Posts Tagged ‘ICBMs’

Boeing Gets $6.6 Billion From Pentagon to Expand Missile Defense

February 1, 2018

Bloomberg

By Anthony Capaccio

  • Missile Defense Agency extends Boeing management by six years
  • Contract calls for buying 20 more Orbital ATK interceptors
Image result for Orbital ATK interceptors, photos
Boeing Wins $6.6 Billion Missile Defense Contract

Boeing Co. has received a $6.56 billion contract to continue managing the U.S. missile defense system intended to stop North Korean or Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Defense Department said.

The sole-source contract announced Wednesday extends Boeing’s management role for six more years, through 2023, and brings its total contract to $12.6 billion. It includes overseeing the addition of 20 ground-based interceptors to the 44 already stationed in California and Alaska.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to perfect a nuclear warhead and a missile that could hit the U.S. mainland, adding to the urgency of U.S. missile defense efforts. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said, “North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from ever happening.”

Orbital ATK, Raytheon

Boeing oversees development and support of the network of interceptors, sensors and communications links, sharing funding with subcontractors: Orbital ATK Inc. builds the rocket booster, Raytheon Co. makes the hit-to-kill warhead, Northrop Grumman Corp. provides the battle management system and Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc.makes the warhead’s in-flight guidance system.

 Image result for Fort Greely, Alaska, photos

The Pentagon released an initial $213.8 million Wednesday as a modification to Boeing’s current $6.14 billion management, development and sustainment contract, which expires this year.

As the Missile Defense Agency’s prime contractor, Boeing will manage the accelerated construction of a new 20-missile field at Fort Greely, Alaska, plus the additional interceptors. Boeing also will oversee development and integration of an upgraded warhead known as the “Redesigned Kill Vehicle.”

Confidence in the $36 billion missile defense system was bolstered last week by a new assessment from the Pentagon’s operational testing director based on the successful interception in May of a dummy warhead. The system “demonstrated the capability to defend the U.S. homeland from a small number” of ICBMs launched “with simple countermeasures when the” U.S. employs “its full sensors/command and control architecture,” Robert Behler said in a report to top Pentagon officials.

Laura Grego, senior scientist for the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists, questioned even that carefully hedged formulation. The system has destroyed “its target fewer than half the 17 times it has been tested, and its record is not improving over time. Since the 2004 deployment decision, the system has a three-for-nine record,” including the test in May, she said in an email.

Kim’s Claims

On Tuesday, General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that North Korea’s capabilities aren’t yet as advanced as Kim purports.

North Korea has yet to demonstrate essential capabilities for an ICBM that could hit the U.S. mainland, including maneuvering in space, an adequate guidance system and housing that could protect a nuclear warhead from burning up on re-entry.

The capability gap provides “an opening to have” a conversation with North Korea about a possible missile test freeze, Selva said.

While North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is the most advanced threat, Trump has vowed to seek new sanctions on Iran for its continued development of ballistic missiles. Iran maintains it has no intention to develop nuclear weapons, and its nuclear program is constrained by its 2015 deal with the U.S. and other world powers.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-31/boeing-gets-6-6-billion-from-pentagon-to-expand-missile-defense

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U.S. general says North Korea not demonstrated all components of ICBM

January 30, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea’s nuclear program has made some strides in recent months, but the country has not yet demonstrated all the components of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), including a survivable re-entry vehicle, the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday.

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“What he has not demonstrated yet are the fusing and targeting technologies and survivable re-entry vehicle,” U.S. Air Force General Paul Selva said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“It is possible he has them, so we have to place the bet that he might have them, but he hasn’t demonstrated them,” Selva, the second highest-ranking U.S. military official, added.

Reporting by Idrees AliEditing by Chizu Nomiyama

Should Beijing be worried about India’s latest missile launch?

January 19, 2018

New Delhi is making giant strides in its nuclear weapons development, but observers say there are many reasons for it showing off its growing military might

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 7:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 9:15pm
South China Morning Post

With the latest successful test-firing of a long-range nuclear-capable missile – with the scope to land a warhead on almost any part of the Chinese mainland – India moved another step closer to establishing an effective deterrent against Beijing’s rising military might, observers said.

The Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was launched on Thursday from Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal, according to a statement released by India’s defence ministry.

With a range of up to 5,000km (3,106 miles), it has the capability to carry a nuclear warhead to almost anywhere in Asia, or even parts of Europe and Africa, The Times of India reported.

Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a research associate at the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, said the successful launch marked another milestone for New Delhi in the development of an effective nuclear deterrent.

“China is a potential threat in the long term, and India, like many other countries, is strengthening its defence capabilities,” he said.

But New Delhi was not only concerned with what Beijing was doing, Chaturvedy said. It also had its own agenda.

“India’s defence programme is very systematic. China’s aggressive behaviour may be an important factor, but it’s not the only factor. India is a rising power and needs a strong defence force.”

Song Zhongping, a former instructor with the Second Artillery Corps of the People’s Liberation Army – China’s military – said that the timing of India’s missile launch reflected the rising tensions around the world, not least with regards to the situation in North Korea.

The Times of India said the successful launch of the Agni-V missile would also add weight to New Delhi’s case for becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Its five incumbents – China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and France – are all nuclear powers.

Beyond the world situation, Song, who is now a military commentator with Phoenix Television in Hong Kong, said that Beijing should not underestimate India’s growing nuclear capabilities.

“Agni-V is not only a strategic weapon, but also a real battle weapon with high mobility and stealth capabilities,” he said. “If it goes into mass production it would pose a great challenge to China.”

Thursday’s test flight was the missile’s fifth, and its success suggested that it would soon be put into service, he said.

The Agni-V, which is capable of carrying a single nuclear warhead, was also a stepping stone to the Agni-VI, which would have the capacity to carry multiple devices, Song said.

“It’s likely that the new generation of ICBMs, the Agni-VI, will be equipped with multiple, independently targetable re-entry warheads,” he said. “Once New Delhi has that capability, it will be a great threat to Beijing.”

Despite any implied hostility, Swaran Singh, a professor in the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said that India’s possession of a greater nuclear capability might actually be a fillip for closer Sino-Indian relations.

“Until the Agni-V is fully operational … India remains vulnerable as it would not be able to reach key targets across China,” he said.

“But its deployment may encourage China to initiate nuclear risk reduction and security- and confidence-building measures with India, which in turn could be seen as China’s endorsement of India’s status as a nuclear power.”

Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said India developed the Agni family of missiles in the 1980s to give it a military advantage over China.

“That’s why Beijing developed its anti-missile system,” he said.

 http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2129720/should-beijing-be-worried-about-indias-latest-missile
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North Korea: Kim calls for mass production of nukes, ballistic missiles

January 1, 2018

In this May 2, 2017 photo, a man watches a television screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. (AP)

SEOUL: Kim Jong-Un urged North Korea to mass-produce nuclear warheads and missiles in a defiant New Year message Monday suggesting he would continue to accelerate a rogue weapons program that has stoked international tensions.

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Pyongyang dramatically ramped up its efforts to become a nuclear power in 2017, despite a raft of international sanctions and increasingly bellicose rhetoric from the United States.
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Kim, who said Monday that he always had a nuclear launch button on his desk, has presided over multiple missile tests in recent months and the North’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test — which it said was a hydrogen bomb — in September.
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“We must mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and speed up their deployment,” said Kim in his annual address to the nation, reiterating his claims that North Korea had achieved its goal of becoming a nuclear state.
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The North says its weapons program is designed to be able to target the US mainland and tested increasingly longer-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) throughout 2017.
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US President Donald Trump has responded to each test with his own amplified declarations, threatening to “totally destroy” Pyongyang and taunting Kim, saying the North Korean leader was on “a suicide mission.”
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But far from persuading Kim to give up his nuclear drive, analysts say Trump’s tough talk may have prompted the North Korean leader to drive through with his dangerous quest.
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“(The North) can cope with any kind of nuclear threats from the US and has a strong nuclear deterrence that is able to prevent the US from playing with fire,” Kim said Monday.
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“The nuclear button is always on my table. The US must realize this is not blackmail but reality.”
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His comments come after a former top US military officer warned that the United States is now closer than it has ever been to a nuclear war with the North, with little hope of a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
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Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, said the Trump presidency had helped create “an incredibly dangerous climate,” in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
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“We’re actually closer, in my view, to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we have ever been,” he said.
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Pyongyang claims it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself from a hostile US and sees American military activities in the region — such as the joint drills it takes part in with the South — as a precursor to invasion.
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As tensions spiked in the region in recent months, the international community has slapped a range of sanctions on the North aimed at curbing its weapons program and squeezing the country’s leadership.
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In December the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed new, US-drafted sanctions to restrict oil supplies vital for the impoverished state.
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The third raft of sanctions imposed last year, which the North slammed as an “act of war,” also received the backing of China — the North’s sole major ally and economic lifeline.
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But the embargoes have shown little sign of dampening Kim’s enthusiasm for his weapons drive.
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Observers say Washington must open talks with the North to defuse tensions — but that remains a challenge.
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The North has always said it will only deal with the US from a position of equality as a nuclear state.
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Washington has long insisted that it will not accept a nuclear-armed North and Pyongyang must embark on a path toward denuclearization before any talks.

