Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 25, 2018

Trump Ties North Korea Talks To Trade Deal With China

Yesterday U.S. President Trump threw another hissy fit on the negotiations with North Korea:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 17:36 utc - 24 Aug 2018

I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula ...
... Additionally, because of our much tougher Trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization as they once were (despite the UN Sanctions which are in place) ...
... Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved. In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!

Pompeo was in Trump's office when Trump tweeted the above. Staff in the State Department was briefing foreign ambassadors on Pompeo's upcoming talks, planned for next week, when Trump stepped in. The decision was clearly a surprise.

Trump is suddenly binding the continuation of Korea talks to a trade deal with China. Such a deal is unlikely to happen anytime soon as China is convinced that it can win a tariff war, while the Trump administration overestimates the economic pressure it can create. That Trump now connects these two issues might mean that he has given up the "denuclearization" game.

Peter Lee, aka Chinahand, sees a larger plan behind the latest Trumping: to demonstrate to Kim Jong-un that China is hindering Kim's plans for a peace agreement and for economic development; then, when China will finally be pushed into open adversary status to the U.S., Kim Jong-un will have to chose and will end up in the U.S. camp. If that is really Trump's plan, which I doubt, then it is clearly bound to fail. North Korea would never end the relations with its long-term strategic partner for the dangerous vagueness of a nuclear treaty relations with the U.S. (see Iran, Libya).

It is more likely that Trump is punting here because there is no way he can get North Korea to denuclearize before signing an official peace agreement with it. Signing a peace agreement is not what the U.S. wants. With Korea at peace and on the way to re-unification, the U.S. would lose the justification for keeping U.S.troops in South Korea, its only major foothold on the east-Asian continent.

This position - denuclearization as precondition for talks about a peace agreement - has long been held by Secretary of State Pompeo. It is  in contradiction to the Singapore Statement Trump and Kim Jong-un signed. The Statement included (twice) a sequence of three steps:

President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un state the following:
  1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. The United States and DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

Even hawkish Korea analysts agree that this sequencing was the new, unprecedented core of the agreement:

For the first time in the history of negotiations, Washington essentially accepted, whether blindly or wittingly, Pyongyang’s wish list on sequencing: 1) normalization of bilateral relations, 2) establishment of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and then 3) “complete denuclearization.”

The "complete denuclearization" is not an agreed upon item. North Korea only committed to aspirational "work towards it". This is similar to Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in which the nuclear powers committed to "undertake to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to [..] nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament." That treaty was first signed in July 1968. 50 years on the nuclear powers who signed the NPT have still not fulfilled their commitment.

Despite the evident agreement in the Statement to follow a sequence of several steps, the Trump administration has been deceptive about it. After the Singapore Statement it again demanded from North Korea  to take step 3 before the U.S. takes step 1 and 2. The administration also continues to falsely claim that North Korea agreed to "denuclearization". On August 28, when Secretary of State introduced a new special representative for North Korea, he said:

Steve [Biegun] will direct U.S. policy towards North Korea and lead our efforts to achieve President Trump’s goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, as agreed to by Chairman Kim Jong-un.

Chairman Kim Jong-un never agreed to such a thing.

(Interestingly Trump's tweet diverts from Pomeo's formulation by speaking of "the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", not just "of North Korea".)

The U.S. media, even those outlets which oppose the Trump regime, support the falsehoods the administration is spreading. They fail to point out the obvious sequencing agreed to in the Singapore Statement and they fail to point out the aspirational character of the disarmament point. Instead of holding Trump's feet to the fire for breaking an agreement he himself signed just a few month ago, the New York Times, Washington Post and others seem to support his stand.

The Trump negotiations with North Korea were in the end probably just an attempt to get some fast success before the big clash with China over global supremacy finally enters a more serious stage.

Left hanging then are the Korean people and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea who had pushed for a final peace agreement with his norther brethren. Moon has plans for a new meeting with Kim and he wants to take some serious steps towards economic cooperation with the north. He will now surely come under U.S. pressure to stay away from such negotiations. The NYT rather blatantly declares:

How far Mr. Moon can go in pushing ahead with the many projects he has envisioned with the North, like reconnecting the two Koreas’ railways, depends on whether Washington and Pyongyang can agree on how to denuclearize the North.

Is Moon really locked in, as the Times assumes, or does he have his people backing and the courage to independently push on with his peace plans? If he does and succeeds, the Trump gambit with North Korea could end with a big loss for the U.S. position in South Korea.

Peter Lee is right when he sets the Korea talks into the big picture of the U.S. on its way to declare China an official adversary. There are small and big signs that a deeper conflict is developing.

This week the U.S. berated El Salvador for its decision to follow a One-China policy and for opening diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in Beijing while ending them with the Republic of China in Taiwan. The U.S. even threatens with economic consequences. But the U.S. itself took the same step in 1979 and as been holding on to the One-China policy ever since. That though may soon change.

Over the last few years Washington upgraded its relations with Taiwan. It built a gigantic new unofficial diplomatic outlet, the American Institute, in Taipei for a cool $250 million. While it is officially neither a consulate nor an embassy it is guarded by U.S. Marines and it will surely become the later when the U.S. finally pushes Taiwan to declare its independence from China. Beijing knows what is coming. China's industry currently depends on many computer chips produced in Taiwan. It launched a major program to become independent of those imports.

If Taiwan declares independence and invites the U.S. military to protect it, Beijing will have a serious problem. The move would be an attack on its sovereignty over all of China. It could try to invade Taiwan, a difficult endeavor, or at least to snatch away the islands next to China's mainland which are currently under Taipei's control. A recent Pentagon report to Congress discusses (pdf page 107) these options. The fight would then move into the diplomatic realm with Beijing pressing other countries to continue a One-China policy and to not accept Taiwan's independence, while the U.S. would press other countries to recognize an independent Taiwan. El Salvador is the first casualty in this fight.

