Kerry in China to Seek Help in Korea Crisis
by Michael R. Gordon, New York Times, April 13, 2013 (excerpt)
Secretary of State John Kerry flew to China on Saturday and sought to elicit China’s help in dealing with an increasingly recalcitrant nuclear armed North Korea by saying that American missile defenses could be cut back if the North abandoned its nuclear program. …
In a news conference, Mr. Kerry suggested that the United States could remove some newly enhanced missile defenses in the region, though he did not specify which ones….
Worries spiked last week as the South Koreans predicted the North could launch a new missile test any day and after the disclosure that an American intelligence agency concluded for the first time with “moderate confidence” that North Korea learned how to make a nuclear warhead small enough to be delivered by a ballistic missile. The administration has since said that it was premature to conclude that Pyongyang had a fully tested weapons system.
Mr. Kerry’s stance on newly fortified missile defenses appeared to be a selling point to get China, the only country presumed to have any real influence over North Korea, to do what it has long resisted — crack down hard enough that North Korea’s leaders will give up an increasingly sophisticated nuclear program.
In recent weeks, the administration has dispatched two ships outfitted with Aegis antimissile defenses to the region and said it will speed up the positioning of land-based missile defenses on Guam to protect allies in the region after North Korea’s threats to rain missiles on United States troops there and on South Korea.
Many Chinese believe the antimissile systems are part of a containment strategy against them at a time when the United States is pursuing a “pivot” to Asia.
read … Secretary of State
North Korea: Gabbard Supports Missile Defense
SA April 14, 2013: Now, these threats have become a reality for our Hawaii families. Some on the mainland say that these empty threats are just saber-rattling by a far-off tyrant, and that we shouldn't be so concerned since Kim Jong-un's missiles can't reach the U.S. anyway. Meanwhile, along with Guam and Alaska, Hawaii families have been named as targets and placed in the crosshairs of this growing threat. Intelligence and previous missile launches have shown that Hawaii, Guam and Alaska are within range of North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles. New information last week suggests that North Korea fueled and positioned two Musudan mobile missiles placed along its eastern coast....
In recent days, I have read deeply troubling reports from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency stating it believes with "moderate confidence" that North Korea has the ability to attach a nuclear bomb to its ballistic missiles, even if its reliability is questionable today.
Clearly, the carrot-and-stick approach we have taken with North Korea in the past has not deterred its nuclear ambitions; to the contrary, we now face a possible nuclear threat.
Now is the time to take action to prevent further provocations, and to protect our families and our national assets. As North Korea continues to build its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, we must ensure we have the resources in place to defend against and prevent an attack.
In 2012, we spent $111.1 billion in Afghanistan alone, while only $9.7 billion was allocated for missile defense. Next year, the president's proposed missile defense budget has actually been cut to $9.16 billion. Resources must be reallocated to deal with the threats and instability on the Korean peninsula.
Now is not the time to be cutting this budget. To the contrary, it should be increased so we can invest in the best technology possible to ensure the safety and security of our people.
read ... Tulsi Gabbard
Some Things Never Change: