Posts Tagged ‘Intercontinental Ballistic Missile’

North Korea Follows Familiar Playbook With Guam Reversal

August 15, 2017

Cycle of tensions is set for another jolt with next week’s U.S.-South Korea military exercises

In this photo distributed on Tuesday by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is shown visiting his military forces.
In this photo distributed on Tuesday by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is shown visiting his military forces. PHOTO: KOREA NEWS SERVICE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Aug. 15, 2017 10:43 a.m. ET

North Korea’s climbdown from its threat to attack Guam was a product of textbook brinkmanship from Pyongyang, amid economic pressure from Beijing, President Donald Trump’s bellicose rhetoric and an effort by senior U.S. officials to emphasize the need for diplomacy.

But concrete progress is less certain. Pyongyang is expert at rapidly escalating and de-escalating tensions, and the next cycle could begin as early as next week, when American forces begin annual joint exercises with South Korea.

North Korea’s turnaround also does little to address the Trump administration’s longer-term challenge: stopping the country’s quest for an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reliably delivering a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland.

An escalation of threats between Washington and Pyongyang has rattled world leaders, injected uncertainty into markets, and sparked fear of a nuclear showdown. The WSJ’s Shelby Holliday takes a look back at the week. Photo: AP
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Pyongyang’s exact motivations for dialing down tensions are as opaque and subject to debate as its motivation for having threatened Guam in the first place. In addition to concerns about further escalation, they appear to have been influenced by Beijing’s announcement Monday that it would enforce new trade sanctions and diplomatic statements by senior U.S. officials.

Officials in China, Japan, South Korea and many other nations had been alarmed last week when Mr. Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” in response to threats from North Korea, and declared that U.S. military solutions were “locked and loaded.”

In many ways, North Korea’s announcement on Tuesday that it would hold off—for now—on threats to surround Guam with an “enveloping fire” of intermediate-range ballistic missiles follows a familiar pattern in Pyongyang’s playbook.

Beachgoers enjoy Ypao Beach Park in Tamuning, Guam on Tuesday. North Korea threatened an attack near the American territory before backing down this week.
Beachgoers enjoy Ypao Beach Park in Tamuning, Guam on Tuesday. North Korea threatened an attack near the American territory before backing down this week. PHOTO: JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES
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Two years ago, during another August standoff, North Korea issued a 48-hour ultimatum to South Korea to switch off loudspeakers blaring propaganda critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un across the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries, following the explosion of a land mine there that maimed two South Korean soldiers. North Korea threatened to use force to stop the broadcasts.

South Korea ignored the deadline, and days later, North Korea expressed regret for the land mine, dismissed several senior officials and put inter-Korean relations back on what it called a “track of reconciliation and trust.” South Korea shut off its loudspeakers.

In March last year, also during U.S.-South Korea military exercises, Pyongyang threatened to attack Seoul’s presidential palace unless it received an apology from then South Korean President Park Geun-hye. No apology was forthcoming, and the threat never materialized.

North Korea’s threat to Guam was consistent with its record of using strategic brinkmanship to compensate for its relative weakness, said Yang Xiyu, a former Chinese diplomat who has taken part in multilateral talks on North Korea’s nuclear program.

“They try to create a situation where North Korea and the U.S. are at the brink of war and if you want to save the whole world, then you have to return to negotiations,” he said.

The North Korea Crisis

A timeline of the escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang

  • July 4, 2017

    North Korea test-launches its first intercontinental ballistic missile, a weapon capable of hitting the mainland U.S.
  • July 28, 2017

    A North Korean missile flies even higher in a new test, establishing that if launched at a standard trajectory it could hit the contiguous U.S. states and possibly go as far as Denver and Chicago.PHOTO: KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Aug. 5, 2017

    In a show of unanimity, the United Nations Security Council approves new sanctions against North Korea.
  • Aug. 6, 2017

    North Korea calls the sanctions “a frontal attack on our republic and violent infringement on our sovereignty.”
  • Aug. 8, 2017

    President Donald Trump says North Korea will be met with “fire and fury” if it continues threatening the U.S.PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

  • Aug. 9, 2017

    North Korea says it is considering plan to launch four missiles to surround Guam with “enveloping fire.”
  • Aug. 10, 2017

    Mr. Trump ratchets up his rhetoric, saying maybe his threat of fire and fury “wasn’t tough enough.”
  • Aug. 11, 2017