Who in the White House is making these policies? Trump's tweets yesterday seem spontaneous, but are carefully formulated and obviously  part of some larger plans. Are these Trump's plans? Or have the hawks -Bolton, Mattis, Pompeo- written these up to push Trump along their lines?

Posted by b on August 25, 2018 at 17:59 UTC | Permalink


Reunification under what government. When you say, "on its way to reunification", do you foresee the Kim Jong-Un regime taking over the entire peninsula, or dissolving while a democratic government similar to the one in South Korea is established across the whole continent, as was the case in Germany?

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Aug 25 2018 18:18 utc | 1

I think Trump did this in the beginning a couple of years ago when he first mentioned tariffs on China and that they could alleviate them if they helped with the North Korea nuke situation. It sounds like everyone is hedging and bluffing to see who blinks first. Meanwhile many must see the US as a paper-tiger who will only attack when there will be no real defense like with Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 25 2018 18:26 utc | 2

thanks b.. further signs of the usa coming apart at the seams and getting closer to some type of war.. it seems like a reckless ride from here on in..

there is no way anyone in their right mind would enter into an agreement with the usa.. and even when they do, as in the examples of north korea here, or iran recently - the usa backs out of them!! that is not the kind of dance partner anyone would want to tango with..

the msm only holds trumps feet to the fire domestically to let him know that if he strays from supporting the financial/military complex, he is toast.. they never do it when he is carrying water for this same complex...

it is hard to tell the difference between trump and the hawks in his present gov't especially in light of his tweets.. maybe someone hacked his twitter account, but i doubt it.. those are his tweets, not bolton or pompeo's.. i think it is hard to hold out any hope for trump being different then the ongoing succession of presidents.. that are all serving the plutocracy at this point, and trump is no exception... the only difference is we are getting closer to the wheels coming off the usa here..

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2018 19:07 utc | 3

Is Moon really locked in, as the Times assumes, or does he have his people backing and the courage to independently push on with his peace plans? If he does and succeeds, the Trump gambit with North Korea could end with a big loss for the U.S. position in South Korea.

Moon will not be relying on the support of the US, he knows that is unlikely to be forthcoming. His plan - as is Kim's - is to try to squeeze all the US's options off the table and achieve piece and cooperation therefore he and Kim will press ahead with determination to resist US sabotage efforts. If that is the case, there is probably nothing the US can do except:

Covert sabotage efforts
Open sabotage efforts
South Korean regime change

The Koreas will need plenty of support and military protection from Russia and China.

As long as both Koreas are playing contructively by the Panmunjom Declaration and are moving visibly towards peaceful reconcilliation, they will have thr full support of the rest of the world except the USA, and anything the USA can be seen to be doing to undermine that process will do massive damage to US international standing, and will doubtless make many other US international ambitions much more difficult as a result. It will amplify the negative fallout from Iraq, Libya and Iran.

Reunification under what government. When you say, "on its way to reunification", do you foresee the Kim Jong-Un regime taking over the entire peninsula, or dissolving while a democratic government similar to the one in South Korea is established across the whole continent, as was the case in Germany?
Posted by: Inkan1969 | Aug 25, 2018 2:18:44 PM | 1

I doubt if either Moon or Kim would seriously think of full reunification except as a long term aspiration - the two Koreas are too different. The German reunification was a failure for East Germany - it was immediately pillaged by Western multinational corporations, its industry closed down and sold off for pennies, its employees put out of work, and also if I am not mistaken much farmland bought up cheaply by West German agribusiness. Many people in former East Germany are dissatisfied. Kim will certainly have much more sense than to follow that route! Reunification under South Korea can only mean capitulation; besides, the greatest danger to North Korea (from within the Korean Peninsular) is from the Right Wing in South Korea, which is a proxy for the US and Japan.

The top priorities of Moon and Kim must be lasting reconciliation, peace, and full economic cooperation - reunification in spirit but without one-country-one-system.

I think they will try to achieve a compromise whereby they call the two countries "one country" but with two political systems, two power systems. Different to China/Hong Kong because Hong Kong was specifically under the ultimate juristiction of China, but drawing inspiration from that approach. The difficulties would be shared sovereignty issues, foreign policy, defence, stability of the system across changes in regimes, and protection from the South Korean Right Wing.

Posted by: BM | Aug 25 2018 19:08 utc | 4

I doubt if either Moon or Kim would seriously think of full reunification except as a long term aspiration - the two Koreas are too different.

What I meant by that was that they would aim to try to converge until full reunification is feasible, but that would doubtless be 30 years or more down the road, and in the meantime close cooperation under two systems. A bit like the EU in some ways, except with a firm and explicit aspiration for eventual full reunification under one system.

Posted by: BM | Aug 25 2018 19:16 utc | 5

BM @ 4 said:"The top priorities of Moon and Kim must be lasting reconciliation, peace, and full economic cooperation - reunification in spirit but without one-country-one-system."

Absolutely!! Only question is; Will the empire let that happen without massive economic retaliation?

Posted by: ben | Aug 25 2018 19:21 utc | 6

b: Trump is suddenly binding the continuation of Korea talks to a trade deal with China.

If Trump previously used trade to coerce China's support for a hardline against NK (as seems likely) then his claim that CHINA is using NK to strike back at USA over trade must infuriate the Chinese.

b: There are small and big signs that a deeper conflict [with China] is developing.

Trump has said that anyone trading with Iran after Nov. 4th will not be trading with USA. I don't think the signs could be any more clear than that.

b: Are these Trump's plans?

