Trump once suggested all of Seoul’s 10 million residents move to avoid North Korean threat

Long before President Donald Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Little Rocket Man” or met him in person, Trump had an idea to safeguard millions of South Koreans from the dictator’s wrath: Move them. Move them all.

According to an excerpt from Peter Bergen’s new book Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos, posted by Time on Thursday morning, the president made a startling comment during a mid-April 2017 briefing on North Korea.

After seeing a satellite image showing that Seoul — South Korea’s capital, home to 10 million inhabitants — sits just 15 miles south of the country’s heavily militarized border with the North, Trump asked, “Why is Seoul so close to the North Korean border?”

He then made a rather unorthodox suggestion: “They have to move,” Trump said, referring to the city’s residents. “They have to move!” he repeated. Those in attendance at the Oval Office briefing were uncertain whether or not Trump was joking, Bergen writes.

Trump, Bergen notes, had already been briefed numerous times on the danger Seoul faces every day. The city is in direct firing range of thousands of pieces of North Korean artillery that are already lined up along the border between the two countries, also known as the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Around 70 percent of North Korea’s ground forces are within 90 miles of the DMZ, presumably ready to move south at a moment’s notice.

 

Seoul is the big bright spot middle to the left.  South Korea is immersed in lights throughout the country. North Korea has no lights.  The one small light on the left is the capital city Pyongyang.

 

Simulations of a large-scale artillery fight between the North and South produce pretty bleak results. One war game convened by the Atlantic magazine back in 2005 predicted that a North Korean attack would kill 100,000 people in Seoul in the first few days alone. Others put the estimate even higher. A war game mentioned by the National Interest predicted Seoul could “be hit by over half-a-million shells in under an hour.”

Evidently, Trump hadn’t realized just how vulnerable the city’s 10 million citizens were until he saw that satellite photo. So his alarm is understandable. And sure, perhaps he was kidding. But given Trump’s history of suggesting wildly infeasible or downright illegal policy ideas, it’s also entirely possible he was serious.

Pushing 10 million people — roughly the population of the entire country of Sweden — further south on the peninsula would be a nearly impossible exercise. It’s just too many people to move and would cost a fortune in both transportation and relocation, and of course North Korea would notice such a mass migration.

What’s more, North Korea has weapons that can reach all of South Korea, meaning Seoul’s dwellers would need to leave the country entirely to be safer. Now that North Korea has shown it has a missile that could reach the US — potentially carrying a nuclear bomb — it’s hard to fathom where those millions could go to avoid any danger.

While there’s no question Seoul remains a major target and could be decimated in a war with North Korea, the city’s location remains a sticky reality.

The comment is “uniquely Trumpy,” says Catholic University US foreign policy expert Justin Logan, “but it’s a reminder that the nuclear issue, which is all we talk about, is one part of a larger security problem on the [Korean] Peninsula. A nuclear deal wouldn’t deal with the geography or artillery.”

It’s a problem that even Steve Bannon, Trump’s former lead strategist, lamented in an August 2017 interview with the American Prospect. “Forget it,” he said. “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”

Trump has changed his tune since the early days of his presidency. He no longer calls for drastic measures like a mass movement of civilians, instead preferring to engage Kim directly to convince him to dismantle his nuclear program. That effort has sputtered, and it appears that unless real progress is made soon, North Korea will abandon diplomacy in favor of further ramping up its weapons development.

“The dialogue touted by the US is, in essence, nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep the DPRK bound to dialogue and use it in favor of the political situation and election in the US,” Ri Thae Song, vice minister in charge of US affairs, told the state-run Korean Central News Agency this week, using the initials for North Korea’s official name.

“The DPRK has heard more than enough dialogue rhetoric raised by the US whenever it is driven into a tight corner,” Ri continued. “So, no one will lend an ear to the US any longer.”

So if Trump wants to avoid a turbulent 2020, he’ll have to come up with a new idea — and fast.

It’s All About the Flattery

The North Korea–United States summit is a planned future meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States set to take place on June 12, 2018 in Singapore.

