Posts Tagged ‘Kim Jong-Un’

US-South Korea hold military drills amid tension

August 21, 2017

BBC News

South Korean protestors hold placards that read "stop war exercise" during a rally denouncing the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) joint South Korea-US military exercise, near the US embassy in Seoul on 21 August 2017

The US and South Korea are conducting annual military drills which consistently infuriate Pyongyang, despite appeals to halt the exercise.

Last week North Korea appeared to back down from a threat to send missiles towards the US Pacific island of Guam, but said it would watch US actions.

It has already condemned these drills as pouring “gasoline on fire”.

Washington describes the drills as defensive in nature, but the North sees them as preparation for invasion.

China and Russia had in July proposed a halt on military exercises in exchange for a freeze on missile tests.

But Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that the military exercises were “not currently on the table as part of the negotiation at any level” and the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercises were going ahead as planned.

About 17,500 US troops and 50,000 South Korean troops are involved in the exercises, which will last for about 10 days.

After North Korea’s threats against Guam and an almost unprecedented war of words over Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests, analysts have warned that the joint drills may be seen as a provocation at a particularly sensitive time.

On Sunday an editorial in North Korea’s official government newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, said the exercises would worsen the state of the peninsula and warned of an “uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war”.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in responded on Monday that Pyongyang should not use the exercises “as a pretext for aggravating the situation”, reported Yonhap news agency.

The drills have also been met with some opposition in South Korea, where protests were held on Monday.

Observers have been watching the north and south watch each other for more than 60 years.

The US and South Korea hold two sets of war games every year, involving a massive number of troops and military hardware.

Foal Eagle/Key Resolve is usually held in spring, while Ulchi-Freedom Guardian (UFG) is in autumn.

Both involve land, sea and air military drills and computer simulations. Held in South Korea, they have also involved practice drills for terror and chemical attacks in recent years.

South Korean marines participate in landing operation referred to as Foal Eagle joint military exercise with US troops Pohang seashore on 2 April 2017 in Pohang, South Korea.
Foal Eagle, held earlier this year, saw US and South Korean troops practice a beach landing. GETTY IMAGES

They can also sometimes involve troops from other allies – last year’s UFG saw the participation of nine other countries.

What has the North said?

Both events routinely anger North Korea, which insists that the exercises are rehearsals for an invasion.

The country’s media rhetoric over the drills has steadily intensified over the past three years and these exercises are being portrayed as a particularly strong provocation, BBC Monitoring reports.

In 2014 North Korean media warned of an arms race but used comparatively restrained language, saying Pyongyang’s “self-defensive measures” – its nuclear and missile testing – would become “annual and regular” as long as the exercises continued.

The next year, state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper warned that the drills represented “deliberate defiance against our active efforts to ease tension”.

And in 2016, state-run paper Minju Joson warned that North Korea would “constantly strengthen our self-defensive nuclear deterrent” in response. Within weeks, Pyongyang tested a nuclear warhead.

Emergency services personnel wearing protective clothing participate in an anti-terror and anti-chemical terror exercise as part of the 2016 Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) at Yeoui subway station on August 23, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea.
Last year’s UFG saw an anti-terror drill in Seoul simulating a subway chemical attack. Getty

This year, Sunday’s Rodong Sinmun said the situation on the Korean peninsula was a “touch-and-go crisis that has never been experienced before”.

Earlier this year during Foal Eagle/Key Resolve, it warned it would “mercilessly foil the nuclear war racket of the aggressors with its treasured nuclear sword of justice”.

But while it has frequently threatened serious retaliation, North Korea usually ends up conducting shows of force, such as firing missiles or moving troops.

Last week, in what was seen as a de-escalation, leader Kim Jong-un said he would watch “a little more” before launching missiles in the direction of Guam.

US soldiers give first aid to a mock victim in a tent during a joint medical evacuation exercise as part of the annual massive military exercises, known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, at a South Korean Army hospital in Goyang, northwest of Seoul, on 15 March 2017.
Medical evacuations are also practiced during the exercises. Getty

Have the drills caused conflict before?

Depending on the political climate, the drills have at times exacerbated tensions between the two sides.

The UFG drill in 2015 took place amid high tensions, which resulted in North and South Korea exchanging artillery fire across the border.

Military officials took the unusual step of halting the UFG while emergency talks were held between the North and South. The drill resumed several days later.