Some MoA commentators have discussed the possibility of Trump having been installed as the "front man" for the 'Deep State'. Our suspicions are derived from the falseness of Obama, the clear manipulations of the 2016 Presidential election (not by Russians, but by DNC and Hillary), and Kissinger's cryptic but clear call for MAGA! after the Donbas rebels won in Ukraine (August 2014):

... the affirmation of America's exceptional nature must be sustained. History offers no respite to countries that set aside their sense of identity in favor of a seemingly less arduous course.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 25 2018 19:25 utc | 7

As usual, BigLie Media shows its an impediment to establishing peace as it tries to BigLie away the reality of the Trump/Kim agreement. Unfortunately, even outlets opposing the monopoly of BigLie Media like RT and Sputnik further the BigLie regarding denuclearization, which I then try to correct via comments--I think 9 times so far, which is far too many. Despite denouncing Fake News, the Trump admin continues to fuel BigLie Media's BigLie by announcing the appointment of someone to oversee a process--denuclearization--that won't begin anytime soon. Furthermore, today China called-out the ongoing prevarications:

"The United States' claims that China has been impacting Washington's talks with Pyongyang on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula are irresponsible and contradict the facts, Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said in a statement on Saturday."

There're no talks about denuclearization occurring because it's not time for them to occur as DPRK has said on several occasions in denouncing Bolton's & Pompeo's lies while praising Trump. 3 weeks ago, China reiterated its ongoing policy to assist DPRK's economic development, so Trump's moves have done nothing to weaken China's resolve.

IMO, what Trump says on the matter doesn't hold much weight as I see Moon and Kim--and the Korean people, North and South--having more than enough courage and drive to attain the goal of unification. Nor does it matter which side ends up the "winner" from a Western perspective as the real winners will be Koreans and all other peoples of the region from Japan to Indonesia. Just imagine the shock to US Imperialists when RoK and DPRK announce the joining of their militaries into one overall institution--including DPRK's nukes.

All events in Korea are having a big affect of Okinawa and Okinawans' drive to attain their freedom from Japanese and US Imperialism. And the shock waves don't avoid Japan proper either as its economy really doesn't have yen to spare on wasteful military equipment. Not to mention Japan's business sector's salivation at the monies possible by joining Xi's BRI's Winwinism.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2018 19:41 utc | 8

IMO, the remainder of the 21st Century will witness the metamorphosis of East Asia's political-economy into a hybrid of Xi's Socialism With Chinese Characteristics, which will eventually encompass Eurasia because WinWinism is far more desirable than the Outlaw US Empire's Zerosumism. Furthermore, WinWinism lends itself far more readily to adopting resiliency as resources dwindle and climate change bites harder.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2018 19:57 utc | 9

8 and 9

This is inevitable. However "the West" will not stop placing burning bags of shite on their doorsteps and ringing the doorbell.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Aug 25 2018 20:20 utc | 10

fastfreddy @10--

By continuing to engage in such behavior, "the West" just hastens its journey into irrelevance as the tenuous Atlanticist ties rupture due to Outlaw US Empire hubris/arrogance. This site has a global view of Eurasia that provides an honest comparison in size between it and its European appendage. The historical reasons allowing for European ascendency over Eurasia and much of the rest of the planet no longer apply. The dynamism of Europe's run its course; and as Hesse noted 100 years ago, Europe's future lies to the East.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2018 20:49 utc | 11

A forgotten aspect: USA has a variety of goals in trade policies that inevitably conflict each other. Trump got an idea to change conditions of the trade with China in a way that will improve the manufacturing jobs in USA, but he also wants the negotiation on that issue to hinge on "cooperative attitude" in respect of starving North Korea to submission (some wonder why USA is so approving toward starving Yemen to submission, this is modus operandi in general). So, how much of economic goals is he willing to surrender to get this cooperative attitude?

And there is a long list of issues that confuse trade negotiations: e.g. impunity for Israel, impunity for USA for war crimes, cooperating with American sanctions on Iran that do not have trade purpose. Then we have Trumpian quasi-economic idea to force import of American weapons and unleash sanctions if, say, Russian weapons a for being twice cheaper. Building our economy on the basis of piracy is perhaps a sound idea if we cannot compete in other ways, but that harks to "build better future by stealing office supplies". But the fact is that USA is not an omnipotent pirate, so to get concessions we need to concede something else, and the least important are issues that affect jobs (think tanker jobs and other elite occupations are not threatened after all).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 25 2018 20:50 utc | 12

Yes , the 'big clash with China entering a more serious stage '. Here in Australia we have lost two prime ministers - Rudd and Turnbull - who would not blindly follow the U S on China policy .

The potential divisevness in Australia over this may prove to be great . Many observed the main newspapers in Australia this week carrying 8 / 9 pages continuously on the Liberal party ( actually a Conservative party ) leadership crisis with full page adverts. from HUAWEI standing sentinelle before the papers proceeded to other issues.
During this week the Australian government also rejected further involvement of HUAWEI in Australian telecommunications development . How rueful Beijing economists must be when they contemplate 'money ' from Australian trade - essentially - with China, being used to buy non Chinese techno gear .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Aug 25 2018 20:50 utc | 13

@ Posted by: Inkan1969 | Aug 25, 2018 2:18:44 PM | 1

Reunification under what government. When you say, "on its way to reunification", do you foresee the Kim Jong-Un regime taking over the entire peninsula, or dissolving while a democratic government similar to the one in South Korea is established across the whole continent, as was the case in Germany?

North Korea already has the solution for the problem you highlight: the Chinese model of "one country, two systems" mixed with the American model. In the North's plan, there would be peace, the frontier would be more porous (families could reunite, more or less freedom of movement), strategic infrastructural projects that would involve both halves interests would be joint, foreign policy would be unified but domestic policies would be practically independent (the American model, where the States of the Federation can decide on tax, etc.).

The problem is: the South (and the USA) doesn't want it. They are betting on the North's collapse, followed by a would be chaebol/American multinationals takeover, followed by an IMF-like "shock doctrine", which would result in the mass enslavement of the Northern population (slave labor for the chaebols factories, generating a new cycle of high profit rates) -- precisely what happened to the DPR (which capitulated) and, in the second case, the Russian SR (shock doctrine).