North Korea leader says he has ‘nuclear button’ on his desk

January 1, 2018

AFP

© JUNG Yeon-Je / AFP | People watch a television news broadcast showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s New Year’s speech, at a railway station in Seoul on January 1, 2018

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2018-01-01

Kim Jong Un on Monday warned the United States that he has a “nuclear button” on his desk ready for use if North Korea is threatened, but offered an olive branch to South Korea, saying he was “open to dialogue” with Seoul.

After a year dominated by fiery rhetoric and escalating tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, Kim used his televised New Year’s Day speech to call for lower military tensions on the Korean peninsula and improved ties with the South.

“When it comes to North-South relations, we should lower the military tensions on the Korean Peninsula to create a peaceful environment,” Kim said. “Both the North and the South should make efforts.”

Kim said he will consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics Games to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.

“North Korea’s participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to show unity of the people and we wish the Games will be a success. Officials from the two Koreas may urgently meet to discuss the possibility,” Kim said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said North Korea’s participation will ensure safety of the Pyeongchang Olympics and proposed last month that Seoul and Washington postpone large military drills that the North denounces as a rehearsal for war until after the Games.

Rather than encouraging U.S. measures that “threaten the security and peace of the Korean peninsula,” Seoul should instead respond to overtures from the North, Kim said.

A spokesperson for Moon’s office said they were still reviewing Kim’s New Year’s Day speech.

Asked by reporters to comment on Kim’s speech, U.S. President Donald Trump simply said “we’ll see, we’ll see”, as he walked into New Year’s eve celebration at Mar-a-Lago, his elite resort in Florida.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kim’s New Year’s address.

“Reality, not a threat”

North Korea tested intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September in defiance of international warnings and sanctions, raising fears of a new conflict on the Korean peninsula.

After testing what Pyongyang said was its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), capable of delivering a warhead to anywhere in the continental United States, at the end of November, Kim declared his nuclear force complete.

He continued that theme in his New Year’s address, announcing that North Korea would focus on “mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment” in the coming year.

This, Kim said, made it impossible for the United States to start a war against North Korea.

“The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat,” he said, while emphasising that “these weapons will be used only if our security is threatened.”

Kim’s customary New Year’s speech is closely watched for indications of the policy direction the unpredictable and reclusive leader is likely to pursue in the coming year.

Beyond listing military accomplishments, Kim also outlined economic gains as part of his two-pronged policy of developing his country’s economy and military.

Despite increased international sanctions imposed over the weapons programme, North Korea made progress in areas like fabrics, shoes and tractors, Kim said.

While Kim is keen to declare his weapons programme a success, he is unlikely to completely end his contentious testing regime, said Scott LaFoy, a ballistic missile analyst at the website NK Pro, which monitors North Korea.

“I’m still very skeptical of the ‘complete’ thing they’ve been talking about, if only because we’ve seen so much activity in regards to the submarine launched ballistic missile programme,” he said. “I think a slowdown (in testing) is very realistic, though.”

Kim seems likely to tone down his weapons testing at least ahead of the Olympics, said Nam Sung-wook, a North Korea expert at Korea University in Seoul.