The US and South Korea say that the exercises are purely for defence purposes, and based out of a mutual defence agreement they signed in 1953.

They also say the exercises are necessary to strengthen their readiness in case of an external attack.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40957725

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China says N.Korea crisis faces ‘turning point’ — Time for a “less bellicose tone”

August 15, 2017

AFP

© KCNA VIA KNS/AFP/File | China, which is Pyongyang’s main diplomatic ally, has repeatedly called on the United States and North Korea to tone down their bellicose rhetoric in recent day

BEIJING (AFP) – China said Tuesday that the North Korean nuclear crisis had reached a “turning point” and it was time to enter peace talks.

The comments by foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying came as the verbal sparring between the United States and North Korea took a less bellicose tone on Tuesday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said he would hold off on a threatened missile strike near Guam, though he warned the highly provocative move would go ahead in the event of further “reckless actions” by Washington.

Top US officials, meanwhile, said Washington was not interested in regime change in Pyongyang, and South Korean President Moon Jae-In warned that there could be no war without his country’s consent.

“It’s the turning point to make a resolute decision and return to peace talks,” Hua said when asked about Moon’s comments at a regular news briefing.

China, which is Pyongyang’s main diplomatic ally, has repeatedly called on the United States and North Korea to tone down their bellicose rhetoric in recent days.

“We now hope that all the concerned parties, in what they say and what they do, can contribute to extinguishing the fire (of the tense situation), rather than adding fuel to the fire,” Hua said.

Beijing has also pressed for a return of six-nation talks that have been dormant since 2009.

Hua applauded the “positive” article written by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the The Wall Street Journal in which they say that America has “no interest” in regime change in Pyongyang.

“We hope the US can translate this positive statement into concrete DPRK-related policies,” Hua said, using the initials of North Korea’s official name. “At the same time, we call on the DPRK to respond” to the positive statement.

Guam leader backs ‘punch on the nose’ for Pyongyang

August 14, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Pyongyang announced plans to launch missiles toward Guam, a US territory in the Pacific

HAGATNA (GUAM) (AFP) – Guam’s leader said Monday that “sometimes a bully can only be stopped with a punch in the nose”, in a spirited defence of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric against North Korea which has the island in its crosshairs.While Trump’s critics accuse him of inflaming tensions with Pyongyang, Guam governor Eddie Calvo said he was grateful the US leader was taking a strong stance against North Korean threats against his Pacific homeland.

“Everyone who grew up in the schoolyard in elementary school, we understand a bully,” Calvo told AFP.

“(North Korean leader) Kim Jong-Un is a bully with some very strong weapons… a bully has to be countered very strongly.”

Calvo, a Republican, said Trump was being unfairly criticised over his handling of the North Korea crisis, which escalated when Pyongyang announced plans to launch missiles toward Guam in a “crucial warning”.

He said North Korea had threatened Guam — a US territory which hosts two large military bases and is home to more than 6,000 military personnel — at least three times since 2013.

He said previous presidents had also used strong words to warn off Pyongyang, pointing out Barack Obama said last year that “we could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals”.

“One president (Obama) said it one way, cool and calmly with a period… the other said fire and fury with an exclamation point, but it still leads to the same message,” Calvo said.

He rejected suggestions that Trump and the North Korean dictator were as bad as each other when it came to the sabre-rattling playing out in the western Pacific.

“Well there’s only one guy that has vaporised into a red mist his uncle or a general because he fell asleep in a meeting with an anti-aircraft gun, that’s Kim Jong-Un,” he said.

“There’s only one guy that’s killed his brother with one of the most toxic nerve agents ever created, that’s Kim Jong-Un.”

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 Donald Trump is “Bereft of Reason” — “Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy”

August 10, 2017

In another escalation of strong rhetoric, Pyongyang has accused US President Donald Trump of being “bereft of reason.” Both Japan and South Korea have warned the North over its latest threats to the US territory of Guam.

North Korea attack USAEPA

WW3? New photos show North Korea has been planning a US attack for years

North Korea’s military on Thursday described overt threats from US President Donald Trump as a “load of nonsense,” marking another uptick in strong rhetoric increasing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” the military said in comments carried by state-run news agency KCNA.

Read more: Can North Korea’s elites oust Kim Jong Un?

The report added that actions the North Korean military “is about to take” will be effective in restraining Washington’s “frantic moves.” North Korean military officials said plans for an attack on the US territory of Guam will be ready by mid-August, after which they will be presented to the country’s leader Kim Jong Un.

Tensions have soared in the past week with Trump striking a combative tone, saying Tuesday that North Korea “best not make any more threats” against the US. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” he added.

On Thursday, a deputy assistant to Trump, Sebastian Gorka told BBC radio: “Donald Trump has been unequivocal: he will use any appropriate measures to protect the United States and her citizens.”

“We do not telegraph our future scenarios and how we are going to react,” Gorka said. “If you show players around a table your poker hand, you will lose that game. It is not a good idea in cards, it is a very bad idea in geopolitics.”

‘Never tolerate’ provocations

Early Thursday, both Japan and South Korea warned Pyongyang over its latest threats.

South Korea’s military said Pyongyang would face a “stern and strong” response from Washington and Seoul if it goes ahead with plans to fire rockets near Guam.

The US and South Korea are prepared to “immediately and sternly punish” provocations from North Korea, said Roh Jae-cheon, spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Tokyo added that Japan “can never tolerate” such provocations from North Korea. Japan’s Defense Ministry noted that technically the country could intercept a Guam-bound missile if it appeared to be an existential threat.

US State Secretary Rex Tillerson on Wednesday tried to defuse the situation, telling reporters aboard his plane that there wasn’t “any immediate threat” to the island of Guam after Pyongyang said it was considering plans to target areas surrounding the US territory.

“Americans should sleep well at night,” he said in an attempt to calm fears of a possible military conflict between the US and North Korea. “Nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours.”

Map of the Pacific Ocean showing Guam and Hawaii, the US and North Korea

War of words

However, soon after Tillerson’s remarks, Trump appeared to up the stakes again by praising US nuclear armaments, saying they had become “stronger and more powerful than ever before” since the start of his presidency.

…Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!

That announcement came just hours after President Donald Trump (above on Tuesday) delivered his fiercest warning yet to North Korea Tuesday afternoon

That announcement came just hours after President Donald Trump (above on Tuesday, in Bedminster, NJ)

The escalation in rhetoric follows the release of a Japanese defense paper and reports by multiple US media outlets that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged North Korea to stop considering any actions that would “lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

Pyongyang “would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates,” he said in a statement.

Beijing: Situation ‘sensitive’

Several world powers, including Germany, have urged both sides to show restraint. China has described the situation as “highly complicated and sensitive.”

“We hope all relevant parties speak cautiously and move prudently, stop provoking each other, avoid further escalating the situation and strive to return to the correct track of dialogue and negotiations as soon as possible,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Read more: What is China’s role in the North Korean crisis?

Meanwhile, North Korea on Wednesday said it had released Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian citizen, on humanitarian grounds.

The 61-year-old Lim, who had worked as a Presbyterian pastor in Canada, was arrested in North Korea in early 2015 and handed a life sentence of hard labor. Pyongyang claims the pastor was attempting to overthrow the regime, which Canadian authorities vehemently deny.

http://www.dw.com/en/north-korea-donald-trumps-threats-load-of-nonsense/a-40025871

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The Express

Dictator  has been plotting a US attack plan since 2013 at the latest, when he was photographed deep in conversation with close advisors.

The photos show the despot poring over maps and making notes while a huge map in the background is emblazoned with a terrifying Korean heading.

Alongside various arrows, denoting the direction and speed of fearsome missiles, the text reads: “Strategic Forces’ US Mainland Striking Plan.“

Other photos taken at the same time show North Korean soldiers taking part in a US attack military drill.

The malnourished soldiers, dressed in ill-fitting military gear, are shown firing bullets at a cutout of an American soldier, complete with a cartoon ‘USA’ hat.

The photos have emerged as the world prepares for the ever-escalating conflict between North Korea and the USA to erupt into all-out war.

Last night  announced it was preparing to attack the US territory of Guam, just hours after US president  promised to deliver “fire and fury” if provoked.

Despot Kim has now gathered trusted advisers in Pyongyang to consider the implications of an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) attack.

Guam and Hawaii at risk of North Korea nuclear strike

Any attack on the island territory of Guam would almost certainly result in a retaliatory nuclear strike by Donald Trump on North Korea.

