Posts Tagged ‘ICBM’

North Korea Warns U.S. Will Pay Due Price for Spearheading U.N. Sanctions

September 11, 2017

SEOUL — North Korea warned on Monday the United States would pay a “due price” for spearheading a U.N. Security Council resolution against its latest nuclear test, as Washington presses for a vote on a draft resolution imposing more sanctions on Pyongyang.

South Korean officials have said after the North’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3, which it said was of an advanced hydrogen bomb, that it could launch another intercontinental ballistic missile in defiance of international pressure.

The United States wants the Security Council to impose an oil embargo on the North, halt its key export of textiles and subject leader Kim Jong Un to financial and travel ban, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters.

The North’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the United States was “going frantic” to manipulate the Security Council over Pyongyang’s nuclear test, which it said was part of “legitimate self-defensive measures.”

“In case the U.S. eventually does rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution’ on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that the U.S. pays due price,” the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

DPRK is short for the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The world will witness how the DPRK tames the U.S. gangsters by taking a series of actions tougher than they have ever envisaged,” the unnamed spokesman said.

“The DPRK has developed and perfected the super-powerful thermo-nuclear weapon as a means to deter the ever-increasing hostile moves and nuclear threat of the U.S. and defuse the danger of nuclear war looming over the Korean peninsula and the region.”

There was no independent verification of the North’s claim to have conducted a hydrogen bomb test, but some experts said there was enough strong evidence to suggest Pyongyang had either developed a hydrogen bomb or was getting close.

KCNA said on Sunday that Kim threw a banquet to laud the scientists and top military and party officials who contributed to the nuclear bomb test, topped with an art performance and a photo session with the leader himself.

(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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North Korea Preparing for Possible ICBM Launch, South Says

September 4, 2017

U.S. and South Korea are in talks about deploying an aircraft carrier or bombers to South Korea

This undated photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency shows Kim Jong Un presiding over a target strike exercise conducted by the special operation forces of the Korean People's Army.
This undated photo released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows Kim Jong Un presiding over a target strike exercise conducted by the special operation forces of the Korean People’s Army. PHOTO: KCNA/KNS/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

SEOUL—North Korea is making preparations for the possible launch of another intercontinental ballistic missile, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Monday, just one day after Pyongyang detonated a nuclear device far more powerful than any that it has previously tested.

Maj. Gen. Jang Kyung-soo, acting deputy minister for national defense policy, said Seoul had detected signs of activity that suggested North Korea, which conducted its first two ICBM test launches in July, was preparing to launch another ballistic missile.

Gen. Jang didn’t say what the signs of activity were, nor did he give a time frame for a possible launch. But many experts have been preparing for a weapons test around Sept. 9, when North Korea marks the anniversary of its foundation in 1948.

The assessment was echoed by South Korean intelligence officers, who said North Korea could test launch another ICBM toward the northern Pacific Ocean or a submarine-launched ballistic missile, according to lawmakers who attended a closed-door legislative meeting on Monday.

The intelligence officers also said North Korea could conduct further nuclear tests at any time, based on construction work on two tunnels at its test site that appear to be near completion, these lawmakers said.

The warnings came as South Korea’s Defense Ministry formally said it would proceed with the temporary deployment of four U.S. missile-defense launchers that have become a political hot potato in recent months.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office in May. His platform included opposing his predecessor’s decision to deploy the missile-defense system, called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad, in the country. Thaad, which is designed to protect South Korea from Pyongyang’s missiles, is fiercely opposed by China, which says the system undermines its national security.

Mr. Moon suspended the deployment shortly after the U.S. military installed two of the Thaad battery’s six launchers, which made it operational. But North Korea’s recent string of missile launches and Sunday’s nuclear test have pushed Mr. Moon to move ahead with what he has called the temporary deployment of the four remaining Thaad launchers.

On Monday, the Defense Ministry in Seoul said it completed a small-scale environmental impact assessment, a prerequisite for the deployment, and would push ahead with installation “shortly,” without specifying a date.

Separately, Gen. Jang said the U.S. and South Korea are in talks about deploying an aircraft carrier or stealth bombers to South Korea as part of the response to North Korea’s recent actions.

Top South Korean officials had said in recent days that the two allies were in discussions about the deployment of “strategic assets” to the Korean Peninsula. At the time, officials didn’t elaborate on what strategic assets they were considering, but the phrase typically refers to aircraft carriers, bombers or nuclear weapons.

Gen. Jang said North Korea’s nuclear test on Sunday, its sixth, had an explosive yield of about 50 kilotons—an estimate far smaller than an initial assessment of as much as 100 kilotons, and below the assessment of some independent analysts.

Even so, at 50 kilotons, the nuclear test would still be much bigger than the previous test in September last year, which is believed to have had an explosive yield of about 10 kilotons.

Earlier Monday, South Korea conducted a missile-launch drill involving surface-to-surface and air-to-ground missiles to simulate an attack on North Korea’s nuclear site in response to the nuclear test a day earlier.

Write to Jonathan Cheng at jonathan.cheng@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-korea-preparing-for-possible-icbm-launch-south-says-1504509694?mod=e2tweu

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North Korea ballistic missile launch ‘toward the US’ is imminent

September 4, 2017

NORTH Korea is reportedly preparing to launch another ballistic missile toward the US as the world reels from its sixth and largest nuclear test.

South Korea has detected indications that the communist nation is about to test another ballistic missile, according to defence officials.

Signs that the totalitarian nation is planning to stage another launch, possibly its third intercontinental intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), have been spotted.

Supreme leader Kim Jong-un may fire the missile into the Pacific Ocean in the direction of the US, Yonhap News Agency, citing Seoul spy agency, reported.

Defence ministry offical Chang Kyung-soo said: “We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches. We also forecast North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile.”

Kyung-soo revealed the intelligence at a parlaimentary hearing about North Korea’s shock nuclear test at the weekend today.

The secretive state angered the international community by testing a hydrogen bomb in one of its most provocative moves ever.

north korea missile testDS

MISSILE TEST: North Korea are preparing for another launch, according to South Korea

It is thought the H-bomb – five times more powerful than the one used on Hiroshima – could be loaded onto an intercontinental intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

US President Donald Trump reacted furiously, branding the test “very hostile and dangerous to the United States”.

His defence secretary General James Mattis issued a final warning to Kim, telling him that the US is capable the “total annihilation” of North Korea.

In an explosive press conference at the White House, the war chief, known as Mad Dog, said any threat to the US, its allies or its territories “will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming”.

general mattisGETTY

NOT MESSING ABOUT: General Mattis warned North Korea of a ‘massive military response’

Although South Korea believes Kim is preparing to launch a ballistic missile, it has not specified what type of missile and when the test may take place.

However, analysts believe the Hermit Kingdom may fire the missile on September 9 – the anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1948.

The rogue state has been known to mark significant holidays with dramatic shows of force such as mssile and nuclear tests.

north korea missileGETTY

PROVOCATIVE: North Korea has repeatedly angered the US with missile tests

“Talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work”

Donald Trump

In response to the nuclear test, South Korea held live firing drills that were a “show of willingness” to wipe out Kim’s despotic regime.

But in a rare move on Sunday, Trump appeared to scold South Korea for its “talk of appeasement” with North Korea prior to the nucleear test.

He wrote on Twitter: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

But today South Korean defence minister, Song Young-moo, said the nation will strengthen its military instead of holding talks.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/642263/north-korea-ballistic-missile-launch-preparations-detected

South Korea Simulates Attack on North’s Nuke Site After Test

September 4, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea — Following U.S. warnings to North Korea of a “massive military response,” South Korea’s military on Monday fired missiles into the sea to simulate an attack on the North’s main nuclear test site a day after Pyongyang detonated its largest ever nuclear test explosion.

The heated words from the United States and the military maneuvers in South Korea are becoming familiar responses to North Korea’s rapid, as-yet unchecked pursuit of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can strike the United States. The most recent, and perhaps most dramatic, advancement came Sunday in an underground test of what leader Kim Jong Un’s government claimed was a hydrogen bomb, the North’s sixth nuclear test since 2006.

In a series of tweets, President Donald Trump threatened to halt all trade with countries doing business with the North, a veiled warning to China, and faulted South Korea for what he called “talk of appeasement.”

South Korea’s military said its live-fire exercise was meant to “strongly warn” Pyongyang. The drill involved F-15 fighter jets and the country’s land-based “Hyunmoo” ballistic missiles firing into the Sea of Japan.

The target was set considering the distance to the North’s test site and the exercise was aimed at practicing precision strikes and cutting off reinforcements, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

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Each new North Korean missile and nuclear test gives Pyongyang’s scientists invaluable information that allows big jumps in capability. North Korea is thought to have a growing arsenal of nuclear bombs and has spent decades trying to perfect a multistage, long-range missile to eventually carry smaller versions of those bombs.

Both diplomacy and severe sanctions have failed to check the North’s decades-long march to nuclear mastery.

In Washington, Trump, asked by a reporter if he would attack the North, said: “We’ll see.” No U.S. military action appeared imminent, and the immediate focus appeared to be on ratcheting up economic penalties, which have had little effect thus far.

In briefs remarks after a White House meeting with Trump and other national security officials, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that America does not seek the “total annihilation” of the North, but then added somberly, “We have many options to do so.”

Mattis said the U.S. will answer any threat from the North with a “massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming.”

Mattis also said the international community is unified in demanding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and that Kim should know Washington’s commitment to Japan and South Korea is unshakeable.

The precise strength of the North’s underground nuclear explosion has yet to be determined. South Korea’s weather agency said the artificial earthquake caused by the explosion was five times to six times stronger than tremors generated by the North’s previous five tests.

Sunday’s detonation builds on recent North Korean advances that include test launches in July of two ICBMs. The North says its missile development is part of a defensive effort to build a viable nuclear deterrent that can target U.S. cities.

North Korea has made a stunning jump in progress for its nuclear and missile program since Kim rose to power following his father’s death in late 2011. The North followed its two tests of Hwasong-14 ICBMs, which, when perfected, could target large parts of the United States, by threatening to launch a salvo of its Hwasong-12 intermediate range missiles toward the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam in August.

It flew a Hwasong-12 over northern Japan last week, the first such overflight by a missile capable of carrying nukes, in a launch Kim described as a “meaningful prelude” to containing Guam, the home of major U.S. military facilities, and vowed to launch more ballistic missile tests targeting the Pacific.

Ahead of the North’s test, photos released by the North Korean government showed Kim talking with his lieutenants as he observed a silver, peanut-shaped device that was apparently the purported thermonuclear weapon destined for an ICBM. The images were taken without outside journalists present and could not be independently verified. What appeared to be the nose cone of a missile could also be seen in one photo, and another showed a diagram on the wall behind Kim of a bomb mounted inside a cone.

The Arms Control Association in the United States said the explosion appeared to produce a yield in excess of 100 kilotons of TNT equivalent, which it said strongly suggests the North tested a high-yield but compact nuclear weapon that could be launched on a missile of intermediate or intercontinental range.

Beyond the science of the blast, North Korea’s accelerating push to field a nuclear weapon that can target all of the United States is creating political complications for the U.S. as it seeks to balance resolve with reassurance to allies that Washington will uphold its decades-long commitment to deter nuclear attack on South Korea and Japan.

That is why some questioned Trump’s jab at South Korea. He tweeted that Seoul is finding that its “talk of appeasement” will not work. The North Koreans, he added, “only understand one thing,” implying military force might be required. The U.S. has about 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea and is obliged by treaty to defend it in the event of war.

Trump also suggested putting more pressure on China, the North’s patron for many decades and a vital U.S. trading partner, in hopes of persuading Beijing to exert more effective leverage on its neighbor. Trump tweeted that the U.S. is considering “stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.” Such a halt would be radical. The U.S. imports about $40 billion in goods a month from China, North Korea’s main commercial partner.

Experts have questioned whether the North has gone too far down the nuclear road to continue pushing for a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, an Obama administration policy goal still embraced by Trump’s White House.

“Denuclearization is not a viable U.S. policy goal,” said Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security, but neither should the U.S. accept North Korea as a nuclear power. “We should keep denuclearization as a long-term aspiration, but recognize privately that it’s unachievable anytime soon.”

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Burns reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey in Washington and Youkyung Lee and Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/027b0b4f3e924f03a17b7d48c836c27e/South-Korea-simulates-attack-on-North’s-nuke-site-after-test

Trump to meet security advisers Sunday over ‘hostile’ N.Korea test

September 3, 2017

AFP

© AFP | US President Donald Trump
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump will convene his national security team Sunday and weigh possibly drastic economic sanctions against North Korea after Pyongyang test-fired what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb able to fit atop a missile.”The national security team is monitoring this closely,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “The president and his national security team will have a meeting to discuss further later today.”

In a tweet Sunday, Trump denounced the powerful test — said to be the North’s first blast to exceed in power the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan — as “very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”

Other world leaders joined in the denunciation. China and Russia sharply condemned it, South Korean President Moon Jae-In called for the “strongest punishment,” and Britain said China should step up economic pressure on the North.

