Sunday, August 06, 2017

North Korea Recruits for America

North Korea solved the problem of a new South Korean president prone to reaching out to North Korea:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed in the day after the [North Korean ICBM] test to deploy more interceptor missile launchers for the country’s controversial anti-missile defense system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, more commonly known by its acronym, THAAD, it was a radical turnaround from his previous positions. North Korea had probably hoped to drive a wedge between the U.S. and South Korea through its missile tests and other provocations in the months following the election of a left-leaning government in South Korea. As of now, it looks like those ambitions have failed.

Not that South Korea is fully on board confronting North Korea. Elements in Seoul really want reconciliation in defiance of the reality of North Korea's hostility.

But North Korea's provocations likely mean that any outreach constituency will remain too weak to derail a strike campaign that I think is scheduled for 2018 unless China (or sheer good luck from anywhere) ends the threat posed by North Korean nukes.

In related news:

Speculation is rising in Japan that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may visit North Korea in September, following an interview during which he expressed interest in undertaking the "political adventure of a lifetime."

I assume nobody actually believes Abe could score a diplomatic breakthrough by visiting.

But would such a visit show he made every effort to avoid a military strike campaign in 2018?

Would such a personal visit be necessary to set aside Japanese aversion to military action--even military action designed to prevent Japan from being nuked by North Korea?