Posted by: vk | Aug 25 2018 21:22 utc | 14

vk @14--

What evidence do you have confirming "the South … doesn't want it"?

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2018 22:45 utc | 15

North Korea's nuclear deterrent makes it possible to sign a peace treaty without insisting on the removal of US troops. Denuclearization becomes a separate issue to be negotiated between North Korea and USA.

But can South Korea make peace without US approval? It could, if it was a sovereign country. But is it? That is the trillion dollar question.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 25 2018 23:02 utc | 16

Signing a peace treaty may not be what *some* in the US want -- but some others of us would welcome having one fewer war around.

Posted by: John Anthony La Pietra | Aug 25 2018 23:13 utc | 17


'Nuclear deterrence' is purely psyop for the US masses to justify 55 years now of "North Korea Has The Bomb!" since we crouched under our desks in 1963. $Bs and $B as Carl Sagan used to say, disappeared down the MDA rathole, and if not for Ukraine coup leaders supplying old Soviet warheads and rocket motors to DPRK, that old psyop might have faded out into "Iran Has The Bomb!"

But there is an East and a West Pentagon, so two, two is better than one. Since DPRK does not actually have nuclear deterrencr, they are in no position to back off their demand for US bases out of SK. That would be loss of face as well as lose of advantage, and require a continued Ukraine involvement to rattle the psyop. I don't think KJU has enough resources credit to buy any.

So no. KJU will stick to his 'US Bases Out" guns, and Pompeo won't be hauling anymore ambassador duffel sacks of shrink-wrapped $100s to PyongYang anytime soon!

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 25 2018 23:23 utc | 18

At some point, Moon might realize that the better course of action would be not for North Korea to dump China and ally with the US, but for South Korea to dump the US and align with China.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Aug 25 2018 23:55 utc | 19

Karlofi @ 15: If you try searching for information on Korean unification, you come across a lot of articles that assume that at some time in the immediate future, the North Korean economy will collapse and that economic reunification will occur under South Korean leadership and guidance. Under such reunification, the US would not only keep its military bases in southern Korea but be able to extend that network right up to the Chinese border.

What VK means is that there are elements in the current South Korean government, perhaps not associated with President Moon, that would prefer neoliberal economic restructuring instead of the one-country / two-systems model.

Look at this website of PSCORE, an NGO based in South Korea with an office also in Washington DC, which ostensibly works towards Korean reunification and assists North Korean defectors in settling in South Korea:

Posted by: Jen | Aug 26 2018 0:21 utc | 20


No country has benefited from alliance with the US and its World Bank IMF loan games.

While a president or a compliant dictator often benefits personally, the country which engages thusly goes down the shitter in short order.

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 26 2018 0:22 utc | 21

What would SK lose with some economic and tourism growing ties in the short run? Nothing. And in the long run, those 30 years? zero and so does NK.
China would naturally clap and smile too. ONLY a few neighbors like Vietnam would object and perhaps counter something.
Undoubtedly, the western vassals like the Aussies and kiwis will be shown a choice.
And besides, there is Duterte a hard nut to crack anyway.

Posted by: augusto | Aug 26 2018 0:33 utc | 22

McDeath is dead!

I might open a special bottle of wine in celebration.

Posted by: dumbass | Aug 26 2018 0:56 utc | 23

Trump is aiming at China to distract the MSM and his enemies from his hoped alliance with Russia.
He wants the USA and Russia to unite against China.
So he is now painting China as the new boogey man, hoping to decrease the pressure on his relation with Russia.
The democrats are betting on the Russia boogey man to win the november elections. China's bashing becomes a distraction and may dilute the effectiveness of the anti-Russian messages
Are now the Chinese potential hackers of the november election ? is Trump hoping that the MSM will bite the Chinese bone and forget the Russia bones

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 26 2018 1:01 utc | 24

From here on, Trump will tie many geopolitical issues to the China Trade impasse, North Korea de-nuke progression being just one of them. He will play the Taiwan card; he will harp on the South China Sea dispute; he will replay the currency manipulation old song; he will reiterate the Monroe Doctrine (he admonish El Salvador for establishing diplomatic relationship with China while ignoring his own country did the same 38 years ago:). What he is really after is a face saving exit from the 'rock and hard place crevice that he crept into, on a moment's impulse, and now finds himself trapped in a lose-lose dichotomy: proceed, you inflict real hurt to USA economy; bail, you lose all credibility amongst your constituents. He is now desperate!
China will remain polite, but will just sit on the fence watching him squirm and babble. The latest Global Times editorial emphasized 'resolution' to oppose any of Trump's demands as China's consensual decision. In this position any concession to Trump's demands is self-capitulation of CCP in China's domestic politics. It ain't gonna happen. Trump is going to eat crow.

On the other hand, China is also apparently preparing for the unthinkable of the trade war evolving into military conflicts. The Taiwan card and the SCS flash points are certainly fire prone. Therefore, the Beidou satellite system (China's version of GPS) is expedited to near completion, about a year ahead of schedule. Long range bombers are making practice runs with conspicuous airborne missile launch hangers. As of now, the Empire is being shown that a hot war is not going to exempt North America from being legitimate battle grounds this time around. Are we having fun yet? Yes, we are beginning to have fun.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Aug 26 2018 1:20 utc | 25

McCain is dead. Good.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Aug 26 2018 1:29 utc | 26


"Our hearts and prayers are with you!" Trump tweeted after McCain's family announced the senator's death.

Also O/T:

Kind of a HUGE breakthrough for yours truly:
A Radically Different Approach To Score/Range Voting

Regarding "negotiations" with North Korea, the only real negotiations will be between the North and the South. Period. Korea will NEVER just give up its nukes. Therefor, what this is probably really all about is that Trump must find a way to walk back the "trade war" (or else Walmart and Amazon will suddenly die). It really is that simple.