    Mr. Trump tweets that military solutions to the crisis are “in place, locked and loaded.” Separately, Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping discuss North Korea by phone. China says it urged restraint. The U.S. says the leaders affirmed the importance of the new sanctions.
  • Aug. 12, 2017

    The Trump administration announces plan to investigate alleged Chinese intellectual-property theft.
  • Aug. 14, 2017

    China announces ban on imports of coal, iron and seafood from North Korea.
  • Aug. 15, 2017

    North Korea says it has decided not to carry out missile attack on Guam.PHOTO: JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

Source: Staff and news reports

However, Mr. Yang said Pyongyang’s climbdown this time came faster than expected. He gave some of the credit for North Korea’s apparent reversal to China’s rapid implementation on Monday of new United Nations sanctions banning North Korean exports of goods including coal, iron, lead and seafood.

“The significance is that if China can stop major imports like these, then it can do something further too,” he said.

China has resisted U.S. pressure to take bolder measures, such as cutting oil exports to Pyongyang, fearing that might cause the regime to collapse, trigger a flood of refugees into northeastern China and bring U.S. forces closer to its border.

China almost certainly sent back-channel messages to the North Koreans in the past few days warning them against firing missiles toward Guam, said Dennis Wilder, a former senior China analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.

“Kim [Jong Un] has to worry that the newly imposed U.N. sanctions will be combined with unannounced unilateral sanctions from Beijing on such commodities as jet and diesel fuel,” Mr. Wilder said.

Beijing also appeared to indicate displeasure with Pyongyang by proceeding with a long-planned visit to China this week by Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added.

Gen. Dunford signed an agreement with his Chinese counterpart on Tuesday to formalize and increase the level of communication between the U.S. and Chinese militaries. On Wednesday, Gen. Dunford is due to visit China’s Northern Theater Command, which oversees Chinese forces on the North Korean border, according to Chinese and U.S. military officials.

On a visit to Seoul before arriving in Beijing on Tuesday, Gen. Dunford said the U.S. military was supporting efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis, even as it prepared other options.

His comments echoed remarks from other senior administration officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who in recent days have sought to moderate Mr. Trump’s threats toward North Korea.

Some longtime North Korea watchers say that North Korea had likely never intended to launch four missiles toward Guam. The leadership in Pyongyang may also have been encouraged that, while President Trump raised the rhetorical temperature last week, the U.S. refrained from taking any actions that would signal more of a war footing.

North Korea was particularly sensitive about the dispatching of B-1B bombers from the U.S. Air Force base on Guam, the initial stated impetus for the North’s most recent threat, said Euan Graham, director of the international security program at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, an Australian think tank. The U.S. hasn’t conducted any further B-1B flyovers since the threat against Guam.

Mr. Trump’s tough talk could also have spooked the North Koreans into fearing that the regime was truly in danger of unleashing a war against the U.S., said Grant Newsham, a senior research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies in Tokyo.

“Maybe North Korea felt that they had pushed it a little too far, at least for now,” said Mr. Newsham, a retired U.S. Marine colonel. “Now you’ve got a president who is certainly a different kind of president, and when Kim starts talking big, Trump says ‘I see you and raise you one.’ ”

But any lull in tensions could prove ephemeral.

“I don’t think they’ve taken the threat off the table,” said Adam Mount, senior fellow with the left-leaning Center for American Progress think tank in Washington.

The North’s statement now appears to tie a Guam launch to the coming military exercises, Mr. Mount said.

Much could depend on whether the U.S. sends major assets, such as aircraft carriers, to participate, or stages lower-key drills.

Ahead of those exercises, Gen. Vincent Brooks, the top American military commander in South Korea, on Monday played down questions about whether the U.S. was planning to deploy more “strategic assets” to the Korean Peninsula. The phrase “strategic assets” typically refers to nuclear weapons, stealth bombers or aircraft carriers—all of which tend to trigger complaints from Pyongyang.

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-korea-sticks-to-game-plan-in-reversing-threat-to-guam-1502808199

N.Korean missiles based on motor from ex-Soviet plant: report

August 14, 2017

AFP

© KCNA VIS KNS/AFP | A new report suggests that North Korea’s latest missile advances, including its test launch last month of the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, may be due to use of Soviet-designed rocket engines

WASHINGTON (AFP) – North Korea’s recent rapid progress in developing a long-range missile appears to come after it procured Soviet-designed rocket engines from a plant in Ukraine, according to an expert report published Monday.According to Michael Elleman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the missiles used in recent North Korean tests were based on the RD-250 engine once made at a plant in the city of Dnipro.

