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LEFT IN THE DARK: Secret U.S. military flights carried officials, equipment to N. Korea

Stephen Bosworth, second from right, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy greets Kim Kye Gwan, First Vice Minister of North Korea's foreign ministry in U.S. representative office for U.N. in New York on July 29, 2011. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)The Asahi Shimbun – by YOSHIHIRO MAKINO/ Correspondent

Senior U.S. administration officials held secret talks in North Korea on at least three occasions in 2011 and 2012, The Asahi Shimbun has learned.

Although the visits had potential implications for Japan, Washington did not inform its security partner at the time and only informally confirmed one of them when the Japanese side pressed, government and other sources in Japan, South Korea and the United States said.

The U.S. State Department even warned the Foreign Ministry against making further inquiries, saying they would harm bilateral relations, the sources said.

U.S. military planes flew from an air base in Guam to Pyongyang and back on April 7, 2012, and again on a longer visit lasting from Aug. 18-20, the sources said.

It is believed that those aboard included Sydney Seiler, director for Korea at the U.S. National Security Council, and Joseph DeTrani, who headed the North Korea desk at the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. DeTrani left the post in May.

They met with North Korean officials and discussed policies following the death of leader Kim Jong Il in December 2011.

The North Korean delegation included Jang Song Thaek, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission and husband of Kim Jong Il’s sister. Jang is widely considered to serve as a mentor for Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father as his nation’s leader.

The Japanese government only learned about the flights after receiving reports from hobbyists monitoring activity at military bases and also analyzing air traffic flight plans.

When the Japanese side submitted an official inquiry, U.S. officials expressed frustration that the request had been made, citing the subject’s confidential nature. The State Department warned Japan against inquiring further, saying Washington-Tokyo ties could be damaged.

The third visit that The Asahi Shimbun has confirmed is one that took place in November 2011. Sources said at least one military aircraft from the Guam air base loaded heavy equipment, including bulldozers, at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo and flew to Pyongyang.

It is believed that the delegation included officials from the U.S. Pacific Command. They met with North Korean officials and discussed efforts to recover the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, the sources said.

When Japan inquired about this visit, U.S. officials unofficially confirmed that it had taken place, the sources said.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201302150067

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6 Responses to LEFT IN THE DARK: Secret U.S. military flights carried officials, equipment to N. Korea

  1. NC says:

    “The third visit that The Asahi Shimbun has confirmed is one that took place in November 2011. Sources said at least one military aircraft from the Guam air base loaded heavy equipment, including bulldozers, at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo and flew to Pyongyang.

    It is believed that the delegation included officials from the U.S. Pacific Command. They met with North Korean officials and discussed efforts to recover the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, the sources said.”

    Yea, right. Tell me another one. Their excuses are almost as bad as North Korea these days. Kinda makes you wonder if they ain’t already really friends and just playing a con game with each other. After all, we are just as Communistic and Authoritarian as North Korea these days. It almost makes sense that we would really be friends with them behind the scenes until such time that both sides are ready to call a truce. Who knows. Just thinking outside the box here.

    • Henry Shivley says:

      Have you seen the new Red Dawn movie? Wouldn’t it be a diabolical twist if the true reason for the invaders in the movie being changed from Chinese to North Korean was not because the Chinese did not want to be portrayed as the bad guys, but rather because the North Koreans had underbid them and screwed them out of the contract for the invasion of the United States for the disarmament? And the whole purpose of the movie was to announce the invasion right in our faces like they did 9/11 in the Lone Gunman series where they flew commercial airliners into the Twin Towers prior to the actual attacks.

      • NC says:

        Haven’t seen the movie, yet. Been meaning to, though. lol

        You make a good point on the North Korea/China thing. But I still don’t see North Korea ever stepping foot on our land with a standing arm for long. That is…unless they were REALLY Chinese troops dressed in North Korean clothing. I mean after all, no one in the U.S. knows the difference between a Korean and a Chinese person anyways. So it would be the perfect plan. And China would be in the clear and the people will wonder how North Korea has so many troops when in reality they are really Chinese troops in North Korean clothing. It’d be kinda crazy, wouldn’t it?

  2. Just Google “Major Jordan’s Diaries” to learn about how the US was behind arming the Soviet Union to give them a credible Boogie Man after WW2. Now they are using North Korea and Iran as the Boogie Men to keep the protection money flowing from the tax slaves to the slave masters.

  3. michael mazur says:

    Archaeologists don’t use ‘heavy equipment, including bulldozers’ when excavating ancient sites on which civilisations came and went.

    They do digs, by use of hand tools only, lest invariably something, many items – if clustered, are crushed, which would be both embarrassing and incompetent.

    Obviously this equipment has nothing to do with unearthing the remains of US soldiers of 60yrs ago, as digs for these are done with meticulous care.

    At a guess, the equipment was for helping N.Korea in preparing a deeper underground site for the placement of the nuke they tested earlier this month.

    The bulldozer to surface prepare the site, the other heavy equipment would be for drilling into the earth deep enough, perhaps a kilometre, for placement of the test nuke.

    Sipri reports that the 2009 explosion at less than a kilometre was about 5 times more powerful than the 2006 explosion.

    It is possible that the third explosion earlier this month was more powerful again, and for it to be contained, needed to be at a greater depth than less than a kilometre, hence the heavy equipment to do the deeper drilling.

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