The White House confirmed the planned meeting between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un on 8 March 2018. This would be the first time a sitting U.S. President will have met the leader of North Korea since the Korean War. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “in the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.” Kim referenced preparations for the meeting in remarks to the Politburo of the Workers’ Party of Korea on April 9.

Donald Trump

On May 15, 2018, North Korea threatened to cancel the summit meeting with United States President Donald Trump.

The two men are known for their arrogance and narcissism. These two guys love themselves. What is the best way to get people like this to appreciate you? Throw gobs of flattery at the other guy. Trump adores people that compliment him. He despises people who criticize him. Considering these traits of the two leaders, the best way to have the summit hum along is for them to stroke each other with reckless abandon. Some examples below:

Kim Jong-un: “Mr. Donald your orange hair and red face remind me of sunset over the treetops of the Ryongsong Palace in Pyongyang during the springtime.”

Trump: “When you smile Leader Un the plump cheeks on your face are like glorious dimples on a Nebraska groundhog.”

Trump: “President Kim your short stature makes you look like a formidable and handsome Hobbit that cannot be swayed.”

Kim Jong-un: “Mr. Donald, your legendary promiscuity with women has to mean that you are a great sex-maker with a love muscle that is the envy of all men on Earth.”

Trump: “Emperor Kim Jong-un your haircut looks like something the Gods of the future would adorn. It makes you look like a Wizard of the electro-pop scene from the 1980’s.”

Kim Jong-un: “The way you can rattle off insults against the media and opponents shows you are a spontaneous genius who can really think on his feet and with his smartphone.”

Trump: “Kimmy, the way you show resolve by executing ingrate generals by the most excruciating and heinous methods proves you are a man of action.”

They will love each other when this is over. No more Dotard and short and fat insults.

Russian Diplomats Get Booted Out

The United States and its European allies are expelling dozens of Russian diplomats in a co-ordinated response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.

It is said to be the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.

More than 20 countries have aligned with the UK, expelling more than 100 diplomats.

Russia vowed to retaliate to the “provocative gesture”.

Russia denies any role in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, southern England. The pair remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

EU leaders agreed last week it was highly likely Russia was behind the nerve-agent poisoning.

Mrs May said: “President Putin’s regime is carrying out acts of aggression against our shared values and interests within our continent and beyond.

“And as a sovereign European democracy, the United Kingdom will stand shoulder to shoulder with the EU and with Nato to face down these threats together.”

Maybe Putin will think twice about using chemical weapons on foreign soil to eliminate his enemies.  It was so traceable back to Russia.  Why not just use a handgun with a silencer?

Expelled Russian diplomats arriving back in Moscow.

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The Tit for Tat Insult Barrage between Trump and Kim Jong Un

When Trump got elected I had a feeling these two would eventually get down and dirty with each other.

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North Korea’s official news agency responded Tuesday to President Trump’s controversial “nuclear button tweet,” describing it as the “spasm of a lunatic,” according to the Associated Press.

“Trump’s bluff is regarded by the DPRK as just a spasm of a lunatic frightened by the might of Juche Korea and a bark of a rabid dog,” said the report, which summarized a commentary in the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun. DPRK is the abbreviation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name. Juche is the North Korean state ideology, often translated as self-reliance.

“The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental state of a loser who failed to check the vigorous advance of the army and people of the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. . . . He is making [a] bluff only to be diagnosed as a psychopath,” it added.

North Korean media were referring to the U.S. president’s response to Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Day taunt two weeks ago that his nuclear button was always on his desk. Trump tweeted Jan. 3 that his “nuclear button” was “much bigger & more powerful” than the North Korean leader’s. He went on to threaten that the U.S. arsenal “works.”

Pyongyang still agreed later on to high-level talks with Seoul, which has raised hopes of an improvement of relations with South Korea.

But North Korea’s latest mocking of Trump — even though it may not be unusual — certainly won’t help to calm tensions, especially given that Trump has responded to previous North Korean provocations by referring to Kim as “rocket man,” “short and fat” and “madman.”