Anyway, there will be tariffs, so prices of Chinese goods will go up high. China can endure this, but the U.S. economy may now be doomed.

Posted by: blues | Aug 26 2018 1:33 utc | 27

@19 Yep, exactly. You only need to glance at a map and see how close China is, and how far away the USA is located.

South Korea sticking with the USA makes a second Korean War inevitable, and in that future conflict the USA will have no hesitation in laying waste to both North and South Korea in their patented "we had to destroy the village to save it" war-waging way.

South Korea ditching the USA and jumping under the Chinese military umbrella is the only way that such a calamity can be avoided.

It is as obvious as it is inevitable: sticking with the USA will lead to Round 2 in the devastation of the entire Korean Peninsula. Dumping the US empire and becoming a vassal state of China is the only way that devastation can be avoided.

Moon must know this, as must everyone of any importance who surrounds him. If he doesn't do it then his successor will.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 26 2018 2:20 utc | 28

North and South Korea will work to end the military standoff, and in tandem get economic development from China and Russia.

The US will have to watch from outside.

Eventually, the nuke umbrellas of China and Russia, plus S-400 missile defenses will nullify the US threat, and NK will give up its nukes.

This is all going to happen in spite of Trump and the Hegemony of the US.

It will take a few years.

The only option to stop it is to "remove" Moon now.

Once this peace and development gets underway, the South Koreans will not allow the US to decide their future any longer.

If Moon survives into 2019, the Peninsula will solve its own problems.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Aug 26 2018 3:04 utc | 29

Yeah, Right

South Korea is an occupied country like Japan, Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. they cant ditch the US , and if Moon tried to do so he knows what would happen

Posted by: Pft | Aug 26 2018 3:26 utc | 30

"South Korea is an occupied country like Japan, Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. they cant ditch the US , and if Moon tried to do so he knows what would happen" -- above

What if they all ditched the US? Then what?

Posted by: blues | Aug 26 2018 3:42 utc | 31


Dunno. Chaos multiplied by infinity is my guess. The intetests of the elites in these countries are so interlocked with those in the US, London and Israel that ditching the US risks ending up like the Russian oligarchs and potentially having assets seized. They would resist any attempt to ditch the US. The Soviet Union elites ditched their own people to join with the US elites. China essentially ditched their socialism for the same reasons and obtained wealth beyond belief. None of them is giving up US style neoliberalism to share with the little people. They may squabble over this and that, or appear to be doing do, but they wont risk their wealth

A lot of this is just for show. The little people are unhappy so bogeymans must be created. US uses Russia and China and a dash of EU over NATO, and Canada and Mexico over NAFTA. Russia and China have the US bogeyman who sanction or tarrif them. EU blames US and a dash of Russia and China for their problems. Most Everyone has immigration as a bogeyman. Few are blaming the elites pulling the strings in the shadow. MSM is controlled everywhere by elites. Propaganda for all, Russia, China, US, EU, Uk, etc.

Maybe folks would be better off focusing on ditching their own elites than ditching the US and jumping from the oven into the fire.

Posted by: Pft | Aug 26 2018 5:51 utc | 32

Ghost Ship @26:

Yup. Lots of comments sharing the same sentiments. I really wished he would be at least charged for the death and destruction that he help bring about to this world.
Anyway, I'm reading comments that Faceybook is banning people for posting celebratory comments. LOL

Posted by: Ian | Aug 26 2018 6:24 utc | 33


Let's hope you are right.

Im reading Thunder Out of China ATM, an original edition:

And watching this tonight to practice Mandarin listening:

To think some 70-year old twat and his buffoons Pompeo and Bolton are running the shite-show is an abomination.

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 26 2018 6:53 utc | 34

@30 Oh, sure, I agree that the USA will react, ahem, badly to such a move.

But look at this from the South Korean perspective: if they stay on-side with the USA then sooner or later millions of South Koreans are going to die. Millions.

That would rather tend to sober even the most venal of politician.

Moon has to make a move and, sure, if he does then he may end up dead.
But if he doesn't try then millions of his countrymen will end up dead.

That's why I said "If he doesn't do it then his successor will."

I have no doubt that one of them will - sooner or later, and probably sooner - take that plunge. They don't really have any other viable choice other than to accept that the fate of their country is to be dismembered to suit the geopolitical games of a country on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 26 2018 7:47 utc | 35

Hooray, Jurassic John finally reunited with the dinosaurs. The Mesozoic Age is almost at an end.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 26 2018 8:24 utc | 36


There's no comparison to be made between DPRK and DDR. DDR actually had a higher per capita GDP than Great Britain's in its last years. DPRK is highly dependent on economic support from China, even more so since the closing of DPRK/ROK economic zones within the North. China has an interest in a greater role for ROK in the DPRK economy to help relieve the burden on China. The Soviet Union's interest in DDR was very different. The main beneficiary of economic integration on the Korean peninsula (short term) would be the DPRK and secondarily China as they are relieved of the burden of DPRK. The interests against integration are political, not economic. As long as the DPRK's oligarchy can publicly take credit for economic progress driven by influence from ROK they should be satisfied.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Aug 26 2018 8:41 utc | 37

Jen @ 36
Don't you believe it:

@SenJohnMcCain lived a life of service to his country, from his heroism in the Navy to 35 years in Congress. He was a tough politician, a trusted colleague, and there will simply never be another like him. My thoughts and prayers are with Cindy and his entire family.

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 26, 2018

Hillary Clinton is another one I wish a painful death on, like being sodomized with a knife.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Aug 26 2018 8:44 utc | 38


....while watching a video of Gaddafi so she could get in one last cackle.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Aug 26 2018 9:19 utc | 39

An important point to keep in mind regarding possible peace talks is the control/command of the armed forces.

Peace doesn't necessarily mean the US has to withdraw its forces (Moon said himself they should stay), see Germany or Japan. What's at stake however is the wartime control of the defense of South Korea (the control during the armistice was returned to South Korea in 1994): The transfer of the wartime control back to the South Korean Government has been postponed several times already (conveniently every time it is discussed there's an escalation with the north or weapon system XYZ isnt ready).

