Posts Tagged ‘Hiroshima’

Japan Deploys Missile-Defense Systems Following North Korea Threat

August 12, 2017

Patriot batteries would be used to intercept missiles or debris falling on Japanese territory

Patriot missiles were deployed in Konan, Japan, on July 12.
Patriot missiles were deployed in Konan, Japan, on July 12. PHOTO: REUTERS

By Alastair Gale
The Wall Street Journal
Aug. 11, 2017 11:53 p.m. ET

TOKYO—Japan set up missile-defense systems Saturday in four western locations to protect surrounding areas from missiles that North Korea has said it may fire over those regions, the Defense Ministry said.

The deployment of Patriot batteries to Hiroshima and three other prefectures follows a threat by North Korea to launch missiles that would fly over the Japanese prefectures before hitting waters near Guam.

The Patriot batteries would be used to intercept missiles or missile debris falling on Japanese territory, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. Japan typically deploys Patriot batteries to sensitive locations during times of increased tension with North Korea.

After North Korea fired a rocket over Japan in 1998, Tokyo invested billions of dollars on missile defense, including land-based Patriot-missile batteries and sea-based Aegis naval destroyers.

An escalation of threats between Washington and Pyongyang has rattled world leaders, injected uncertainty into markets, and sparked fear of a nuclear showdown. The WSJ’s Shelby Holliday takes a look back at the week. Photo: AP

While the Patriot system is only able to destroy missiles at a relatively close range, the Aegis destroyers might be able to intercept missiles that pass over Japan on North Korea’s declared flight path toward Guam.

If Japan was attacked directly, it would have about 10 minutes to take down a North Korean missile, but the threat of multiple missiles fired simultaneously increases the challenge significantly, experts say.

New national defense guidelines allow Japan to help defend its allies, such as the U.S., during conflicts. But any military action taken when Japan isn’t facing a direct threat would be controversial because of the its pacifist constitution.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Japan would be allowed to hit a missile headed toward Guam if it was judged to be an existential threat to Japan.

Narushige Michishita, an military expert at Tokyo’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, said both Japan and the U.S. would likely hold off on intercepting any North Korean missiles unless they represented an imminent threat to either country’s territory.

A failed interception would be a strategic setback and the U.S. could instead gain intelligence from observing the full flight of a North Korean missile and potentially recovering missile debris, he said.

Japan and the U.S. are currently working together on a new type of missile-defense system. known as Standard Missile-3 Block IIA, to shoot down medium-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Japan’s ruling party is also discussing investing in additional military hardware to defend against North Korean threats, including building up the ability to attack North Korean missile bases.

Write to Alastair Gale at



North Korea Has The More Responsible Leadership — Says it will launch four missiles into waters ‘30-40km’ off US territory in Pacific Ocean

August 10, 2017

The Guardian:

North Korea details Guam strike plan and calls Trump ‘bereft of reason’

Pyongyang says it will launch four missiles into waters ‘30-40km’ off US territory in Pacific Ocean

Image may contain: 1 person, screen

 A news bulletin shows the distance between North Korea and Guam at a railway station in Seoul. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea has defied threats of “fire and fury” from Donald Trump, deriding his warning as a “load of nonsense” and announcing a detailed plan to launch missiles aimed at the waters off the coast of the US Pacific territory of Guam.

A statement attributed to General Kim Rak Gyom, the head of the country’s strategic forces, declared: “Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him”. The general outlined a plan to carry out a demonstration launch of four intermediate-range missiles that would fly over Japan and then land in the sea around Guam, “enveloping” the island.

Image may contain: 1 person, hat

General Kim Rak Gyom

“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimani, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures of Japan,” the statement said. “They will fly for 3,356.7 km for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40km away from Guam.”

The statement said the plan for this show of force would be ready by the middle of this month and then await orders from the commander-in-chief, Kim Jong-un.

The statement was clearly designed as a show of bravado, calling the Trump administration’s bluff after the president’s threat and a statement from the defence secretary, James Mattis, both stressing the overwhelming power of the US military. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met by fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said on Wednesday.

The response from Pyongyang was its most public and detailed threat to date, and evidently meant to goad the US president. Trump had “let out a load of nonsense about ‘fire and fury’ failing to grasp the ongoing grave situation. This is extremely getting on the nerves of the infuriated Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA.”

The US has a naval base in Guam and the island is home to Andersen air base, which has six B-1B heavy bombers. According to NBC news the non-nuclear bombers have made 11 practice sorties since May in readiness for a potential strike on North Korea. The remote island is home to 162,000 people.

Read the rest:

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Pearl Harbor — Message of gratitude for what America did after the war for the Japanese people

December 28, 2016



TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese on Wednesday (Dec 28) hailed a historic visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Pearl Harbour, praising his message of reconciliation with the United States but wary of the future after Donald Trump takes office.

Interest in Abe’s visit to the site of Japan’s Dec 7, 1941 attack that drew the US into World War II has been high, with many favourably comparing it to President Barack Obama’s journey this year to Hiroshima.

