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Japan believes North Korea Has Already Developed Nuclear Warheads 

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports: According to the original version of the Japanese government’s 2019 white paper on defense, North Korea is believed to have already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and the development of nuclear warheads, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

This is the first time such statements have been included in the report.

Regarding South Korea, which is intensifying its confrontation with Japan, the report lowered that nation’s ranking from the previous year among the countries and regions that are promoting security cooperation with Japan.

The Japanese government is making arrangements to approve the 2019 white paper at a Cabinet meeting in mid-September. On North Korea’s military moves, the paper again said they posed a “serious and imminent threat.” Read the rest of this entry »

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China’s Great Firewall No Barrier to Ugly Online Battles Over Hong Kong Protests

Sarah Zheng  reports: Hong Kong’s summer of protests looks very different from inside and outside the Great Firewall that encircles the internet in mainland China.

On Monday morning, the top trending topic on Weibo, China’s highly regulated version of Twitter, featured a Shanghai tourist who was “harassed and beaten” during a massive pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong on Sunday evening. It racked up 520 million views. A prominent video on the topic from Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily showed the man, surnamed Ma, telling reporters about protesters accosting and accusing him of photographing their faces, under the tagline: “Is this the ‘safety’ that rioters are talking about?”

But in Hong Kong, where there is unfettered access to the internet, the focus was on the peaceful Sunday demonstrations, which organisers said drew 1.7 million people despite heavy rain. On LIHKG, the online forum where Hong Kong protesters discuss and organise their action, one hot topic celebrated Weibo posts on Ma that mentioned a taboo – Beijing’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. The topic cheered the “first time China’s Weibo allowed public discussion of June 4th”, referencing posts about Photoshopped images of Ma in a shirt calling for justice over the crackdown.

An estimated 1.7 million people took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: Robert Ng
An estimated 1.7 million people took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: Robert Ng

Since the protests began in Hong Kong in early June, triggered by a now-shelved extradition bill, there has been a clear dichotomy between how the movement has been portrayed online, inside and outside China. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese State-Sponsored Rap Threatens Army Can ‘Wipe Out’ Hong Kong Protesters 

 Kyle Hooten reports: Chinese state media is using rap music to rally public support in opposition of Hong Kong protesters, even threatening that the Chinese military can “wipe out” the protesters.

Last week, a state-supported Chinese hip-hop group known as Tianfu Shibia or CD Rev, released a rap video titled “Hong Kong’s Fall.” The song accuses America of supporting the massive protests in Hong Kong, which are aimed at preserving some of the region’s sovereignty from China, and threatens the death of the protesters. The group is supported by the unilateral Communist Party of China, according to the Guardian.

“There are 1.4 billion Chinese standing firmly behind Hong Kong police,” the lyrics state. “They will always protect Hong Kong without any hesitation. Airplanes, tanks and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army all gathering in Shenzhen waiting for command to wipe out terrorists [protesters] if needed.” Read the rest of this entry »


We’re in a new Cold War. Hong Kong, like Berlin before it, is the first battle

Continued American silence will convince China that it can advance on other fronts. We must show Beijing that Hong Kong’s freedom isn’t up for grabs.

Marion Smith writes: Would the United States have let the Soviet Union invade West Berlin? Never. Yet America is on the verge of allowing Communist China to enslave the free city of Hong Kong. If this happens, it will be one of the greatest abdications of U.S. moral leadership in history.

Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects Chinese troops of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison at the Shek Kong Barracks in Hong Kong, Friday, June 30, 2017. Xi landed in Hong Kong Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of Beijing taking control of the former British colony, accompanied by a formidable layer of security as authorities showed little patience for pro-democracy protests. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Right now, Communist China is massing paramilitary forces on its border with Hong Kong. The purpose appears obvious: Intimidate the pro-freedom movement that has brought parts of the city to a standstill in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Beijing’s rulers have labeled Hong Kong’s protesters “terrorists,” while stating that “those who play with fire will perish by it.” The echoes of the Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years ago are unmistakable.

[Read the full story here, at USAToday]

These developments are eerily familiar to the Soviet Union’s attempts to dominate West Berlin. Yet the United States always made it clear that we would defend the city. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan even traveled there personally, proving by their presence that America stood with its residents.

Compare that with today. The best President Donald Trump can muster is a tweet: “Everyone should be calm and safe!”

A new Cold War

It’s time to admit that we’re in a new Cold War. The blockade of Berlin in 1948 was widely seen as the opening salvo of the decades-long struggle between freedom and communism. With Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong already well underway, maybe now we’ll admit that another struggle has arrived. The Soviet Union is gone, and America’s new adversary is the Chinese Communist Party.

Yet unlike the first Cold War, this time it’s unclear whether America has the will to win. Read the rest of this entry »


America’s Apathy Toward Hong Kong Is A Crisis Of Confidence

America’s relative silence over the Hong Kong protests and the impending Chinese crackdown is deafening, and telling. It’s also dangerous.

writes: The protests in Hong Kong that began two months ago have now shut down the city’s airport—one of the busiest in the world—amid violent clashes with riot police in recent days. Chinese troops, we’re told, are amassing along the border even as Chinese propaganda outlets warned Tuesday that protesters were “asking for self-destruction” and Chinese officials decried the demonstrations as “deranged acts” that marked “the first signs of terrorism.”