“What North Korea is most afraid of is being forgotten in the international arena,” he said. “Without launching missiles and conducting a nuclear test, North Korea will be in the spotlight just by attending the Winter Olympics.”

(REUTERS)

US sanctions North Korean missile experts, Russia offers to mediate

December 27, 2017

In this Dec. 23, 2017, photo distributed on Dec. 24, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the conference of cell chairpersons of the ruling party in Pyongyang. (AP)

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW: The United States announced sanctions on two North Korean officials behind their country’s ballistic missile program on Tuesday, while Russia reiterated an offer to mediate to ease tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

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The new US steps were the latest in a campaign aimed at forcing North Korea — which has defied years of multilateral and bilateral sanctions — to abandon a weapons program aimed at developing nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States.
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The US Treasury named the officials as Kim Jong Sik and Ri Pyong Chol. It said Kim was reportedly a key figure in North Korea’s efforts to switch its missile program from liquid to solid fuel, while Ri was reported to be a key official in its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) development.
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“Treasury is targeting leaders of North Korea’s ballistic missile programs, as part of our maximum pressure campaign to isolate (North Korea) and achieve a fully denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
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The largely symbolic steps block any property or interests the two might have within US jurisdiction and prohibit any dealings by US citizens with them.
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The move followed new United Nations sanctions announced last Friday in response to North Korea’s Nov. 29 test of an ICBM that Pyongyang said put all of the US mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.
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Those sanctions sought to further limit North Korea’s access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad.
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North Korea declared the UN steps to be an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade.
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The standoff between the United States and North Korea has raised fears of a new conflict on the Korean peninsula, which has remained in a technical state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
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Washington has said that all options, including military ones, are on the table in dealing with North Korea. It says it prefers a diplomatic solution, but that North Korea has given no indication it is willing to discuss denuclearization.
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On Tuesday, the Kremlin, which has long called for the two sides to hold negotiations, said it was ready to act as a mediator if the United States and North Korea were willing for it to play such a role.
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“Russia’s readiness to clear the way for de-escalation is obvious,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
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Asked to comment on the offer, a spokesman for the US State Department, Justin Higgins, said the United States “has the ability to communicate with North Korea through a variety of diplomatic channels,” and added:
“We want the North Korean regime to understand that there is a different path that it can choose, however it is up to North Korea to change course and return to credible negotiations.”
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who made a similar offer on Monday, told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call on Tuesday that “Washington’s aggressive rhetoric” and beefing up of its military presence in the region had heightened tensions and was unacceptable, Russia’s foreign ministry said.
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It said Lavrov underscored the need for “the fastest move to the negotiating process from the language of sanctions.”
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Another State Department spokesman, Michael Cavey, said Washington remained open to talks, but the onus was on North Korea “to take sincere and meaningful actions toward denuclearization and refrain from further provocations.”
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He said North Korea had “made clear through its words and actions it is not interested in dialogue at this stage.”
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South Korea’s Unification Ministry forecast on Tuesday that North Korea would look to open negotiations with the United States next year while continuing to seek recognition as a de facto nuclear power.
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Washington has stressed the need for all countries, especially Russia, and China — North Korea’s main trading partner — to fully implement sanctions, including by cutting off oil supplies.
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According to Chinese customs data, China exported no oil products to North Korea in November, apparently going above and beyond UN sanctions imposed earlier this year.
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Beijing also imported no North Korean iron ore, coal or lead in November, the second full month of those trade sanctions, the data showed.
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Beijing has not disclosed its crude exports to North Korea for several years, but industry sources say it still supplies about 520,000 tons, or 3.8 million barrels, a year to the country via an aging pipeline.
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North Korea also sources some of its oil from Russia.
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Trade between North Korea and China has slowed through the year, particularly after China banned coal purchases in February.
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Chinese exports of corn to North Korea in November also slumped, down 82 percent from a year earlier to 100 tons, the lowest since January. Exports of rice plunged 64 percent to 672 tons, the lowest since March.
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China has expressed concern about the humanitarian effects of sanctions, and has repeatedly called for constructive efforts to ease tensions.

