1000 reactors at two U.S. plants. After it declared bankruptcy, Westinghouse — whose technology is used in more than half the world’s nuclear power plants — said it shifted its focus to expanding outside the U.S.

Winning contracts in Saudi Arabia could provide a new market that Westinghouse needs and provide at least a partial vindication for the investment in the AP1000 technology.

“Westinghouse is pleased that Saudi Arabia has decided to pursue nuclear energy,” Sarah Cassella, a spokeswoman, said in a emailed statement. “We are fully participating in their request for information and are pleased to provide the AP1000 plant, the industry’s most advanced technology.”

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, said weakening the prohibition against enrichment and reprocessing, often referred to as “the gold standard,” is disturbing given what he said was Saudi Arabia’s “sub-par nuclear nonproliferation record.”

“We shouldn’t compromise our longstanding efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons in order to play favorites with certain companies or countries,” he said in an email, calling the idea “disturbing and counterproductive.”

— With assistance by Chris Martin

December 13, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

China builds refugee camps – prepared for influx should Kim Jong-un’s regime collapse

China building network of refugee camps along border with North Korea Document suggests at least five camps are being set up as Beijing prepares for possible influx of refugees should Kim Jong-un’s regime collapse, Guardian, Tom Phillips , 12 Dec 17, China is quietly building a network of refugee camps along its 880-mile (1,416km) border with North Korea as it braces for the human exodus that a conflict or the potentially messy collapse of Kim Jong-un’s regime might unleash.

The existence of plans for the camps, first reported in English by the Financial Times last week, emerged in an apparently leaked internal document from a state-run telecoms giant that appears to have been tasked with providing them with internet services.

The China Mobile document, which has circulated on social media and overseas Chinese websites since last week, reveals plans for at least five refugee camps in Jilin province.

The document, which the Guardian could not independently verify, says: “Due to cross-border tensions … the [Communist] party committee and government of Changbai county has proposed setting up five refugee camps in the county.”

It gives the names and locations of three such facilities: Changbai riverside, Changbai Shibalidaogou and Changbai Jiguanlizi. The New York Times reportedthat centres for refugees were also planned in the cities of Tumen and Hunchun.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry declined to confirm the camps’ existence at a regular press briefing on Monday but did not deny they were being built. “I haven’t seen such reports,” Lu Kang told reporters.

The question was purged from the foreign ministry’s official transcript of the briefing, as regularly happens with topics raised by foreign journalists that are considered politically sensitive or inconvenient.

North Korea fortifies part of border where defector escaped

The leaked document contains the name and telephone number of a China Mobile employee who drafted it but calls to that number went unanswered on Tuesday. The construction of the camps appears to reflect growing concern in Beijing about the potential for political instability – or even regime collapse – in North Korea.

Cheng Xiaohe, a North Korea specialist from Renmin University in Beijing, said while he could not confirm whether the document was genuine, it would be irresponsible for China not to make such preparations.

“Tensions are high on the Korean peninsula … it is on the brink of war. As a major power and a neighbouring country, China should make plans for all eventualities.”

Jiro Ishimaru, a Japanese documentary maker who runs a network of citizen journalists inside North Korea and on the Chinese side of the border, said a contact in Changbai county had recently told him that while they had not seen signs of camps being built there, they “had heard there are plans to build a facility”.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have soared this year as the US president, Donald Trump, has stepped up pressure on his North Korean counterpart and Pyongyang has accelerated its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Trump has baited Kim with the nickname “Little Rocket Man” and threats of military action, while Kim has responded with insults of his own, and a succession of nuclear and missile tests that have brought two new rounds of UN sanctions.

Following its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test on 29 November, Pyongyang claimed the ability to strike anywhere on US soil.

‘Quite backwards’: Chinese tourists gawk at impoverished North Koreans

In an interview with the Guardian in Beijing on Monday, Dennis Rodman, the NBA star turned would-be peacemaker, played down fearsof a catastrophic nuclear conflict and denied Kim, whom he calls his friend, was “going to try and bomb or kill anyone in America”.

“We ain’t gonna die, man, come on, no … It’s not like that,” Rodman insisted, urging Trump to use him as an intermediary to engage with Kim. He described the verbal war between Trump and Kim as “a chess game” that should not be taken too seriously.

Beijing seems less certain. Last week one official newspaper in Jilin, the Chinese province closest to North Korea’s nuclear test site, hinted at that nervousness with a full-page article offering tips on how to react to a nuclear incident.

Iodine tablets, masks and soap were useful allies in the event of such a catastrophe, readers of the Jilin Daily learned.

Additional reporting by Wang Zhen and Justin McCurry in Tokyo.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment