The United States and China are preparing for a situation in which all hell breaks loose on the Korean Peninsula.
Both nations are taking unprecedented steps as tensions toward a nuclear war ramp up even more.
The US has stepped up military drills, practiced air raids, and reportedly started preparing to seize North Korea’s nuclear weapons by force, a feat South Korea has declared won’t be all that easy.
South Korean officials have been talking up a pause in military drills in hopes that it will lead to a peaceful Winter Olympics in February, but the US has yet to agree to halt said drills.
Instead, the US brought in a record number of stealth aircraft this month to train up on an air war against North
Immediately after the drill, which featured a marked increase in simulated bomb runs on North Korean targets, the US and South Korea reportedly engaged in drills to infiltrate North Korea and neutralize its weapons of mass destruction.
At a speech at the Atlantic Council last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US was preparing plans to seize loose nuclear weapons, should North Korea somehow collapse or become unstable.
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, also flatly rejected the clearest path to peace by saying the US would never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. He recommitted the US to using force if necessary.
“We’re not committed to a peaceful resolution — we’re committed to a resolution,” McMaster told the BBC. “We have to be prepared, if necessary, to compel the denuclearization of North Korea without the cooperation of that regime.” –Business Insider
China is also bracing itself for a potential war. Across North Korea’s border in China’s Jilin province, state-run media ran a full-page instructional package on how to survive a nuclear blast.
“Storm clouds are gathering” over the Korean Peninsula, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared Friday. And as diplomats try to resolve the nuclear standoff, he told soldiers that the U.S. military must do its part by being ready for war.
Without forecasting a conflict, Mattis emphasized that diplomacy stands the best chance of preventing a war if America’s words are backed up by strong and prepared armed forces.
“My fine young soldiers, the only way our diplomats can speak with authority and be believed is if you’re ready to go,” Mattis told several dozen soldiers and airmen at the 82nd Airborne Division’s Hall of Heroes, his last stop on a two-day pre-holiday tour of bases to greet troops.
Mattis’ comments came as the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea, compelling nations to sharply reduce their sales of oil to the reclusive country and send home all North Korean expatriate workers within two years. Such workers are seen as a key source of revenue for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s cash-strapped government.
President Donald Trump and other top U.S. officials have made repeated threats about U.S. military action. Some officials have described the messaging as twofold in purpose: to pressure North Korea to enter into negotiations on getting rid of its nuclear arsenal, and to motivate key regional powers China and Russia to put more pressure on Pyongyang so a war is averted.
Multiple Russian state media outlets are reporting that President Vladimir Putin has stressed that Russia has a right to respond to US military build-up in Europe while furthering its strategic nuclear deterrence capabilities in a speech delivered before a Defense Ministry meeting on Friday in the city of Balashikha outside of Moscow.
At the same meeting Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that NATO has doubled the number of its military drills since 2012 in the vicinity of Russia's borders, noting that Russia is carefully monitoring what it considers hostile NATO build-up and intensified surveillance operations along Russian borders. The defense minister further indicated that the number of NATO-member country troops stationed near Russian borders has tripled, growing from 10 to 40 thousand in three years, saying "In the Baltic states and Poland, four battalion-tactical groups, an armored brigade of the US Army, headquarters of NATO multinational divisions in Poland and Romania are deployed."
Since the crisis in Ukraine (which began in 2014) and Russia's subsequent annexation of the Crimea, an Obama administration policy of steady build-up and periodic war games has been in place in East European and the Baltic countries, including Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. A little under a year ago a Reuters report acknowledged that NATO has been "expanding its presence in the region to levels unprecedented since the Cold War" - something which the Pentagon has long touted as defensive in nature.
And just this week news broke that after months of indecision over whether or not to move forward with Obama-era legislation which initially paved the way for legalizing US arms sales to Ukraine, Trump has approved the first ever US commercial sale of weapons to the Kiev government, which Moscow sees as an illegitimate puppet regime supported by the West
Putin said that both the US and NATO have been "accelerating build-up of infrastructure in Europe" in violation of the 1987 treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles. He said concerning the new and expanding US missile defense system now based in Poland that they are not merely defensive in nature but offensive weapons:
"The point is, and specialists know about it very well, those launchers are all-purpose. They can also be used with existing sea-launched cruise missiles with the flight range of up to 2,500 km [1,550 miles]. And in this case, these missiles are no longer sea-launched missiles, they can be easily moved to land," Putin said.
This comes as earlier this week another spine-chilling scare story involving the Russians and Putin's plan for supposed global domination spread widely in Western media after two major European tabloids published sensational headlines on Wednesday claiming that, according to the UK's largest tabloid The Sun, Russia secretly practiced full-scale invasion of Europe with bombing raids on Germany during Russia's September "Zapad" (West) military drills.
The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, told troops Thursday that "there's a war coming" and urged them to be prepared.
"I hope I'm wrong, but there's a war coming," Neller told Marines stationed in Norway, during a visit there, according to Military.com. "You're in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence," he added.
The commandant pointed to Russia and the Pacific theater as the next major areas of conflict, predicting a "big-ass fight" in the future.
"Just remember why you're here," he said. "They're watching. Just like you watch them, they watch you. We've got 300 Marines up here; we could go from 300 to 3,000 overnight. We could raise the bar."
Neller's visit comes amid tensions between Russia and NATO allies. Russia warned neighboring Norway that the presence of American troops could hurt relations, after Norway decision to host a new unit of U.S. soldiers through the end of 2018.
The administration says the Marines are there to enhance ties with European NATO allies and train in cold-weather combat.
In a question-and-answer session with the troops, Neller said the U.S. could shift its focus after years of fighting in the Middle East to Eastern Europe, citing Russia's conflicts with Ukraine and Georgia.
On Monday, President Trump unveiled a new national security strategy that focused on the threats posed by Russia and China to U.S. interests.
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