China halts oil product exports to North Korea in November as sanctions bite

December 26, 2017

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Chinese oil refinery in Wuhan, Hubei province. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo Reuters

By Ryan Woo and Muyu Xu

BEIJING (Reuters) – China exported no oil products to North Korea in November, Chinese customs data showed, apparently going above and beyond sanctions imposed earlier this year by the United Nations in a bid to limit petroleum shipments to the isolated country.

Tension has flared this year over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, pursued in defiance of years of U.N. resolutions. Last week, the U.N. Security Council imposed new caps on trade with North Korea, including limiting oil product shipments to just 500,000 barrels a year.

Beijing also imported no iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea in November, the second full month of the latest trade sanctions imposed by U.N.

China, the main source of North Korea’s fuel, did not export any gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to its isolated neighbor last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.

Beijing’s move to turn off the taps completely is rare. In March 2003, China suspended oil supplies to North Korea for three days after Pyongyang fired a missile into waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Chinese exports of corn to North Korean in November also slumped, down 82 percent from a year earlier to 100 tonnes, the lowest since January. Exports of rice plunged 64 percent to 672 tonnes, the lowest since March.

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Rice farmers in North Korea

Trade between North Korea and China has slowed through the year, particularly after China banned coal purchases in February. In November, China’s trade with North Korea totaled $388 million, one of the lowest monthly volumes this year.

China has renewed its call on all countries to make constructive efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, urging the use of peaceful means to resolve issues.

But tension flared again after North Korea on Nov. 29 said it had successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile test that put the U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile Chinese exports of liquefied petroleum gas to North Korea, often used for cooking, rose 58 percent in November from a year earlier to 99 tonnes. Exports of ethanol, which can be turned into a biofuel, gained 82 percent to 3,428 cubic meters.

(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Ryan Woo; Additional reporting by Meng Meng and Hallie Gu; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

China calls for constructive efforts to ease Korean tensions

December 25, 2017

China called on Monday for all countries to make constructive efforts to ease tension after North Korea said the latest U.N. sanctions against it are an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade.

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FILE PHOTO: A Chinese flag is seen in front of the Friendship bridge over the Yalu River connecting the North Korean town of Sinuiju and Dandong in China’s Liaoning Province on April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – China called on Monday for all countries to make constructive efforts to ease tension after North Korea said the latest U.N. sanctions against it are an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday for its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad.

The U.S.-drafted resolution also caps crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year and commits the Council to further reductions if it were to conduct another nuclear test or launch another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korea on Sunday rejected the resolution, calling it an act of war.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the resolution appropriately strengthened the sanctions but was not designed to affect ordinary people, normal economic exchanges and cooperation, or humanitarian aid.

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 Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

Hua noted it also called for the use of peaceful means to resolve the issue and that all sides should take steps to reduce tension.

“In the present situation, we call on all countries to exercise restraint and make proactive and constructive efforts to ease the tensions on the peninsula and appropriately resolve the issue,” she told a daily news briefing.

The North’s old allies China and Russia both supported the latest U.N. sanctions.

Tension has been rising over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

In November, North Korea demanded a halt to what it called “brutal sanctions”, saying a round imposed after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 constituted genocide.

North Korea on Nov. 29 said it successfully tested a new ICBM that put the U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

U.S. diplomats have made clear they are seeking a diplomatic solution but proposed the new, tougher sanctions resolution to ratchet up pressure on North Korea’s leader.

China, with which North Korea does some 90 percent of its trade, has repeatedly called for calm and restraint from all sides and for a return to talks.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)

North Korea Pledges to Rival U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

December 22, 2017

Pyongyang appears to rule out eventual denuclearization as it condemns Trump administration’s new national-security strategy

People in Pyongyang watched footage in September of the launch of a North Korean rocket.
People in Pyongyang watched footage in September of the launch of a North Korean rocket. PHOTO: KIM WON-JIN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

SEOUL—North Korea condemned the U.S.’s new national-security strategy and vowed to build a nuclear arsenal to match Washington’s ahead of a United Nations Security Council vote that could expand sanctions on the regime.

The comments, released via Pyongyang’s state media Friday, appeared to rule out eventual denuclearization, a goal long sought by the U.S. and its allies. Analysts in Seoul cautioned against drawing conclusions, saying the North often engages in bluffing.