To quote wikipedia:

The CFC (United States Combined Forces Command) 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 South Korean reservists as well as additional U.S. forces deployed from outside South Korea.

A peace treaty would seriously endanger that, and there is no NATO in place to ensure "strategic dominance".

Posted by: Hans Nötig | Aug 26 2018 10:52 utc | 40

Re McCain

I wonder how many other countries are prone to turn someone like McCain - an utterly incompetent idiot who got himself shot down because of his own stupidity - into a hero. It's as if America as a whole said, "At core we're all incompetent losers who can win only through bullying force, and even then we can't really win wars, and we need a hero who matches that profile."

The exaltation of a corrupt hack who was an utterly incompetent soldier is quite a mark of decadence.

Posted by: Russ | Aug 26 2018 11:23 utc | 41

Posted by: Hans Nötig | Aug 26, 2018 6:52:34 AM | 40

Peace doesn't necessarily mean the US has to withdraw its forces, see Germany or Japan.

Those occupations are still grandfathered in from different earlier circumstances, including the reunification of Germany which was done under circumstances the US approved of. (And the US itself, although wicked, was relatively less deranged.)

But today any Korean reunification short of total unconditional submission by the North, a highly unlikely scenario, will be unacceptable to the US, which today is batsh*t insane as well as truly evil. I don't see how re-unifying Koreans could co-exist with a continuing US occupation. (Though I also don't see the US leaving gracefully, to say the least.)

Posted by: Russ | Aug 26 2018 11:31 utc | 42

@Ghost Ship | Aug 26, 2018 4:44:54 AM | 38

These days it is standard operating procedure to lie, not by a few degrees but to invert the truth entirely. 180˚ lies, said with a straight face and without a flicker of guilt.

That Clinton quote in the mirror:

@SenJohnMcCain lived a privileged life of treason to his country, from his cowardice and incompetence in the Navy to 35 useless and corrupt years in Congress. He was a crude, brutish politician, not to be trusted, and thugs like him are ten a penny in amongst the lowlife. Cindy and his entire family are well rid of him.

— (Not) Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 26, 2018

Posted by: Ross | Aug 26 2018 11:53 utc | 43

Haha mccain is dead but surely the liberals in the media could not stop themselves from glorifying this rat!

Posted by: Seb | Aug 26 2018 12:57 utc | 44

Well at least we got rid of Mccain, illiterate semi Neandethal warmonger.
Everyday has its brights.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Aug 26 2018 14:30 utc | 45

R I P (roast in pieces) McCain

Two things that will not be noted in the MSM hagiography to come:

1. McCain was attacking civilian targets when he was shot down; he was bombing a light-bulb factory.

2 He spent a lot of time in recent years palling around with head-chopping terrorists in Syria, and with neo-Nazi goons in Ukraine.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Aug 26 2018 15:13 utc | 46

This shows how warloving the west are:

Celebs Trash Trump in Response to John McCain’s Death: ‘F*ck You’

Posted by: Zanon | Aug 26 2018 15:31 utc | 47

For anyone interested in deep background on Korea, an offering.

Recent & relevant:


+++! Again Korea by Wilfred G. Burchett | 1968 | 180pp
difficult to find/acquire unless you’re an Aussie, but thanks to Chipnik @ 34:

Cry Korea by Reginald “Tommy” Thompson | 1951 | 296pp
same as above, and thanks again to Chipnik:

The Hidden History of the Korean War by I.F. Stone | 1952 | 348pp
once more, @ Chipnik:

The Untold Story -'The Korean Empire', we will meet the reign of King Gojong, which had not been appreciated in the past, referred as 'lost history.', deprived of its liberation and Korea's tumultuous modern history in the Japanese colonial period. We will discover the Korean Empire legation that comes up sorrow of the deprived country in Logan Circle on the 15th Street, Washington D.C. in which remains the breath of the past.
Bruce Cumings, Chairman of the Department of History at the University of Chicago and author of The Korean War: A History, joins Dean Lawrence R. Velvel.
From the historical origins of the Korean war, to the early disputes between North and South Korea and then on thru to the more recent history of North Korea, from General MacArthur's massive underestimation of the North Korean army, to the north's involvement with China, all the way to the great famine and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Note: annoying commercial @ +/- 20 minutes in. Part II is a continuation of this discussion and has 4 or 5 similar commercials. FF is your friend
An Overview of Korea
Lecture presented by David C. Kang, Professor and Director, USC Korean Studies Institute.
Ted Talk type presentation, which I personally loath, but he does point out the constantly shifting and evolving borders in Europe, and notes that Korea has maintained quite stable borders for 1,500 years. Also presents other interesting historical factoids…

* * *

Korea, as is pretty much everywhere, STILL about Colonialism and Empire – the exact same struggle that has been ongoing since… ?
One of Burchett’s other masterpieces, Vietnam Will Win, is an operator’s manual on how to defeat the Colonial oppressor.

Posted by: Desolation Row | Aug 26 2018 17:56 utc | 48

Jen @20--

The condition of DPRK's economy as portrayed by BigLie Media is just that, another BigLie. Garrie's assessment here I very much agree with:

"Basic geography dictates that the final north east Asian tiger to awaken will be the DPRK and as the final north east Asian nation to have a modern economic revolution, the country is well placed to learn valuable lessons regarding what works and what does not work from its neighbours and consequently begin its economic revolution from a position of wisdom and strength. Even in spite of sanctions, Kim Jong-un has overseen an era of economic growth and mild but in the context of the DPRK, still significant reforms indicating that Kim has already embraced some elements of market socialism with Juche characteristics. Likewise, the country’s educated, highly disciplined and efficient work force simply needs to redirect its energies towards more modern industries in order to become among the most prized workforces in the world."

My assessment's based on what I see as the interests of all the Northeast Asian nations affected by DPRK's entry into the community of nations through the dynamic peace process initiated by Xi, Moon, Putin, and Kim--all aided by Trump behaving as anticipated by threatening war and not showing any initial interest in establishing a lasting peace (Obama, Clinton, whomever is POTUS involved would have acted the same way). I'm somewhat surprised little's been said about Japan's stagnant economy and how it stands to perhaps be the greatest beneficiary of BRI beyond PRC. The best barometer for the situation, IMO, is Korean public opinion, although it's difficult to find such metrics reported in English, like this one, which shows rapid changes in opinion in RoK about DPRK. In about 2 weeks, on 11 September, we'll know more as the Far Eastern Economic Forum commences in Vladivostok.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 26 2018 18:36 utc | 49

Are now the Chinese potential hackers of the november election ? is Trump hoping that the MSM will bite the Chinese bone and forget the Russia bones

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 25, 2018 9:01:18 PM | 24
They have sent out test ballon: A few weeks ago, I saw there were quite some lively discussion here initiated by some posters, who were passing information from Peter Lang's blog, in which Peter Lang said he had got "insider information" that it was China who meddled 2016 election. We can expect more similar accusations from the deep state.

vk @14

It is MSM mis/disinformation propaganda to claim DPRK's economy is to collapse, just as it told us about the "dire" economic situation in East Germany. In fact it turned out that West German corporates looted and stripped all the industry assets of E.G. so as to make sure it get totally killed.

Economically, Kim is doing/copying what China did in 1980/90s but with all the sanctions put on his neck. That's one of the key reasons why he wanted and went to talk to Trump so as to get rid of sanctions and get access to world market and technology.

Posted by: lulu | Aug 26 2018 19:55 utc | 50

b mentioned that China heavily relies on Taiwanese, Korean and other foreign semiconductor manufacturers to supply chips, this is because ASML, the world largest supplier of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry refuses, or shall I say, dare not to sell its latest photolithography systems, which costs 1 billion per system, to China. 80% of chip makers are its customers. It only sells two or three-generation old machinery to China.

This is because of the "Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Good and Technologies", 40-signature countries incl. US, France, UK, Japan, Russia. China is not in this exclusive club. US often forces any other member countries from selling anything to China it deems not suitable to its interests.

Besides, Intel, TSMC and Samsung are all ASML's shareholders, they don't have incentive to sell the latest manufacturing systems to Chinese producers when they can charge Chinese companies 3 times higher prices as they do outside China.

IF US allows American companies to export their high tech products to China, the current trade deficit that US has against China would be instantly wiped out. But this is not going to happen.

Instead, Trump is trying to force China totally open up its financial market to WSJ to let the US and Western predator banksters to take control of China's vast and lucrative banking and insurance, which China somehow actually agreed (!) in early negotiation in March (IIRC), but Trump wants squeeze more from China for his financial backers and ruling elites. This brings down the whole negotiation and thus this escalating tariff war.

Trump and his anti-China team not only want to flood China with the WSJ "invented" financial garbage but also want to totally kill China's manufacture 2025, upgrade of China's manufacture capability. This kind of imperialist demand, voracity and greed plus the treacherous behavior of Trump leave China without choice but to fight back.

Those Trump supporters who think he's trying to bring jobs back home should be aware for whom he is really doing the bidding.

Posted by: lulu | Aug 26 2018 21:11 utc | 51

IF Taiwan declares independence, there will be war, bloody war, and it will go all the way to the main Taiwan island. It will be about full control or total death. It will definitely not go the "light way" as b describe in his penultima.

(May I say that PLA is waiting and preparing for this day to come. Some of the military hawks can hardly wait.)

I don't think US, its allies, or even the Westerners in general, truly understand what Sovereignty really means to China and Chinese, for the FUKUS until now doesn't know how it feels when your sovereignty is trampled on and how your owns' land has been grabbed away.

In 1951, general MacArthur said he'd have US troop at Yalu River (China/Korea border) by Christmas. Now we all know that China's peasant arm pushed back the fully equipped US and its 15 allies to the place where the war started: 38th parallel. US remembered this lesson very well that it didn't make the same mistake the second time when they went to fight in Vietnam.

For the safety of its border, China paid a huge price (25.10.1950-27.07.1953): death and injured 366,000 (144,000 death), 29,000 disappeared, and $2.5 billion costs.

It costed US 54246 death,8177 disappeared, 103,284 injured, and $40 billion.

Now back to Taiwan, this time is about China's sovereignty and China is willing to pay much higher price than what it did in Korean War. The question here is simple: Will US be ready to put on a fight with much higher (tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of death plus trillions of $$$) for Taiwan's independence?

If US and American people do not have the stomaches for such a high price, then there will not be a Taiwan independence. It is just is simple as that.

Posted by: lulu | Aug 26 2018 22:22 utc | 52

As with the space corps and the activation of the second fleet in the North Pole the US under Trump is seeing what Obama ignored, real and serious threats to its empire. The dirty secret is China is working over some Pacific islands diplomatically for bases in the Pacific. The US will drop the biggest turd in history when China starts setting up bases on islands once held by the Japanese. It will be by agreement with those island nations.

The North Koreans have been begging for a peace treaty. Read the Korea press and forget the crap in the US. It is up to the Koreans to work for reunification and they can model it any way they want by agreement among themselves. I an guessing that like the Philippines which has thumbed its nose at the US, Korea does not want to be caught in the middle of a conflict. Japan may soon realize this as well. Chinese bases on Pacific islands by agreement of the host nations will accentuate that move.

Trump's maneuvers against the North Koreans was one of the best ever run by any president. Now the US needs to back peddle from peace and keep the conflict glowing and I do mean glowing. China and Russia will never back away from their plans. Neither will the US. Nuclear war is inevitable.

