It would likely come in response to a missile or nuclear test, but be limited in scope so as not to provoke massive retaliation.
Mattis has repeatedly insisted that USA efforts to disarm North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are “diplomatically led”, while also saying that he has developed military options for any potential war. While the South appeared open to the North hosting a few sports, the North decided it wasn’t worth the trouble – refusing to even march with the South Korean delegation during the opening and closing ceremonies, normally seen as a symbol of hope and reconciliation. Until the USA departs, “a dark vortex of nuclear war is lurking like a time bomb [on the Korean Peninsula]”. With tensions ratcheting up, it looks as though Kim blinked first.
After their first formal talks in more than two years this month, officials from the two Koreas have been visiting each other to facilitate the North’s participation in the Olympics, to be held in the South’s alpine resort town of Pyeongchang.
“It’s an global problem that requires an worldwide solution”, said Mattis.
“Though we can not rule out a preventative strike against North Korea (the DPRK) entirely, the threat of a messy war in East Asia that shoves the world back into economic recession is a steep price to pay”, said Rodger Baker, Stratfor’s vice president of strategic analysis.
The amount of refined oil needed for the inter-Korean event is said to be about ten-thousand liters.
The Justice Department says the additional funds are subject to forfeiture since the company generated millions from selling North Korean coal that benefitted sanctioned entities in the country.
Kim likened the latest United Nations resolution to an “act of war” and threatened retaliation, prompting a new round of US, North Korean sabre-rattling.
A senior South Korean administration official said the planned exercises add urgency to efforts to use the current conciliatory mood to bring all sides to the table.
The U.S. Treasury put the owner of one of the ships, the UAL Ji Bong 6, under sanctions for delivering North Korean coal to Kholmsk on September 5 on Wednesday.
Washington agreed to delay them until after the Olympics, which will be held on February 9-25 in the South Korean alpine town of Pyeongchang.
For Choe, as long as the United States maintains a military presence in South Korea, there is no chance that North Korea would be willing to engage in denuclearization talks.
“They will have to give something to North Korea, and what would that be?”
He thanked US allies in the region for their support in upholding ongoing sanctions against North Korean products that have been ratcheted up in response to a slew of missile tests in 2017.