Nikki Haley Has No Interest in Peace
SNA (Tokyo) — The following stories were reported today by the Shingetsu News Agency.
The Top Headline
—US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley not interested in realistic peace talks: “We won’t take any of the talks seriously if they don’t do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea… We will never accept a nuclear North Korea.” So, Nikki Haley’s “negotiation strategy” is that North Korea must accept the US position 100% before any talks begin, and the result must be that the Kim regime completely disarm itself and be left helpless to US power. Hey, it worked for Saddam Husain, right? Nikki Haley giving precisely the response from the US political establishment that we expected. The fact of the matter is, political tensions and fear of war suit their political objectives more than de-escalation. For Shinzo Abe, bent on revising the Constitution, even more so.
—Rengo leaders upset that they cannot reconstitute the Democratic Party into an organization that represents the left, the right, and the center. They are in internal crisis now that they are being forced to show what policies their labor union federation actually stands for.
—The secretary-generals of the Party of Hope and the Democratic Party met to discuss the possibility of forming a united parliamentary caucus, but they were unable to come to any immediate conclusions. The main sticking point that may prevent a tie up are differing views on security policy, especially how to approach the unconstitutional Abe War Law of 2015.
—Here is the comment from South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myong-Gyon: “I repeat, the government is open to talking with North Korea, regardless of time, location, and form.”
—China Foreign Ministry: “China welcomes and supports North Korea and South Korea taking earnest efforts to treat this as an opportunity to improve mutual relations, promote the alleviation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and realize denuclearization on the peninsula.”
—US Senator Lindsey Graham responds to “absurd” North Korean peace overture by calling for a US boycott on the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
—South Korean President Moon Jae-In: “I appreciate and welcome the North’s positive response to our proposal that the Pyeongchang Olympics should be used as a turning point in improving South-North relations and promoting peace.”
—US President Donald Trump brags that he has more nuclear weapons than Kim Jong-Un, and could kill many millions more people as he desires.
—Shorter Nikki Haley: War on Iran, War on Yemen, War on North Korea, and Punishment for any country that dares to oppose Trump government policy. Any questions?
—North Korea indicates that it will reopen hotline for direct communications with South Korea this afternoon. The initial discussions likely to be regarding North Korean participation in Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
—While both Korean governments and Washington have been making many statements about the developments on the Korean Peninsula, the Abe government has been dead silent. The prime minister himself is apparently relaxing in a hotel in Roppongi. A wait and see policy, it seems.
—Head of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics committee: “We’re making preparations in case North Korea sends its athletes, cheering squad, and support staff… The International Olympic Committee has also said several times that it would support North Korea’s participation.”
—Foreign Ministry: “Japan is closely following with interest the situation in Iran where protest demonstrations have continued across the country and clashes between demonstrators and security forces have been seen since 28 December. Japan hopes that the situation will be settled in a peaceful manner without further deterioration. In the meantime the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take necessary measures to ensure the safety of Japanese residents and visitors in Iran.”
—South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha holds phone call with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and pledges the two nations will have “ironclad” coordination as talks with North Korea are openly resumed.
—South Korean opposition parties, including the conservatives, basically welcome the government’s decision to resume talks with North Korea, including the Olympics invitation. They do, however, urge caution.
—South Korea’s Moon administration is not expected to make its decision on what to do about the Comfort Women issue until after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, so as not to put undue strain on Seoul-Tokyo relations during the Olympics period.
—Liberal Democratic Party seriously discussing internally whether or not taxpayer money should be spent to construct bomb shelters in the event of a nuclear attack on Tokyo. Apparently there are opinions on both sides of the question.
—Central Japan Railway executives say they plan to open Tokyo-Nagoya maglev train in 2027 as planned, in spite of the major bid-rigging scandal which is currently shaking the project.
—Financial Times reporting that the United Kingdom is considering the possibility of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership as they withdraw from Europe. Trade Minister Greg Hands says, “there doesn’t have to be any geographical restriction.”
—Figures show a fairly steep drop-off in the number of Japanese visiting Guam since North Korea threatened to fire missiles in that vicinity last August.
—There is apparently a shortage of workers competent to do check-ups of nuclear reactors, and so the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which wants to restart reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, is mulling the idea of forming tie-ups with other nuclear energy companies to secure the qualified workers.
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