Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 27, 2018

A Most Hopeful Korean Summit With Little Chance Of Final Success

At widely observed meeting today the leaders of North and South Korea took a step towards a peace agreement and maybe even a reunion of the partitioned country.


We have been here before:

Leaders of North and South Korea signed a treaty of reconciliation and nonaggression this morning, renouncing armed force against each other and saying that they would formally bring the Korean War to an end ...
Officials on both sides described the accord as the first step toward what they term the inevitable reunification of the Korean peninsula, but they conceded that it failed to deal with some of the most potentially dangerous issues dividing North and South, including Pyongyang's race to develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons.
With surprising speed and warmth, the presidents of North and South Korea reached a broad agreement on Wednesday to work for peace and unity on their bitterly divided peninsula, the biggest step by either side to ease tensions in 50 years.
The general points agreed on included the need for reconciliation and unification; the establishment of peace; the commencement in August of exchange visits by members of divided families; and more cultural exchanges.
Expectations for what could be achieved at the first summit meeting between the Koreas in seven years had been low. Worries that South Korea’s president  [...] would give away too much had been high.

But a declaration signed Thursday [...] contained a number of specific projects that could build closer economic and security ties between the Koreas, experts said. The North, in turn, appeared to have made some modest, though important, concessions to the South.
Korean Summit Results Exceed Low Expectations

At a historic summit meeting, the first time a North Korean leader had ever set foot in the South, the leaders vowed to negotiate a peace treaty to replace a truce that has kept an uneasy peace on the divided Korean Peninsula for more than six decades, while ridding it of nuclear weapons. A peace treaty has been one of the incentives North Korea has demanded in return for bargaining away its nuclear weapons.
Mr. Moon also offered some capitalistic carrots during the talks, reminding Mr. Kim that South Korea had in years past promised huge investments to help improve the North’s road and train systems. Those agreements eventually collapsed as the North persisted in developing nuclear weapons.
North and South Korea Set Bold Goals: A Final Peace and No Nuclear Arms

The pieces above were published in the New York Times on December 13 1991,  June 15 2000, October 5 2007 and  April 27 2018 respectively.

It is obvious from the above quotes that the enthusiasm over such a summit is not new. What makes this one special ?

  • North Korea has a new leader who has proven that he can and will deliver what he promises. Under him North Korea's nuclear program reached its desired stage and brought the U.S. to the negotiating table. But Kim Jong-un keeps his options open. The inner Korean summit today was not broadcast on North Korean TV making it easier for Kim to later disavow it.
  • South Korea has a leader who is far from being a lame duck like his predecessors were at the time of their meetings with North Korean leaders. The conservatives and the U.S. aligned deep state in South Korea have been defeated in the million strong demonstrations in 2016. The current president Moon Jae-in is only at the beginning of his term and has a 75% approval rate in South Korea. His party has a strong lead over the opposition.
  • North Korea is now a nuclear capable state with intercontinental missiles. It can, for the first time, keep the U.S. under a nuclear threat. This gives at least some incentive to the Trump administration to seek serious negotiations and to achieve and stick to an agreement that contains the potential danger.
  • Trump needs a foreign policy success. He plans to meet Kim Jong-un in May. Finding some agreement with North Korea, even a small that restriction North Korea's intercontinental missiles, might help him to get reelected.
  • While the U.S. aim will be to 'flip' North Korea away from China and into the anti-Chinese camp, the move is likely to be unsuccessful. Last week a bus accident killed 32 Chinese 'tourists' in North Korea. Kim Jong-un personally visited the injured survivors and the apology he delivered to the Chinese ambassador was deferent. China is more self-assured than ever and open to a reunited Korea. But it will demand respect of its interests and that most U.S. troops leave the country.


While many interests, unlike before, may now align and thus make a peace agreement more likely, spoilers remain.

The full text of the joint Panmunjeom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula is not much different than the previous summit declarations. But one of the agreed upon points is a stumble stone as it contradicts the Trump's administration aim of a unilateral de-nuclearization of North Korea:

South and North Korea agreed to carry out disarmament in a phased manner, as military tension is alleviated and substantial progress is made in military confidence-building.

A "phased manner" means that a significant number of U.S. troops will have to leave South Korea before the north gives up any significant nuclear capability.

(If there is a chance of an eventual reunion of north and south, a united Korea may well prefer to keep some nuclear weapons. There is nuclear armed China to the north and there is the former colonial overlord Japan which has the materials and capabilities to produce its own nuclear weapons over a long weekend or so.)

There are least three additional potential spoilers:

  • Japan's hawkish Prime Minister Abe will dislike any agreement in favor of Korea. The Korean people hate Japan and a united Korea would be a strong political, economical and military competitor.
  • John Bolton, Trump's national security advisor, prefers violent 'regime change' over any agreement with the north. He supports negotiations, which he believes will fail, only as a necessary prelude to war.
  • The U.S. military and its industrial complex will want to keep its forces in Korea and the lucrative hostile position towards China.

All three of these players have the capability to arrange false flag events that could sabotage any progress.

There is new momentum in Korea that makes a peace agreement or even a reunion more possible than ever before. But the interests of the various foreign parties can not be satisfied sufficiently to allow for a real break through.

Posted by b on April 27, 2018 at 15:25 UTC | Permalink


You must be a lot of fun at parties b :)

Posted by: qualtrough | Apr 27 2018 15:49 utc | 1

b's position here is what I argued with relatives a week ago, then changed my view. It had seemed to me the event was being set up to fail and justify military intervention.

Then Kim Jong Un indicated significant concessions and new intentions toward "denuclearizing the globe." Of course this will be seen as rhetoric and sneakiness, with temptations toward false flags. My argument rests on a) the very serious mood of the Korean people as a whole to reunify: b) Kim's apparent move toward bringing North Korea out of the dark ages economically under the protection of China particularly; c) evidence for progress supported due to Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang, which I had expected to fail.

The significance for Trump is also potentially powerful versus his situation with the Democrats. Breakthroughs started when Pompeo, equally at war-hawk with Bolton, went in first to initiate proceedings.

(I also keep saying to myself, good luck with all this optimism)

Posted by: Sid2 | Apr 27 2018 16:01 utc | 2

Finally read an article about the summit containing a link to the joint declaration and was going to post it here but b's already done that along with his recap! It's easy to understand b's pessimism; the interests aligned against Peace anywhere including Korea are quite evil and utterly immoral. But Peace is popular and populist, and not just with Koreans but with Japanese and Taiwanese, too. And IMO a silent majority of Japanese--and a very vocal majority of Okinawans--want to see the Yankee Occupation end as 73 years is certainly long enough and Cold War rhetoric no longer provides any logical reasoning favoring continued occupation. Gotta love Kim and Park's enthusiasm and what appeared to be genuine glee.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 27 2018 16:03 utc | 3

If this summit succeeds, is it going to vindicate Trump and show that making childish threats that raise the specter of nuclear massacres works as a way to bring peace?

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Apr 27 2018 16:05 utc | 4

Peace will not come soon or easily in our war obsessed world. If it comes, it will be fitful and gradual in it's manifestations. The alternative would be truly horrible. We must continue to try, however unlikely peace may often seem. This is our human karma that we have accumulated over time; we are stuck with the necessity of working it out, or else.......

Posted by: mike k | Apr 27 2018 16:06 utc | 5

Is the north korean walk into neocon dream? Giving up nukes, not by necessity a good thing concering Trump's threat of war and wars.

Posted by: test | Apr 27 2018 16:17 utc | 6

@4 "If this summit succeeds, is it going to vindicate Trump and show that making childish threats that raise the specter of nuclear massacres works as a way to bring peace?"

Good question. Trump will brag about how effective sanctions and threats have been. He'll most likely take it as a signal to keep pushing.

Posted by: dh | Apr 27 2018 16:27 utc | 7

thanks b... i got a laugh @1's comment to you!

i am with sid2 on this.. i think it is possible for peace to break out and i think it is going to happen... it is true the list of actors to mess this up with an ff is always real, but i believe we are ready for a step in a positive direction.. i remain positive..