Both visits were highly choreographed and in their remarks – Obama in Hiroshima and Abe in Hawaii – neither apologised or even explicitly said their countries carried out the respective attacks.

But despite the careful words, the symbolism of their standing together again, this time at Pearl Harbour, was clear to most in Japan.

National broadcaster NHK provided live coverage of their joint address around 7am Japan time (2200 GMT Tuesday).

It was delivered after the two men visited the memorial to the battleship USS Arizona, sunk in the surprise Japanese attack 75 years ago this month.

Kuniyoshi Takimoto, 95, a former navy aircraft mechanic on a carrier that took part in the attack, praised Abe’s words.

“It was a beautiful message that deeply reflected the sentiment of both American and Japanese people,” he told AFP.

But Takimoto, while satisfied with Abe’s words, was also critical of his hawkish policy to expand the role of Japan’s military, including enabling combat missions abroad.

“The beautiful message has a catch,” he said.

Shizuhiko Haraguchi, 95, a former Japanese sailor whose unit also took part in the attack, said it was moving to see the two together at the symbolic site.

“Watching that, I was overwhelmed,” he told TV Asahi.

The focus on Abe’s visit was slightly upstaged by one of his own cabinet ministers, who visited the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo just hours after Abe went to Pearl Harbour.

Masahiro Imamura, minister in charge of the reconstruction of northern Japan after the massive 2011 tsunami, was quoted by public broadcaster NHK as saying the timing of his visit was “a coincidence”.

But it may indicate some conservative frustration at Abe’s decision to avoid visiting Yasukuni after his last trip there three years drew international criticism.

At Pearl Harbour Abe was also aiming to highlight the significance of close military and economic relations between the two nations, as Trump prepares to assume power amid major questions about his policies, several Japanese media outlets said.

Trump, during his campaign, accused Japan of not paying its fair share in supporting the military alliance, and suggested Tokyo could even develop its own nuclear deterrent.

Abe’s speech also expressed Japan’s deep appreciation for US aid to rebuild the nation after World War II.

It was designed to engage the US public who supported Trump, said commentator Takashi Ryuzaki.

“Rather than offering an apology, the message of gratitude for what America did after the war was expressed,” he said on a TBS morning show.

The desire for a continued solid Japan-US relationship is what most Japanese, including Tokyoite Kazuko Masuda, 57, want.

“People killing people. That’s war. That’s why we must not do it again,” she said.

“Mr Trump utters all those strong words… but I really hope he as an individual is the kind of person who walks an honourable path,” she said.

Despite the generally positive reaction, some felt Abe did not go far enough.

“Considering many people died because of Japan’s attack 75 years ago, I think the commemoration should have come with an apology,” Koichi Kawano, 76, a victim of the Nagasaki atomic bomb, told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

But Kiichi Yamada, who was passing by Yasukuni, said offering remorse was difficult for both Abe and Obama.

“The leaders might not have been able to express an apology even if they wanted to because of feelings that some people have in the respective countries,” he told AFP.

“But I think, many Japanese people in their minds have an apologetic feeling for the attack.”

North Korea Conducts Fifth Nuclear Test

September 9, 2016

The test, which came hours after Obama wrapped up a trip to Asia, signaled a challenge for his successor

 North Korea conducted a fifth nuclear test Friday, drawing strong condemnation from Asian leaders. Photo: AP

Updated Sept. 9, 2016 5:40 a.m. ET

SEOUL—North Korea conducted a fifth nuclear test hours after President Barack Obama wrapped up a tour of Asia, highlighting the U.S.’s struggle to rein in the rising threat from dictator Kim Jong Un.

Pyongyang declared a successful test hours after the U.S. Geological Survey detected a magnitude 5.3 earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site in the country’s northeast early on Friday, a reading that surpassed the magnitudes of tremors set off by the country’s previous nuclear tests.

North Korea confirmed in a statement released through its state media that it conducted a test explosion of a nuclear warhead. It said the test was successful and confirmed its ability to produce nuclear-tipped missiles “at will.” It added that it would continue to build up its nuclear force in quality and quantity.

Ryoo Yong-gyu, a director of earthquake and volcano monitoring in South Korea, spoke in Seoul about seismic activity on the Korean peninsula on Friday. The 5.3-magnitude earthquake in North Korea suggests that the country is testing increasingly powerful nuclear devices. Credit Jeon Heon-Kyun/European Pressphoto Agency

China condemned North Korea’s nuclear test, urging Pyongyang to “honor its commitment to denuclearization, comply with relevant [United Nations] Security Council resolutions and stop taking any action to worsen the situation,” according to the Foreign Ministry.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called North Korea’s nuclear test a “grave threat” to Japan and held a phone meeting with Mr. Obama to discuss how to respond.

“The international community needs to deal with North Korea firmly and make Pyongyang understand the costs of taking such provocative action,” Mr. Abe told Mr. Obama in the 10-minute conversation, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Mr. Obama, who was flying back to the U.S. from Laos, reiterated Washington’s security commitment to Japan, including its extended nuclear deterrence, or willingness to use nuclear weapons to protect its allies, the foreign ministry said.