In Washington, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was preparing a package of economic sanctions to do that — measures “that would go as far as cutting off all trade and other business” with the North.

“I’m going to draft a sanctions package and send it to the president for his strong consideration so anybody (who) wants to do trade or business with them will be prevented from doing trade or business with us,” Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”

But he also said Trump had made it clear that “he will consider everything” and “look at all our options.”

While the United States has virtually no trade with the North, the burden of sanctions such as Mnuchin described would fall heavily on China. About 90 percent of North Korean exports go to China.

Early last month the United Nations Security Council adopted a seventh set of sanctions aimed at depriving the North of a billion dollars in income from exports. China approved the measures.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that Beijing lean on the neighboring Pyongyang regime to stop its nuclear and missile development.

But on Sunday he also aimed criticism at the government in Seoul, tweeting that the time for talks was over and that “appeasement” would not work.

North Korea Claims Test of Hydrogen Bomb for Long-Range Missile a Success

September 3, 2017

Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test came after Kim Jong Un showed off what he described as a hydrogen bomb for an ICBM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un discusses the nation’s nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang on Sunday.
KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS

Updated Sept. 3, 2017 10:13 a.m. ET

SEOUL—North Korea said it conducted a sixth and significantly larger nuclear test Sunday, stepping up pressure on President Donald Trump in what is shaping up to be his biggest foreign policy crisis.

In a televised statement, North Korea described the underground explosion, which triggered a large earthquake, as a “perfect success in the test of a hydrogen bomb for an ICBM.” Pyongyang said “the creditability of the operation of the nuclear warhead is fully guaranteed.”

The test came just hours after leader Kim Jong Un showed off what he described as a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The explosion at the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri in North Korea’s mountainous northeast triggered an initial magnitude-6.3 earthquake, followed by a magnitude-4.1 temblor that was possibly caused by a structural collapse, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

While it was unclear what set off the second quake, satellite imagery has captured evidence of tunneling activity at the nuclear test site in recent months. Any structural collapse might have been related to that.

Estimates of the size of Sunday’s initial earthquake varied among different agencies, but the USGS said it had a magnitude of 6.3. According to the logarithmic scale used to measure earthquakes, a 6.3 quake would be 10 times bigger than the one triggered by the North’s previous nuclear test in September 2016, which the USGS said had a magnitude of 5.3.

The latest nuclear test was estimated to have a yield of as high as 100 kilotons—about 10 times the power of the North’s previous test and roughly five times that of the atomic bomb that the U.S. dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, according to Kim Young-woo, a South Korean lawmaker who is chairman of the legislature’s defense committee and received a briefing from military authorities.

A spokesman for the defense ministry declined to comment.

Norsar, a Norwegian nonprofit foundation with a focus on seismology, estimated the explosive yield at 120 kilotons, based on a 5.8-magnitude assessment of the explosion.

South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said after a 90-minute emergency meeting of the National Security Council that Seoul would consider the possible deployment of what he described as the “most powerful strategic assets that the U.S. possesses,” without elaborating, according to a statement from the presidential Blue House.

The phrase “strategic assets” typically refers to stealth bombers, aircraft carriers or possibly nuclear weapons. The U.S. withdrew the last of its nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991.

Mr. Chung, who also spoke by phone with Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, his counterpart at the White House, said that Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, had called for the “strongest punitive measures” against Pyongyang. That includes diplomatic measures and a new United Nations Security Council resolution to “completely isolate North Korea.”

North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States…..

..North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.

South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!

In Sunday morning tweets, Mr. Trump said North Korea’s “words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.” He added: “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.” He also added: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

“The national security team is monitoring this closely,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday morning. “The president and his national security team will have a meeting to discuss further later today. We will provide updates as necessary.”

While North Korea has made steady advances in both its nuclear and missile programs over the course of decades, Mr. Kim has greatly accelerated the pace of testing as the isolated country nears the ability to deliver a nuclear-tipped missile to the continental U.S.

Just this year, it has conducted a string of successful missile tests that have extended the proven range of its arsenal and introduced new capabilities that allow Pyongyang to fire missiles more quickly and with less warning. In July, it test-fired two ICBMs that experts say they believe are capable of reaching many parts of the U.S. mainland.

“The Kim regime made the strategic decision to develop a nuclear armed ICBM that can strike the United States,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. “It is in a sprint to deploy that capability, because it wants the world to recognize it before returning to diplomatic talks, and before sanctions become unbearable.”

