North Korea backs away from threat to attack South

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Range Rover, Dec 20, 2010.


    YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea (AP) — North Korea backed off threats to retaliate against South Korea for military drills Monday and reportedly offered concessions on its nuclear program — signs it was looking to lower the temperature on the Korean Peninsula after weeks of soaring tensions.

    But Pyongyang has feinted toward conciliation before and failed to follow through.

    The North's gestures came after South Korea launched fighter jets, evacuated hundreds of residents near its tense land border with the North and sent residents of islands near disputed waters into underground bunkers in case Pyongyang followed through on its vow to attack over the drills.

    "It appears that deterrence has been restored," said Daniel Pinkston, Seoul-based analyst with the International Crisis Group think tank. "The North Koreans only understand force or show of force."

    North Korea has previously been accused of using a mix of aggression and conciliatory gestures to force international negotiations that usually net it much-needed aid. Real progress on efforts to rid the North of its nuclear weapons programs has been rare.

    On Nov. 23, the North shelled Yeonpyeong Island, a tiny enclave of fishing communities and military bases about seven miles from North Korean shores in response to an earlier round of South Korean live-fire maneuvers. The North's artillery barrage killed two marines and two construction workers in its first attack targeting civilian areas since the 1950-53 Korean War. That clash sent tensions soaring between the two countries — which are still technically at war.

    They've remained in a tense standoff since then', and an emergency meeting of U.N. diplomats in New York on Sunday failed to find any solution to the crisis.

    But Monday brought some of the first positive signs in weeks, as a high-profile American governor announced what he said were two nuclear concessions from the North.

    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a frequent unofficial envoy to North Korea and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said that during his visit the North agreed to let U.N. atomic inspectors visit its main nuclear complex to make sure it's not producing enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, according to a statement from his office.

    The North expelled U.N. inspectors last year, and last month showed a visiting American scientist a new, highly advanced uranium enrichment facility that could give it a second way to make atomic bombs, in addition to its plutonium program. Mr. Richardson also said that Pyongyang was willing to sell fresh fuel rods, potentially to South Korea.

    "We had positive results," Mr. Richardson told Associated Press Television News at the Pyongyang airport Monday night.

    He had been set to brief reporters in Beijing, but his flight was canceled.

    "This is the way countries are supposed to act," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. "The South Korean exercise was defensive in nature. The North Koreans were notified in advance. There was no basis for a belligerent response."

    Analyst Baek Seung-joo cautioned that the North's reported concessions are only a tactic aimed at easing international pressure. Baek, of the state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul, said the comments would be significant if the North made them officially, rather than through Richardson.

    The North was only sounding out U.S. and South Korean intentions by talking to Mr. Richardson, Mr. Baek said, and if the situation doesn't turn in the North's favor, it will back away.

    Pyongyang is believed to be seeking one-on-one talks with Washington before returning to stalled nuclear disarmament negotiations hosted by China. The U.S., however, has indicated that a resumption of those talks, without meaningful movement on past nuclear commitments from the North, could be seen as tantamount to rewarding North Korea for behaving badly.

    China has urged a resumption of the talks, and diplomats said Beijing successfully prevented Sunday's U.N. Security Council meeting from issuing a statement condemning the North's shelling — as the U.S. and others had wanted.

    On Monday, China's deputy U.N. ambassador Wang Min urged both sides "to exercise maximum restraint," avoid increasing tensions and solve differences through peaceful dialogue and engagement.

    "China will continue to make every efforts towards this end," he said. "Calm rather than tensions, dialogue rather than confrontation, peace than warfare — this is the strong aspiration and voice of the peoples from both sides of the peninsula and the international community."

    Diplomats at the U.N. blamed China for refusing to condemn North Korea for two deadly attacks this year that helped send relations to their lowest point in decades.

    Mr. Wang called the Security Council meeting "positive and of great importance" without any mention of its failure to agree on a statement. He noted that "members of the council, including China, the United States and Russia, have made efforts to the extent possible to avoid armed conflicts on the peninsula."

    China is the North's most important ally and has come under pressure to leverage its influence to rein in the North in the wake of the attack.

    Beijing, which provides crucial food and fuel aid to Pyongyang, is wary of pressuring the North in a way that could destabilize it, fearing in part a government collapse and a flood of refugees into northeastern China.

    It was unclear if China persuaded North Korea not to react to Monday's drills.

    Mr. Richardson appeared to suggest that his visit contributed to the North's backing down.

    "During my meetings in Pyongyang, I repeatedly pressed North Korea not to retaliate. The result is that South Korea was able to flex its muscles, and North Korea reacted in a statesmanlike manner," Mr. Richardson said in a statement. "I hope this will signal a new chapter and a round of dialogue to lessen tension on the Korean Peninsula."

    North Korea called Monday's drills a "reckless military provocation" but said after they ended that it was holding its fire because Seoul had changed its firing zones.

    The official Korean Central News Agency carried a military statement that suggested the North viewed Monday's drills differently from those that provoked it last month because South Korean shells landed farther south of the North's shores.

    The North claims the waters around Yeonpyeong as its territory, and during last month's artillery exchange, the North accused the South of firing artillery into its waters; the South said it fired shells southward, not toward the North.

