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Dec 8th, 2010


U.S. Admiral Warns North Korea’s ‘Bad Guy’

Mullen calls recent North Korean aggression ‘belligerent, reckless’

Image: A North Korean soldier
A North Korean soldier surveys the border at Panmunjom, South Korea. (Photo credit: Ahn Yioung-joon / AP)

The Associated Press and Reuters via MSNBC.com
Dec. 8, 2010

SEOUL, South Korea — The top U.S. military officer warned the “bad guy” in North Korea Wednesday that the United States’ commitment to defend the South was “unquestioned” as the Communist state’s military fired shells across the disputed sea border.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who took part in a press conference with his South Korean counterpart Gen. Han Min-koo after arriving in Seoul for a two-day trip, also said China should do more to use its enormous leverage to rein in the North.

Mullen said there was “no doubt in my mind (provocations) will continue unless leaders step forward and put Pyongyang in a position where they realize their behavior has to change.”

“This guy’s a bad guy and when you’re dealing with bad guys, you can’t wish away what they’re going to do,” Mullen said of the North’s iron ruler Kim Jong-il.

“Because of the actions taken by North Korea recently … they’re making (the region) a more dangerous place,” he added.

Mullen called recent North Korean aggression, including an artillery attack last month that killed four South Koreans, “belligerent, reckless behavior.” …

No ‘lack of resolve’

Mullen said however they would avoid taking steps that would escalate into a conflict on the peninsula.

“The North should not mistake this restraint as a lack of resolve — nor should they interpret it as willingness to accept continued attacks to go unchallenged,” he said.

Mullen’s South Korean counterpart, Gen. Han Min-koo, called the artillery attack a violation of the U.N. charter and armistice signed at the close of the war.

He said South Korea and the U.S. would quickly complete a plan to deal with North Korea’s provocations, which he said have become bolder.

“If North Korea were to additionally provoke us, we will respond in a very firm manner out of self-defense, and North Korea will have to pay a very deep price for the additional provocation,” Han said.

Mullen said the Chinese must do more. …

China views the North as a strategic buffer against the U.S.-allied democracy South Korea and is Pyongyang’s largest trade partner and benefactor.

Wednesday’s firing — just over two weeks after the deadly shelling of Yeonpyeong island — followed the North’s revelations of advances in its nuclear program, opening a second route to make an atomic bomb.

‘Delivering a message’

The attack set off a flurry of diplomatic activity involving Seoul, Washington, Tokyo and the North’s ally Beijing, and next week, a former U.S. special envoy to North Korea, current New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, will meet government officials in Pyongyang, a senior U.S. official said. …

On Tuesday, Beijing hit back at the United States and its Asian allies for their refusal to talk to North Korea, saying dialogue was the only way to calm escalating tension on the divided Korean peninsula.

Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg will lead a U.S. delegation to China next week to try to persuade Beijing to put more pressure on Pyongyang despite Chinese fears that this may destabilize North Korea, a U.S. official said.

Full story

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Related report

North Korea releases report defending Yeonpyeong island attack

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Related reports on this site

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-Young checks houses destroyed by North Korean artillery shelling on Yeonpyeong island (Photo: Seo Jae-hoon / Newsis via Reuters)South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-Young checks homes destroyed by North Korean artillery shelling on Yeonpyeong island. (Photo credit: Seo Jae-hoon / Newsis via Reuters)

Push Could Come to Shove in Korea (Dec. 6, 2010)

Winds of War on Korean Peninsula (Nov. 25, 2010)

Perilous Flare-Up of Korean War (Nov. 24, 2010)

North Korea ‘Very Dangerous’ (Nov. 22, 2010)

Kim Jong-un Succession in North Korea (Oct. 11, 2010)

Kim Jong Il Threat Assessment (May 31, 2009)

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — December 8, 2009

Deadly Violence Erupts in Iraq

Iraq Violence
A dog that was chained to a railing in a house damaged by a bomb blast near the new Finance Ministry, which killed its owner, is seen in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009. (Photo credit: Hadi Mizban / AP)

One year ago today, I reported that a suicide car bomb in Baghdad flattened a court building and an explosives-rigged ambulance blew down walls like dominos near the Finance Ministry in a wave of coordinated attacks that targeted high-profile symbols of Iraqi authority, killing at least 127 people and wounding more than 500. 

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — December 8, 2008

U.S. Afghanistan Supply Line Attacked

Video

NATO supply terminal attacked in Pakistan (MSNBC, Dec. 7, 2008) – NBC’s Ned Colt reports on militants attacking a NATO supply terminal where a security guard was killed and over 160 vehicles were burned. (02:03)

Two years ago today, on Dec. 8, 2008, I reported that Taliban militants blasted their way into two transport terminals in Pakistan and torched more than 160 vehicles destined for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan, in the biggest assault yet on a vital U.S. military supply line.

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2 Responses to “Mullen Puts Kim Jong-il on Notice”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Looming N. Korean Nuclear Threat Says:

    [...] Adm. Mullen Puts Kim Jong-il on Notice (Dec. 8, 2010) [...]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Kim Jong-un Succession in N. Korea Says:

    [...] Adm. Mullen Puts Kim Jong-il on Notice (Dec. 8, 2010) [...]

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