North Korean despot Kim Jong-un has run out of options. To survive he must either buckle under to China, or face destruction by the United States.
It was reported last month that the U.S. was ready to deploy three Carrier Groups to the Western Pacific. Events have now caught up to last months report.
Two weeks ago the USS Ronald Reagan departed the Yokosuka Naval base in Japan to conduct joint exercises with the USS Carl Vinson in waters off North Korea.
Now, the USS Nimitz is set to depart U.S. Naval base Kitsap-Bremerton in Washington to join her sister ships in the Western Pacific.
Nimitz command announced the deployment on their Facebook page:
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In addition to the Carrier Groups, the U.S. Air Force maintains a presence of forward deployed B-1B Lancer heavy strategic bombers at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
It was also revealed this week in a transcript leaked by the Philippine government of a phone call between President Rodrigo Duterte and President Trump that the U.S. has two nuclear submarines positioned off the North Korean coast.
These are just the build up of U.S. assets that we know about.
As the U.S. is arraying a devastating amount of firepower against the North Korean regime, diplomatic efforts continue.
At this weeks G7 summit, President Trump and Japanese Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to expand sanctions, in an effort to bring Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table.
China announced that they’ve tightened border controls with their wayward client state in an effort to enforce sanctions previously agreed on. Relations between China and the DPRK (North Korea) have reportedly deteriorated severely, to the point where some are speculating that China itself may take measures to decapitate North Korean leadership before the U.S. is forced to act militarily.
That scenario is not as far-fetched as it might seem. North Korea is an economic sinkhole for China, the cost of maintaining a relationship with an intransigent neighbor is not nearly as attractive as the burgeoning trade potential with other nations in the region. Economically, South Korea is a far better bet for China than the North.
Removing the Kim regime and replacing him with a malleable puppet would ensure Chinese access to North Korea’s natural resources without the present burdens, and at the same time eliminate the horrific toil a war would inflict upon the regional economies.
As U.S. forces assemble for what seemingly appears to be a likely preemptive strike, China may very well decide that it is far better for them to get to Pyongyang before the combined militaries of the United States, South Korea, and Japan arrive.
The wild card China is surely considering is whether Kim Jong-un would turn his nuclear arsenal against his benefactor. It is a risky proposition to cut the head off of a nuclear armed snake.
The heady forces of brinksmanship are well underway, and the Kim’s have thus far proven themselves to be able players, but they have run out of road. The only course remaining for the regime to survive is to accede to demands that they completely end their nuclear proliferation aspirations in exchange for a U.S.-Chinese guarantee that they are allowed to remain as titular heads of state.
The North may exact a terrible toll if they attempt to wage war against the United States. While millions of South Koreans are at imminent risk, and casualties are potentially high, a devastating U.S. preemptive strike could greatly minimize civilian losses.
The United States is well underway in assembling what would be the mother of all first strikes. The ability to rain down within minutes, thousands of precision guided bombs and cruise missiles upon North Korean forces and artillery positions. It could very well render a North Korean counter-strike extremely difficult. Whatever North Korean forces still able to fire, would be immediately subject to waves of U.S. air power.
The only certainty, is that there is no scenario where a military confrontation ends well for the Kim regime.
The North Koreans have run out of survivable options, except surrender.