Posted by: james | Apr 27 2018 16:50 utc | 8

Your headline say it all, and I agree with it.

Everything else is more or less unimportant given that the empire have no interest in any peaceful solution. Now if we leave aside the power-play and geopolitics, I can not envisioned merger of two ideologically deeply confronted nations. Unless they devise One-Country-Two-Systems or the like system I believe that North or South's security apparatuses would be against loosing its privileges.

A "phased manner" means that a significant number of U.S. troops will have to leave South Korea before the north gives up any significant nuclear capability.

I do not know, but given the Strategy of Tension across the globe this is unlikely.

Anyway good luck to them.

Posted by: partisan | Apr 27 2018 16:51 utc | 9

@mike k #5

Take away the war obsession of the AngloZionist/Wahhabi Empire and the "world obsession" with war is almost imperceptible. No other country on earth is invading other countries.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Apr 27 2018 16:56 utc | 10

dh / inkan1969

Isnt he right though (unfortunately)? Or what changed NK so much?

Posted by: test | Apr 27 2018 17:00 utc | 11

Call me A Cockeyed Optimist, but I'm confident that this time it'll be different. NK has recently been getting high quality advice from both Russia and China. The FIRST advice they would have been (superfluously) offered, by both, is "Watch out for unbelievably nasty, dirty tricks!"

The difference this time is that everybody, except the Colonial Christians, are going in with their eyes open, hoping for the best but prepared for a bumpy ride. The C.C.s will be going in with their eyes and ears shut tight, believing their own bs, with their heads up their arses (admiring the view).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 27 2018 17:01 utc | 12

North Korea can make a huge contribution to world peace by agreeing to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty only if Israel sits at the same table and signs with the same pen. Oh gosh, now even the North Koreans will be demonised as anti-Jew, the persecution is universal.

Posted by: Quentin | Apr 27 2018 17:10 utc | 13

In my opinion, Kim has played the US brilliantly in the year or two that I've been watching. North Korea almost alone in the world understood Trump's way of blustering, and that Trump himself was Teflon in terms of committing himself to any course through tweets, or even yesterday's actions and avowals. No other country played this simultaneous word game and paradigm shift as well as North Korea, and for "dotard" alone Kim should be given the highest literary honor possible.

And of course, North Korea established itself as a nuclear threat to the US. This alone was already the pivot that won more than 50% of the battle. In this struggle, the killing blow has already been struck, and it was North Korea's against the US. Everything following now is the mop-up.

Now, on to the next phase. It seems to me that this move of the two Koreas has completely undercut the US position. Surely this was discussed and war gamed with China in the recent meeting? I get the impression that Russia has played a strong role also in the diplomacy of these discussions between the regional players, but I haven't followed the details.

This move now opens the way for negotiations on phased disarmament, which means concessions, tit for tat, with the need for war exercises declining continually - who needs war exercises when the two sides have declared an end to war? There's that brilliant choice of words again. One day the US troops are gone. Perhaps the reunited Korea will keep nukes, perhaps it will shelter under a treaty with China, maybe Russia, maybe SCO?

All of these things remain to be talked out. It's Asians against Barbarians in round upon round of negotiations, and who is better at this game? Every day, the US position is weakening, while the people of Korea are showing they want peace - it's an easy thing for the ordinary people of any country to demonstrate.

Frankly, I think the miracle has already happened, and the strategic imperatives are now firmly lodged in the throat of the US. Many delicate moves ahead to watch this thing play out.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 27 2018 17:19 utc | 14

@ Hoarsewhisperer (12)

Nah, they'll fetch some already used trick in Middle East from their arse and won't let it happen.

Posted by: Fantome | Apr 27 2018 17:22 utc | 15

The picture of the two leaders is so charming and so hopeful. It's the first time that international news has made me smile in a long, long time.

Posted by: paul | Apr 27 2018 17:26 utc | 16

I re-read Panmunjeom Declaration again and one important paragraph:

During this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the Armistice, South and North Korea agreed to actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the United States and China with a view to declaring an end to the War, turning the armistice into a peace treaty, and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime.

it seems that both North and South do not have full ability or freedom to make an independent bilateral decision on its own.

Posted by: partisan | Apr 27 2018 17:26 utc | 17

For sure this has a better chance of sticking because of the great potential that it will be seen as a great victory for brand Mar-a-lago. Who cares long as US troops leave the peninsula.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Apr 27, 2018 12:05:25 PM | 4

Haha, a twitter shit storm caused peace...? Maybe in the skewed western realities (weird logic as Lavrov terms it) of this age.

A big win for nuclear deterrents. That shit works.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 27 2018 17:26 utc | 18

It's rather bizzare seeing people try to spin the US being pointedly excluded from peace talks as a foreign policy win. Had NK initiated the discussion, perhaps the US could claim some victory, but with SK being the reasonable actor, Pence's Olympic buffoonery, and the US's outright rejection of basic talks it's a win for everyone except the US. Now, to pry the US troops off the peninsula...

Posted by: Sorghum | Apr 27 2018 17:33 utc | 19

Nah, they'll fetch some already used trick in Middle East from their arse and won't let it happen.
Posted by: Fantome | Apr 27, 2018 1:22:26 PM | 15

I hope you're right. The world needs to see the Enemies of Peace making a puerile attempt at justifying war.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 27 2018 17:44 utc | 20

The US doesn't usually pull troops out unless of course people are hanging off the helicopters as they retreat. The more they loose the more wars they fight claiming they won the others and covering it with more violence. The US is a pathetic empty place with a huge military and thousands of nuclear weapons it can't use without committing suicide.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Apr 27 2018 18:06 utc | 21

I see b is a realitst and that is good since we have here some conflation of mutually hostile and contradictory objectives and notions which can only be solved regionally or the story goes but it seems that Kim Jung Un found a sort of way out, via KOREA becoming nuclear state as the only reliable guarantee of its existence against Japanese militarism and specter of Japanese occupation similar to last one that lasted little less than half of century , like it was in Pakistan that gained nuke to end any notion of forced reunification with India within old British colonial borders.

Few facts:

It was not international meeting of heads of states, none of sides were there in capacity of representing countries (NK and SK) but as party leaders, parties that happen to control certain local government functions but no side, per agreement, claims to represent all Koreans, at least in this meeting.

No state flags were flown as both sides pledge and consider one indivisible Korea that legally exists and will be implemented as soon as war ends and practical reunification of already formally (it is how they understand the Situation) existing one united Korea is completed. No serious Korean politician ever agreed to division of Korea although they were forced to take some international identities like in UN.

Second, there is wide spread support for nukes in NK but also in South Korea as a ultimate assurance against Japanese militarism that resulted in almost half a century of brutal Japanese occupation that ended in 1945 and for which $trillion reparations are sought by North and even in the South.

Of course Russia China and US want Koreans disarmed as they could be better controlled as all sides intend to do or be doing in the futures as they see it as their vital strategic interest.

In fact those are all three foreign powers and Japan that do not want real peace and reunification for opposite reasons and hence as I see Koreans are doomed to be a paws in game of global geopolitics for decades to come.

Posted by: Kalen | Apr 27 2018 18:08 utc | 22

If this is only a political maneuver on the part of the DPRK, it is a brilliant one, as it makes it rather difficult for the US to launch an attack when the Kim is holding hands with Moon.
Of course, what does the US care about international law or public opinion these days? All that is needed -- in any circumstance -- is a false flag violent enough to send in the missiles.

Posted by: Perimetr | Apr 27 2018 18:14 utc | 23

Grieved @14,

I appreciate your as it were realized eschatological approach to the empire's defeat--"the miracle has already happened", etc.--which I think reflects something more than mere optimism, something closer to the sure confidence of hope. Yet I am afraid that I do not share your belief. I would nonetheless be very pleased to find out, later, that you were right all along.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 27 2018 18:36 utc | 24

@10. Was thinking the same thing....It's really only 3 countries pushing the wars far as I can tell any way's. I thought it was odd to say the least that 'mike k' was muddying the waters with the whole world comment. Almost like a disinfo agent might.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Apr 27 2018 19:01 utc | 25

I propose a toast and three cheers for young Kim and President Moon for shining a bright light in a dark world.