In other words, it appears the situation is about to get much worse. Why has the American response to all this been so muted? Hong Kong is the most important city in the world right now, and the cause of the pro-democracy protesters is one that all Americans should rally behind.

Yet, rhetorically, it’s not even clear what side the United States is on. President Trump has been content to offer platitudes and unhelpful observations like, “We’ll see what happens. But I’m sure it’ll work out. I hope it works out for everybody, including China, by the way.” On Tuesday, he tweeted, “Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!”

Okay, thanks for that, president of United States and leader of the free world.

News and social media have largely focused on other stories, like Chris Cuomo flying off the handle at some random guy in New York calling him “Fredo,” or whether the Clintons had Jeffrey Epstein assassinated, or how stupid the 2020 Democratic candidates look eating corn dogs and pandering at the Iowa Sate Fair.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, protesters are waving the American flag and singing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” They do this because they know that America is an idea and that the principles of our Founding are universal. Read the rest of this entry »


Riot Police Storm Hong Kong Airport as Protesters Force Second Day of Flight Cancellations 

Hong Kong International Airport has canceled all remaining flight departures for the second straight day due to protests.

Riot police stormed the Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday as protests by thousands of anti-government demonstrators forced flights to be canceled for the second straight day.

Travelers at one of the world’s busiest airports were advised that check-in had been suspended and hundreds flights were cancelled, and that they should leave the terminals as quickly as possible and contact airlines for more information.

The clashes appeared to represent an escalation 10 weeks after the protest’s massive, peaceful beginnings in early June, when hundreds of thousands marched in the semi-autonomous city against a now-suspended extradition bill. A Chinese official said Tuesday that protesters “have begun to show signs of terrorism,” and China appeared to be weighing a crackdown on the democratic movement.

Bolstered by anger over the crackdown by Hong Kong police, the protests has grown more confrontational in recent weeks and reached new levels last Monday with a city-wide strike that disrupting traffic and hundreds of flights.

PHOTO: A tourist gives her luggage to security guards as she tries to enter the departures gate during another demonstration by protesters at Hong Kongs International Airport on Aug. 13, 2019.
A tourist gives her luggage to security guards as she tries to enter the departures gate during another demonstration by protesters at Hong Kong’s International Airport on Aug. 13, 2019.

After weeks of issuing warnings, but deferring to Hong Kong authorities to quell protests, Beijing has hinted at a more assertive posture. Chinese paramilitary police were seen in video released by the state holding exercises in Shenzhen, China, which sits across the border from Hong Kong. Images circulated online showing a convoy of armored personnel carriers from the People’s Armed Police traveling to the site. Read the rest of this entry »


China Says Hong Kong Protests Show ‘First Signs of Terrorism’

Police firing teargas inside a train station. One young man got hit badly in the face and sustained serious trauma near his eye. via Joshua Wong, Twitter

BEIJING— Chun Han Wong reports: Chinese authorities condemned violent weekend demonstrations in Hong Kong as “deranged” acts that marked the emergence of “the first signs of terrorism” in the semiautonomous city, vowing a merciless crackdown on the perpetrators.

The escalating rhetoric from Beijing followed a day of heated protests in Hong Kong, including the hurling of petrol bombs, and came as thousands of protesters gathered at Hong Kong’s international airport on Monday, prompting officials to cancel all flights for the rest of the day apart from those already en route to the air-travel hub.

“Radical Hong Kong protesters have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers,” a spokesman for the Chinese government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office told a news briefing on Monday, according to Chinese state media. “The first signs of terrorism are starting to appear.”

On Sunday, police in riot gear fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds of protesters across Hong Kong, some of whom threw bricks and what police identified as Molotov cocktails and smoke bombs. Police said an officer was hospitalized with burns to his legs after being hit by a Molotov cocktail hurled by a protester.

Clashes between protesters and police have entered a more violent phase, as Beijing has signaled its growing intolerance for dissent. Meanwhile, public discontent is mounting over the police’s handling of the unrest. Photo: Jeff Cheng/Associated Press
Read the rest of this entry »

Hong Kong Bankers Join Call for Citywide Strike over Handling of Outcry over Extradition Bill 

Alvin Lum  reports: Hundreds of workers at 34 banks joined calls for a citywide strike next week against the government’s handling of recent unrest which has rocked Hong Kong.

The finance staff added their voices to an umbrella group of 95 unions from the public and private sectors behind the action planned for Monday.

The appeal from the pro-democracy Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) and staff from local banks, including international investment banks and Chinese state-owned banks, was also echoed by teachers and art groups.

Civil servants, meanwhile, got the go-ahead from police to host an unprecedented rally on Friday evening in Chater Garden to urge the government to respond to the demands of protesters against the now-abandoned extradition bill.