The explosion, on the 68th anniversary of North Korea’s founding as a state, came a day after Mr. Obama said at a regional summit in Laos that he would continue to explore ways to reduce the threat from North Korea during his final four months in office.

After North Korea fired three ballistic missiles this week, Mr. Obama called for tightening international sanctions and closing loopholes that he said prevent them from being as effective as intended. “We are deeply disturbed by what’s happened,” Mr. Obama said. He also said China—North Korea’s sole major ally and trading partner—needed to work “more effectively” with the U.S. to curtail the North Korea threat.

The White House sees North Korea as among the most serious challenges facing Mr. Obama’s successor in January. Officials have said they don’t expect to make any significant progress on the North Korea threat, which has worsened during Mr. Obama’s two terms in office.

Friday’s underground test underscores a significant weakness in Mr. Obama’s so-called Asia pivot and raises the stakes for his final appearance as president at the United Nations General Assembly this month. The U.N. gathering of world leaders is poised to become the platform on which U.S. officials scramble to corral a swift response to Pyongyang.

At the U.N. gathering, Mr. Obama will also push to strengthen global nuclear nonproliferation measures. U.S. officials are considering pressing other countries for closer international adherence to a ban on nuclear tests.
In January, North Korea detonated a nuclear device at the same site, which it called its first successful test of a new, more powerful type of thermonuclear weapon that uses hydrogen.

But experts estimated that detonation to have the power of around seven kilotons of TNT, which they said was too small for a hydrogen bomb. It was similar to three other less-powerful atomic bombs North Korea has tested since 2006. The January detonation triggered a magnitude 5.1 quake.

The latest explosion also appeared too small to be caused by a thermonuclear device, said Jeffrey Lewis, a director at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif. Mr. Lewis said it may have instead been a boosted fission device that uses some hydrogen to make a traditional nuclear bomb more powerful.

North Korea’s nuclear detonations since 2006 have all been estimated to be less than 10 kilotons of TNT. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said its initial analysis was that Friday’s explosion was caused by a nuclear device with a force equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT.

By contrast, the first nuclear bomb tested by the U.S. in 1945 had an explosive force of about 18 to 20 kilotons.

Since January, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for further nuclear and missile tests as Pyongyang elevated its threatening rhetoric and made a series of claims about being able to hit South Korea, Japan and U.S. bases in Asia with nuclear-tipped missiles.

Recent successful tests of missiles launched from a mobile carrier and a submarine show North Korea is gaining the capacity to threaten its enemies even if its military bases are destroyed. Some experts say Pyongyang now appears to be only two or three years away from proving the ability to hit the continental U.S. with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Civilians and soldiers watched a television broadcast of an artificial earthquake in North Korea that was detected in Seoul.
Civilians and soldiers watched a television broadcast of an artificial earthquake in North Korea that was detected in Seoul. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY


South Korea has responded to North Korea’s missile progress by announcing a decision to deploy a U.S.-built advance missile defense shield by the end of next year.

“The real issue is whether North Korea can marry a nuclear device to a missile,” said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University. “The nuclear tests are unwanted of course, but not that destabilizing because we’ve known for a while that North Korea has functional nuclear weapons.”

The earthquake occurred at 9.30 a.m. local time about 230 miles northeast of Pyongyang, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The reaction from other world leaders was similarly swift.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said: “Through this nuclear test, the Kim Jong Un regime will face even stronger international sanctions and isolation, hastening its self-destruction.”

French President François Hollande “strongly condemned” North Korea’s nuclear test and called on the international community to unite against provocation from Pyongyang.

Following North Korea’s nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February, the U.N. imposed stricter sanctions on Pyongyang designed to disrupt its international trade. The U.S. has also imposed further bilateral sanctions on North Korea and blacklisted Mr. Kim.
A U.N. spokesman on Friday said the organization would issue an official comment on Saturday.

Earlier this week, the Security Council said it was discussing new punitive measures against North Korea in response to its ballistic missile launch that landed near the coast of Japan on Monday. The Council is scheduled to meet Friday and North Korea will likely dominate the discussion, with U.S. and allies pushing for immediate sanctions.

—Farnaz Fassihi at the United Nations, Mitsuru Obe in Tokyo and Te-Ping Chen in Beijing contributed to this article.

Write to Alastair Gale at and Carol E. Lee at



North Korea Claims Success in Latest Nuclear Test

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea conducted its fifth underground nuclear test on Friday, its government said, despite threats of more sanctions from the United States and the United Nations. The latest test, according to South Korean officials, produced a more powerful explosive yield than the North’s previous detonations, indicating that the country was making progress in its efforts to build a functional nuclear warhead.

The test confirmed the explosive power and other characteristics of a “nuclear warhead that has been standardized to be able to be mounted on” its ballistic missiles, the North’s nuclear weapons institute said in a statement on Friday.