John Cole / Scranton Times Tribune

Here is how the Trump-Kim rhetoric escalated in 2017. Here are some excerpts:

April 28: Approaching his 100th day in office, Trump tells Reuters a “major, major” conflict with North Korea is possible but that he still seeks diplomacy.

May 14: Kim celebrates the test of a ballistic missile. He’s quoted by state media saying, “If the U.S. awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it will not escape from the biggest disaster in the history.”

May 23: The Post reports that Trump called Kim a “madman with nuclear weapons” during a phone conversation weeks before with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump said: Kim’s “rockets are crashing. That’s the good news,” according to a transcript obtained by The Post.

Aug. 8: Trump warns North Korea that it will be met with “fire and fury” if it continues to threaten the United States. It is his harshest language yet against the regime.

Aug. 9: North Korea responds by saying it is reviewing plans to target the U.S. territory of Guam. “The nuclear war hysteria of the U.S. authorities including Trump has reached an extremely reckless and rash phase for an actual war,” said the KCNA, North Korea’s official state media.

Sept. 17: Trump taunts Kim on Twitter: “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!”

Sept. 22: Kim calls Trump a “mentally deranged dotard,” prompting the public to search for the definition of the archaic insult.

Sept. 23: Trump tweets: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

Sept. 19: Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Trump threatens to “totally destroy North Korea” and says “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.”

Oct. 1: Trump sends two tweets. One at 9:30 a.m. EST, saying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” and another at 2 p.m. saying he “won’t fail” to rein in Kim.

Nov. 11: After reports surface that North Korean state media referred to Trump as a “lunatic old man,” Trump tweets: “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”

Trump’s Jan. 3 tweet about his “nuclear button” drew perhaps the strongest condemnations, as observers from the United States and abroad condemned the remarks as ill-advised and “infantile.”

“Trump plays with the subject so carelessly and recklessly as if it were some kind of video game,” commented Aaron David Miller, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars who has advised several secretaries of state.

In their Tuesday responses to the tweet, North Korean media also appeared to address speculation over President Trump’s mental fitness, which was raised in the controversial “Fire and Fury” book. Trump has rejected the claims made in the book and has boasted about being “like, really smart” and a “very stable genius” in response.

Washington Post

This stuff is actually very funny, unfortunately using one of Trump’s favourite terms, it is also very very SAD!

A Pair of Delusional World Leaders Arguing Over Who Has the Biggest Button

In his sixth annual New Years address, Kim Jong Un stated that the United States can’t wage war against his country in any form because he had “the entire mainland of the U.S.” within reach of his intercontinental ballistic missiles and that he has a “nuclear button” always on the desk in his office. The young tyrant emphasized that “this is not a threat but a reality.”

kimmer

The mental image of North Korea’s already comic book-like super villain leader having a big red button on his desk that would bring about a massive war, and even a nuclear exchange, on a whim is bordering on Dr. Evil territory. But who knows, the ultra paranoid leadership in Pyongyang knows full well that their command and control systems would come under near instant electronic and cyber attack—and eventually kinetic attack—the second hostilities are detected, so simplifying and turbocharging the command release procedure for the country’s nuclear stockpile could very well be a primary goal of the regime. At the very least it would lend credibility to the country’s nuclear deterrent, albeit in a terribly frightening way. At the same time it could mean recalling the country’s nuclear forces once an order is given could be near impossible.

janxxx (2)

Not to be outdone:

Late on Jan. 2, 2018, Trump took to his preferred outlet, Twitter, to slam Kim over his pronouncement and mock North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. In the past, the President has made bold threats of “fire and fury” against the North Korean regime and suggested it might be necessary to “totally destroy” the country if the government in Pyongyang doesn’t abandon its advanced weapons programs.

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.'” Trump Tweeted out. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

kimmer1

Where is this going to end? World leaders that are complete idiots.

North Korean calendars show no birthday for Kim Jong-un

BBC

  • 21 December 2017
  • kim11
Image captionKim Jong-un’s birthday is just another day in North Korea

New year calendars recently published in North Korea make no mention of leader Kim Jong-un’s birthday, six years after he rose to power.