The idea of a strike was first floated weeks ago on an online forum, and has gained momentum after two protests that descended into clashes over which 44 people have been charged with rioting. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: John Kelly Scuffled with China Official Over Nuclear Football

  • John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, “got into a physical altercation” with a Chinese official during President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing last year, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • Kelly reportedly told colleagues he would not accept an apology from the official unless it occurred under a US flag in Washington, DC.
  • Relations between Washington and Beijing are tense as Trump spars with the Chinese government over trade and other issues.

 reports: John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, “got into a physical altercation” with a Chinese official during President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing last year and refused to accept an apology, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The official was reportedly attempting to access the nuclear football, a 45-pound aluminum briefcase that’s always by the president’s side, carried by a military aide. It contains information and instructions for the president on how to conduct a nuclear strike.

Kelly told colleagues he would not accept an apology from the official unless it occurred under a US flag in Washington, DC, according to the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. Read the rest of this entry »


Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents 

Illustration by Kotryna Zukauskaite

The number of informants executed in the debacle is higher than initially thought.

reports: It was considered one of the CIA’s worst failures in decades: Over a two-year period starting in late 2010, Chinese authorities systematically dismantled the agency’s network of agents across the country, executing dozens of suspected U.S. spies. But since then, a question has loomed over the entire debacle.

How were the Chinese able to roll up the network?

Now, nearly eight years later, it appears that the agency botched the communication system it used to interact with its sources, according to five current and former intelligence officials. The CIA had imported the system from its Middle East operations, where the online environment was considerably less hazardous, and apparently underestimated China’s ability to penetrate it.

spy

“The attitude was that we’ve got this, we’re untouchable,” said one of the officials who, like the others, declined to be named discussing sensitive information. The former official described the attitude of those in the agency who worked on China at the time as “invincible.”

Other factors played a role as well, including China’s alleged recruitment of former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee around the same time. Federal prosecutors indicted Lee earlier this year in connection with the affair.

But the penetration of the communication system seems to account for the speed and accuracy with which Chinese authorities moved against the CIA’s China-based assets.

“You could tell the Chinese weren’t guessing. The Ministry of State Security [which handles both foreign intelligence and domestic security] were always pulling in the right people,” one of the officials said.

“When things started going bad, they went bad fast.” Read the rest of this entry »


Explosion Reported Outside US Embassy in Beijing 

An explosion was reported on Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing's Chaoyang District.  (Reuters)

An explosion was reported on Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing’s Chaoyang District.  (Reuters)

An explosion was reported on Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Bystanders shared video of the aftermath on social media, showing images of smoke unfurling in the street and what appeared to be police vehicles surrounding the building in the city’s Chaoyang District.

American and Chinese officials did not immediatly respond to comments on the incident.

China and the U.S. are in the middle of a trade dispute … (more)

This is a developing story. Read the rest of this entry »


Jim Mattis Warns of Consequences If Beijing Keeps Militarizing the South China Sea 

U.S. strategy in region rooted in ‘principled realism’ and shared interests, defense secretary says.

SINGAPORE—  reports: The U.S. and China appear to be headed for a more confrontational relationship in Southeast Asia as Washington warns of a more aggressive response to the militarization of disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a regional security conference, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned there could be “much larger consequences” in the future from China’s moves to install weapons systems on islands in the sea. He didn’t specify what the consequences would be.

The warning, in response to a question from an audience member, came after a speech by Mr. Mattis in which he said “despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion.”

He also called his decision to not invite China to the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise, slated to begin later in June, “an initial response” to its increased militarization of the South China Sea. Read the rest of this entry »


Special Operations: China And The Virtue Of Being Special

In April 2018 the Chinese Air Force 15th Airborne Corps completed a yearlong reorganization effort that involved disbanding the three airborne divisions (the 43rd, 44th and 45th) and reassigning divisional headquarters and support troops as well as the units of the airborne regiments to six independent airborne infantry brigades (127th, 128th, 130th, 131st, 133rd, and 134th) which now report directly to the headquarters of the 15th Airborne Corps. While the new airborne brigades have some support troops they now also receive logistics, maintenance, engineer and signal support from the 15th Corps Strategic Support Brigade, as well as the Aviation Brigade (over a hundred helicopters and large UAVs) and Special Operations Brigade (airborne commandos and recon troops).

After the reorganization, the Chinese airborne force still has about 35,000 personnel who still serve in the Air Force 15th Airborne Corps. The airborne units no longer operate as three airborne divisions and an aviation brigade. The airborne divisions no longer exist as the brigades can operate independently and report directly to corps headquarters. This brigade organization makes it easier to rapidly deploy airborne forces and copies a practice that many other nations have adopted over the last few decades.

[Read the full text here, at strategypage.com]

The Chinese have had some airborne units since the 1950s and these belonged to the air force from the beginning. The 15th Airborne Corps was created in the 1960s and was always considered a strategic reserve unit. By the late 1980s, China had enough air transports to move an entire division (about 10,000 troops) anywhere in China. At the time such a movement took weeks to organize and monopolized most of the air transport aircraft the military had.

Moving a division anywhere by air on short notice was first done in 2008 when one division was sent to Sichuan province to assist in earthquake relief. The early large scale movements by air movements were experimental. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: North Korean Defector Group Sends Anti-Pyongyang Leaflets to North

PAJU, South Korea, May 12 (Yonhap) — A group of North Korea defectors scattered leaflets critical of the North Korean regime across the border to the North on Saturday despite the government’s recommendation not to.