However, analysts have been divided on whether North Korea could shrink a nuclear warhead to fit on the tip of a missile. Many also remain skeptical about whether a North Korean warhead can survive the strain of re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

In an earlier statement Sunday, which followed a meeting between Mr. Kim and his top nuclear scientists, North Korea claimed it had already mastered the ability to mount a hydrogen bomb atop a long-range missile.

Mr. Kim was quoted as saying all of the components of its hydrogen bomb were homemade, insulating the nuclear-weapons program from sanctions and “enabling the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons, as many as it wants.” The bomb’s explosive power has a range up to hundreds of kilotons, the North Korean report said.

The claims couldn’t be immediately verified and the report didn’t specify the date of Mr. Kim’s visit. North Korea conducted a pair of nuclear tests last year, including one a year ago this week, that Pyongyang claimed involved hydrogen bombs.

North Korea’s September 2016 test had an estimated yield of about 10 kilotons, higher than in any of its previous four tests but likely too low to have come from a hydrogen bomb.

In photos published by North Korean state media before Sunday’s nuclear test, Mr. Kim gestured toward a bulbous silver device that appeared capable of holding the two nuclear devices that would be necessary for a thermonuclear blast.

A hydrogen bomb—technically known as a thermonuclear weapon—typically uses a smaller, primary atomic explosion to ignite a secondary, much larger blast. The first stage is based on nuclear fission—the splitting of atoms—and the second on nuclear fusion, which combines atoms, smashing them together and unleashing more energy. Additional stages can be added to increase its destructive force.

That makes the H-bomb more powerful than early nuclear weapons that typically used a single-stage blast based only on nuclear fission. Those weapons are known as “pure fission” devices and are thought to have been used in all of North Korea’s first three nuclear tests, which it said involved atomic bombs.

Sunday’s nuclear test came just before Chinese President Xi Jinping was set to give a speech at a summit of the five so-called Brics countries, including Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, being held in the southern Chinese coastal city of Xiamen.

China’s environmental ministry posted online Sunday evening that it has initiated emergency protocol for possible radiation from North Korea at 11:46 a.m. local time (11:46 p.m. EDT), and is currently monitoring radiation on the northeast border.

Zhao Tong, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, said North Korea may have chosen to conduct the nuclear test ahead of China’s leadership reshuffle set for next month, knowing Beijing will emphasize stability before the critical meeting.

“It appears North Korea wants to complete the final step toward perfect nuclear deterrence before the 19th party congress because China wants to prioritize stability ahead of it,” he said. The twice-a-decade Communist Party gathering is expected to start Oct. 18 in Beijing.

If North Korea has achieved the capability to test a thermonuclear weapon, it gives it a more “credible nuclear deterrence,” as it no longer needs very accurate missiles to hit its targets, he said. “That’s a real concern.”

China’s Foreign Ministry condemned the latest North Korean nuclear test in a statement, vowing to “comprehensively implement” U.N. Security Council resolutions on Pyongyang.


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Lee Mi-Seon, a director of South Korea’s National Earthquake and Volcano Center, shows a map of a North Korean location during a briefing about the ‘artificial earthquake’ in North Korea, at the Korea Meteorological Administration in Seoul on Sunday. The ‘artificial quake’ in North Korea on Sunday, thought to be its sixth nuclear test, was five to six times more powerful than the tremor from Pyongyang’s fifth test, the weather agency said.
JUNG YEON-JE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGE
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People in North Korea react to the news of their country’s latest nuclear test, at the Mirae Scientists Street in Pyongyang on Sunday.
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South Korean soldiers sit on the top of a military armored vehicle on the road in the border city of Paju on Sunday.
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South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during an emergency National Security Council meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Sunday. He called for the ‘strongest punishment’ against North Korea, including new United Nations sanctions, after Pyongyang said it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on Sunday.
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Pedestrians in Tokyo look at a TV screen showing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking to reporters after North Korea’s latest nuclear test on Sunday.
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“We strongly urge the DPRK to face up to the firm will of the international society on the issue of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula” and to return to “the track of dialogue,” the ministry said, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country would work together with the U.S., South Korea, China and Russia on a response to the nuclear test.

“We can never accept it. We will need to make a strong protest,” Mr. Abe said.

