Hyonhee Shin / Reuters & Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com – 2018-10-19 00:59:26
US Opposed to Koreas’ Plan for No-fly Zone Over Border
Hyonhee Shin / Reuters
SEOUL (October 18, 2018) — The United States opposes a plan by South and North Korea to set up a no-fly zone over their heavily fortified border, the latest sign of a rift between Seoul and its top ally, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Washington and Seoul both publicly insist they are on the same page about dealing with Pyongyang. But behind the scenes, there are growing signs of disagreement as South and North Korea forge ahead with plans to defuse military tensions and rebuild economic ties.
The military accord, sealed during last month’s summit in Pyongyang, is one of the most concrete agreements between the neighbors this year. But US officials have raised concerns that it could undermine defense readiness and comes without substantial progress on denuclearization.
The pact includes a halt in “all hostile acts,” a no-fly zone around the border and a gradual removal of landmines and guard posts within the Demilitarised Zone.
US Secretary of State Pompeo expressed “discontent” with the agreement during a phone call, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said last week in a rare disclosure of discord between the allies.
The United States was not likely to openly protest against an inter-Korean initiative, Seoul officials said, but its deep involvement in sanctions enforcement and military operations give it leverage to delay or change the policy.
The no-fly zone is a key sticking point for the US because it would effectively prevent close air support drills, the sources said, adding that Pompeo raised the issue during the call with Kang. Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The zone, effective Nov. 1, will extend 40 kilometers north and south from the Military Demarcation Line in the East and 20 kilometers in the West for fixed-wing aircraft.
The agreement also bars live-fire drills involving fixed-wing aircraft and air-to-ground guided weapons in the no-fly area. South Korea and the United States had held such drills regularly until halting joint exercises in June.
US Opposes Koreas’ New No-Fly Zone Plans
Deal would prevent simulated air raids
over North Korean border
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(October 18, 2018) — One of several agreements between the two Koreas designed to reduce military tensions, North and South Korea have agreed to establish a no-fly zone along their mutual border. This is intended to prevent misunderstandings along the frontier.
As with anything that might be seen as reducing tensions with North Korea, the State Department has come out against the idea, saying the US believes the no-fly zone will undermine military readiness.
The real problem isn’t “readiness,” it’s the Trump Administration’s ability to carry out threatening military maneuvers along the border between North and South Korea. During tense periods, the US has often conducted such overflights with nuclear-capable warplanes.
As with the US desire to keep stepping up sanctions, they are loathe to lose any of their capability to casually threaten North Korea in the process of diplomatic progress. This means opposing South Korea’s no-fly zone deal.
Trump Administration Bans
US Aid Groups From North Korea
Humanitarian aid efforts stalled
by effort to increase sanctions
Jason Ditz / AnitWar.com
(October 18, 2018) — While the Trump Administration has long maintained that sanctions against North Korea don’t impact humanitarian aid, in practice the administration has banned all American aid groups from the country, shutting down aid efforts.
This comes as the administration looks to increase sanctions against North Korea, and to make sure that growing diplomatic progress between them and the rest of the world doesn’t end up easing their isolation. That means cutting humanitarian projects.
The State Department said that there are a “range of factors” behind the decision to ban all of these aid groups from North Korea, and that officially they’re being handled on a case-by-case basis. All US groups involved in such project, however, are getting the same answer, rejecting their travel.
Aid groups also reported confusion at the Treasury Department about the regulation and licensing of NGOs that had worked with North Korea’s government, including on aid projects. Cutting through the red tape is all but impossible at this point.
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