Six members of the Fighters for a Free North Korea flew five big plastic balloons at around 12:30 a.m. from the border city of Paju, Gyeonggi Province. The balloons sent

This photo showing a ballon of anti-North Korea leaflets sent to the North was provided by the Fighters for a Free North Korea. (Yonhap)

the border to the North Korean side were carrying 150,000 leaflets criticizing North Korea, as well as other gifts like United States dollar bills and USBs, Park Sang-hak, the head of the defectors’ group said.

Banners were also tied to the balloons, reading “Do not be fooled by Kim Jong-un‘s fake dialogue offer, disguised peace offensive.”

“Defectors’ leaflets to North Korea, which are intended to tell the facts and truth to some 20 million North Korean people, will never by stopped by any form of blockade or physical means,” Park noted.

The defectors group tried to fly the anti-North leaflets a week earlier but failed to do so when they were stopped by police and local residents.

The government has repeatedly advised the Fighters for a Free North Korea, as well as other groups that send leaflets to North Korea, against such activity.

“Spreading of anti-North leaflets runs against the spirit of the inter-Korean agreements under the Panmunjom Declaration agreed upon between the leaders of the two countries,” the Unification Ministry has told the groups, urging them to stop the activities. Read the rest of this entry »


Jeremiah Keenan: What Life In China Taught Me About Bernie Sanders’ Guaranteed Jobs

No government can equitably divide what it does not first control. And controlling the economy also requires controlling the rest of society.

My family was better off than that, but we still lived along the U.S. poverty line. We didn’t own a house, car, or TV. My parents rented a three-bedroom apartment in a ramshackle compound, made us kids a big bookshelf out of plywood, and taught us how to type on a used Mac with a 1995 facing-smile logo that spent a lot of time looking at me above progress bars on the screen.

That life wasn’t bad. Or, at least, most of the bad parts weren’t caused by “poverty.” You see, we lived in a socialist country where the government allowed enough free enterprise to fuel economic growth but maintained firm control to ensure economic equality. President Xi Jinping described our government’s strategy: “We want to continuously enlarge the pie, while also making sure we divide the pie correctly. Chinese society has long held the value of ‘Don’t worry about the amount, worry that all have the same amount.’”

Previous instantiations of this long-held value meant pretty much everybody (except powerful Communist Party members) did not have enough to eat. But 1980s reforms aimed at enlarging the pie had improved matters a great deal, so the common people lived better every day. Kids of my generation had soft little jaws and even chubby tummies. We did not eat the leaves off trees. We lived in apartments with electricity and, in the cities, running water.

[read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

The bad part of life was that the government maintained such a firm control of everything. This meant no freedom of speech or of religion. A couple million innocents were ground through the labor camps while I grew up, and one or two family acquaintances subjected to physical torture, but it was the only way government could firmly control everything. Without this control, they could not ensure that the pie, instead of simply growing larger, would be correctly divided. No government can equitably divide what it does not first control.

From Poverty to People’s Ideas of Poverty

From this environment, I was grafted, at the age of 18, into the American Ivy League. I became interested in U.S. politics: wrote for the newspaper, attended debates, tickled my brain with honors classes and the popular books of the American elites.

Young American elites love to talk about income inequality. Last spring, a great lecture hall was filled with them, debating a proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to fight poverty in America. The Left side of the room gave impassioned speeches on the moral necessity of fighting poverty. Read the rest of this entry »


CRACKDOWN: China to Take Direct Control of Media, Film

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state media will be getting more propaganda now that the Communist Party has announced it will be in direct control of broadcasters and the regulators of everything from movies and TV to books and radio programs.

The move is part of a push by President Xi Jinping — emboldened by the removal of term limits on his time in office — to tighten party supervision over broad swaths of Chinese public life as he pushes for what he calls “unity in thought” among officials and citizens.

Reuters Magazines and books are seen at the media center during the National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 7.

Magazines and books, featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping on the cover, are seen at the media centre during the China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China March 7, 2018. REUTERS

Analysts say having direct oversight of the media will help the party hammer home its message domestically and also work to improve its image internationally.

“It’s one vast effort to get everybody thinking together,” said David Zweig, director of the Center on China’s Transnational Relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology … (read more)

Source: The Japan News

No laughing matter: China regulator bans TV parodies amid content crackdown

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Pei Li and Adam Jourdan report: China’s media regulator is cracking down on video spoofs, the official Xinhua new agency reported, amid an intensified crackdown on any content that is deemed to be in violation of socialist core values under President Xi Jinping.

censorcop

The decision comes after Xi cemented his power at a recent meeting of parliament by having presidential term limits scrapped, and the ruling Communist Party tightened its grip on the media by handing control over film, news and publishing to its powerful publicity department.

Xinhua said video sites must ban videos that “distort, mock or defame classical literary and art works”, citing a directive from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Suspect in Kim Jong Nam’s Killing Simulated Attack in Pranks

Security camera footage shows a Vietnamese woman accused of poisoning the North Korean leader’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam, performing a prank at Hanoi’s airport that simulated the attack.