These could have been bought from corrupt workers and smuggled to North Korea by criminal networks, the report alleges, at some point between the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s current military crisis.

During the Soviet era, the RD-250 was produced at the Yuzhnoye design bureau’s Yuzhmash plant in Dnipro, a city that is today in Kiev government-held central Ukraine, around 150 kilometers (80 miles) from a frontline held by Russian-backed separatists.

Both Ukraine and the company reacted angrily to The New York Times’ account of the report, insisting that Yuzhmash has not produced military rockets since Ukraine’s independence and has no links to North Korea’s nuclear missile program.

But the IISS report itself does not contradict this, suggesting instead that the missile motors may have remained in storage, whether in what is now Russia or independent Ukraine, after the Soviet Union broke up.

“A small team of disgruntled employees or underpaid guards at any one of the storage sites… could be enticed to steal a few dozen engines by one of the many illicit arms dealers, criminal networks, or transnational smugglers operating in the former Soviet Union,” it said.

“The engines (less than two meters tall and one meter wide) can be flown or, more likely, transported by train through Russia to North Korea.”

The report includes pictures issued by Kim Jong-Un’s North Korean regime which appear to show similarities between the latest missiles to be tested and the RD-250 design of a liquid-fuelled rocket.

“This is not to suggest that the Ukrainian government was involved, and not necessarily Yuzhnoye executives,” Elleman wrote in the IISS report.

“Workers at Yuzhnoye facilities in Dnipropetrovsk and Pavlograd were likely the first ones to suffer the consequences of the economic misfortunes, leaving them susceptible to exploitation by unscrupulous traders, arms dealers and transnational criminals operating in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere.”

The Yuzhmash plant’s marketing department said the company “has never before and does not have anything to do with North Korean missile programs of a space or defense nature.”

And Oleksandr Turchynov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defense council, seized on the report to attack Moscow, saying: “We believe this anti-Ukrainian campaign was provoked by Russian special services to cover their participation in North Korean nuclear and missile programs.”

dc-burs/sst

Susan Rice: “We can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea.”

August 12, 2017

North Korea’s substantial nuclear arsenal and improving intercontinental ballistic missile capacity pose a growing threat to America’s security. But we need not face an immediate crisis if we play our hand carefully.

Given the bluster emanating from Pyongyang and Bedminster, N.J., Americans can be forgiven for feeling anxious.

Shortly after adoption of new United Nations sanctions last weekend, North Korea threatened retaliation against the United States “thousands of times” over. Those sanctions were especially potent, closing loopholes and cutting off important funding for the North. August is also when the United States and South Korea conduct major joint military exercises, which always set Pyongyang on edge. In August 2015, tensions escalated into cross-border artillery exchanges after two South Korean soldiers were wounded by land mines laid by North Korea. This juxtaposition of tough sanctions and military exercises has predictably heightened North Korea’s threats.

We have long lived with successive Kims’ belligerent and colorful rhetoric — as ambassador to the United Nations in the Obama administration, I came to expect it whenever we passed resolutions. What is unprecedented and especially dangerous this time is the reaction of President Trump. Unscripted, the president said on Tuesday that if North Korea makes new threats to the United States, “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” These words risk tipping the Korean Peninsula into war, if the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, believes them and acts precipitously.

Either Mr. Trump is issuing an empty threat of nuclear war, which will further erode American credibility and deterrence, or he actually intends war next time Mr. Kim behaves provocatively. The first scenario is folly, but a United States decision to start a pre-emptive war on the Korean Peninsula, in the absence of an imminent threat, would be lunacy.

We carefully studied this contingency. “Preventive war” would result in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of casualties. Metropolitan Seoul’s 26 million people are only 35 miles from the border, within easy range of the North’s missiles and artillery. About 23,000 United States troops, plus their families, live between Seoul and the Demilitarized Zone; in total, at least 200,000 Americans reside in South Korea.

Japan, and almost 40,000 United States military personnel there, would also be in the cross hairs. The risk to American territory cannot be discounted, nor the prospect of China being drawn into a direct conflict with the United States. Then there would be the devastating impact of war on the global economy.