The conflict has the potential to spark  with military heavyweights Russia and China then forced to pick sides.

READ MORE: Will Donald Trump go to war with North Korea?

North Korea attack USAEPA

North Korea attack: Kim Jong-un was photographed in front of a revealing map

Mr Trump further escalated the situation by taking part in a joint military drill with Japan in which the two nations flew fighter jets near North Korean territory.

North Korea denounced the war-gaming, which used US pilots in Japanese and South Korean planes, as an “actual nuclear drill” and claimed it was just provocation for a retaliatory strike.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/838931/north-korea-photos-war-guam-usa-kim-jong-un-ww3

The world is holding its breath today amid fears the crisis over North Korea could spiral in to global war after Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un made unprecedented threats to trade devastating missile strikes

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4773702/US-offers-sneak-peak-Trump-s-fire-fury.html#ixzz4pL8llyp6
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North Korea forms plans to target Guam within days as it dismisses Donald Trump’s threats as ‘nonsense’

August 10, 2017

People walk by a TV screen showing a local news program reporting with an image of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday.
People walk by a TV screen showing a local news program reporting with an image of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. PHOTO: LEE JIN-MAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Nick Allen, Nicola Smith and Julian Ryall

North Korea declared on Thursday it would have a plan ready by “mid-August” to launch four missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam, as it branded Donald Trump’s threats as “nonsense”.

With tensions between the US and Kim Jong-un’s rogue state escalating,  critics accused Mr Trump of inflaming the situation with “reckless” sabre-rattling.

Dismissing his threats as “a load of nonsense”, the rogue state ridiculed the US president as a “guy bereft of reason” and said only “absolute force can work on him”.

The statement from North Korean General Kim Rak Gyom said North Korea would produce a plan to fire four Hwasong-12 rockets more then 2,000 miles over Japan to “hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam”.

Image may contain: 1 person, hat

North Korean General Kim Rak Gyom

The plan would be presented to leader Kim Jong-un who would make a decision on whether to proceed. The statement added: “We will keep closely watching the speech and behaviour of…

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/09/tillerson-downplays-threat-north-korea-says-trumps-tough-talk/

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North Korea details Guam missile plan, calls Trump’s warning a ‘load of nonsense’

Reuters

SEOUL/GUAM (Reuters) – North Korea dismissed as a “load of nonsense” warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that it would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States, and outlined on Thursday detailed plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam.

North Korea’s apparently rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland has fueled tensions that erupted into a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang this week, unnerving regional powers and global investors.

Trump’s unexpected remarks prompted North Korea to say on Thursday it was finalizing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land 30-40 km (18-25 miles) from Guam, adding detail to a plan first announced on Wednesday.

Guam, more than 3,000 km (2,000 miles) to the southeast of North Korea, is home to about 163,000 people and a U.S. Navy base that includes a submarine squadron and a Coast Guard group, and an air base.

“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” a report by the North’s state-run KCNA news agency said of Trump.

The army will complete its plans in mid-August, ready for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s order, KCNA reported, citing General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army.

While North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States and its allies, the report was unusual in its detail.

Masao Okonogi, professor emeritus at Japan’s Keio University, said before the latest KCNA report that Pyongyang may be issuing a warning or advance notice of changes to its missile testing program rather than threatening an attack.

“I believe this is a message saying they plan to move missile tests from the Sea of Japan to areas around Guam,” he told Reuters. “By making this advance notice, they are also sending a tacit message that what they are going to do is not a actual attack.”

Experts said the detail provided by North Korea made it likely it would follow through with its plans to avoid being seen as weak or lacking in resolve.

AVOIDING MISCALCULATION

Guam Governor Eddie Calvo said there was no heightened threat from North Korea.

“They like to be unpredictable, they’ll pop a missile off when no one is ready and they’ve done it quite a few times,” he told Reuters in an interview.

“They’re now telegraphing their punch, which means they don’t want to have any misunderstandings. I think that’s a position of fear,” he said.

Lee Choon-geun, senior research fellow at South Korea’s state-run Science and Technology Policy Institute, said there was a risk that any missile could land much closer to Guam than planned.

tion:

“The United States will consider it an apparent attack if it lands within its territorial waters and, given the risks involved, will most likely try to shoot them down before they land anywhere close to Guam and its territorial sea,” Lee told Reuters.

