Beware the “Day of the Sun”

The “Day of the Sun” dawns this Saturday over the Korean Peninsula. But it might not break as peacefully as the term suggests…

April 15 — this Saturday — North Korea celebrates its most significant national holiday. That would be the birthday of its founding leader, Kim Il Sung.

Old Kim, grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un, went to the boneyard in 1994. But they still celebrate his natal day.

They call it the “Day of the Sun.”

And some analysts think North Korea’s planning to celebrate the late Kim’s 105th birthday with a bang — literally.

And quite a bang at that.

Relying on the testimony of the U.S. government and “other sources,” Voice of America’s Steve Herman reports today that North Korea has “apparently placed a nuclear device in a tunnel, and it could be detonated Saturday a.m. Korea time.”

According to 38 North, a website dedicated to analysis of North Korea, satellite imagery reveals elevated activity around the likely test site:

 Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from April 12 shows continued activity around the north portal, new activity in the main administrative area and a few personnel around the site’s command center.

They say the site appears “primed and ready.”

It would be North Korea’s sixth nuclear test in 11 years. It conducted two last year alone.

And Trump’s threatened unilateral military action to end the North Korean nuclear “menace” — coming within an inch of actually saying it.

And he’s rerouted a “very powerful armada” to Korean waters, led by the carrier USS Carl Vinson.

After all, diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments, as Frederick the Great supposedly said.

But Trump’s not the only one cocking his fist at North Korea…

So is North Korea’s biggest “friend” — China.

According to China’s state-run TV, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “China insists on realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula, insists on maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula and advocates resolving the problem through peaceful means.”

In case North Korea didn’t quite get it:

In the state-run Global Times, China warns, “If the North makes another provocative move this month, the Chinese society will be willing to… adopt severe restrictive measures that have never been seen before.”

Still not getting it, Mr. Kim?:

China has a bottom line that it will protect at all costs. That is, the security and stability of northeast China… If the bottom line is touched, China will employ all means available, including the military means to strike back… The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks to DPRK (North Korean) nuclear facilities on its own.

Well now.

To put an even finer point on it, China’s reportedly dispatched 150,000 troops to its border with North Korea.

Why’s China so touchy about the North’s nukes?

Mainly because China fears that another Korean war would result in the North’s collapse.

China considers North Korea a buffer state. It stands between China proper and South Korea — a key democratic ally of the United States.

A reunified Korea under South Korean leadership would plant a key American client smack on its northeast border.

And China warns that it won’t allow “a government that is hostile against China on the other side of the Yalu River.”

Jim Rickards says “That’s China’s worst nightmare.”

Plus, millions of desperate North Koreans would likely cross the border into China, potentially destabilizing the Middle Kingdom.

And Chinese leadership values order and stability above all else.

So… with China so terrified of North Korea’s nuclear program, we therefore suggest President Trump adopt a new strategy on North Korea:

“Let’s you and him fight.”

Leave the wet work to China. Let them attack the North’s nuclear facilities.

It wouldn’t provoke a possible North Korean invasion of the South. And thousands of American lives could be saved.

Talk about playing chess!

Trump would be the grandmaster of grandmasters if he could somehow maneuver China into being his cat’s paw.


Maybe. Maybe not.

And maybe the intelligence is wrong and North Korea really isn’t planning a nuclear test this Saturday.

Or maybe China can jaw-jaw the North into canceling it.

But if North Korea does actually test another nuclear device this Saturday, we’ll be keeping one eye on Trump… and the other on China…


Brian Maher
Managing editor, The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning