Fool Eagle: NZ keeping the peace, keeping the war
North Korea warned Seoul that the Korean Peninsula had entered "a state of war" and threatened to shut down a border factory complex that's the last major symbol of inter-Korean co-operation.
North Korea's threats are seen as efforts to provoke the new government in Seoul, led by President Park Geun-hye, to change its policies toward Pyongyang, and to win diplomatic talks with Washington that could get it more aid. North Korea's moves are also seen as ways to build domestic unity as young leader Kim Jong Un strengthens his military credentials.
On Thursday, US military officials revealed that two B-2 stealth bombers dropped dummy munitions on an uninhabited South Korean island as part of annual defense drills that Pyongyang sees as rehearsals for invasion.
Hours later, Kim ordered his generals to put rockets on standby and threatened to strike American targets if provoked. North Korea said in a statement that it would deal with South Korea according to "wartime regulations" and would retaliate against any provocations by the United States and South Korea without notice.
Provocations "will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war," the statement said.
The US and South Korea are engaging in exercises that are an obvious provocation to the North - as sure as an Iranian or Syrian or Cuban - or Chinese - exercise with the North would be an obvious provocation to the South. It is no wonder the typically blistering rhetoric from Pyongyang has gone stratospheric. The US reaction... because the Americans are such a responsible nuclear power... send more stealth aircraft and ratchet up the tension... dare them... see who blinks first.
The United States deployed stealth fighter jets to South Korea on Sunday as part of ongoing joint military exercises between the two countries, a senior U.S. defense official said.
The F-22 Raptors were sent to the main U.S. Air Force Base in South Korea amid spiking tensions on the Korean peninsula. The U.S. military command in South Korea said they were deployed to support air drills as part of the annual Foal Eagle training exercises, which are carried out in accordance with the armistice that put an end to armed hostilities in 1953.
North Korea has been ramping up its rhetoric and military show of force in response to the annual joint military exercises, declaring the armistice invalid on March 11, 10 days after Foal Eagle began.
Pyongyang has expressed fury about the sanctions and the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises, due to continue until the end of April.--
The North are threatening in very clear terms that they may attack military units operating with the South. The North have shelled, and killed, South Koreans before in recent flare-ups along the coastal islands. They have attacked naval vessels of the South. So what is New Zealand's response?
Anzac frigate HMNZS Te Mana and its company of about 160 left Auckland in February to take part in an exercise in the South China Sea with China and South Korea among the participants. Following that they are scheduled to head to South Korea, a navy spokeswoman said.
She said the mission would continue despite the deepening tensions last night, as North Korea announced it was in a "state of war" with its southern neighbour and also threatened the United States with a nuclear attack.
Last night Te Mana, which has just undergone a weapons and computer systems upgrade, was north of Australia and preparing to transit Indonesian waters.
The NZ government is sending a naval vessel straight into the Korean theatre. And the timing means this looks to have been used as part of the US exercise such is the coincidence. NZ assets and lives in harm's way - acting as a tool of the Americans in their irresponsible nuclear confrontation. A confrontation with a paranoid one party state dedicated to only two objectives: making a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile and mass formation marching; run by a spoilt, pudgy kid with a bad haircut and an inner circle of men with over-sized hats - being the lucky few dozen allocated electricity and food enough not to starve. They are crazy, what they are doing is crazy and anyone thinking of joining in this game of atomic chicken is also crazy.
The rhetoric from Wellington is lethargic compared to the DPRK and the US exchange, but NZ is firmly on Washington's side even if it attempts to drag the camouflage of the UN - the little blue fig leaf - across the escalating action.
New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, is urging North Korea to stop its threats against South Korea.Mr McCully says the latest threats are unconstructive and risk aggravating tensions. He says the Government does not want to see further set backs to peace and stability in the region, and it's urging North Korea to abide by its obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions.
And what - pray tell, Mr McCully - do you call it when you send a foreign warship into Korean waters at this point? A threat? Unconstructive? Risks aggravating tensions? It cannot be anything but.
Is this ship visit in the interests of NZers? Or is the presence of Te Mana in Korean waters in the interests of the US and her other East Asian allies? Why is NZ (or, has NZ, depending on whether the ship has come and gone already) joining in this provocation? If the NZ ship was hit or engaged with a North Korean vessel what would happen - what are the NZ Navy's instructions?
Any NZ military presence in the Korean theatre during 'Foal Eagle' makes NZ part of that exercise whether or nor it is official, and that makes those NZ forces a target.