China to Ban Citizens with Bad ‘Social Credit’ Rating from Raking Flights or Using Trains for Up to a Year 

xi-xao

President Xi Jinping’s plan based on principle ‘once untrustworthy, always restricted’ to come into effect on 1 May.

China said it will begin applying its so-called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year.

People who would be put on the restricted lists included those found to have committed acts like spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights, as well as those who used expired tickets or smoked on trains, according to two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website on Friday.

Those found to have committed financial wrongdoings, such as employers who failed to pay social insurance or people who have failed to pay fines, would also face these restrictions, said the statements which were dated 2 March.

It added that the rules would come into effect on 1 May.

Read the rest of this entry »


North Korea Readying for Another Nuclear Test? Satellite Images Show Heightened Activity at Punggye-ri

Sohae Satellite Launching Station is seen in Sohae, North Korea, in this satellite image taken on 17 September 2016 released by 38 North 38 North via Reuters

Over the weekend, Radio Pyongyang broadcast secret coded messages hinting at a possible impending weapons test.

 reports: North Korea appears to be pressing ahead with its nuclear programme. Satellite images recently detected hectic activity at the North Korean nuclear test site, Punggye-ri.

Experts say that after North Korea’s last nuclear test, minor tremors were detected near Mt Mantap, located close to the nuclear site. However, Pyongyang is now engaged in additional tunnel work at the site.

According to experts at 38North, a US-based think tank, the fresh activities were detected at the West Portal of the site – indicating that the site may be undergoing an expansion. Meanwhile, the North Portal, where the previous five tests were conducted, appears to have been temporarily abandoned.

“At the West Portal, there has been a consistently high level of activity since North Korea’s last nuclear test. This includes a routine presence of vehicles and personnel around the portal, movement of mining carts from the portal to the adjacent spoil pile and signs of fresh spoil being dumped onto the pile,” 38North experts said in a blog. “These activities suggest that tunnel excavation is underway at the West Portal, as the North Koreans expand the site’s potential for future nuclear testing.”

Ryan Barenklau, CEO and founder of Strategic Sentinel, a Washington-based nonpartisan geostrategic consulting agency, told IBTimes UK, “The tunneling is occurring at the West Portal and activity near that area has been relatively high for the last month. They are most likely digging deeper and expanding the complex underneath so they can continue their normal operations.” Read the rest of this entry »


North Korea launches ICBM – South Korea FIRES missile back

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Pelosi Compares Dreamers to Japanese by Suggesting Republicans Will Put Them in Internment Camps 


North Korea’s Ultimatum to America

 writes: The nuclear confrontation between the US and North Korea entered a critical phase Sunday with North Korea’s conduct of an underground test of a thermonuclear bomb.

If the previous round of this confrontation earlier this summer revolved around Pyongyang’s threat to attack the US territory of Guam, Sunday’s test, together with North Korea’s recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the continental US, was a direct threat to US cities.

In other words, the current confrontation isn’t about US superpower status in Asia, and the credibility of US deterrence or the capabilities of US military forces in the Pacific. The confrontation is now about the US’s ability to protect the lives of its citizens.

The distinction tells us a number of important things. All of them are alarming.

First, because this is about the lives of Americans, rather than allied populations like Japan and South Korea, the US cannot be diffident in its response to North Korea’s provocation. While attenuated during the Obama administration, the US’s position has always been that US military forces alone are responsible for guaranteeing the collective security of the American people.

Pyongyang is now directly threatening that security with hydrogen bombs. So if the Trump administration punts North Korea’s direct threat to attack US population centers with nuclear weapons to the UN Security Council, it will communicate profound weakness to its allies and adversaries alike.

Obviously, this limits the options that the Trump administration has. But it also clarifies the challenge it faces.

The second implication of North Korea’s test of their plutonium-based bomb is that the US’s security guarantees, which form the basis of its global power and its alliance system are on the verge of becoming completely discredited. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] China’s VPN Crackdown: How are Beijing Students Coping?

Beijing has been increasingly clamping down on use of VPNs in recent weeks. This has prompted concerns among various groups that it will stifle academic research and international trade.


OH HELL YEAH: U.S. Urges All Nationals In North Korea To ‘Depart Immediately’, Bans Tourists From Visiting

YA THINK? The U.S. is to ban its citizens from travelling to North Korea.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that the ban would be published next week in the Federal Register, to come into effect 30 days later.

US officials linked the move to the death of jailed American student Otto Warmbier.

Once the ban is in effect, US citizens will need special validation to travel to or within North Korea.

Mr Warmbier travelled to North Korea with Young Pioneer Tours. He was arrested in 2016 for trying to steal a propaganda sign and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was returned to the US in a coma in June and died a week later.

How did the news come to light?

Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours, who both operate in North Korea, revealed on Friday that they had been told of the upcoming ban by the Swedish embassy, which acts for the US as Washington has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

Rowan Beard, of Young Pioneer Tours, told the BBC the embassy was urging all US nationals to depart immediately.

