World War 3: Situation Report
America Prepared for War
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made clear on Monday that Washington is ready “to use the full range of military capabilities to defend our allies and the US homeland,” according to US military spokesman Capt. Darryn James, as cited by AP.
Dunford previously stressed to reporters, however, that the US is “seeking a peaceful resolution to the crisis,” local media reported.
The comments were made during Dunford’s visit to South Korea, where he is meeting with the country’s military and political officials, as well as local media.
Dunford, who is also visiting Japan and China during his trip, earlier told reporters traveling with him that he is aiming to “sense what the temperature is in the region.”
He said that he will discuss military options if the “diplomatic and economic pressurization campaign” fails.
“We’re all looking to get out of this situation without a war,” Dunford said.
Dunford’s visit to Asia comes just one week after US President Donald Trump said that the US military was “locked and loaded,” and that North Korea would be faced with “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten the United States.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who met with Dunford during his visit, separately called for a peaceful solution on Monday.
“There must not be another war on the Korean Peninsula,” he said, according to his office.
North Korea on Alert
Pyongyang maintained its tough rhetoric against the South and the US on Monday, accusing Washington of mobilizing a large number of troops and weapons for annual military drills set to take place with South Korea later this month.
“What matters is that if a second conflict (on the peninsula) erupts, that cannot help but lead to a nuclear war,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a commentary. “We are closely monitoring every move by the United States.”
The Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s Workers’ Party newspaper, previously stated that around 3.5 million students and workers had volunteered to join or rejoin the army in preparation for a possible confrontation with the US.
China and Russia Call for Talks
Chinese President Xi Jinping called Trump on Saturday to urge restraint regarding the North Korean crisis, advising both Washington and Pyongyang to avoid words or actions that could worsen the situation.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also warned on Sunday that both sides were inching dangerously close to a confrontation.
“How close have we come to this situation? Yes, we’ve come very close to a possible armed conflict,” she said in an interview with the TV channel Russia-1.
“If there really is an armed force scenario and if everything indeed happens the way the Washington establishment is trying to scare us all with, the situation will be simply catastrophic,” she said, adding that the US isn’t considering the full extent of the repercussions that could result if the conflict was escalated.
Both Russia and China have previously denounced North Korea’s missile launches, but have also called on the US to halt military drills in the region.
Meanwhile, Adam Garrie, managing editor at The Duran, said the US could possibly launch the first strike.
“There’s always that possibility that America could launch the first strike. If we’re looking at the sheer numbers, leaving both personalities on both sides, then America is a country with a proven track record of being a first striker, being an aggressor…” he told RT on Saturday.
Japan Allows Nuclear Weapons
The US memorandum of understanding, dated November 17, 1969, shows that senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official Hiroto Tanaka told White House National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger that “the Japanese have no disagreement with the US” on bringing nuclear weapons to Okinawa on an emergency basis, The Japan Times reported.
Although it is well known that Japan and the US reached a secret deal on nuclear weapons in exchange for Okinawa’s reversion, the declassified document proves for the first time that Tokyo delivered its stance using an official diplomatic channel.
However, the US document shows that talks between Tanaka and Kissinger took place several days after Prime Minister Eisuke Sato and US President Richard Nixon reached their secret deal to allow the introduction of nuclear arms to Okinawa, and just two days before the summit that led to Okinawa’s reversion.
According to the Japan Times, Japanese Foreign Minister Kiichi Aichi and the rest of the ministry had been unaware of the secret deal, and apparently feared a breakdown in the reversion talks. Thus, the ministry found it necessary to make clear that Tokyo was willing to comply with the US demand.
Tanaka said the nuclear issue “was very important for the Japanese, and the success or failure of Sato’s visit would be decided on this question.”
“He, Tanaka, had talked with the Foreign Minister, and was given to understand that the Japanese have no disagreement with the US on matters of substance,” or the nuclear issue, according the declassified US document, which was obtained by Kyodo News at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California.
Tanaka stated that the nuclear issue could not be made public due to strong anti-nuclear sentiment in Japan, and asked the US to accept a joint statement that would make it a subject of prior consultation.
The declassified document also shows that Japan’s leaders officially agreed during the Cold War to violate the three Non-Nuclear Principles set out by Sato in 1967, despite telling the public that nuclear weapons would not be brought into Okinawa prefecture.
The principles, which state that Japan will not possess, produce, or allow nuclear weapons on its territory, have provided the base for Japan’s nuclear arms policy since they were created. They also helped Sato win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1974.
The Okinawa Reversion Agreement between the US and Japan was agreed by the two countries’ leaders in 1969 and signed simultaneously in Washington and Tokyo on June 17, 1971. The island was officially returned to Japan on May 15, 1972, after 27 years under US administrative control.
The United States has maintained a presence in Okinawa following its reversion, with the island currently hosting almost half of all US troops present in Japan. Okinawa’s governor, along with many residents, has long expressed his discontent with the US military presence on the island, taking part in large-scale rallies and protests.
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