Posted by: frances | Apr 27 2018 19:13 utc | 26

The creation of a North Korean nuclear deal and the dismantling of the Iranian nuclear deal. What a farce.

Posted by: Ninel | Apr 27 2018 19:18 utc | 27

"Trump says Washington will not “be played” by North Korea"

This is dominating headline in the world right now, as if Deranged Dotard acting preemptively.

“Henceforth, the United States may have to determine how to cope with regional coalitions that seek to push America out of Eurasia, thereby threatening America’s status as a global power.” (p.55)

“…To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.” (p.40)

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Posted by: partisan | Apr 27 2018 19:19 utc | 28

macron drumph trumped holding hands
2 korean rothschild masonics holding hands
all play for today
bad acts

kim wrong un lived a long time in the bis land the same bank land used by usa,germany,soviets and old blighted uk.
war and peace and zionist bankers

Posted by: lord moyne | Apr 27 2018 19:29 utc | 29


Indeed, there is no logic in the west, bombing, striking, leave treaties, reject international law. Thats the west we know of today.
Apparently the sick people in west got mad that they might lose another war in the korea's so they have to whip up hate against Iran. Psychopaths.

Posted by: test | Apr 27 2018 19:30 utc | 30

For some reason everyone discounts what the DPRK diplomats said repeatedly to both the PRC & RF, namely;
"We don't care if we must eat grass......... we will have the capability to do to the USA what they did to us......... destroy them utterly, and you of all people should understand our position, because the only way you have been able to frustrate them is by the same means we now have"

Then they went to great lengths to reassure both the PRC and RF that friendship with each was a pillar of DPRK policy.

Somehow a modus vivendi was achieved between the DPRK & PRC & RF wherein they agreed on terms for joint pursuit of re-unification of the Korean peninsula.

The terms of the above remain a secret held by the DPRK, PRC, & RF.


Posted by: Dr. George Oprisko | Apr 27 2018 19:45 utc | 31

Well, a few quibbles here and there. First, I have always been highly doubtful of another war over Korea with the same set of combatants, the U.S. versus China. The Allied Powers, the U.N. force the U.S. led, could not defeat the Chinese supporting N. Korea then, and to do over that war makes little sense.

Second, China claims all of Korea as its sovereign territory. As recently as during the end of the Qing Dynasty, when Russia, Japan, and France were discussing the future of Korea, China submitted to the negotiations a letter saying that it claimed all of Korea, although it was temporarily unable to enforce that claim. The view from Beijing remains as such. What we refer to as the Korean War is referred to in China as, "The War to Protect the Motherland against U.S. Imperialist Aggression." You could, for example, make a crude analogy and say that North Korea was the lips, and China was the teeth.

As you allude to with your description of President Kim Jon-Un's deferential posture in the aftermath of the Chinese tourist bus incident, N. Koreans don't like Chinese much. I would venture that pedestrian sentiments have it that the only thing worse than being ruled by the Americans would be being ruled by the Chinese. And yet, China has N. Korea by the short hairs. China has as its goal annexation of the Southern part,too; when, just like in H.K., Eastern Turkmenistan, Mongolia and Tibet, the fun will start. Anyone who knows the Korean temperament would be forced to venture that the Koreans would never put up with it. But one should also never underestimate the ability of the Chaebol leadership to sell their countrymen down the river.

The leash tethering Pyongyang to Beijing has so far been long enough to allow for just the right mix of braggadocio, eccentricity and color to keep U.S. sanctions in place, and N.Korea dependent on China's economy (and freebooting). Barring a change in dynasty, the chances of reunification proceeding on terms anything other than those of the CCP are nil. (True, a war with China would change those odds, but the chances of that, as I argued initially, are nil.) The idea that the U.S. could go to war with N.Korea, and China not intervene, are nil.

Even without a clearly enunciated suzerain relationship, S.Korea must always be mindful and often deferential to the interests of the Chinese foreign ministry. Exhibiting antagonism to the Japanese is one way to keep those ministers at bay. Your claim that the Korean people hate Japan should be more nuanced. You might better evoke the attitude of Indians toward the U.K. In any event, it is a love-hate relationship on a pedestrian level, the posture of the leadership notwithstanding.

If a lifeline were to be dropped to rescue Korea from the crevice of rock and hard place, it would come from Russia. Russia has an historic relationship with Korea, and the track record there, at the end of the 19th century was pretty good. The absolute best hope for Korea and Koreans would be for the U.S. and Russia to make peace. Fallout from that rapprochement could well be sovereignty for Korea on a level unimaginable now. Even absent that rapprochement, Korea's best hope is Russia.

Posted by: Rhetoric | Apr 27 2018 19:46 utc | 32

Very good analysis , as usual Bernhard. Thanks.
But I would add something vital : NK and SK are interested in the very lucrative for both of them OBOR plan . Money talks louder this time .
A Russian pipeline running from NK to SK is a very powerful incentive.

Posted by: veritas semper vinces | Apr 27 2018 19:47 utc | 33

So it turns out Kim is the real deal... like Assad. And it would seem the NK people are willing to back Kim as long as he continues to leverage the US/NATO/Rothschild-banksters into a corner and hopefully into irrelevance on Korean matters.

This is the second time in recent history the US have been declared persona non grata at peace negotiations orchestrated by Russia/China. In Korea Putin and Xi worked behind the scenes, unlike Astana where Russia took the public lead.

And the MSM may choose to ignore China's influence on Kim/NK, but that is as real a fact as Kim and Moon crossing the border together. China said unambiguously that Kim was on his own if he attacks anyone, but that China will by any means required defend NK against all who dare make the first strike. False flag crap won't fly with Xi, who I am sure would like nothing more than to metaphorically shirt-front Trumpty Dumbdy after the chocolate cake episode.

The fact Kim has handled this so well so far, I doubt he'll be willing to surrender NK sovereignty for dropping a few sanctions and other empty US promises. Moon and his successors will find Kim will be very parsimonious in what he yields vs. what the US's illegal occupation of SK, etc. must be rolled back to zero. US/ZATO military may not leave SK clinging to the landing gear of their helicopters but they will be seen world-wide as driven out, just as they were from Vietnam. And the rest of the civilized world will cheer.

Yankee Go Home.

Posted by: A P | Apr 27 2018 20:01 utc | 34

'b' is correct we have been here before, the last effort entailed the supply by the West of a number of light water nuclear reactors and 500,000 Tons of oil per year in exchange for the North Koreans halting their nuclear activities. This agreement collapsed when the US failed their part of the bargain and then grouped N Korea and Iran into the axis of evil. It is extremely unlikely that Kim will give up his nuclear weapons the US are just not agreement capable, we shall know more when Trump abandons the Iran nuclear deal next month. If Kim were to give up his nuclear weapons, he knows he would likely get a rusty bayonet up his arse.

Posted by: Harry Law | Apr 27 2018 20:08 utc | 35

From the point of view of China it is hard to think of a better place for 30,000 plus US troops to be located than in Korea where they are, essentially, hostages.
From the US point of view there are few surer ways of maintaining anti-American feelings near boiling point than to station thousands of troops there.
'Rhetoric''s claim that China regards Korea as part of its territory is misleading-the People's Republic has made no such claim, nor is it likely to do so.
De-nuclearisation of the peninsula means that the US must withdraw its nuclear weaponry, besides which arsenal the North's few warheads are very small beer.
B's pessimism is understandable given that if a deal over Korean unification does get done it will signify a major strategic adjustment in eastern Asia. And this at a time when similar tectonic change seems to be occurring at the other end of the continent.
In my view the momentum towards an end in the long stand-off is becoming irresistible.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 27 2018 20:26 utc | 36

Hope this post means you're feeling better, b.