The national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, said last week that if North Korea “had nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States, it’s intolerable from the president’s perspective.” Surely, we must take every reasonable step to reduce and eliminate this threat. And surely there may be circumstances in which war is necessary, including an imminent or actual attack on our nation or our allies.

But war is not necessary to achieve prevention, despite what some in the Trump administration seem to have concluded. History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea — the same way we tolerated the far greater threat of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

It will require being pragmatic.

First, though we can never legitimize North Korea as a nuclear power, we know it is highly unlikely to relinquish its sizable arsenal because Mr. Kim deems the weapons essential to his regime’s survival. The North can now reportedly reach United States territory with its ICBMs. The challenge is to ensure that it would never try.

By most assessments, Mr. Kim is vicious and impetuous, but not irrational. Thus, while we quietly continue to refine our military options, we can rely on traditional deterrence by making crystal clear that any use of nuclear weapons against the United States or its allies would result in annihilation of North Korea. Defense Secretary James Mattis struck this tone on Wednesday. The same red line must apply to any proof that North Korea has transferred nuclear weapons to another state or nonstate actor.

Second, to avoid blundering into a costly war, the United States needs to immediately halt the reckless rhetoric. John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, must assert control over the White House, including his boss, and curb the Trump surrogates whipping up Cuban missile crisis fears.

Third, we must enhance our antimissile systems and other defenses, and those of our allies, which need our reassurances more than ever.

Fourth, we must continue to raise the costs to North Korea of maintaining its nuclear programs. Ratcheting up sanctions, obtaining unfettered United Nations authority to interdict suspect cargo going in or out of the North, increasing Pyongyang’s political isolation and seeding information into the North that can increase regime fragility are all important elements of a pressure campaign.

Finally, we must begin a dialogue with China about additional efforts and contingencies on the peninsula, and revive diplomacy to test potential negotiated agreements that could verifiably limit or eliminate North Korea’s arsenal.

Rational, steady American leadership can avoid a crisis and counter a growing North Korean threat. It’s past time that the United States started exercising its power responsibly.

North Korea says it has no intention of using nuclear weapons against any country “except the U.S.”

August 7, 2017

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MANILA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) — The foreign minister of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Ri Hong-Yo, said on Monday that his country has no intention to use nuclear weapons against any other country except the United States.

Ri, in Manila to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), said DPRK “is a responsible nuclear power and ICBM state,” referring to the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.

“We have no intention to use nuclear weapons or threaten with nuclear weapons against any other country except the U.S., unless it joins action of the U.S. against DPRK,” Ri said in a statement to the ARF.

Ri lambasted the U.S. for “trying to internationalize the issue of Korean Peninsula by abusing the United Nations” by claiming that DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapons is a “global threat.”

He also said that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula was created and developed into the present phase today by the United States.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and suit

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, left, is greeted by his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi prior to their bilateral meeting in the sidelines of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and its Dialogue Partners Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, south Manila, Philippines. Bolstered by new U.N. sanctions, the United States and North Korea’s neighbors are joining in a fresh attempt to isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs, in a global campaign cheered on by U.S. President Donald Trump.

U.S. May Soon Expand U.N. Talks on North Korea Sanctions, Signaling China Deal: Diplomats

August 3, 2017

UNITED NATIONS — The United States could shortly broaden talks on a push for stronger United Nations sanctions on North Korea to include all 15 Security Council members, signaling a likely deal with China on new measures, diplomats said on Thursday.

Since North Korea’s July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the United States has been negotiating with Pyongyang ally China on a draft resolution to impose new sanctions on North Korea, which fired a second ICBM last Friday.

“We have been working very hard for some time and we certainly hope that this is going to be a consensus resolution,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi told Reuters on Thursday.

Some diplomats said the United States could give the draft resolution to all 15 council members as early as Thursday.

Typically, the United States and China have agreed sanctions on North Korea before formally involving other council members. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, China, Russia, France or Britain to be adopted.

The United States has been informally keeping Britain and France in the loop on the negotiations, while U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said China had been sharing the draft and negotiating with Russia.

Haley said on Sunday the United States was “done talking about North Korea” and China must decide if it is willing to back imposing stronger U.N. sanctions.

However, Russia noted on Thursday that the permanent five (P5) veto powers had yet to formally discuss the draft. It was not immediately clear if poor relations between Russia and the United States, which imposed new unilateral sanctions on Russia on Wednesday, would hamper the negotiations.

“Even if there is an agreement between the U.S. and China, it doesn’t mean there is an agreement between the P5 members,” said Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who met with Liu earlier on Thursday and discussed a possible resolution.

“Maybe there is a bilateral agreement (between Beijing and Washington), but that’s not a universal one,” he said, adding that while he was aware of what might be in the resolution he had not seen “the draft as it stands now.”

The U.S. mission to the United Nations declined to comment.

Haley said last week Russia’s engagement on the draft resolution would the “true test.” Moscow has disagreed with assessments by Western powers that Pyongyang has launched two long-range missiles, instead saying they were mid-range.

Diplomats say China and Russia only view a test of a long-range missile or nuclear weapon as a trigger for further possible U.N. sanctions.

North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs and the Security Council has ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear weapons tests and two long-range missile launches.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Philippine President Duterte on North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — He’s a “fool” and a “son of a bitch” who is “playing with dangerous toys.”

August 2, 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest controversial remarks target the North Korean regime, and they come just a few days ahead of his hosting a meeting of foreign diplomats at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum.

In his typical colorful rhetoric, Duterte professed his hatred for war and described North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un as a “fool” and a “son of a bitch” who is “playing with dangerous toys.”

“This Kim Jong Un, a fool…. He is playing with dangerous toys, that fool,” Duterte said in a speech live-streamed on Facebook to tax officials on Wednesday. Then, he commented on Kim Jong Un’s appearance.

“That chubby face that looks kind. That son of a bitch. If he commits a mistake, the Far East will become an arid land. It must be stopped, this nuclear war,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.

kim jong un north korea phillipine duterte GETTY

Phillipine leader Rodrigo Duterte has mocked Kim Jong-un amid rising tensions in the region

Duterte had already made his feelings against Kim Jong Un known in May, during his a call to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump asked Duterte about his opinion of the North Korean ruler. “He is not stable, Mr. President, as he keeps smiling when he explodes a rocket,” Duterte said, according to leaked transcripts of the phone call.

“Every generation has a madman,” Duterte continued. “In our generation, it is Kim Jong Un. You are dealing with a very delicate problem.”

While Wednesday’s remarks are the strongest yet directed at Kim Jong Un, this isn’t the first time Duterte used expletives against world leaders. He infamously spat vitriol against former U.S. President Barack Obama, calling him a “son of a whore” in September—which prompted Obama to cancel a meeting with Duterte—and inviting him to “go to hell” in a speech a month later.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said on Tuesday that the U.S. is not seeking regime change in North Korea, is due to travel to the Philippines later this week to attend the ASEAN meeting, where the issue of Pyongyang’s advancing nuclear capabilities will be high on the agenda, along with maritime security and counterterrorism.

Includes video:

http://www.newsweek.com/kim-jong-un-son-b-chubby-face-philippines-president-duterte-says-645394

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EPA

Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte has also branded Obama a ‘son of a b***h’ in the past

Duterte rants on  Kim Jong Un: That chubby SOB must be stopped

By:  – Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
 / 08:34 PM August 02, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday called North Korean leader Kim Jong a “fool” and  “crazy” for conducting missile tests despite condemnation from the international community.

“Baka nga itong si Kim Jong Un, itong tarantado, you know if that guy — I do not think he is ready, but he is playing with dangerous toys, iyang buang na iyan,” Duterte said during his speech at the 113th founding anniversary of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in Quezon City.

“That chubby face that looks kind. That son of a bitch. If he commits a mistake, the Far East will become an arid land. It must be stopped, this nuclear war,” he added.

The President said the North Korean leader was “playing with dangerous toys.”

“Baka nga ito si Kim Jong-un, ‘yung t*****. You know, if that guy… I do not think that he is ready but he is playing with dangerous toys, ‘yang buang na ‘yan,” he said.

This image made from video of a news bulletin aired by North Korea’s KRT on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, shows what was said to be North Korea leader Kim Jung Un using binoculars to watch the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in North Korea’s northwest. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this photo. North Korea claimed to have tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile in a launch Tuesday, a potential game-changing development in its push to militarily challenge Washington – but a declaration that conflicts with earlier South Korean and US assessments that it had an intermediate range. (Photo by KRT via AP Video)

Duterte said a confrontation with North Korea with the threat of nuclear war was dangerous.