He said the embassy was trying to check on the number of US tourists left in the country.

What form will the ban take?

Ms Nauert’s statement said: “Due to mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, the Secretary has authorised a Geographical Travel Restriction on all US nationals’ use of a passport to travelling through, or to North Korea.

“Once in effect, US passports will be invalid for travel to, through, and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea.

“We intend to publish a notice in the Federal Register next week.

“The restriction will be implemented 30 days after publication.”

Rowan Beard said that the 30-day grace period would “give leeway for any [Americans] currently in the country as tourists or on humanitarian work”.

How have the travel agencies reacted?

Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours told the BBC the agency would still conduct tours and take Americans until the ban came into effect.

“If their country allows them to go, we will take them,” he said.

Mr Cockerell added: “It’s unfortunate for the industry but also for North Koreans who want to know what Americans are really like.”

After the death of Mr Warmbier, the China-based Young Pioneer Tours announced it would no longer take visitors from the US to the country. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Otto Warmbier Dies Days After Release from North Korean Detainment

Weeks after the group pictures were taken, Otto "confessed" in front of North Korean media. AFP

Warmbier returned from North Korea last week in a coma.

Susan Svrluga reports: Otto Warmbier, University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea for nearly a year and a half, died Monday afternoon, his parents announced … (read more)

[Otto Warmbier’s father denounces North Korea]

DCtoBlMXsAA9TVF.jpg-large.jpeg

Source: The Washington Post – New York Post


[VIDEO] Otto Warmbier: How Did North Korea Holiday End in Jail, and a Coma?

Everyone in frame is smiling and laughing in the North Korean cold. Otto Warmbier, like the other tourists, launches a snowball, captured in slow motion on what appears to be a camera phone.

It’s the kind of innocent fun you expect to be captured on a tour group holiday. Otto turns to his right, mouth wide open, laughing.

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Otto’s father Fred wore his son’s jacket as he spoke to journalists

“This is the Otto I know and love. This is my brother,” wrote Austin Warmbier, who released the video, which was shot during a three-night North Korea tour at the end of 2015.

Two months later, Otto would again appear on video, but in very different circumstances.

Head bowed and clutching a prepared “confession”, the 21-year-old student walked out in front of North Korean TV cameras to speak, explaining why he had been arrested at the end of that tour, when everyone else had been allowed to leave.

Danny Gratton Otto (centre, with others on the trip) was

Danny Gratton Otto (centre, with others on the trip) was “bright, intelligent and likeable”, according to Danny Gratton, who met him on the North Korea trip

Looming over him were the oversized portraits of North Korea’s former supreme leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.

He wore a cream-coloured jacket and tie. Before speaking, he got up an offered a low bow.

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Danny was the last person to see Otto (far right), witnessing the moment he was marched away

Otto thanked the North Korean government for the “opportunity to apologise for my crime, to beg for forgiveness and to beg for any assistance to save my life”.

He said he tried to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel as a “trophy” for a US church with the “connivance of the US administration” in order to “harm the work ethic and motivation of the Korean people”.

Weeks after the group pictures were taken, Otto

Weeks after the group pictures were taken, Otto “confessed” in front of North Korean media. AFP

Later, he would break down in tears: “I have made the single worst decision of my life, but I am only human.”

Otto is now back in the US after 15 months of captivity in North Korea. But he is in a coma, cannot understand language and has severe brain damage.

Otto - pictured in ear muffs - was in

Otto – pictured in ear muffs – was in “the wrong place at the wrong time”, says Danny

In the year-and-a-half since he threw that snowball, the life of a young man full of promise has been permanently altered.

Much remains unknown about how Otto’s health deteriorated. Doctors at Cincinnati Medical Center say they have seen no sign he was physically abused but they and his family also don’t buy North Korea’s story that he contracted botulism and fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill.

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But how did a brilliant student from an Ohio suburb with hopes of becoming an investment banker end up imprisoned in a pariah state? And why was he released in a coma?

The Warmbiers hail from a small suburb called Wyoming in Cincinnati, Ohio, where father Fred owns a small company.

Otto attended the best high school in the state, and was prom and homecoming king. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] North Korea: Pyongyang’s Putdowns Target Obama, Clinton, Kerry 

In another life, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s propaganda chief could have had a heck of a career as an insult comic.

The latest screed from Pyongyang’s unnamed prince of prose (or princes — it’s unclear how many write these gems) was delivered Monday in response to Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., asserting Kim Jong Un was a “whack job.”

Like previous statements, it bucked all norms for engaging in international repartee:

“It is a serious provocation that Gardner, like a psychopath, dare to bear the evil that dares our highest dignity,” the statement said, according to a translation. “It is America’s misfortune that a man mixed in with human dirt like Gardner, who has lost basic judgment and body hair, could only spell misfortune for the United States.”

Kim Jong-un has conducted a series of purges of officials since coming to power

The real-world reference point behind some of the putdowns, most of which are disseminated by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, is unclear. Gardner, for instance, has a full head of hair.

But KCNA has been dealing out hits against U.S. and international politicians for years, perfecting a style that’s veered from jaw-dropping to shockingly racist.