North Korea conducts fifth and largest nuclear test — “More powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima”

September 9, 2016


KRT bulletin shows North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un in this still image taken from video on September 9, 2016. KRT/via Reuters
By Ju-min Park and Se Young Lee | SEOUL

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on Friday, setting off a blast that was more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and said it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile.

Its most powerful explosion to date follows a test in January that prompted the U.N. Security Council to impose tightened sanctions that increased North Korea’s isolation but failed to prevent it from accelerating weapons development.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, in Laos after a summit of Asian leaders ended there on Thursday, said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was showing “maniacal recklessness” in completely ignoring the world’s call to abandon his pursuit of nuclear weapons.

U.S. President Barack Obama, aboard Air Force One on his way home from Laos, said the test would be met with “serious consequences” and held talks with Park and with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the White House said.

China, North Korea’s only major diplomatic ally, said it was resolutely opposed to the test and urged Pyongyang to stop taking any actions that would worsen the situation.

North Korea, which labels the South and the United States as its main enemies, said its “scientists and technicians carried out a nuclear explosion test for the judgment of the power of a nuclear warhead,” according to a report from its official KCNA news agency.

North Korea said the test proved it is capable of mounting a nuclear warhead on a medium-range ballistic missile, which it last tested on Monday when Obama and other world leaders were gathered in China for a G20 summit.

Its claims of being able to miniaturizes a nuclear warhead have never been independently verified.

North Korea has been testing missiles at an unprecedented rate this year, and the capability to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile is especially worrisome for its neighbors South Korea and Japan.

“The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable the DPRK to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power,” KCNA said, referring to the country’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Japan Defence Minister Tomomi Inada said the Pyongyang regime’s advances in mobile ballistic missile technology posed a grave threat to Japan.


North Korea’s nuclear test coincided with the anniversary of its 1948 foundation as a republic.

Its continued testing despite sanctions presents a severe challenge to Obama in the final months of his presidency and could become a factor in the U.S. presidential election in November.

“Sanctions have already been imposed on almost everything possible, so the policy is at an impasse,” said Tadashi Kimiya, a University of Tokyo professor specializing in Korean issues.

“In reality, the means by which the United States, South Korea and Japan can put pressure on North Korea have reached their limits,” he said.

Japan’s Abe said such a nuclear test could not be tolerated. Japan’s foreign minister lodged a protest and Tokyo also sent two military jets to begin measuring for radiation.

China’s environment ministry began emergency radiation monitoring along its borders with North Korea in northeast China, state television reported.

Jeffrey Lewis of the California-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies said the highest estimates of seismic magnitude suggested this was the most powerful nuclear test conducted by North Korea so far.

He said the seismic magnitude and surface level indicated a blast with a 20- to 30-kilotonne yield. Such a yield would make this test larger than the nuclear bomb dropped by the United States on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in World War Two and potentially bigger than that dropped on Nagasaki soon after.

“That’s the largest DPRK test to date, 20-30kt, at least. Not a happy day,” Lewis told Reuters.

“The important thing is that five tests in, they now have a lot of nuclear test experience. They aren’t a backwards state any more,” he said.

(Reporting by Jack Kim, Ju-min Park, James Pearson, Nataly Pak, and Yun Hwan Chae in SEOUL; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING, Kaori Kaneko and Linda Sieg in TOKYO, and Eric Beech in WASHINGTON; Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Tony Munroe; Editing by Paul Tait)


China, South Korea expresses deep regret as Japan leaders pay tribute at wartime shrine including convicted war criminals

August 15, 2016



Monday, 15 August 2016 07:12 GMT
Most Popular

* New Defence Minister avoids Yasukuni visit, PM sends offering

* Emperor expresses “deep remorse” over war

* South Korea expresses “deep concern and regret” (Recasts with South Korean reaction, details, paragraphs 1, 4-6, 14)

By Kento Sahara and Nobuhiro Kubo

TOKYO, Aug 15 (Reuters) – South Korea expressed deep regret on Monday after dozens of Japanese lawmakers visited a shrine for war dead, which Seoul and Beijing see as a symbol of Tokyo’s wartime militarism, on the anniversary of Japan’s World War Two defeat.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering but did not personally go to the Yasukuni Shrine. Visits to the shrine outrage Japan’s Asian neighbours because it honours 14 Japanese leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as war criminals, along with war dead.

Ties between China and Japan, Asia’s two largest economies, have been strained in recent days after a growing number of Chinese coastguard and other government ships sailed near disputed islets in the East China Sea.

Territory disputes and historical issues also periodically chill relations between Japan and South Korea.

“(We) express deep concern and regret that responsible political leaders … are again paying tribute to the Yasukuni Shrine that glorifies the history of the war of aggression,” South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said a morning visit by South Korean lawmakers to a disputed set of islands, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, was “extremely regrettable” and that Japan would protest strongly.

Abe has not visited the shrine in person since December 2013, sending ritual offerings instead.

“He told me to come and my visit was out of respect to those who gave their lives for the country,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, an aide in Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who gave the offering in Abe’s name as LDP president rather than premier.