The Supreme Leader’s birthday – widely believed to be 8 January – will be marked as a regular working Monday in the Communist country, according to 2018 calendars shown on the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) channel in Japan.

The birthday of Mr Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, is celebrated on 16 February every year as the Day of the Shining Star; while his grandfather Kim Il-sung’s birthday on 15 April is marked as the Day of the Sun.

Both of these national holidays were established while the Kim ancestors were still alive, but it is unknown why North Korea has still not publicly confirmed Kim Jong-un’s birthday or marked the day as a public holiday.

The nearest North Korea has come to acknowledging his birthday was in 2014, when visiting basketball player Dennis Rodman sang “Happy Birthday” to him after an exhibition match in Pyongyang.

While viewers outside of North Korea were able to see video of Rodman’s performance, domestic audiences were merely told that the former NBA player had “sung him a special song”.

Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang, January 2014Image copyrightKCNA
Image captionKim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman met on the North Korean leader’s alleged birthday in 2014

From military to marketing

The 2018 calendars obtained by TBS are available at hotels and bookstores in North Korea as well as in the few North Korean restaurants remaining in foreign countries. They show goods manufactured in the country, including liquor, ginseng and shoes.

North Korean calendars have previously heavily featured the military or the Kim family.

But Seoul-based Daily NK notes that this year’s calendar is more geared toward promoting North Korean consumer goods, as well as landscapes and cooking.

Daily NK says that this suggests that sales of earlier “propaganda calendars” were falling.

The April, May and June pages from one North Korean calendarImage copyrightTBS
Image captionApril, May and June: Electronics, sporting goods and chemical products

One particular product in this year’s calendar has caused bemusement on Japanese television: a “health watch”, complete with “natural calcite polarising prisms”.

The product, pictured on the September page, is reportedly “designed to improve blood circulation and strengthen the the whole body’s immune system”.

It purports to do this by “using sunlight that passes through the hole on the right side of its face”.

Perhaps ironically, the hole is exactly where the calendar function might be on an analogue watch.

North Korea's so-called "health watch"Image copyrightTBS
Cynics might suggest the “hole” is where the watch calendar function should be

Crazy little “Rocket Man”
kim2 

Dennis Rodman sings Happy Birthday to Kim Jong Un. This is painful, watch at your discretion.

Reporting by Alistair Coleman

Dennis Rodman Says His Friend Kim Jong Un Is ‘Probably’ a Madman, ‘But I Don’t See It’

rodman

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman has spoken candidly about his odd friendship with Kim Jong Un, stating the North Korean dictator is “probably a madman, but I don’t see it.”

The unlikely relationship between the pair was the topic of discussion on Wednesday evening, when Rodman appeared as a guest on The Late Show. Host Stephen Colbert told the the four-time NBA rebound leader: “you must be high,” as he discussed the friendship between the pair.

Rodman explained he and Kim have a good relationship, although he stopped short of calling them “best friends,” explaining he had visited the isolated nation a number of times over the past four years.

“When I went over there, the first thing he said to me was, ‘Mr. Rodman, we just want to know, can we trust you?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ And that’s how our conversation started,” Rodman told Colbert.

“I don’t really judge people, you know, by their color. I don’t judge where they come from. I just judge people where, you know, we’re all human beings. You know, throughout the day, we’re all human beings. It’s funny though that I don’t see how people can sit there and say that this person is a ‘madman.’ He probably is, but I didn’t see that. But he probably is,” Rodman added.

His comments come as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea become increasingly strained amid missile launches from North Korea and fiery rhetoric from the leaders of both nations.

rodmmm

But despite Pyongyang suggested the U.S. was “begging for war” at the beginning of December, as it announced the largest ever aerial drill with South Korea, Rodman said he does not believe his friend is looking to start a nuclear conflict.

“He’s more like a kid than anything,” Rodman insisted.

“He’s a kid, but he’s a kid with nuclear weapons,” Colbert shot back.

Several days prior to the interview, Rodman suggested there should be a meeting between Trump and Kim, announcing that he had three messages for Washington from North Korea, although he did not elaborate on what they were.