Among the worst insults directed at former President Barack Obama, North Korea in 2014 branded him a “juvenile delinquent,” “clown” and a “dirty fellow.” Obama, the KCNA statement said, was somebody who “does not even have the basic appearances of a human being.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] May Day Reality Check: Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism?


[VIDEO] U.S. Keeps Its Military Threat Alive While Pressing North Korea

Senators briefed at WH by military, intelligence officials.

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration said it is launching an urgent push, combining diplomatic pressure and the threat of military action in a bid to halt North Korea’s advancing nuclear-weapons program.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, one of those who briefed senators at a classified briefing hosted by the White House on Wednesday, also plans to host a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday, where he will propose international officials redouble efforts to enforce economic sanctions and isolate North Korea.

North Korea’s Missile Advancements

The State Department said Mr. Tillerson is considering harsh measures such as asking other countries to shut down North Korea’s embassies and other diplomatic facilities. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Perino & Krauthammer: North Korea Nuclear Threat Concern Remains High

 


[VIDEO] Pence Went To The DMZ Just To Stare Down North Korean Soldiers 

Vice President Mike Pence broke from his schedule Monday morning and took an unannounced trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Though other top ranking U.S. officials have visited the DMZ in the past, Pence actually ventured outside and stared down North Korean troops.

Mike Pence (CNN)

Mike Pence (CNN)

“Yeah, you better keep walking.”

In addition to his visit to the DMZ, Pence sent North Korea a warning statement Monday morning … (read more)

Source: The Daily Caller


[VIDEO] CHINAMAGEDDON: How That United Airlines Video Ignited Full-Scale Global Panic Fake Outrage in China 

 

 


China Deploys 150,000 Troops to Deal with Possible North Korean Refugees Over fears Trump May Strike Kim Jong-un

The Chinese army has reportedly deployed 150,000 troops to the North Korean border to prepare for pre-emptive attacks after the United States dropped airstrikes on Syria.

President Donald Trump‘s missile strike on Syria on Friday was widely interpreted as a warning to North Korea.

And now China, left shocked by the air strikes, has deployed medical and backup units from the People’s Liberation Army forces to the Yalu River, Korea’s Chosun.com reported.

The troops have been dispatched to handle North Korean refugees and ‘unforeseen circumstances’, such as the prospect of preemptive attacks on North Korea, the news agency said.

Meanwhile, the US Navy has moved the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group from Singapore to North Korea after the country conducted more missile testing.

China’s top nuclear envoy arrived in Seoul Monday for talks on the North Korean threat, as the United States sent the naval strike group to the region and signalled it may act to shut down Pyongyang’s weapons program.

Speculation of an imminent nuclear test is brewing as the North marks major anniversaries including the 105th birthday of its founding leader on Saturday – sometimes celebrated with a demonstration of military might.

Wu Dawei, China’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, met with his South Korean counterpart on Monday to discuss the nuclear issue.

The talks come shortly after Trump hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for a summit at which he pressed Pyongyang’s key ally to do more to curb the North’s nuclear ambitions.

‘(We) are prepared to chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us,’ US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after the summit.

He added however that Beijing had indicated a willingness to act on the issue.

‘We need to allow them time to take actions,’ Tillerson said, adding that Washington had no intention of attempting to remove the regime of Kim Jong-Un. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. to Deport Zhang Xiaoyuan, the ‘Dirty Minded’ Arizona State University Student Caught Recording Women in Restroom

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Zhang Xiaoyuan was apprehended and forced him to hand over his phone by two women who caught him coming out of a female bathroom on Arizona campus.

A foreign Arizona State University student who was caught last year taking surreptitious videos of women using the bathroom now faces deportation to China, according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“According to a probable cause statement, Zhang had not been able to find the men’s room in the building and decided to use the women’s restroom instead.

Zhang Xiaoyuan, 22, was convicted in January on felony voyeurism charges, according to court records. The Chinese national was in the United States on a student visa and enrolled as an undergraduate communications student at ASU, a university spokeswoman confirmed.

“While in the center stall, he used his phone to record video of the women because he had a ‘dirty mind,’ Zhang later told a police officer who conducted a more detailed interview in Putonghua at the station.”

After Zhang’s conviction, a federal immigration judge determined the Chinese national “no longer has a legal basis to remain in the US,” ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe said in a statement. “Accordingly, ICE is now making preparations to repatriate Mr Zhang to his native country.”

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“He was charged with six counts of unlawful viewing, taping and recording of persons, records showed. Because Zhang was a Chinese national, police also placed him on a federal immigration hold.”

Zhang was apprehended inside a lecture hall on ASU’s Tempe campus on the night of September 26, after two women observed him emerging from the women’s restroom and suspected he had taken video and photographs of them while inside, according to police records obtained by KTVK News.

The women detained Zhang and took his phone away from him so he couldn’t delete anything, police records said. When officers arrived, Zhang gave consent to search his phone; the two women watched videos recorded on the phone and were able to identify victims, records stated.