Posted by: Croesus | Apr 27 2018 20:37 utc | 37

@1 Thanks for the evening laugh ! That is the best compliment you could give b.

Posted by: Stephane | Apr 27 2018 20:38 utc | 38

@31 Rhetoric.. insightful and informed post, other then the quibble @35 bevin mentions, which is debatable.. thanks. i agree with you that ultimately "The absolute best hope for Korea and Koreans would be for the U.S. and Russia to make peace." although it's a long ways from obvious here, i still think it's possible, although it might have to come after some major event involving the usa and russia. we seem to be leading up into just this..

Posted by: james | Apr 27 2018 20:42 utc | 39

I agree with Partisan @ 17, that the requirement in the recent Panmunjeom Declaration for the two Koreas to pursue trilateral talks with the US may be a major stumbling block towards achieving long-term peace and reunification. The US has too much at stake tied up in keeping the two Koreas separate at present and holding South Korea on a tight leash.

President Moon may be popular with South Koreans but at this point in time, if either of the two Koreas is to be subjected to Color Revolution regime change, South Korea is the more vulnerable. Politically conservative forces in South Korea only have to wait until the stench from Park Geunhye's corrupt administration has disappeared and she is forgotten.

Why should the two Koreas include the US in any trilateral talks anyway? Why not nominate a neutral third party nation, with no interest in seeing a divided Korean peninsula, as a mediator? The Philippines under Rodrigo Duterte might be one such possibility as a mediator.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 27 2018 21:14 utc | 40

Rhetoric @ 31: Since when has China ever claimed the Korean peninsula as part of its territory? The only time Korea was part of "China" was when the Mongols were in power in Beijing and that was before the 15th century. Once Korea became independent of the Mongols, the Chinese left the Koreans alone. The Koreans had their own ruling dynasty (the Yi dynasty) lasting several hundred years. The major danger to Korea was from Japan who invaded the peninsula in the 1500s.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 27 2018 21:22 utc | 41

The analogy between DPRK-China and Vietnam-China in the IISS article seems unfounded. Vietnam never had the client state relationship with China that DPRK has. The Chinese and the Vietnamese have had long-standing rivalry that was only thinly papered over during the French and American wars against Vietnam, then came to the surface again with Chinese support of the Khmer Rouge and their abortive 1979 invasion (The Vietnamese kicked their butts). China has refrained from rolling DPRK diplomatically despite the Atlantic Empire's attempts to pressure them to do so.

A more likely scenario is that China could pull ROK away from the US simply because they have more to offer them than the US does: convergent interests in the economic sphere and in managing relations with DPRK and Japan. DPRK is currently an economic burden for China and they could use the help of an aligned economy in carrying the load.

China and the two Koreas have a somewhat counterintuitive interest in the US maintaining a military presence in Japan, without which the Japanese would be more likely to develop nukes - a truly destabilizing scenario with all the baggage between Japan and China and Japan and Korea. The US's most useful long-term role would be to 1) assure the Japanese, and 2) keep them in line.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 27 2018 21:30 utc | 42

If the Americans are removed from the entire peninsula there is a real possibility that the cancerous blight will have been removed from the body of Korea. The Americans are the greater part of the problem by far.

Posted by: imoverit | Apr 27 2018 21:37 utc | 43

Posted by: james | Apr 27, 2018 4:42:47 PM | 38
(best hope for (?) would be for the U.S. and Russia to make peace)

You haven't read The Occult Technology of Power: The Initiation of the Son of a Finance Capitalist into the Arcane Secrets of Economic and Political Power, have you?

This warmongering stuff has been run by families for centuries and became apparent with the deeds of The East India Company, and overt with the calculated disaster (for China) known as the US-UK Opium Wars.
Dip into it. You mightn't like it but it'll help banish those pesky unicorns..

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 27 2018 21:38 utc | 44

I can't see Japan playing any kind of role in the negotiations. Korea as a whole and China hate them (justifiably so). The US can't withdraw from Japan. If they did so Korea and China would join together and turn the islands into ash pits.

Posted by: Bakerpete | Apr 27 2018 21:48 utc | 45

LOL b.

Buzz kill.

Still, thanks for the reminder. I really hate the letdown from false optimism.

Posted by: nines | Apr 27 2018 21:59 utc | 46

@43 hoarsewhisperer... i know i need to keep my idealism in check, lol.. i figure we are headed for a major war involving russia and the usa gang... everything says this.. perhaps some of the fall out might be a possible positive on the korean pennisula... one can dream! i will skip the book.. i am sure it is based on many years of human depravity laid bare for anyone to see.. i have come to think their are different species of humans on the planet and some of the species are incapable of anything but war, and power..

Posted by: james | Apr 27 2018 22:08 utc | 47

Rhetoric @ 31: Since when has China ever claimed the Korean peninsula as part of its territory? The only time Korea was part of "China" was when the Mongols were in power in Beijing and that was before the 15th century. Once Korea became independent of the Mongols, the Chinese left the Koreans alone. The Koreans had their own ruling dynasty (the Yi dynasty) lasting several hundred years. The major danger to Korea was from Japan who invaded the peninsula in the 1500s.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 27, 2018 5:22:48 PM | 40

This is not exactly true. Like Vietnam, Korea had several periods of being directly annexed or being a dependency of Chinese empire. AFAIK, Mongols did not rule directly, unlike Han and Tang over North Korea, but they were quite onerous overlords. After the Mongol rule over China ended, Ming, the next dynasty was a rather benevolent overlord, and when Japanese invaded Korea around 1600, the Ming spend a lot of military and financial effort to expel them (Korean contribution was essential too). The next dynasty continued the overlord-vassal relationship, but when Japanese invaded again around 1900, the decline of the dynasty and multiplicity of enemies allowed the Japanese to succeed. One should also note that Vietnam, before the French too over, was also a vassal kingdom of Chinese empire, but as the empire had the northern focus, with a northern capital (this is what Beijing means), that dependency was basically ceremonial.

I guess Chinese are publishing the nostalgic maps of the maximum extent of the empire including the vassal states, but the make no claims to Mongolia, Korea, Vietnam, Amur country (Russia since 1860) etc. Nevertheless, Korea in general and North Korea in particular is their "zone of influence" and North Korea is often referred to as "younger brother". There is no way under the sun that PRC will abandon PDRK to the tender mercies of USA, even though the nukes there are a bit of a bother. I guess that the value of North Korea as a buffer from American bases is also appreciated by Russia. There is some shell game between China, Russia and periodic "more severe sanction regimes". E.g. when China stops supplies of oil (crude and fuel), Russia picks it up.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 27 2018 22:16 utc | 48

About Iran: Pompeo now tries to scuttle the Iran agreement which is a main topic of his trip to Europe, first since he became SoS. European will be forced to choose: independent foreign policy or nonsensical foreign policy. Ordinarily, they go for nonsensical, but out of necessity, they are fond of multilateral agreements (this is what EU is, after all) and they will resist. Not too much, but not to the point of submitting to the requirement of "renegotiation". Of major powers, UK is supine, Germany has a chancellor (prime minister, not finance minister like in UK) that seems constantly confused, and France loves to engage in pirouettes (independent, more zealous than USA, independent, it is like wave vs particle in quantum physics). Lesser powers run the full gamut. Hard to bet on any outcome.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 27 2018 22:28 utc | 49

IMO, it'd be difficult to argue against Garrie's take that "The Kim/Moon Summit is a Victory for All of Asia:"

"What is all the more meaningful though is that while the clear path to peace which Kim and Moon have embraced is a great leap forward for Korea, it is also a collective triumph for all of Asia. The division of Korea after 1945 was an artificial construct that paid more attention to the ambitions of the superpowers who fought Japan than to the Korean people whose homeland was occupied by Japan. A series of calculated steps to unduly influence the party political and ideological make-up of Korea by all the superpowers, but most notably by the United States, led first to division, then to war and after three years of unimaginable suffering, a return to division. Had all ideological, partisan and economic grievances of the Korean people been allowed to be fully and freely debated by the Koreans themselves, the unnatural division of a common people would likely have never occurred."