New Defence Minister Tomomi Inada, who has been accused by China of recklessly misrepresenting history after she declined to say whether Japanese troops massacred civilians in China during World War Two, was visiting troops in Djibouti and unable able to go to the shrine as she has in the past.


Emperor Akihito, speaking at a ceremony honouring victims of the war, expressed “deep remorse” over the conflict fought in the name of his father, Hirohito. He first used the phrase at the memorial service last year on the 70th anniversary of the war’s end. Some saw it as a subtle rebuke to the conservative Abe, who favours a less apologetic tone.

“Reflecting on our past with a feeling of deep remorse, I earnestly hope the ravages of war will never be repeated,” said Akihito, 82. The emperor hinted in a rare video address last week at wanting to abdicate in a few years.

Abe vowed at the same ceremony that Japan would work for world peace.

“Going forward, and sticking to this firm pledge while facing history with humility, we will make every effort to contribute to world peace and prosperity and the realization of a world where everyone can live without fear,” he said.

Among the roughly 70 lawmakers who visited the Shrine were Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi and Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa. (Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Takaya Yamaguchi in Tokyo and Nataly Pak in SEOUL; Writing by Elaine Lies and Linda Sieg,; Editing by Paul Tait)


Tuesday, August 09, 2016 12:12 PM

Hiroshima Marks the 70th Anniversary of Atomic Bomb ( Source- Getty images)

Hiroshima Marks the Anniversary of Atomic Bomb 

Tokyo :The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Tuesday marked 71 years since its destruction by a US atomic bomb, with its mayor lauding a visit by US President Barack Obama to Hiroshima earlier this year.

A bell tolled as thousands of people, including ageing survivors and relatives of victims, observed a minute’s silence at 11:02 am (0732 IST), the exact moment the of the blast.

The attack came three days after the US dropped the first ever atomic bomb on Hiroshima, which ultimately killed 140,000 people.

Some 74,000 people died in the initial explosion, while thousands of others perished months or years later from radiation sickness.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue lauded Obama’s landmark May visit to Hiroshima — the first ever by a sitting US president. “Knowing the facts becomes the starting point for thinking about a future free of nuclear weapons,” Taue said, calling on other world leaders to visit his city.

Japan — A young girl looks at candle-lit paper lanterns with written message at Nagasaki Peace Park on the eve ahead of the 71st anniversary activities.

Local officials and those who survived the bombing called for strict adherence to Japan’s post-war tradition of pacifism and were critical of the Japanese government. “The government of Japan, while advocating nuclear weapons abolition, still relies on nuclear deterrence,” the mayor said, calling it a “contradictory state of affairs”.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in his address in Nagasaki, called on world leaders to honor the global Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. “We must not allow a repeat of the horrible experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that happened 71 years ago,” Abe said.

Abe has moved to extend the scope of Japan’s military and deepen the nation’s alliance with Washington in the face of threats from China’s expanding military strength and unpredictable North Korea. North Korea last week test fired a ballistic missile that landed in waters off Japan’s coast for the first time.

First Published: Tuesday, August 09, 2016 12:01 PM

U.S., Vietnam and China — “Love Triangles Never Work”

May 28, 2016
Peace and Freedom went in search of our “Many Asian Fathers” yesterday — in search for answers about President Obama’s recent trip to Vietnam and Japan and what it may mean for the future of U.S. relations with China, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and other Asian neighbors.
My wife is Vietnamese and when I went in search of answers yesterday, as I entered one establishment filled with Vietnamese-Americans discussing world events, one man said, “There is the man with Many Vietnamese Fathers.”
We’ve found that for an American to understand Asia even a little bit, he needs Many Asian Fathers. I listen to “The Old Ones.”
One Vietnamese man in his nineties sad to me, “A love triangle almost never works. China treats Vietnam as a little brother. Vietnam’s largest trading partner is China. China cannot accept American in a love triangle.”
Another of my “Many Vietnamese Fathers” said, “Did you notice that no high-level Vietnamese met Obama at the airport? And did you notice that no high-level Vietnamese is smiling in the pictures with Obama?”
The Vietnamese have a well learned fear of their ancient neighbor, China.
“The Communist Party of Vietnam, just like the Communist Party of China, has one goal. To remain in power. No human rights, no freedom of the press and freedom of speech is the easiest way to remain in power. Even bloggers like you get punished Young One. If Vietnam embraces human rights the way America does, the Communist Party will fail. Same thing in China. These things take time.”
“Many Vietnamese love it that Obama came to visit — but they cannot smile. And they question his motives. He knows nothing of Asia. Hillary Clinton knows nothing. John Kerry and John McCain have tried to learn like you. You should bring Obama to lunch with us.”
Another quickly said, “Obama learns everything from Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes.”
There guys are very observant.
We also spent about an hour with Clyde, who is a ninety-three year old former U.S. Marine who landed on Leyte in the Philippines and on Okinawa in World War II.
Clyde is all alone now. His wife has died, he lives alone in his own house, and his children and grandchildren have deserted him. They were in Orlando, Florida yesterday for Disneyland, he said.
Clyde has “survivor’s remorse” from his World War II battle experience. It’s a nasty sort of PTSD. He saw hundreds, maybe thousands die. But he survived “as if God wanted me to get home,” he said.
He wanted to talk about President Obama yesterday.  He said that President Obama has never seemed to understand that he is the President of all Americans in some kind of mystical, timeless way.
“He is the president of me and my shipmates, just as he is president of some kid that thinks he’s trans-sexua,l” (he struggled with the word — and asked me what it meant).
When I told him, he said, “A small personal problem. The President should be worried about the future of a strong America. Obama embraces weakness. China loves him.”
I asked him about Hiroshima.
He said, “Hiroshima should not be discussed by any American president. America did what it did at Hiroshima to save lives and stop the war. No second guessing. This is part of Obama not understanding anything but weakness.”
I reminded him that President Obama is fighting against nuclear weapons.
He said, “Too late. North Korea has nuclear weapons. Iran has nuclear weapons. India. China. Pakistan. Russia. Israel. France. England. Who is Obama kidding?  He is trying to keep nuclear weapons away from who?”
My final stop was to see my Chinese Elder, who is also a practicing doctor. I’ve seen him write prescriptions for for antibiotics and opioids and rhino horn. “Whatever works,” he says.  Sometimes its all in the mind.”
After much talk, he said, “Sometimes I think guys like Obama and John Kerry will never understand that they are being played by the Chinese. It’s Sun Tzu.”
How about rhino horn I asked.
“Better than Viagra,” he said.
John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom
World | Fri May 27, 2016 8:09am EDT
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam May 23, 2016.

