9 Days Remaining

Wednesday 16th
posted by Morning Star in Editorial

PYONGYANG’S revelation that Kim Jong Un has delayed approval of missiles being launched towards Guam to observe “the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees” represents a welcome outbreak of common sense.

This new approach isn’t couched in diplomatic terms, replete as it is with a blood-curdling warning that North Korea can “wring the windpipes of the Yankees,” but the underlying message is that Washington should “think reasonably and judge properly.”

It should serve to encourage the Trump administration to move beyond Hollywood-style bellicose rhetoric and think about millions of Korean lives at risk.

South Korean President Moon Jae In insists that his country’s US ally must consult Seoul before taking any decision to open fire against the North.

This is not about international law documents or precise wording on bilateral treaties but has everything to do with the well-being of 75 million people inhabiting the Korean peninsula.

President Moon insists that there must be no war on the Korean people’s common home, but he knows how to achieve this goal — facilitate joint talks, improve intra-Korean relations and end the North’s rocket test launches.

His South Korean forces are scheduled to begin provocative joint military exercises — dubbed “Ulchi-Freedom Guardian” — with their US counterparts next Monday and to continue them for 10 days.

Seoul often describes these annual war games as routine, but they never are and even less so this year given the current scale of US-North Korean hostility and rhetoric.

The US president’s threat of “fire and fury like the world has never seen” and reference to his nuclear delivery vehicles being “locked and loaded” has elevated tension to new levels that cannot be sustained.

China has demonstrated willingness to broker a solution, even implementing UN economic sanctions against its ally North Korea.

But its ongoing appeals over months that Washington and Seoul should halt Ulchi-Freedom Guardian have been dismissed disdainfully.

President Moon insists that his government “will put everything on the line to prevent another war on the Korean peninsula,” which is a commendable statement but requires concrete action.

The North has effectively blinked by postponing its Guam missile project.

US and South Korean failure to reciprocate will mark a lost opportunity for better relations and testify to insincerity over seeking a new start with Pyongyang.

Tapered justice

LOCAL MP Emma Dent Coad’s expression of dismay that excluding the issue of inadequate council housing investment from the Grenfell Tower public inquiry is “precisely what we feared” says it all.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick indicated from the off his desire to restrict the inquiry’s terms of reference.

While he has been prevailed upon to move beyond his original intention of confining evidence to little more than cause and effect, the handcuffs have been well and truly applied over government housing policy.

The inquiry chairman explained at the outset that he wished to avoid political matters, but, in sheltering government policy from scrutiny, his approach, supported by Theresa May, is profoundly political.

The whole point of a public inquiry is to allow those at the sharp end to speak out, drawing attention to decisions that have affected their families.

Handing over the entire issue to Housing Minister Alok Sharma is akin to sweeping it under the carpet.

Neither Sharma nor any Tory minister will get the drains up over a housing policy that treats too many working-class people as expendable.