Without China's strength and subsequent influence, what happened today wouldn't have occurred. China's trying to instill what might be termed a Pan-Asianism:

"If the US remained more influential in Asia than China, one could be sure that the spirit of anti-colonial harmony across Asia, including in Korea would not be flourishing. It is because of China’s leadership which respects the characteristics of each individual Asian nation that peace is beginning to take shape. Of course, in the specific case of Korea, the fact that both Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un have intensified their relations with Beijing, is a testament to China’s quiet strength against western voices that howl with discontent whenever Asian leaders act in a sovereign manner. Ultimately, China’s superpower status is paving the way for Asia to reject the machinations of those far from the heart of the Asian experience and instead become masters of their own destinies."

I was hoping to find some other form of official reaction from Chinese government than recaps of the event; perhaps it's too early Saturday morning there and we'll be treated to something of substance later. This is what's currently available.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 27 2018 22:32 utc | 50

Step by step, Russia and China are increasing the pressure on the hegemon causing it to react with stupid shit like Novichok and Douma. There may be no major breakthrough with Korea in the near future, but step by step, the hegemon is losing power.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 27 2018 22:36 utc | 51

Piotr Berman @ 47: Korea's relationship to China over the centuries depends on how we interpret concepts like "tributary state" and "vassal state". Western interpretations are very different from how the Chinese and Koreans traditionally interpret the concepts and may say more about how the West views relations between two states that are unequal in military firepower than about the states themselves.

While for much of its history Korea was a vassal state to China, both states interpreted this relationship as being mutually beneficial. Korea retained its autonomy and the two states traded - or "exchanged gifts" - in an age when most trade was done between governments (even if they were city-state governments).

Because the traditional Chinese concept of the universe was that everything revolved around China, every nation that had diplomatic relations with China and traded with it was a "vassal state". "Vassal states" otherwise were left alone to govern themselves. Any other nation that did not trade with China or exchanged diplomats (like Japan for much of its history) - and which therefore could not count on military assistance from China if it were invaded by someone else, or on emergency relief during famines - was not a vassal state.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 27 2018 22:46 utc | 52

Does the United States have to sign any peace treaty? I only ask 'cos the United States' intervention in Korea was the result of an UN resolution, and what the UN puts together, the UN can rip asunder. If this is the case, then Congress might have zero say in the outcome and which of Washington's poodles is going to risk offending the president? When ever Trump makes a noise, I always wonder what his capos are up to - the whole twitter war from Trump was possibly a smokescreen to allow things to happen out of public view. What happened to that aircraft carrier that was supposed to be heading, full steam ahead, for the Yellow Sea/East China Sea/Sea of Japan but ended up going for a cruise through the Indonesian archipelago should perhaps be viewed in a new light.

BTW, like others above I reckon this "grift" was planned by the Russians, Chinese and North Koreans - don't forget that without the Soviet Union, the whole of Korea would most likely have been Washington's poodle in 1945 and the United States wouldn't have "lost" China

>>>> Rhetoric | Apr 27, 2018 3:46:50 PM | 31

"The War to Protect the Motherland against U.S. Imperialist Aggression."

Perhaps the Chinese didn't want to share a land border with one of Washington's poodles. The peace treaty will come first as it merely legitimizes the status quo, but real reunification will be a long time coming as the South Koreans will have to demonstrate they're no longer Washington's poodle.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 27 2018 22:59 utc | 53

In response to the author's three additional potential spoilers, I proffer three additional sweeteners:

1. The big-ass gas line Russia has offered to run to Seoul.

2. The big-ass oil line ditto

3. The meter-gauge rail line ditto.

Cuts the peninsula's energy bills by 20% and shipping time to Duisberg by 50%

Posted by: Godfree Roberts | Apr 27 2018 23:08 utc | 54

Here's one of the first of what'll be many sets of analyses of what might happen next. The two analysts interviewed keep their cynicism intact while allowing a bit of guarded optimism and stress that arriving at Peace greatly outweighs denuclearization, and that the Peace is likely to be promoted via economic integration.

Ghost Ship @52 poses excellent questions: How many actors would be party to a final Peace Treaty, and how would Outlaw US Empire forces currently stationed in South Korea be forced to leave--via the Peace Treaty or via the rescinding of the current Status of Forces Agreement with South Korea. Elich says this at the end of the linked item:

"I don't see [occupation troops leaving] happening… the US military isn't in the habit of respecting the wishes of any people and no matter what any Korean thinks… the US Forces Korea is there to stay."

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 28 2018 0:16 utc | 55

Thanks b, for the historical and relevant posting. You must be feeling better.

As for me, I remain pessimistic that anything concrete will come of this latest effort at "peace theater", although, I like it better than " war theater".

South Korea has no more autonomy than a "man it the moon"( no pun intended). The puppet DT will do what his handlers demand, and that remains, no pulling back from the goals of empire, global hegemony and full spectrum dominance.

Posted by: ben | Apr 28 2018 0:35 utc | 56

Karlofi1. Don’t you think that if governments were to reflect the will of the people, war would be largely extinct? We commoners generally have to be propagandized - usually quite a great deal - into supporting wars… unless, of course we are clearly attacked.

But AZ Empire/Supra-national banksters/MIC beg to disagree, whether the region is Korea, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela or Africa in general.

John Pilger has been warning of a coming war against China for some time now.

And it’s not like things have cooled down with President MAGA.

I don’t really know how to get the US government to reflect the will of the citizens. I have great hope for and trust in humans, but those in control are not normal humans. They’re psychopathic monsters.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 28 2018 0:38 utc | 57

@karlof1 53.

65 years on, this time may just be different. It's the debt load and rising interest rates that threaten. Watch out, you can only print so much fiat.


Here is Mad Dog Mattis, if he is to be taken at his word:

US Troop Removal From Korea Up for Talks With Allies, N. Korea - Mattis

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Withdrawing US troops from the Korean Peninsula would be discussed with allies if North Korea demanded it as part of reaching a peace agreement, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said during a meeting with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak at the Pentagon.

Well, that's part of the issues that we'll be discussing in the negotiations with our allies first and, of course, with North Korea," the release said on Friday.[.]


And there is that pesky irking issue of THAAD being installed in SK without "permission" ---

Posted by: Likklemore | Apr 28 2018 0:53 utc | 58

Russia and China, Putin and Xi have suckered in Trump to a deal with Kim which Trump will have an impossible time making.

The real Korean denuclearization is the Unification that Moon and Kim are working.

Nothing but the overthrow or death of Moon will stop the Koreans from leveraging the Hegemon out of Korea.

China played this perfectly. There was no more allowance for Kim's nuke and missile program. The Time Was Perfect. He had destroyed his test site inside the mountain. Radiation was a threat to northern China millions.

Xi had never gotten respect from the Rocket Man, so China ordered Kim to visit and get his orders. In the background, the Russian diplomats and military were guaranteeing security and military defense when the nukes are gone. This has been going on for nearly four years, North Korea and Russian talks.

Thus, we have a joint operation by China and Russia, Kim and Moon allowed to dance together, and the Hegemon thinking he holds the leverage.

Even if Bolton convinces Trump to walk away, Moon and Kim and China and Russia will have reunification and economic development on the Peninsula. The social pressure in South Korea to expel the US will be like no one can imagine.

This has been a game of GO, and the US thinks its checkers.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Apr 28 2018 1:50 utc | 59

To a rational Korean; the spectacle of absolutely no concern at wiping Seoul off the map by American rulers ordering a First Strike on the North must be world shattering. Turning Korea into a Syria, Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan. Crazies in Washington DC are in charge of the nuclear shield. With a little help from China and Russia, ending the Korea War, and quarantining Americans to their bases (avoiding a war) is extremely attractive.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Apr 28 2018 2:44 utc | 60

When the UN wanted to withdraw from Korea in the 1950s, the US vetoed the proposal. The original proposal for the UN to intervene in Korea was "passed" even though all the Security Council members were not present per the SC rules. The UN so far has not formally prevented the US from going forward and doing whatever it wants.