According to a probable cause statement, Zhang had not been able to find the men’s room in the building and decided to use the women’s restroom instead. While in the center stall, he used his phone to record video of the women because he had a “dirty mind,” Zhang later told a police officer who conducted a more detailed interview in Putonghua at the station. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Frank Lavin: What China Wants 

Fmr. Amb. Frank Lavin, author of ‘Homefront to Battlefront,’ on Beijing‘s goals.

Order Frank Lavin’s book, “Home Front to Battlefront: An Ohio Teenager in World War II (War and Society in North America)” from Amazon.com


China Hypocritically Attacks US Over Human Rights Violations

China Daily Mail

A U.S. flag is bizarrely tweaked ahead of a news conference between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

China lashed out at the United States for its “terrible human rights problems” in a report on Thursday, adding to recent international criticism of Washington on issues ranging from violence inflicted on minorities to U.S. immigration policies.

The U.S. State Department‘s annual report on rights in nearly 200 countries last week accused China of torture, executions without due process, repression of political rights and persecution of ethnic minorities, among other issues.

China is internationally regarded as the world’s worst abuser of human rights.

In an annual Chinese response to the U.S. report, China’s State Council, or cabinet, said the United States suffered from rampant gun violence and high levels of…

View original post 353 more words


[VIDEO]  Krauthammer: Chinese & Korean Nuclear Missiles Affect Trump’s Moves in Asia

“The worrisome thing here is the outside partner. This is not just a three sided game, North Korea, South Korea, and the U.S. — it’s the Chinese reaction. The Chinese are watching the United States after eight years of withdrawal, accommodation, and essentially no response to Chinese expansion — they’re seeing the United States now asserting itself. The U.S.S. Carl Vinson an aircraft carrier is now in the South China Sea. Trump has just sent B-52’s into South Korea as a way to threaten the North Koreans, and everyone knows what they carry, they carry nuclear weapons. But the worst thing from the Chinese point of view is the THAAD: This is the antimissile system. The Chinese react to that the way the Russians did to the anti-missile system we wanted to put in Eastern Europe. They get very upset because it can be applied against them. Yes, our reason for doing it is to defend the South Koreans against the North. But the overall effect is to put up a missile shield that could degrade and weaken the Chinese arsenal. They know that. They are very worried about that. And they’re getting semi-hysterical. Global Times which is a government-friendly publication just this week said that the government of China will no longer rule out a first nuclear strike. That’s a big deal. That’s not an official statement, but it tells you how much the Chinese are upset, which is why we are now rushing to install the THAAD by the end of April before the election so at least it’s a fait accompli — but this is a tinderbox.”

Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Yawei Liu On Chinese Views Of Trump

Yawei Liu (刘亚伟) joined The Carter Center in 1998 and has been the director of its China Program since 2005. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2014, the associate director of the China Research Center in Atlanta, and an adjunct professor of Political Science at Emory University. He co-authored Obama: The Man Who Will Change America (Chinese language, 2008).

He is the founding editor of http://www.chinaelections.org, http://www.uscnpm.org, and http://www.chinatransparency.org. Since 2012, he has organized an annual forum on U.S.-China relations. Read the rest of this entry »


Badiucao: One Love, One China

From China Digital Times: In recent cartoons for CDT,  puts a Valentine twist on President Trump’s emerging relationship with President Xi Jinping, which took a step forward in a recent phone call:

Valentines, by Badiucao:

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A second drawing focuses on Trump’s effort to patch up relations with Beijing by acknowledging the “one China” policy, which declares that Taiwan is part of China. Trump had earlier stated that he was “not committed” to the longstanding policy.

One China, by Badiucao

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Since his inauguration in January, President Trump’s policy toward China has been elusive and unpredictable. He ignited a firestorm of controversy soon after taking office by accepting a phone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan and later saying that he may choose not to adhere to the “one China” policy, which has defined the U.S.-China-Taiwan trilateral relationship for decades. These actions seemed to indicate that he would live up to campaign rhetoric to take a tougher line on China than his predecessors. Yet after two weeks of silence between the two leaders, Trump switched tacks by promising to uphold the one China status quo in a phone call with President Xi Jinping. From Simon Denyer and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post:

In a statement issued late Thursday, the White House said the two men had held a lengthy and “extremely cordial” conversation.

“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our one-China policy,” the White House statement said.

In return, Xi said he “appreciated his U.S. counterpart, , for stressing that the U.S. government adheres to the one-China policy,” which he called the “political basis” of relations between the two nations, state news agency Xinhua reported. [Source]

The call has been taken by many as a sign of acquiescence by Trump to Xi, as he acknowledged that his mention of the “one China” policy was at Xi’s request. From Jane Perlez of The New York Times:

But in doing so, he handed China a victory and sullied his reputation with its leader, Xi Jinping, as a tough negotiator who ought to be feared, analysts said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Trump Looks to Strengthen U.S. Trade Ties with Japan

Boston Herald Columnist, Adriana Cohen, former Bush senior campaign advisor, Mark Serrano, and Club for Growth president, David McIntosh on President Trump’s trade policies and his desire to put America first.

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Note: the above image is from Japanese social media. Original source unknown. But very typical of popular ‘kawaii’ image editing apps. See more of our Japan coverage here.