“It must be stopped itong nuclear war because a limited confrontation and it blows up here, sabihin ko sa’yo, the fallout could deplete the soil, its resources at ewan ko kung anong mangyari sa atin,” he said.

In April, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) expressed concerns over the nuclear and missile tests being conducted by North Korea and urged “self-restraint” from the communist nation amid rising tensions in the region.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/919839/president-rodrigo-duterte-north-korea-kim-jong-un

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US caught between rock and a hard place on North Korea

July 31, 2017

By Jonathan Eyal

US says ‘no point’ in UN meeting on North Korea amid show of force

July 31, 2017

AFP

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© Kim Won-Jin / AFP | People watch as coverage of an ICBM missile test is displayed on a screen in a public square in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-31

The United States said Sunday the time for talk over North Korea was “over,” spurning a UN response to Pyongyang’s latest ICBM launch in favour of bomber flights and missile defence system tests.

Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, said there was “no point” in holding a fruitless emergency Security Council session, warning that a weak additional council resolution would be “worse than nothing” in light of the North’s repeated violations.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un boasted of his country’s ability to strike any target in the US after an intercontinental ballistic missile test Friday that weapons experts said could even bring New York into range — in a major challenge to Trump.

US strategic bombers on Saturday flew over the Korean peninsula in a direct response to the launch, and on Sunday American forces successfully tested a missile interception system the US hopes will be installed on the Korean peninsula.

Under Kim’s leadership, North Korea has accelerated its drive towards a credible nuclear strike capability, in defiance of international condemnation and multiple sets of UN sanctions. The US Senate passed new bipartisan sanctions on Pyongyang on Friday.

Haley urged China, Japan and South Korea to tighten the screws on Pyongyang.

“An additional Security Council resolution that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value,” she wrote.

“It sends the message to the North Korean dictator that the international community is unwilling to seriously challenge him.

“China must decide whether it is finally willing to take this vital step. The time for talk is over.”

‘They do NOTHING’

Earlier, US President Donald Trump warned that he would not allow China — the impoverished North’s sole major ally and economic lifeline — to “do nothing” about Pyongyang.

In two tweets, Trump linked trade strains with the Asian giant — marked by a trade deficit of $309 billion last year — to policy on North Korea, after Seoul indicated it could speed up the deployment of a US missile defense system that has infuriated China.

“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk,” Trump wrote.

“We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”

Trump has repeatedly urged China to rein in its recalcitrant neighbor, but Beijing insists dialogue is the only practical way forward.

Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of US treaty ally Japan, also urged Beijing to act — along with Moscow — after telephone talks with Trump on Monday Tokyo time.

The North had “trampled all over” efforts to seek a peaceful solution to the situation and “unilaterally escalated” tensions.

“The international community including China and Russia must take it seriously and step up pressure,” he told reporters.

‘Stern warning’

Pyongyang lauded the developers of the missile at the weekend, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

The US-led campaign only provided “further justification” for the North’s resolve to maintain its weapons programs, Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by KCNA.

The ICBM test “is meant to send a stern warning to the US making senseless remarks, being lost to reason in the frantic sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK,” it said, using an acronym for the North’s official name.

Independent experts say it brings Los Angeles and Chicago within range, and could travel as far as Boston and New York.

Pacific Air Forces commander General Terrence O’Shaughnessy called Pyongyang “the most urgent threat to regional stability.”

“If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing,” he said.

In a 10-hour joint mission at the weekend US B-1B bombers along with fighter jets from the South Korean and Japanese air forces practiced intercept and formation drills.

It was followed by the successful test of the missile defense system, with the launch of a medium-range missile over the Pacific that was “detected, tracked and intercepted” in Alaska.

In a standard response to the test, Beijing urged restraint by all sides, after the US and South Korea conducted a live-fire exercise using surface-to-surface missiles.

(AFP)

Related:

On North Korea: Shinzo Abe and Donald Trump Vow Less Talk, More Action

July 31, 2017

TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday and agreed on the need for more action on North Korea just hours after the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said Washington is “done talking about North Korea”.

Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement China must decide if it is willing to back imposing stronger U.N. sanctions on North Korea over Friday night’s long-range missile test, the North’s second this month.

Any new U.N. Security Council resolution “that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value”, Haley said, adding that Japan and South Korea also needed to do more.