We may yet see a peace treaty and reunification in Korea but the alignment may be with the Chinese and the Russians and not the US.

Posted by: dltravers | Aug 26 2018 23:58 utc | 53


Taiwan has no intention of declaring independence. They already have it without some of the baggage that goes along with recognition. Taiwanese have significant investments in China , and they plan on tapping into Chinas tourism business. Life is good as it is.

Taiwan was never important to China . It only became so when the KMT fled to Taiwan. Now, like in Hong Kong , Taiwan has significant economic value and I am sure some of the party and military elites would love to tap into the wealth.

Trump would love to see a conflict over Taiwan. Lot of Chinese assets in US he could seize. But Taiwan and China are too smart to let it happen.

In the meantime Trump and US are prepared for a long war with China that will be financial and resource focused, and perhaps exploit Chinas vulnerabilty in the far west
If China succeeds in meeting its 2025 goal in manufacturing it will be evrn more dependant on Western buyers and more susceptible to sanctions.

China opening the door to western finance and insurance is like allowing a cell to go cancerous. The cancer grows and spreads. US will just wait it out.

Posted by: Pft | Aug 27 2018 5:22 utc | 54

From here on, Trump will tie many geopolitical issues to the China Trade impasse, North Korea de-nuke progression being just one of them. He will play the Taiwan card; he will harp on the South China Sea dispute; he will replay the currency manipulation old song; he will reiterate the Monroe Doctrine... [Oriental Voice | Aug 25, 2018 9:20:19 PM ]

I have genuine difficulties figuring what Trump wants to achieve -- Obama was not that different in that respect. USA may play this card or that, but since it has an edge as the hub of world finance, "largest military" etc., USA may pretty much impose its will unless, as it is too often the case, "the will" is contradictory, unrealistic etc. If "we" do not want any agreement with NK, what is the motivation behind the diplomatic circus -- there are simpler ways of not achieving an agreement. And if "we" want an agreement, compiling an adequate package could be completed by now. Similarly, the conditions of the trade with China can be pretty much imposed, except that we have sharp differences between various economic interests (mostly corporate) within USA.

The most plausible explanation is institutional/elite-embedded senility in USA.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 27 2018 18:28 utc | 55

Due to fukus dictat, China can no longer buy into high tech firms in the 5lies and Europe.

In addition,
The mafia don in Washington has arm twisted the 5lies to stop doing business with Huawei etc., Jp will likely join in soon.

There's even report that AMSL, Europe's largest semiconductor firm, is going to stop employing Chinese , due to pressure from you know who.

This amounts to an eight nations alliance in a fukus organised trade war to strangle China's development.

Posted by: denk | Aug 30 2018 15:55 utc | 56

Here we have the UN ordered by the Outlaw US Empire to deny South Korea's attempt to conduct a survey in preparation of establishing a rail link through the DMZ! This clearly illustrates the deficit of sovereignty RoK has over its own territory. I hope Koreans are suitably outraged for this won't be the first such stunt employed to stop their desired rapprochement with the North.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 30 2018 16:52 utc | 57


Meanwhile, there's a parallel eight nations alliance smear campaign against China...

-China is pressuring NK not to resume talk with fukus on de-nuclearlisation .

-one millions UIghurs in Chinese gulag..

-From Oz, China is gearing up to take over Australia using spurious pretext [5lies M.O...bandits crying out robbery], the army of Chinese students, Chinese Aussies are trojan horse ready to be activated by the Chinese embassy. [yet another example of the 5lies speaking from their own vast experience .....]

-The liar in chief in the WH claimed that Chinese students in the U.S. are spies...

-It was China that hacked Clinton's emails....

-When I heard report of Singapore's national health data base had been hacked by 'foreign country', I knew what's coming .....

--Sure enough, it doesnt take long .
Some Aussie cyber 'expert' claims that the Sg hack has CCP's finger print all over it.
'it fits the pattern' [sic], added the 'expert', referring to
'Chinese hacking of pentagon, Lockheed Martin, ......'

Im no longer surprised by the brazeness of these 5lies serial liars....they practically live to lie.
Surely people would know better to take their words at face value by now ?
Dont be too sure about that !

Lots of people who are cynical about fukus accusations on Russia, would some how discard their critical thinking and assume China is guilty until proven innocent.

dunno why !


Congress critters want sanction on China for its 'Uighurs gulags' !

Posted by: denk | Aug 31 2018 0:40 utc | 58

pft 54

You've never heard of the pro independence green party ?
[nothing to do with tree huggers]

Ever since Trump assume office, prez Cai of the green party and a AEI alumni to boot, has been collaborating with its Washington mentor in provoking Beijing.

-Trump's presidential call to prez Cai right after his inauguration.

-'Accidental' missile firing towards Chinese mainland

-Reduction of flights to mainland,

-fukus sending marines to its de facto embassy in TW,

-prez Cai's 'passing thru' US to some third country.

-prez Cai just call on the 'democracies' of the world to form a united front against China, if fukus ever needed such goading !

Trump threatened from the outset he'd raise hell in TW straits if China doesnt give in to his trade demands.
If China remains defiant, dont be surprised that Cai's mentor would order her to declare independence.

"If China succeeds in meeting its 2025 goal in manufacturing it will be evrn more dependant on Western buyers and more susceptible to sanctions."

China's 2025 goal to achieve self sufficiency in high tech like robotics, semiconductors is precisely a strategy to stop its dependence on murkkan suppliers and to avert another ZTE sanction fiasco.

Posted by: denk | Aug 31 2018 1:34 utc | 59

Not to forget the eight nations alliance in SCS of course !

fukus, France and !


OZ's Rudd and Turnbull can hardly be called 'panda huggers',yet both have been ousted for not hawkish enough on SCS.

Watch out for the new PM, dont be surprised by Aussie flotilla patrolling the SCS !


Posted by: denk | Aug 31 2018 2:58 utc | 60

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