The regime characterized its statement as a direct response to the revised security strategy outlined in recent days by President Donald Trump, which it described as “criminal.” The security strategy, released Monday, emphasized a need to confront perceived challenges to American power, including the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.

North Korea reiterated previous defenses of its nuclear-weapons program and its right to exist in the face of U.S. “nuclear threats and blackmail,” in remarks it attributed to a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

“We are convinced that the only way to ensuring a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula is to have the deterrence that ensures a practical balance of force with the U.S.,” it said, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

Pyongyang has made several weapons-development breakthroughs this year, launching longer-range missiles capable of hitting the U.S. mainland and detonating its most powerful nuclear weapon to date.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said North Korea would have to cease its nuclear tests to “earn its way” back to talks. He also later said the U.S. would continue its pressure campaign until the country agrees to verify it has scrapped its nuclear-weapons program.

The White House also signaled it hasn’t ruled out using military force to end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

“The longer we ignore threats from countries determined to proliferate and develop weapons of mass destruction, the worse such threats become, and the fewer defensive options we have,” the national-security strategy said.

On Friday, North Korea said the Trump administration had an “ulterior motive” behind its repeated talk of dialogue and that previous bilateral and multilateral talks involving the U.S. hadn’t worked.

“The previous U.S. administrations threw all the agreements reached with us into a garbage can,” the statement said, before accusing the U.S. of trying to “obliterate” North Korea.

Analysts in South Korea, though, said the North engages in bluffing with respect to a return to peace talks.

Cho Young-key, a North Korea scholar and Korea University professor, said Pyongyang has often voiced hope for talks before withdrawing its bid, as well as voicing its lack of interest in talks before proposing them.

The North also customarily releases statements on U.S. policy decisions that affect it, meaning the latest statement is likely a routine response, said Lee Jong-seok, a former South Korean government official and senior fellow at the Sejong Institute, a private think tank in Seoul.

Friday’s statement came hours before the U.N. Security Council is set to vote on a proposed resolution that would further slash North Korea’s fuel imports in retaliation for the regime’s latest ballistic-missile test.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-korea-pledges-to-rival-u-s-nuclear-arsenal-1513940423?mod=e2fb

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UN Security Council to decide on new North Korea sanctions — Tillerson says China and Russia’s North Korea ties undermine peace efforts

December 22, 2017

The new proposed resolution targets oil exports and expatriate workers sent to make money for the regime of Kim Jong Un. The US-authored draft was reportedly negotiated on with China ahead of the vote.

Barbed wire in front of a North Korean flag (Getty Images/C. Chu)

The United Nations Security Council scheduled a vote for Friday over a new raft of sanctions on North Korea. The US-drafted proposal drastically caps oil exports to the isolated country in a bid to economically cripple Pyongyang into abandoning its missile program.

 Rex Tillerson: China and Russia’s North Korea ties undermine peace efforts
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Rex Tillerson

The measures in the draft circulated to the Council’s 15 member states also included the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within the next year, according to Reuters news agency. Experts believe that tens of thousands of North Koreans are forced to carry out manual labor in foreign countries to make money for the regime of Kim Jong Un.

Read more: Where did North Korea get its missile technology?

The resolution also seeks to ban about 90 percent of refined petroleum products to North Korea, capping exports to Pyongyang at 500,000 barrels a year.

Washington has long been calling on Beijing to stop oil exports to Pyongyang, with China always stopping short of imposing what the US deems truly painful sanctions.

The proposed sanctions follow North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile at the end of November. The North Korean government said the missile was capable of hitting any part of the United States. It was the 20th time the North launched a ballistic missile this year.

Although it remained unclear how China would vote on the resolution, UN diplomats told reporters that China and the United States had negotiated the language of the draft last week.

If the sanctions pass, it would be the 10th such resolution against North Korea over its weapons program in the past 11 years. The last sanctions resolution was adopted in September after North Korea’s sixth and strongest nuclear test.

On Thursday, Kim Jong Un proclaimed in a speech that “nobody can deny” that his country “poses a substantial nuclear threat to the US.”

http://www.dw.com/en/un-security-council-to-decide-on-new-north-korea-sanctions/a-41898445

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