At a stroke, the U.S. and Vietnam have complicated the strategic outlook for China over the disputed South China Sea.

As U.S. President Barack Obama marked one of his last trips to Asia by the historic lifting of Washington’s arms embargo on Vietnam, he repeatedly insisted it was not directed at Beijing.

And yet regional military sources and security analysts say China will face short and longer term strategic headaches from the fully normalized relationship between former enemies in Hanoi and Washington.

Operationally, China faces the short-term prospect of Vietnam obtaining U.S.-sourced radars and sensors, surveillance planes and drones to better monitor and target Chinese forces, the analysts say.

In the longer term, the move makes Hanoi a key player in Obama’s strategic pivot to East Asia. U.S. arms manufacturers will compete with Russia for big-ticket weapons sales to Vietnam. The U.S. Navy may get a long-held wish to use Cam Ranh Bay, the best natural harbor in the South China Sea, military sources say.

Then there is the prospect of political cooperation and greater intelligence sharing over China’s assertiveness, according to diplomatic sources, even if Vietnam shuns any formal steps towards a military alliance.

Such moves dovetail with the goals of Vietnam’s military strategists who have told Reuters they want to discreetly raise the costs on China’s rapidly modernizing forces from attacking Vietnam again.

Vietnam understands that a future conflict with their giant neighbor would be vastly more difficult than the bloody land battles on their northern border that rumbled through the 1980s, or the sea battle over the Spratlys in 1988.


Chinese official reaction has so far been muted.

But Beijing is paying close attention to Vietnam’s acquisition of modern weaponry and deployments in the South China Sea, said Ruan Zongze, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, a think tank linked to the Foreign Ministry.

“It’s not impossible that this will then impact the territorial issue between China and Vietnam,” said Ruan, a former Chinese diplomat.

Zhang Baohui, a mainland security expert at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, said he believed Vietnamese planners knew they could never prevail against the modern Chinese military, so they had to rely on diplomacy to keep stable relations with Beijing.

Zhang said he expected this to continue, despite the Obama visit, saying it was the “cheapest form of defense”.

“Vietnam is working the U.S. into an enhanced deterrence strategy,” he said. “To enhance its relations with China, they have to play the U.S. card,” he said.


U.S. naval officials say they are keen to gradually increase ship visits, but are aware of Vietnamese concerns over pushing China too hard.

When in March Vietnamese officials announced the opening of a new international port in Cam Ranh to foreign navies, China was one of the first militaries to get a formal invite, according to reports in Vietnam’s military press.

U.S. port calls are currently long-planned formal affairs. But U.S. military officials say a servicing agreement is one long term option to allow U.S. warships to make routine visits to Cam Ranh Bay.

Security analysts say even a small increase in ship visits, for example, would complicate China’s operations in the South China Sea, now centered on dual-use facilities being built on seven artificial islands in the Spratlys archipelago.

China claims 80 percent of the South China Sea as its territory, while Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei also have overlapping claims across one of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

Lifting the embargo not only offers an opportunity for U.S. arms makers in Vietnam but elsewhere in rapidly developing Southeast as well, said a military advisor in Thailand.

“The U.S. sees opportunity and demand opening up in various other countries, such as Laos and Cambodia, which use weapons from Russia and China,” said Panitan Wattanayagorn, an adviser to Thailand’s Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

“Their economies are expanding, but they still have old weapons so there is an opportunity.”