Abe told reporters after his conversation with Trump that repeated efforts by the international community to find a peaceful solution to the North Korean issue had yet to bear fruit in the face of Pyongyang’s unilateral “escalation”.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

“International society, including Russia and China, need to take this seriously and increase pressure,” Abe said. He said Japan and the United States would take steps toward concrete action but did not give details.

Abe and Trump did not discuss military action against North Korea, nor what would constitute the crossing of a “red line” by Pyongyang, Deputy Chief Cabinet spokesman Koichi Hagiuda told reporters.

A White House statement after the phone call said the two leaders “agreed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and other countries near and far”.

It said Trump “reaffirmed our ironclad commitment” to defend Japan and South Korea from any attack, “using the full range of United States capabilities”.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the talk between Abe and Trump lasted for about 50 minutes.

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“The role that China can play is extremely important,” he told a news conference.

“Japan intends to call on those countries involved – including the U.N., the United States and South Korea to start, but also China and Russia – to take on additional duties and actions to increase pressure,” Suga said, declining to give details about what those steps might be.

“VERY DISAPPOINTED”

North Korea said on Saturday it had conducted another successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that proved its ability to strike the U.S. mainland, drawing a sharp warning from Trump and a rebuke from China.

Trump later wrote on Twitter that he was “very disappointed” in China and that Beijing profits from U.S. trade but had done “nothing” for the United States with regards to North Korea, something he would not allow to continue.

Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming, asked at a news conference in Beijing about Trump’s tweets, said there was no link between the North Korea issue and China-U.S. trade.

“We think the North Korea nuclear issue and China-US trade are issues that are in two completely different domains. They aren’t related. They should not be discussed together,” Qian said.

State-run Chinese tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial on Monday Trump’s “wrong tweet” was of no help, and that Trump did not understand the issues.

“Pyongyang is determined to develop its nuclear and missile program and does not care about military threats from the U.S. and South Korea. How could Chinese sanctions change the situation?” said the paper, which is published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is on vacation, planned to have a phone call with Trump soon, a senior official at the Presidential Blue House said.

“If the two heads of state talk, they will likely discuss their respective stances on North Korea, the U.S.-(South Korea) alliance’s standpoint on North Korea and other things including how to impose heavy sanctions,” the official said.

The United States flew two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean peninsula in a show of force on Sunday in response to the missile test and the July 3 launch of the “Hwasong-14” rocket, the Pentagon said. The bombers took off from a U.S. air base in Guam and were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets during the exercise.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” Pacific Air Forces commander General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said in a statement.

“If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”

(Additional reporting by Chang-ran Kim in TOKYO, Ben Blanchard and Elias Glenn in BEIJING, Christine Kim in SEOUL and Steve Holland in WASHINGTON; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Paul Tait)

US B-1 bombers overfly Korean Peninsula after North’s ICBM test — Donald Trump scolds China adding, “China could easily solve this problem!”

July 30, 2017

Two B-1 US air force bombers have flown over South Korea in a show of force after North Korea’s latest ballistic missile tests. Meanwhile, US President Trump slammed China for “doing nothing” to rein in Pyongyang.

Südkorea US-Bomber B-1B (picture-alliance/AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The B-1 bombers were escorted by South Korean fighter jets during a 10-hour mission on Saturday. The US Pacific Air Force said in a statement that the aircraft returned to the Andersen base in Guam after performing the act.

US air force said the mission was a “direct response” to North Korea’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.

– Rockets boost North Korean economy

– North Korea’s war of words with the world

Infografik North Korea's missile ranges

“Diplomacy remains the lead; however, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario,” General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of the US Pacific Air Force, said.

“If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing,” O’Shaughnessy added.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un announced Saturday that Pyongyang carried out its second ICBM test. He claimed the missile demonstrated North Korea’s ability to strike any target in the United States.

Read: Which US cities could North Korea’s ballistic missile hit?

China condemned North’s latest ICBM test and urged restraint.

Trump slams China

But US President Donald Trump is unsatisfied with China’s efforts to rein in its communist ally.

Trump said he would not allow Beijing to “do nothing” on North Korea.

“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do nothing for us with North Korea, just talk,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem,” Trump said.

I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet…

…they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!

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North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows the intercontinental ballistic missile launched from an undisclosed site in the North on July 28, 2017. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Read: Is Trump using North Korea threat as trade leverage with South?