KOREAN UPDATE – This one updates every 15 minutes or so it seems. Things are getting pretty serious on this front. The news that set everything in motion is the latest missile test of an ICBM by North Korea. After studying the flight path of the latest launch, experts are concluding that North Korean missiles have the range to hit the US mainland. Some analysts think that even Chicago and possibly New York could be potential targets. So the US seems to be getting more serious. On July 31, President Trump promised to “take all necessary measures to protect” Japan….whatever that means.[i] In the same time frame, the commander of America’s Pacific Air Forces said we were prepared to unleash “rapid, lethal and overwhelming force,” against the North.[ii] And the Xinhua News Agency was reporting that the US was contemplating sending 2 aircraft carrier groups in to the waters off the Korean Peninsula.[iii]
CHINA & RUSSIA STUFF – Now related to the Korean nuclear crisis are developments involving Russia and China. On President Obama’s watch we squared off with Russia in Syria – supporting the rebels there against Assad. Many of them turned out to be al-Qaeda and ISIS clones. There was also trouble over Ukraine. The Chinese front is also complicated. China continues to covet US ally Taiwan. They are also building islands in the South China Sea, claiming much of that international waterway for themselves. And then there is the whole North Korea thing.
As one high ranking American officer put it: “China will never abandon North Korea.”[iv] That being said, the US must try to cobble together a response to the North Korean threats to itself and its allies in the region, South Korea and Japan – knowing that an attack against the North could set off a conflict with China – or at the very least – depending on the level of engagement with North Korea – enable China to make other moves in the region; including a possible move against Taiwan. The worst case scenario could devolve into a nuclear war between the major powers. Seemingly preparing for the possibility of a conflict with the US, China carried out a test of an anti-satellite missile on July 23rd.[v] But with all that tension flying around, here is a headline that caught my eye. “HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING, U.S. ADMIRAL SAYS READY FOR NUCLEAR STRIKE ON CHINA IF TRUMP SO ORDERED.” Now even hypothetically speaking, that’s a pretty scary statement to be made in public….especially coming from the US Pacific Fleet Commander. There is a war of words going on between the two nuclear powers….and let us pray that it stays that way.
But China may not be alone in its challenge to the US as the world’s dominant superpower. China is moving rapidly into the international realm. It is setting up bases overseas, in Africa and it will be conducting naval exercises with Russia in that countries backyard – the Baltic.[vi] And Australia reported that a “Chinese intelligence-gathering ship was spotted near Australia” during that countries joint naval exercises with the US Navy.[vii] In the Spring of this year, the Chinese launched their second aircraft carrier, a homemade enterprise signaling Beijing’s ambitions to eventually become the world’s dominant power.[viii] [The Book of Revelation talks about the “Kings of the East” mounting a challenge to Antichrist’s reign. Revelation 9:16 reads: “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.” This seems to build on Revelation 9. Verses 13& 14 set the stage. “Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’” Finally, we are given this information. “Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.” (Revelation 9:16) It would take, it would seem, the participation of the Chinese with its giant population to produce an army of 200 million. But I digress, slightly.] The German paper Die Welt puts this naval challenge in context. “With the first aircraft carrier made by its own hands, Beijing sends a message: ‘We want to become a global power’… Paris and London can afford only one or two such expensive vessels. China wants much more. The launch of the vessels has marked the birth of a fleet which up until now only the US possessed. This is not an empty promise.”[ix]
[i] The Latest: Abe, Trump agree to action against North Korea, AP, July 31, 2017
[ii] US, allies prepared to use ‘overwhelming force’ in North Korea, general says, FOX News, July 30, 2017
[iii] US mulls sending 2 aircraft carriers to Korean Peninsula, Xinhua, August 2, 2017
[iv] China will never abandon North Korea: Lt. Col. Peters, FOX Business, July 31, 2017
[v] Bill Gertz, China Carries Out Flight Test of Anti-Satellite Missile, Washington Free Beacon, August 2, 2017
[vi] China Has ‘Nothing to Hide’ in Joint War Games With Russia in Baltic, Sputnik, July 24, 2017
[vii] Chinese Spy Ships Join Russian Reconnaissance, Pressure Pentagon in the Pacific, Sputnik, July 31, 2017
[viii] Homegrown Aircraft Carriers, Sputnik, April 28, 2017
[ix] Peking will eine Weltmacht-Marine bauen, Die Welt, April 27, 2017