Posted by: larens | Apr 28 2018 3:23 utc | 61

@ Ghost Ship 52
the South Koreans will have to demonstrate they're no longer Washington's poodle.

Yes, for example the South Korean military is commanded by the US. The Combined Forces Command, commanded by Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, has operational control over more than 600,000 active-duty military personnel of all services, of both countries. In wartime, augmentation could include some 3.5 million ROK reservists as well as additional U.S. forces deployed from outside the ROK. The only military force commanded by another country in a bilateral arrangement! Can't get more poodle than that.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 28 2018 3:24 utc | 62

I am going to agree with those that think this time is different with NK/SK.

Xi and Modi are meeting this weekend and I expect more hopeful announcements.

Will the positivity overcome the negativity? We shall see.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 28 2018 3:47 utc | 63

@56 Red Ryder

I agree with your scenario but I differ when it comes to cause and effect, cart and horse, big man / little man.

Let's not forget that Kim deliberately provoked China as well as the US, all the while it was racing to attain nuclear threat level against the US. China was not happy with this threat level either - not that it was aimed at China, but wild cards are wild cards, in any orderly game. And China loves the orderly game above all things, I think - and this was something that Korea of course understands.

When the missile testing had reached its objectives, Kim went to see Xi. And he paid homage as the junior to the respected elder. I hear about this collapsed mountain and I believe it, although I don't have details, but I don't regard it as a limiting factor, considering the scale of the move being made here. Mountain or not, the fact is that Kim succeeded in an audacious move that must have taken China's breath away - and then at the very moment of success he came to pay respect to the elder.

Asians, I believe, completely understand and honor the nature of winning a gamble. None of this happened in a vacuum, talk all around this has been going on - as you say and I accept - for four years. But still, Kim pushed this goal of effective nuclear "parity", and won through.

I guess all I'm saying is that the concept of big man and little man doesn't apply here. Neither of the Koreas is subservient to China. But China is obviously the Big Dragon of the region. And China, Japan and Korea have a relationship that spans thousands of years. And I think this very ancientness can be harnessed and marshaled in this play. In contrast to this vast and deeply evocative common regional heritage, what seems starkly clear now is that the kwailo foreign devil barbarian has no place in this essentially Asian story unfolding.

I truly suspect that we will see this "Asian" characteristic come to dominate all other characteristics and all western thinking in the region in the coming years.


I watched the RT footage of Kim and Moon. I never saw Kim with his heart so close to the surface of his skin. Again, an Asian thing, they held hands while some quasi-western pop opera unfolded. But among the words of the music and light show were the words in English: "We want to be family again."

I don't care how hokey this seems. Something very real is here. You can't play the "family" card and not mean it. And when you play it, well, this is the thing that has always reigned supreme in this world. There is no power structure that exceeds the family. This is the truth and the morality that we all can fall back on. If this means what it seems like it means - that two artificially separated halves of one country have glimpsed the vision that they can return to being one country again - I don't know what kind of fool would stand in front of this train coming.

A neocon would try to stop this, I guess. But that won't stop the train from being a train. No amount of bullshit from the west will destroy this vision. We will see ups and down - remember, please that I said this - but in the end, it will manifest as Korea dreams it today.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 28 2018 3:49 utc | 64

Don't forget Russia would like to run a gas pipeline to South Korea and on to Japan. Perhaps that is one thing DPRK and South Korea have in common with Syria, ultimately it is about energy, pipelines and who controls them, who will make a lot of money and who will lose. One side, Russia and China want peace so they can make business deals while the other, the US prefers a war footing to better control its vassal states. I for one would sure like to see Japan replace its dodgy nuclear facilities with natural gas before the tsunami hits Japan.

Posted by: Tom | Apr 28 2018 3:49 utc | 65

I see 'rhetoric' has done the job he/she was given of unnecessarily confusing the issue, but essentially even with nukes and long range missiles to convey them to targets, Korea will struggle if it is left on its own, isolated. This means that bugger history it is going to have to find a wingman to back it up in the big blue with amerika.
Consider the recent past - one mob bombed the bejesus outta the entire Korean peninsular, loosing anthrax, rabies and smallpox in a weak arsed effort to wipe out the slopes, gooks, dinks or whatever the disparagement de jour was for East Asian people in 1950. Meanwhile the other mob backed up all the Korean people by defeating the amerikan infantry and even suffering the same victimisation by amerikan/japanese weapons of mass destruction as the Koreans had.

If you were a Korean, which nation would you select to hold your coat, as your back up? The nation who has always been as steadfast as they can with their support, or the arseholes who crowd your nation with loud smelly but armed rapists. Throughout the world wherever they set up an occupation redoubt - sorry 'base', the amerikan military never fails to show that the contempt for their unwilling hosts has been indoctrinated into all of them by raping the locals and suffering SFA in the way of sanction from the amerikan militarist leadership should the rapist be accidentally apprehended.

Most Koreans from whatever part of the peninsular, hold with "fuck amerika - the sooner we get rid of that gang of greedy, smelly & arrogant troublemakers the better." Older Koreans will never forget the horrors visited upon them by amerikan puppet Park Chung-hee. Park tortured and oppressed Koreans in the south for decades, koreans were only saved from him by a well deserved assassin's bullet - if not the combination of amerikan cruelty and Korean tech would probably mean that he would still be ruling the south at the age of 101 - ruling but all wired up. It was the specter of that which likely prompted close ally and security boss KCIA Director Kim Jae-gyu to shoot the arsehole, Kim realised that it would be the only hope for Korea even though he knew he would be executed by all the wannabe Parks. That is what happened, eventually the military junta instituted a political machine to give the appearance of democracy while the same old gang still ran the joint via corruption, thuggery and gerrymander.
That machine unfortunately was still powerful during Moon Jae-in's first term as president.
However it was finally demolished during the process to impeach Park's daughter Park Geun-hye in the early stages of her pathetically corrupt effort at being president of the southern portion of the Korean peninsular.

The Park thugs are vital to any examination of a Korean resolution because to an outsider raised on the usual western anti-DRPK indoctrination, it seems odd that any Korean would welcome Kim Jong-un, yet as we can see they do.
The reasons are simple, firstly Korea isn't huge, there just aren't sufficient degrees of separation between people for mass media propaganda to operate effectively. No matter what nonsense the right wing media in the south spew, most Koreans know someone in the know, who can set the story straight.

The second reason is that, what Park and his henchmen got up to in the south throughout the 1960's and 70's would likely make the shah of iran and savaak pale around the gills. They wantonly tortured and murdered tens of thousands of trade unionists, peaceful demonstrators and harmless citizens who had the gall to get in the way of Park's two boring goals of money and power.
During their invasion, amerika heavily bombed the south as well, millions of Koreans lost their homes and were driven out of rural areas into burgeoning urban centers.
In the North the Kims ensured that housing programs to provide shelter to all citizens were instituted. Conversely in the South little assistance was provided so people just did it themselves, occupying land around the urban areas and over the next 6 decades turning shanty towns into solid buildings with thriving enterprises.
Then the rich decided it was time to seize the homes of Koreans who had been destituted by amerikan bombing and under Park Geun-hye gangsters were used to drive citizens from their homes to grab the land. Land which in many cases had previously no owner, but which they secured title to by corruption.

The right has no chance of winning election in the forseeable future because the scandals of conservative/military (most conservative politicians entered politics from high ranking military gigs) governments over the last 50 years are growing by the day.

If China is judged by Koreans to be sufficiently staunch, my money would be on the final deal entailing amerika pulling most of its military out, a cessation of the huge exercises and in return Kim Jong-un will persuade Koreans to accept that their nukes be transported to Southern China, still in control of Korea but on the understanding that they will be returned immediately should amerika or Japan pull a sword rattling act. That would be de-nuclearisation, but with insurance against amerika doing its usual reneg on a signed agreement stunt.
Plus in effect it would exactly the same as what amerika will do. If amerika agrees to pull out it's nukes a few token old school thermonuclear devices will be destroyed with maximum publicity but the majority of nukes especially newer wmd's will simply be shifted into some other suckers' nation ready and waiting for the call up/clampdown.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Apr 28 2018 4:18 utc | 66

Noooo! one post sneaks thru then back to this pop up again:

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The requested URL /.services/json-rpc was not found on this server.