    South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said its artillery Monday was fired in the same direction — toward waters southwest of the island, not toward the North — as last month's maneuvers.

    "North Korea appeared to have issued this statement because it was afraid" of a full-blown war with South Korea, a Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said on condition of anonymity citing department rules.

    In Washington, the Pentagon called the drills routine. There was nothing "provocative, unusual or threatening about them," said Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros.

    South Korean President Lee Myung-bak ordered preparations to cope with any possible attack by North Korea, even after the drills ended.

    Several bloody naval skirmishes have occurred in recent years along the Koreas' disputed western sea border, which the North does not recognize.

    Klug reported from Seoul. Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Kelly Olsen in Seoul, Gillian Wong in Beijing, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, and Matt Lee and Lolita Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

    Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  2. Obama publicly states that the US will defend South Korea.
    Obama sends a bad ass carrier fleet to show N Korea and China that he means business and now N Korea is backing down
  3. Did the south koreans do the exercises they have been saying they would do?
  4. Yes.

    No Signs of N Korean Retaliation After SKorean Firing Drills

    South Korean military conducted hour-long live-fire artillery drills from Yeonpyong Island today amid threats from North Korea that it will retaliate on a massive scale.

    The island had been shelled by North Korea last month, killing two civilians and two marines.

    On Monday morning, South Korea sent navy warships with missile capabilities and fighter jets to roam the area in case North Korea attacks again.

    But the North's military later said "the world should properly know who is the true champion of peace," adding that it was not worth reacting to the drill.
  5. Any evidence other than words from a mouth?

    One hour? This looks more like a victory handed to the ugly dictator north by the south.

    I do not see what the south got from all this other than losing face. They should have backed down when they were asked to by Russia and China if they knew they would not go ahead with the drills.

  6. So your position is the drills never took place :confused:

    Numerous media organizations acknowledged the drills , North Korea acknowledged the drills,Bill Richardson acknowledged the drills

    Richardson Releases Statement On North Korea Visit

    SANTA FE, N.M. -- Gov. Bill Richardson said he was encouraged when he heard that North Korea will not retaliate against South Korea for military drills.

    Richardson released the following statement on his visit to North Korea:

    “During my meetings in Pyongyang, I repeatedly pressed North Korea not to retaliate. The result is that South Korea was able to flex its muscles, and North Korea reacted in a statesmanlike manner. I hope this will signal a new chapter and a round of dialogue to lessen tension on the Korean peninsula," Richardson said.

    During several meetings with top North Korean leaders, Richardson said he reached agreement on the following 3 points:

    1. Allowing IAEA monitors access to North Korea's uranium enrichment facility

    2. Negotiating a deal for a third party, such as South Korea, to buy fresh-fuel rods from North Korea.

    3. Discussing a military commission consisting of representatives from North Korea, South Korea and the United States to monitor and prevent conflicts in the disputed areas of the West Sea. Additionally, creating a hotline between the North Koran and South Korean militaries to avert potential crises.
  7. The victory was clearly for S Korea,the North bluffed and the South called it

    For all of the Norths big bad talk of nuclear war if the South conducted the drills they changed their tune when the South showed they were ready for war backed by a US carrier fleet sent by Obama
  8. For a guy who stated he no longer likes Obama, your ass-kissing is relentless.
    Meanwhile, 50 SKoreans are dead, and there has been no retaliation. [​IMG]
  9. 1.I'm proud that a US president is finally standing up to that crazy little fuck kim jung rather then just paying him off like the previous 2 presidents.This shit with N Korea has been going on far to long

    2.Which is why I'm glad Obama has finally taken a stand.When kim threatened nuclear war in the past the US sent him money,food and oil.Finally we have a president who sent a fleet of nuclear war ships and called his bluff.China even warned Obama not to send warships to the area because it threatened China,Obama sent them anyway.Obama has finally let the Chinese and the North Koreans know that he means business
  10. Korea is the buffer zone.

    China's support of North Korea grounded in centuries of conflict
    By Andrew Salmon, For CNN

    Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- Having just enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner, the American soldiers were told they would be home by Christmas as they launched their final offensive.

    In fact, they were driving into the greatest ambush in modern history.

    Twelve miles to their north, 380,000 brilliantly camouflaged enemy fighters lay in wait. In the days that followed, the U.S. Army would suffer its most harrowing ordeal of the past half-century.

    Two American regiments were massacred at a pass called Kunu-ri; another was annihilated beside a frozen lake called Chosin.

    The time was 60 years ago; the battlefield was North Korea; the enemy was China's People's Liberation Army.

    History seems to prove it. The Mongol rulers of China unleashed two 13th-century assaults on Japan from Korea. Japan launched a 16th-century invasion of Ming China via Korea. The first Sino-Japanese War, from 1894 to 1895, was largely fought in Korea.

    In the past century, the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 was over control of the peninsula. Japan used Korea as a springboard to seize Manchuria in 1931, from whence it assaulted China proper in 1937. Finally, the Korean War brought U.S. troops close to the Chinese border in 1950.

    Meanwhile, South Korea's relationship with China is conflicted. While its key political ally remains the United States, its largest trade partner is China: China and South Korea saw bilateral trade of $156 billion in 2009, versus trade of $2.75 billion between North Korea and China in 2008, before the latest round of sanctions were imposed in 2009.
    #10     Dec 21, 2010