(Reporting by Greg Torode and Megha Rajagopalan. Editing by Bill Tarrant.)


 (Contains links to several related articles)

 (Cyber Security is a Global problem)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. REUTERS/OLIVIA HARRIS


At Hiroshima Memorial, Obama Says Nuclear Arms Require ‘Moral Revolution’

The New York Times

HIROSHIMA, Japan — President Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Friday, telling an audience that included survivors ofAmerica’s atomic bombing in 1945 that technology as devastating as nuclear arms demands a “moral revolution.”

Thousands of Japanese lined the route of the presidential motorcade to the memorial in the hopes of glimpsing Mr. Obama, the first sitting American president to visit the most potent symbol of the dawning of the nuclear age. Many watched the ceremony on their cellphones.

“Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” Mr. Obama said in opening his speech at the memorial.

“Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us,” Mr. Obama said, adding that such technology “requires a moral revolution as well.”

Read the rest:

Obama hails ‘great alliance’ with Japan ahead of Hiroshima visit

May 27, 2016


© AFP | A protestor holds a poster reading ‘No Abe! No Obama – We oppose Abe and Obama visit to Hiroshima’ during a demonstration next to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial park

IWAKUNI (JAPAN) (AFP) – President Barack Obama hailed the “great alliance” between the United States and Japan Friday, just hours ahead of his historic visit to Hiroshima.

“We are reaffirming one of the greatest alliances in the world between Japan and the United States,” he told troops at a base in Iwakuni in the west of the country.

The US has around 47,000 personnel stationed in Japan as part of a security alliance that arose from American occupation in the aftermath of World War II.

“We can never forget that we have to honour all of those who have given everything for our freedom,” he told a crowd of uniformed men and women to huge cheers. “I am very proud of you.”

Obama was at Iwakuni on his way to Hiroshima, the site of the world’s first nuclear attack — a pilgrimage that none of his post-war predecessors have made.

“This is an opportunity to honour the memory of all who were lost in WWII,” he said.

“It?s a testament to how even the most painful divides can be bridged. How two nations can become not just partners but the best of friends.”

Obama At Hiroshima — Controversy Erupts

May 27, 2016
World | Fri May 27, 2016 2:45am EDT

Police officers guard in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan May 27, 2016.

Barack Obama on Friday becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, site of the world’s first atomic bombing, a gesture Washington and Tokyo hope will highlight their alliance and breathe life into stalled efforts to abolish nuclear arms.

Even before it occurs, though, the visit has stirred debate, with critics accusing both sides of having selective memories and pointing to paradoxes in policies relying on nuclear deterrence while calling for an end to atomic arms.

The two governments hope Obama’s tour of Hiroshima, where an atomic bomb killed thousands instantly on Aug. 6, 1945, and some 140,000 by the year’s end, will highlight a new level of reconciliation and tighter ties between the former enemies.

Aides say Obama’s main goal in Hiroshima, where he will lay a wreath at a peace memorial, is to showcase his nuclear disarmament agenda, for which he won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Obama has said he will honor all who died in World War Two but will not apologize for the bombing. The city of Nagasaki was hit by a second nuclear bomb on Aug. 9, 1945, and Japan surrendered six days later.

A majority of Americans see the bombings as having been necessary to end the war and save lives, although some historians question that view. Most Japanese believe they were unjustified.

“I’m coming, first and foremost, to remember and honor the tens of millions of lives lost during the Second World War. Hiroshima reminds us that war, no matter the cause or countries involved, results in tremendous suffering and loss, especially for innocent civilians,” Obama said in written responses to questions published in the Asahi newspaper on Friday.

The White House debated whether the time was right for Obama to break a decades-old taboo on presidential visits to Hiroshima, especially in an election year.

But Obama’s aides defused most negative reaction from military veterans’ groups by insisting he would not second-guess the decision to drop the bombs.

“I will not revisit the decision to use atomic weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but I will point out that Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe and I coming to Hiroshima together shows the world the possibility of reconciliation – that even former adversaries can become the strongest of allies,” Obama told the Asahi.


Atomic bomb survivors have said an apology from Obama would be welcome but for many, the priority is ridding the world of nuclear arms, a goal that seems as elusive as ever.

Not all agree. “I want Obama to say ‘I’m sorry’. If he does, maybe my suffering will ease,” said Eiji Hattori, 73, a toddler at the time of the bombing who now has three types of cancer.

“If Obama apologized, I could die and meet my parents in heaven in peace,” he told Reuters at the peace park, from which ordinary citizens were later ejected amid tight security ahead of the president’s visit.

World War Two flying ace Dean “Diz” Laird, 95, who shot down Japanese fighters and dropped bombs on Tokyo, said he was pleased Obama was making the visit but glad he wasn’t apologizing.

“It’s bad that so many people got killed in Hiroshima, but it was a necessity to end the war sooner,” he said.

Critics argue that by not apologizing, Obama will allow Japan to stick to the narrative that paints it as a victim.

Abe’s government has affirmed past official apologies over the war but said future generations should not be burdened by the sins of their forebears.

