Pence in Tokyo
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before attending the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday, Pence issued a harsh statement saying:
“I’m announcing today that the United States will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea” – perhaps during the Winter Games for emphasis, maybe a total oil ban, adding:
“Let the world know this: We will continue to intensify our maximum pressure campaign until North Korea takes concrete steps towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” – an unattainable objective.
Sanctions are ineffective and counterproductive, encouraging Pyongyang to accelerate its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, fearing US aggression, wanting the strongest deterrent possible to discourage it or be able to respond forcefully if it occurs.
North Korea threatens no one. Washington threatens everyone. Trump administration hawks support a “bloody nose” attack on the country.
In December, National Security Advisor HR McMaster ominously said “(w)e’re not committed to a peaceful solution. We’re committed to a resolution.”
“We have to be prepared if necessary to compel the denuclearization of North Korea without (its) cooperation” – threatening possible US aggression, risking millions of regional lives if Washington attacks the DPRK.
In Tokyo, Pence stressed “all options are on the table,” a common statement preceding earlier US wars of aggression, Pence adding:
The Pentagon deployed some of its “most advanced military assets to Japan and the wider region” to protect against a nonexistent North Korean threat.
Inter-Korean thaw is anathema to Washington. Both countries favor stepping back from the brink, prioritizing efforts to avoid catastrophic war on the peninsula.
Both Koreas will march together in the opening ceremony under a unified Korean peninsula flag. They’ll field a joint women’s hockey team. They may also field a joint two-man bobsleigh team.
Cheerleaders from both nations will cheer for their athletes together. Pyongyang agreed to send a Taekwondo demonstration team.
Both Koreas will hold joint cultural events at Mount Kumgang in North Korea – before the opening ceremony of the games.
Commenting on what’s planned, Pence deplorably said “(w)e will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games.”
“We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region.”
Russia’s ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora warned against cutting oil supplies to the country any more than already, saying:
“If the supplies of oil and oil product are stopped, it would mean a complete blockade of the DPRK.”
Pyongyang considers an attempted blockade “a declaration of war with all its consequences.”
The Korean peninsula remains a hugely dangerous tinderbox, nuclear war a disturbing possibility.
Trump’s rage for warmaking could ignite an uncontrollable firestorm, risking millions of regional lives.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”