In North Korea’s statement before the nuclear test, Mr. Kim also threatened to detonate a nuclear device at a high altitude above the U.S. The detonation could emit a brief but powerful electromagnetic signal capable of disrupting swaths of the U.S. electrical grid, experts say.

Fears of such an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack by North Korea have circulated for years among some U.S. policy makers, though others have openly dismissed the possibility that Pyongyang could launch such a strike.

Write to Jonathan Cheng at jonathan.cheng@wsj.com

North Korea Says Hydrogen Bomb Test Was ‘Perfect Success’

September 3, 2017

SEOUL — North Korea said on Sunday it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb designed to be mounted on its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile, producing a greater yield than any of its previous nuclear tests.

The hydrogen bomb test ordered by leader Kim Jong Un was a “perfect success” and was a “meaningful” step in completing the country’s nuclear weapons programme, state television said.

The announcement came hours after a large earthquake that appeared to be man-made was detected near the North’s known nuclear test site, indicating that the reclusive country had conducted its sixth nuclear test.

(Reporting by Jack Kim and Soyoung Kim; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Signs of earthquake suggests North Korea has conducted sixth nuclear test

September 3, 2017

AFP and Reuters

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© STR/KCNA via KNS/AFP | This undated picture released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 3, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) looking at a metal casing with two bulges at an undisclosed location.

To View Video go here: http://www.france24.com/en/20170903-north-korea-earthquake-suggests-sixth-nuclear-test

Video by Marios SOFOS

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-09-03

A shallow, 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook North Korea on Sunday, suggesting it had detonated a sixth nuclear device, hours after it said it had developed an advanced hydrogen bomb that possesses “great destructive power”.

The earthquake struck 75 km (45 miles) north northwest of Kimchaek. Previous recent tremors in the region have been caused by nuclear tests, which if the case this time round, is bound to increase the tension hours after U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talked by phone about the “escalating” nuclear crisis.

The quake was only 10 km deep, the U.S. Geological Survey said, again suggesting a nuclear device.

Witnesses in the Chinese city of Yanji, on the border with North Korea, said they felt a tremor that lasted roughly 10 seconds, followed by an aftershock.

FRANCE 24’S BRIAN KOPCZYNSKI REPORTS FROM BEIJING ON N. KOREA’S APPARENT NEW NUCLEAR TEST

To view Video go here: http://www.france24.com/en/20170903-north-korea-earthquake-suggests-sixth-nuclear-test

The hydrogen bomb report by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency comes amid heightened regional tension following Pyongyang’s two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in July that potentially could fly about 10,000 km (6,200 miles), putting many parts of the mainland United States within range.

Under third-generation leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been pursuing a nuclear device small and light enough to fit on a long-range ballistic missile, without affecting its range and making it capable of surviving re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

North Korea, which carries out its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions, “recently succeeded” in making a more advanced hydrogen bomb that will be loaded on to an ICBM, KCNA said.

“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack according to strategic goals,” KCNA said.

“All components of the H-bomb were homemade and all the processes … were put on the Juche basis, thus enabling the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons as many as it wants,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

Juche is North Korea’s homegrown ideology of self-reliance that is a mix of Marxism and extreme nationalism preached by state founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather. It says its weapons programmes are needed to counter U.S. aggression.

North Korea offered no evidence for its latest claim, and Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, was sceptical.

“Referring to tens to hundreds of kilotons, it doesn’t appear to be talking about a fully fledged H-bomb. It’s more likely a boosted nuclear device,” Kim said, referring to an atomic bomb which uses some hydrogen isotopes to boost explosive yield.

A hydrogen bomb can achieve thousands of kilotons of explosive yield – massively more powerful than some 10 to 15 kilotons that North Korea’s last nuclear test in September was estimated to have produced, similar to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

Hourglass-shaped device

Kim Jong Un, who visited the country’s nuclear weapons institute, “watched an H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM” and “set forth tasks to be fulfilled in the research into nukes,” KCNA said.

Pictures released by the agency showed Kim inspecting a silver-coloured, hourglass-shaped warhead in the visit accompanied by nuclear scientists, with a concept diagram of its Hwasong-14 long-range ballistic missile seen hanging on the wall.

The shape shows a marked difference from pictures of the ball-shaped device North Korea released in March last year, and appears to indicate the appearance of a two-stage thermonuclear weapon, or a hydrogen bomb, said Lee Choon-geun, senior research fellow at state-run Science and Technology Policy Institute.