China and South Korea, which suffered from Japan’s wartime aggression, often complain it has not atoned sufficiently.

“It is worth focusing on Hiroshima, but it’s even more important that we should not forget Nanjing,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters, according to the ministry’s website.

China says Japanese troops in 1937 killed 300,000 people in its then-capital of Nanjing. A postwar Allied tribunal put the death toll at 142,000, but some conservative Japanese politicians and scholars deny a massacre took place at all.

“The victims deserve sympathy, but the perpetrators can never escape their responsibility,” Wang said.

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Ise-Shima and Michael Martina in Beijing.; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Paul Tait and Nick Macfie)

G7 Leaders Voice Strong Concern About South China Sea

May 26, 2016

By Thomas Wilson and Kiyoshi Takenaka

ISE-SHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – Group of Seven (G7) leaders agreed on Thursday on the need to send a strong message on maritime claims in the western Pacific, where an increasingly assertive China is locked in territorial disputes with Japan and several Southeast Asian nations.

The agreement prompted a sharp rejoinder from China, which is not in the G7 club but whose rise as a power has put it at the heart of some discussions at the advanced nations’ summit in Ise-Shima, central Japan.

“Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe led discussion on the current situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Other G7 leaders said it is necessary for G7 to issue a clear signal,” Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko told reporters after a session on foreign policy affairs.

At a news conference late on Wednesday, Abe said Japan welcomed China’s peaceful rise while repeating Tokyo’s opposition to acts that try to change the status quo by force. He also urged respect for the rule of law. Both principles are expected to be mentioned in a statement after the summit.

The United States is also increasingly concerned about China’s action in the region.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying retorted in Beijing that the South China Sea issue had “nothing to do” with the G7 or any of its members.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying (File Photo)

“China is resolutely opposed to individual countries hyping up the South China Sea for personal gain,” she said.

U.S. President Barack Obama called on China on Wednesday to resolve maritime disputes peacefully and he reiterated that the United States was simply concerned about freedom of navigation and overflight in the region.

Obama on Thursday pointed to the risks from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, saying the isolated state was “hell bent” on getting atomic weapons.

But he said there had been improved responses from countries in the region like China that could reduce the risk of North Korea selling weapons or nuclear material.

“It’s something that we’ve put at the center of discussions and negotiations with China,” Obama told reporters.

Seko, speaking the first of two days of the summit in central Japan, said Abe told G7 counterparts that Pyongyang’s development of nuclear technology and ballistic missiles poses a threat to international peace, including in Europe.

“It is necessary to make North Korea realize that it would not be able have a bright future unless such issues as abduction, nuclear and missile development are resolved,” Abe told the group, according to Seko.

The G7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.


The global economy topped the agenda earlier in the day, when G7 leaders voiced concern about emerging economies and Abe made a pointed comparison to the 2008 global financial crisis. Not all his G7 partners appeared to agree.

The G7 leaders did agree on the need for flexible spending to spur world growth but the timing and amount depended on each country, Seko told reporters, adding that some countries saw no need for such spending. Britain and Germany have been resisting calls for fiscal stimulus.

“G7 leaders voiced the view that emerging economies are in a severe situation, although there were views that the current economic situation is not a crisis,” Seko said.

Abe presented data showing global commodities prices fell 55 percent from June 2014 to January 2016, the same margin as from July 2008 to February 2009, after the Lehman collapse.

Lehman had been Wall Street’s fourth-largest investment bank when it filed for Chapter 11 protection on Sept. 15, 2008, making its bankruptcy by far the biggest in U.S. history. Its failure triggered the global financial crisis.

Abe hopes, some political insiders say, to use a G7 statement on the global economy as cover for a domestic fiscal package including the possible delay of a rise in the nation’s sales tax to 10 percent from 8 percent planned for next April.

Obama ripped into Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying the billionaire had rattled other G7 leaders and that his statements were aimed at getting headlines, not what was needed to keep America safe and the world on an even keel.

Trump has been accused of racism, misogyny and bigotry for saying he would build a giant wall to keep out illegal Mexican immigrants, would temporarily ban Muslims from the United States and issued a series of comments considered demeaning to women.

Summit pageantry began when Abe escorted G7 leaders to the Shinto religion’s holiest site, the Ise Grand Shrine in central Japan, dedicated to sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, mythical ancestress of the emperor.

On Wednesday night, Abe met Obama for talks dominated by the arrest of a U.S. military base civilian worker in connection with the killing of a young woman on Japan’s Okinawa island, reluctant host to the bulk of the U.S. military in Japan.

The attack dimmed Obama’s hopes of keeping his Japan trip strictly focused on his visit on Friday to Hiroshima, site of the world’s first atomic bombing, to highlight reconciliation between the two former World War Two enemies as well as his nuclear anti-proliferation agenda.

(Reporting by Thomas Wilson and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Tetsushi Kajimoto, Kylie MacLellan, Ami Miyazaki and Ben Blanchard; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Nick Macfie, Robert Birsel, William Mallard; Editing by Mark Heinrich)