Posted by: derpcorp | Apr 28 2018 4:43 utc | 67

I am just guessing about this posting error issue but because it is not consistent I am going to posit a man-in-the-middle type of attack that for whatever reason can't be in the middle of all commenters, at all times...though I can't post to Open thread for past 3+ hours


Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 28 2018 4:51 utc | 68

I just succeeded at posting my comment in the Open Thread that I have been trying to do for 3+ hours.

It may be that some server in Clourflare land is just getting hammered and that is the error reported when it can't complete the request.

I have a ping out to techie friend to learn more about the error type

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 28 2018 4:57 utc | 69

@22 Kalen:

I can't speak of China, but Russia is definitely interested in reunification of Korea. If it happens, it will make Korea militarily neutral and much more independent (or perhaps completely independent) in foreign affairs, which is what Russia wants (the less vassals the US has, the better). The new Korea will allow a gas pipeline from Russia to be built, which will significantly lower the price of gas in Korea, boosting both Korean and Russian economies (LNG suppliers like Australia will lose). The new Korea will connect its rail network to Russia and send certain types of cargo to Europe via Trans-Siberian Railway. The new Korea will invest in Russian Sakhalin, since that's where the gas will come from, plus many Koreans live there since the Japanese times. The new Korea may opt to buy certain types of weapons, such as air defense systems and advanced fighter jets, from Russia, as it will need protection from both the US/US vassals and China.

If a reunification happens as laid out above, the US will be furious and will heavily punish Korea with all kinds of trade restrictions. North Koreans obviously won't have any problem with that. So it really comes down to whether the South Koreans are prepared to lose their "good standing" with the US Empire and endure all kinds of hardships that would inevitably follow to get their country and sovereignty back. I'm not sure they are. Such a massive change in direction would require nothing short of a revolution in South Korea.

Posted by: S | Apr 28 2018 8:07 utc | 70

Ghost Ship #52

"Perhaps the Chinese didn't want to share a land border with one of Washington's poodles. The peace treaty will come first as it merely legitimizes the status quo, but real reunification will be a long time coming as the South Koreans will have to demonstrate they're no longer Washington's poodle."

There was a time when China did not want a burgeoning capitalist economy bucked up against their southern border. But their attitude about that has changed and I believe that they see a big chance to turn North Korea in a major joint development project with South Korea, to the benefit of both and the overall detriment to US influence in the region.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Apr 28 2018 9:15 utc | 71

>>>> Red Ryder | Apr 27, 2018 9:50:10 PM | 56

Xi had never gotten respect from the Rocket Man, so China ordered Kim to visit and get his orders.

Politics is 90% theatre, something the Puritans who run America can't get there heads around. Un has been in on this from the beginning as that's the only way it would work. If Un had appeared too friendly with Xi, this grift would have gone nowhere but by suggesting to the morons in the Washington establishment(MITWE) that there was enough room between Un and Xi to jemmy them apart, the MITWE took the bait.

I think it's safe to say that about 99% of the analysis of these events in the western media will be totally wrong and I could probably count on my fingers and toes those that are right.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 28 2018 9:52 utc | 72

Further USA resistance for unification or peace will be related to the intertwined interests in big business enterprises located in the South.

Hyundai, KIA, Samsung, and LG are huge exporters to the West. Whoever really owns these billion dollar companies will not be pleased with upsetting their gravy train.

And the MIC goes without saying. Billion$ are foisted upon the MIC in South Korea and otherwise ponzied and laundered in the South Korea game.

Posted by: fast freddy | Apr 28 2018 11:38 utc | 73

there is a problem at typepad or moa.. not sure what the source of it is..

Posted by: james | Apr 28 2018 16:05 utc | 74

Nice pic of the korean leaders, makes me happy

Posted by: Anonymous1 | Apr 28 2018 17:14 utc | 75

Those who claim that "maximum pressure" exerted by the Trump administration is what led to this peace breakthrough may be correct, but not in the way that they imagine. The party that was most frightened by Trump's bellicosity is South Korea, whose people overwhelmingly elected Park, an overtly pro-peace and reconciliation candidate. North Korea's Kim was most likely comfortable in having achieved genuine deterrence capacity against attacks by the U.S. on his country. This is what he required before he could proceed with establishing friendlier relations with South Korea. So Trump may have facilitated the reconciliation process, but it was not by frightening Kim, who is undoubtedly ruthless but also shrewd.

Posted by: Rob | Apr 28 2018 17:19 utc | 76

@ 74: Nice photo, makes me smile also, but notice the currency. If that changes, maybe they'll have a chance at real happiness..

Posted by: ben | Apr 28 2018 18:20 utc | 77

That command arrangement dates back to the days of Syngman Rhee and Park Chung-Hee, who were absolute maniacs who probably would have started another war with the DPRK if left to their own devices. Believe it or not, the US troops in those days were something of a peace-keeping force. Nobody could call Rhee or Park poodles. They knew how to manipulate an "ally" to stay in power.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 28 2018 18:31 utc | 78

@62, not @59

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 28 2018 18:37 utc | 79

It's worth adding that gaining the authority of the Chinese emperor was a long-established power play in Korea and in ancient Japan. Whoever the Chinese powers thought was most favorable to them rose to the top. Kim Il-Sung and Syngman Rhee followed that strategy with the USSR and the USA filling the role traditionally held by China.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 28 2018 18:51 utc | 80

”Gotta love Kim and Park's enthusiasm and what appeared to be genuine glee.” Karlov1

I agree. I played the video over and over, and each time the same thought passed through my mind; “these are not grim, forced grins for the benefit of the photographers. These are expressions of absolute joy.”

The best chance there will be for a successful, peaceful agreement, and for the future of a conjoined Korea, and for good relations between all Koreans and China, will be when the US takes our troops and our nukes out of the peninsula altogether.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Apr 28 2018 19:49 utc | 81

@hoarsewhisperer 44. Holy protocols of elder zion horseman:) Thanks for the read:)

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Apr 28 2018 20:13 utc | 82

Debsisdead 66
Most informed North Asians have no illussions about 'western ' interests regarding the Korean issue !
Joseph Needham when he was U K science officer to China through the 1940's stressed he never spoke to a ranking technocrat in the Chinese system who did not feel the dropping of the Atom bomb was an act of 'racial revenge ' on the Japanese for daring to challenge U S hegemony in the Pacific . They would say to him ' can you imagine the U S using such a weapon on 'white European fellow Christians ' ? Needham felt the sympathy shown Japan from these Chinese scientists doubly remarkable as almost all would have lost family to the Japanese invasions of the 1930's .
There would certainly be residual bonds and fears shared by the North Asian powers , fearful of previous patterns of violence in North Asia delivered by U S hands .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Apr 28 2018 20:29 utc | 83


Further USA resistance for unification or peace will be related to the intertwined interests in big business enterprises located in the South.

Hyundai, KIA, Samsung, and LG are huge exporters to the West. Whoever really owns these billion dollar companies will not be pleased with upsetting their gravy train.

Not true at all. Korean firms use cheap outsourced labor all over east Asia. DPRK would simply be added to that list.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 28 2018 20:47 utc | 84

@Thirdeye 42...China went to war with vietnam because after north vietnam with the help of China managed to kick usa out, north vietnam wants to become 2nd japan by start invading surrounding countries.

It's China pulling her troops back after giving the hard lesson to the vietnamese. There is no such thing as "vietnam successfully resisted Chinese invasion" vietnam deserves being kicked in its butt by China for being so arrogant.

vietnam is playing fire by inviting usa warboats into its harbor just to spite China; that shows what an ungrateful lot they are.

China supports official governments regardless of its ideology and how it is perceived by other people because China don't interfere in other countries' affairs.