“The pictures show a more complete form of a possible hydrogen bomb, with a primary fission bomb and a secondary fusion stage connected together in an hourglass shape,” Lee said.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been high since last month when North Korea threatened to launch missiles into the sea near the strategically located U.S. Pacific territory of Guam after Trump said Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States.

North Korea further raised regional tensions on Tuesday by launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, drawing international condemnation.

Trump and Abe spoke by phone and said that in face of an “escalating” situation with North Korea that close cooperation between their countries and with South Korea was needed, Abe told reporters.

Trump told Abe that the United States, as an ally, was 100 percent with Japan, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters.

“The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of close cooperation between the United States, Japan and South Korea in the face of the growing threat from North Korea,” the White House said in a statement. “President Trump noted that he looks forward to continued trilateral coordination on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.”

The United States has repeatedly urged China, the North’s sole major ally, to do more to rein in its neighbour.

North Korea last year conducted its fourth and fifth nuclear tests, saying the fourth in January 2016 was a successful hydrogen bomb test, although outside experts say the claim has not been proved.

Impoverished North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The North regularly threatens to destroy the South and its main ally, the United States.

(REUTERS)

http://www.france24.com/en/20170903-north-korea-earthquake-suggests-sixth-nuclear-test

Related:

North Korea: Kim Jong Un observes missile-ready hydrogen bomb

September 3, 2017

Updated 11:04 PM ET, Sat September 2, 2017

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — North Korea’s regime has “succeeded in making a more developed nuke,” according to the country’s state news agency.

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During a visit to the country’s Nuclear Weapons Institute, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “watched an H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile),” the Korean Central News Agency reported.
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There was no independent confirmation of the claims.
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Kim Jong Un visits the country's Nuclear Weapons Institute in a photo released Sunday by KCNA.

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“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack according to strategic goals,” KCNA reported in English.
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Electromagnetic pulse is an intense wave of electrical energy generated by the detonation of a nuclear weapon.
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“Nuclear EMP has the demonstrated potential to disrupt, damage, or destroy a wide variety of electrical and electronic equipment,” according to the US Department of Energy.
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EMP waves can disable all sorts of electrical devices, but their biggest threat is to the electrical grid and long-haul communications, an Energy Department report says. One blast could knock out power and communications over hundreds or even thousands of kilometers, the report says.
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North Korea has launched two missiles this year that demonstrated intercontinental capabilities, according to analysts. A launch on July 28 showed a missile that North Korea claimed could reach any part of the United States, though analysts said it might fall a bit short of New York, Washington and other East Coast cities.
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Pyongyang last tested a nuclear device in September 2016, at that time saying its test of a 10-kiloton weapon would enable it to produce “a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power.”
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Hydrogen bomb vs atomic bomb
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Atomic bombs use a process called fission. They split plutonium and/or uranium into smaller atoms in a chain reaction that releases massive amounts of energy.

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The A-bombs dropped by the US military on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 killed more than 200,000 people.

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Hydrogen bombs, or H-bombs use fusion, the same process that powers the sun. In a hydrogen (thermonuclear) bomb, “heavy” isotopes of hydrogen are forced together to release a much bigger punch — hundreds or even thousands of times more powerful than the only nuclear weapons that have been used in warfare.

It was the country’s fifth nuclear test and produced twice as much explosive power as the previous test earlier in the year.
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Despite the successful tests, analysts have been uncertain about the ability of Pyongyang to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile and get that warhead to survive the tremendous heat generated on the missile’s re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
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But North Korea boasted about its nuclear missile program in Sunday’s report, saying it has the know-how and materials to make as many weapons as it wants.
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“All components of the H-bomb were 100 percent homemade and all the processes ranging from the production of weapons-grade nuclear materials to precision processing of components and their assembling were indigenously developed, thus enabling the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons as many as it wants,” the report said.
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Sunday’s KCNA report on the new nuclear capability follows a week of escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
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North Koreans Watch Launch pkg ripley_00021327

 http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/02/asia/north-korea-kim-jong-un-nuke-lab-visit/index.html
North Koreans watch missile launch 02:19
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Tuesday, Pyongyang launched an intermediate-range missile, identified by the North Koreans as the Hwasong-12, over Japan.
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North Korean state media claimed a day later that the missile launch was a prelude to more military operations directed at the US island of Guam in the Pacific.
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South Korea responded to that test by staging a live-fire bombing drill simulating the destruction of North Korea’s leadership. Four F-15K jet fighters dropped eight 2,000-pound bombs designed to take out hardened targets in northeastern South Korea.
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South Korea's explosive response to North Korea missile