Don't forget that usa also supported khmer rouge regime.

Posted by: Face The Fact | Apr 29 2018 3:25 utc | 85

@Thirdeye 80...Since you're irrationally so anti-China and pro-vietnam as yesman to usa, you might want to tell the vietnam gov since you're most likely from there to remember that those anti-China activists and provocateurs are funded by usa and are not loyal to vietnam.

Anytime usa feels like overthrowing vietnam gov, it can simply do so by instructing orders to those "activists" and "provocateurs'.

Posted by: Face The Fact | Apr 29 2018 3:31 utc | 86

Fwiw. DS Nick Bailey. I tend to believe that he was ‘sickened,’ was not a made-up character / a real person playing a hoaxy part / and so on.

1 He existed at the Wiltshire Police, enough on the net about him. At one point (2017) he was stationed very close to the ‘park bench’ spot. The photo seen everywhere is of an award ceremony for him for work leading to the arrest of a serial rapist. (2016) Imho his wife and children exist (no post about that.)

2 How, from where, etc. he arrived at the Skripal collapse park-bench on 4 March (if he did) is not mentioned in any news article. Expressions used: rushed / speeded / to help — after coming to the aid of — first cop on the scene —after responding to the attack — as the first response to the attack —… No other info. offered.

Was he on duty? Where was he? How did he arrive? What did he do? How did he get to the hospital? One article mentions TWO policemen as first responders, as one would expect. Who was the other one (if 1 = N. B.)? Almost no info about N.B. was given out. At some later point some articles suggested that he was not poisoned at the scene, or thru contact with the Skripals, but because he was the first plod to enter the Skripal house. (Imho this last story was pure speculation / made up, a sort of offshoot of the poisoned knob narrative. Whatever, if any, poisoning took place, was not at the house, but at the very earliest at the Zizzi restaurant.)

3 Couldn’t find any ‘witness’ descriptions (e.g. doc who first dealt with Yulia) of the arrival of the police. Exceedingly strange. Perhaps some exist but I missed them..? One would expect:

When DS Bailey and Plodtwo rushing to the scene of the deathly murderous attack realised some nerve agent was reliably suspected a high alert priority emergency order was immediately called out for a helicopter ..

Nothing like that. It is as if all the ‘bystander witnesses’ simply vanished at some point. I also looked for cell photos of the park-bench scene and only found ONE possible. Scroll down to pic of Sergei:

4 I found NO news about N.B. beyond the read-out declaration by police, and the annoucement that he left hosp. on 22 March. The few words available (visit of top plod to N. B. in hosp and declaration) “very anxious” - “completely surreal” - “life never the same again” - “find a new normal” seem to fit with..heh.. a lot of stuff incl. BZ, Fentanyl, and LSD, but not a deadly nerve agent. Heh, not worth much, just a few words. (see Don Bacon as well.)

All this, imho, signals a clumsy cover-up, gag orders, etc. Which points to unexpected results, plots gone wrong, clumsy exploitation of events, etc. No way a planned false flag type conspiracy. (I’m not keen on the links between Skripal and the Steele dossier.)

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 29 2018 12:02 utc | 87

apologies for posting in the wrong thread.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 29 2018 12:08 utc | 88

I would liked to have been a fly on the wall in the closed sessions between Kim-Xi during Kim's recent visit. Was Kim telling Xi he was going to meet with Monn no matter what Xi said? Or was Kim getting Xi's limits on what China would tolerate in terms of nuke issues and how reunification must work out... as in a single Korea will have ZERO US/ZATO presence. China/Russia also wants no Korean nukes, but to get that must be willing to assure both Kim and Moon that the Chinese (and Russian?) nuke and diplomatic umbrellas will be less symbolic and more practical.

That said, the Kim/Moon smiles and personal connect seems to be genuine. Hope in the darkness. Yankee go home, and take your Zionist/Rothschild bankster BS with you.

Posted by: A P | Apr 29 2018 17:24 utc | 89

Don't forget that usa also [in addition to China] supported khmer rouge regime.
Oh, I guess that makes China's support for the Khmer Rouge all well and fine.

Your comparison of Vietnam in Cambodia and Japan over all of east Asia is beyond ludicrous.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 30 2018 3:45 utc | 90

Someone tell me how a “united” Korea can happen under two very different social systems? South Korea is a capitalist country, while North Korea, whatever reforms might continue me, is dedicated to socialism and the state ownership of the primary means of production and raw materials. Will North Korea allow South Korean, not to mention other capitalist powers (the US.?) take ownership in major North Korean factories, mines? Perhaps Hong Kong provides a kind of example. But I think the ROK is looking for something more like the East Germany example. Meanwhile, Bolton and his allies are looking to avenge the loss of South Vietnam.

Posted by: Jeff Kaye | Apr 30 2018 7:47 utc | 91

Will North Korea allow South Korean, not to mention other capitalist powers (the US.?) take ownership in major North Korean factories, mines?
The precedent is already set for South Koreans to do business in North Korea within specified economic zones. DPRK shut them down over deteriorating relations with ROK in recent years. Unification of Korea is likely to be a long-term project, perhaps lasting generations, because the social instability associated with rapid integration wouldn't serve anybody's interests. IMO the most likely scenario is for DPRK to become a joint Korean-Chinese project area for an extended period. The DPRK elite would essentially be bought under whatever financial arrangements are made for doing business in the DPRK.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 30 2018 18:02 utc | 92

Jeff Kaye @91--

I suggest this as a place to begin discovering how Korea will escape the Outlaw US Empire's talons.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 30 2018 18:43 utc | 93

Piotr Berman @ 47: Korea's relationship to China over the centuries depends on how we interpret concepts like "tributary state" and "vassal state". Western interpretations are very different from how the Chinese and Koreans traditionally interpret the concepts...
Posted by: Jen | Apr 27, 2018 6:46:28 PM | 52

The difference between "western" and "Chinese" concepts of "vassal" are smaller that variations between individual cases. If we limit ourselves to the last 500 years, what examples can we see in Europe and China? Spain and France were absolute monarchies and they had vassal states in Italy -- their zones of influence fluctuated. The vassal princes had to be pretty obedient. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had supremacy of gentry/nobility, and Courland was a vassal state where princes did what they damn pleased (they would not wage external wars, but it was not really possible), pretty much like the nobles of the Commonwealth itself. In every case a vassal ruler had to participate in a ceremony to "be allowed to rule", but they could pay tribute or not, have the troops of the overlord country or not etc. Similar variability existed in the East, with peculiarities. One peculiarity was that in the case of more distant "dependencies" the exchange of gifts was usually beneficial to the vassal. However, Korea had goods that China liked, the tribute was more real, etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 30 2018 19:00 utc | 94

More about Chinese perspective: PRC had some conniptions about anti-ballistic radar system installed in South Korea, and a perspective of American presence in North Korea is a dreadful nightmare. No Chinese leader would contemplate allowing something like that. Mind you, North Korea is relatively close to Chinese capital, and usual military thinking of a major country is that once you have some "safe perimeter" you are very weary of any changes within that perimeter. Recall how American wingnuts complained that pro-Cuban Sandinista were "closer to Texas that Washington D.C." and tried to solve the problem by funding pro-American terrorists (a hapless bunch compared to jihadists sicced upon Syria, but a real problem to Nicaraguan civilians at that time).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 30 2018 19:25 utc | 95

Is the NK/Murikka kabuki cumulating into a farcical climax…..another Nobel peace prize for uncle sham,

agent provocateur extraordinaire ….

Nobel citation…
‘whose admirable resoluteness forced NK to the negotiating table and finally bring peace to the Korean Peninsula’ ?

stranger stuffs have happened before….


Posted by: denk | May 2 2018 3:47 utc | 96

Of course the puppet in South Korea abide to the puppetmaster.

S Korean President Dismisses US Troop Withdrawal After Peace Treaty With North

Posted by: Anon | May 2 2018 9:04 utc | 97

“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.”

~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Posted by: Daniel | May 4 2018 4:01 utc | 98

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