 http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/02/asia/north-korea-kim-jong-un-nuke-lab-visit/index.html
South Korea’s explosive response to North Korea missile 01:14
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US President Donald Trump warned after the Tuesday launch that “all options are on the table” concerning North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.
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“This regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior,” Trump said.
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“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.”
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Thursday, the US military sent its most-advanced fighter jets, Marine Corps F-35Bs, in a flyover of the Korean Peninsula along with US B-1 bombers and South Korean fighter jets.
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In a statement, US Pacific Command said the flyover was a “direct response to North Korea’s intermediate range ballistic missile launch.”
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North Korea calls bombing drill a 'rash act'

 http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/02/asia/north-korea-kim-jong-un-nuke-lab-visit/index.html
North Korea calls bombing drill a ‘rash act’ 02:28
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North Korea called the flyover a “wild military act” by enemies flustered by the progress Pyongyang has made in its missile program.
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Saturday, the US and South Korea announced they have agreed “in principle” to revise a bilateral treaty that limits the weight and range of the South’s ballistic missiles.
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The move could give South Korea more independence from the United States to react to the threat from North Korea, analysts say.
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North Korea has been test-firing missiles at a rapid pace all year. With each launch, experts say Pyongyang can further refine and perfect its missile technology.
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Includes videos:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/02/asia/north-korea-kim-jong-un-nuke-lab-visit/index.html

Related:

North Korea Has Conducted Its 6th Nuclear Test, South Says

September 3, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test on Sunday, according to the South Korean military, an extraordinary show of defiance by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, against President Trump.

A seismic tremor detected at 12:36 p.m., emanating from the Punggye-ri underground nuclear test in northwestern North Korea, set off a scramble to determine whether the North had carried out another test. The South’s military soon confirmed that it had.

The Defense Ministry estimated that the tremor had a magnitude of 5.7, revising an earlier estimate of 5.6. But the United States Geological Survey’s estimate was much higher, at 6.3.

Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, at a military parade in Pyongyang in April.CreditWong Maye-E/Associated Press

The test came just days after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, sharply escalating tensions in the region. And just hours earlier, the North claimed that it had developed a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile, though it offered no real evidence for that.

Mr. Trump has warned he would unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea if Pyongyang continued to threaten the United States with nuclear missiles.

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan called emergency meetings of their national security councils after the tremor was detected. “If North Korea has conducted a nuclear test, we can never accept that,” Mr. Abe told reporters.

A United States Geological Survey map shows the location of an “explosion” with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3.Credit United States Geological Survey

Earlier in the day, Mr. Abe and Mr. Trump had spoken by telephone and resolved to put more pressure on North Korea.

North Korea has conducted a series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests since 2006. Its previous nuclear tests have produced increasingly larger blasts. The last test, in September 2016, yielded one about as powerful as the bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

In its fourth nuclear test, in January 2016, North Korea claimed to have used a hydrogen bomb. Other countries dismissed the claim for lack of evidence, but experts have said that the North may have tested a “boosted” atomic bomb, in which a small amount of thermonuclear fuel produced a slightly higher explosive yield but fell well short of a true hydrogen bomb.

Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, spoke to reporters after a report that North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test. Credit Kyodo News, via Associated Press

Hours before the tremor was detected on Sunday, North Korea’s state news agency said the country had developed a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile. The report offered no evidence for the claim, other than photos of Kim Jong-un, the country’s leader, inspecting what it said was the weapon.

It was unclear whether such a weapon may have been tested on Sunday. Even South Korea’s estimate of 5.7 magnitude would make the blast considerably larger than the North’s previous one last September, which set off a tremor with an estimated magnitude of 5.2.

Mr. Trump’s aides have concluded that his options in responding to a North Korean nuclear blast are limited. A strike on the North’s main nuclear and missile sites faces the same challenge it always has: the North’s ability to retaliate against Seoul, the South’s capital, which is within range of its artillery.

So for now, Mr. Trump has turned to the same strategy his predecessors have tried: increasing economic pressure and threatening military force.

Another strategic consideration in responding to a nuclear blast is China, which for decades has been the North’s closest ally. While China’s president, Xi Jinping, fears that a collapse in North Korea could lead to a wave of hungry refugees and a scramble for North Korea’s territory and nuclear weapons, he appears to have lost patience with Mr. Kim.