“This could elevate the threats to an unprecedented level.”

The U.S. Seventh Fleet currently has six Aegis ballistic missile defense ships in the region capable of targeting North Korean missiles, and Japan has a further four. Guam also has a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, similar to the that recently installed in South Korea.

Japan could legally intercept a North Korean missile headed toward Guam, its defense minister said on Thursday, but experts believe Japan does not currently have the capability to do so.

The United States and South Korea remain technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Slideshow (26 Images)

Tension in the region has risen since North Korea carried out two nuclear bomb tests last year and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. Trump has said he will not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a stark warning on Wednesday, telling Pyongyang it would lose any arms race or conflict.

“The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people,” Mattis said in a statement, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Washington has warned it is ready to use force if needed to stop North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs but that it prefers global diplomatic action. The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday.

HEADING FOR CONFRONTATION

In a video of a rally in Pyongyang released by KCNA, Pak Hyong Ryol, the manager of a Pyongyang cornstarch factory, said North Koreans did not mind any kind of sanctions.

“They cannot stop our advance. This is the answer of our heroic Kim Il Sung-Kim Jong Il working class which has been grown up under the warm care of the Party,” Pak said, referring to North Korea’s first two leaders.

North Korea accuses Washington of devising a “preventive war” and has said any plans to execute this would be met with an “all-out war, wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the U.S. mainland”.

China, North Korea’s main ally, has consistently urged both sides to work to lower tensions.

Influential Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times said the North Korean nuclear issue was heading toward confrontation and it was time for the United States to respond to Pyongyang’s security concerns.

“North Korea has almost been completely isolated by the outside world. Under such extreme circumstances, Pyongyang will weigh all its possible options,” it said in an editorial on its website on Thursday. “Washington should stimulate Pyongyang’s desire to engage with the outside world and return to the international community.”

Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Susan Heavey and John Walcott in WASHINGTON, Soyoung Kim in SEOUL, William Mallard, Tim Kelly, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Linda Sieg in TOKYO, and John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Paul Tait

N. Korea has produced miniaturized nuke warhead: media report

August 8, 2017

AFP

© KCNA VIS KNS/AFP/File | North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un boasts of having the capability to strike anywhere in the United States after testing a second long-range missile, seen here in this handout from Pyongyang’s official news agency

WASHINGTON (AFP) – North Korea has produced a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles, the Washington Post reported Tuesday, a major development sure to further inflame tensions.

The Post cited parts of an analysis conducted by the Defense Intelligence Agency that says the intelligence community thinks North Korea has “nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery” — including in intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Post said the assessment’s broad conclusions were verified by two US officials familiar with the analysis.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was not known if North Korea has successfully tested the smaller warhead design, the Post said, though North Korea last year claimed to have done so.

The progress means North Korea is further along the path to having a deployable nuclear missile than has previously been acknowledged.

The Post also reported that another intelligence assessment estimated that North Korea now has up to 60 nuclear weapons, more than previously thought.

North Korea has alarmed the international community by the pace and progress of its missile development program, and in July leader Kim Jong-Un conducted two tests of an ICBM — the first time he had demonstrated ICBM capability.

The first of these trials, which Kim described as a gift to “American bastards,” showed the rocket had the potential range to hit Alaska.

The second rocket test last week flew even longer, with some experts even suggesting that New York could be in range.

North Korea vowed Monday that tough new UN sanctions would not stop it from developing its nuclear arsenal, rejecting talks and angrily threatening retaliation against the United States.

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 (Washington Post)

Asean: Korea standoff threatens global peace

August 6, 2017
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha answers questions from reporters as she arrives at the NAIA yesterday to attend the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. AP

MANILA, Philippines – Southeast Asian foreign ministers yesterday expressed grave concern about rising tensions in the Korean Peninsula stemming from long-range missile tests by North Korea that “seriously threaten” global peace and security.

Taking a stronger tone than it has previously on the standoff, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) called for North Korea to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions on its nuclear program and make a positive contribution to regional peace.

A statement was issued separately, rather than included in ASEAN’s customary communiqué at the end of the foreign ministers’ meeting.

Following the foreign ministers’ meeting is Monday’s annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which gathers 27 foreign ministers, including those of Russia, Japan, South Korea, the United States, China and North Korea, to discuss Asian security issues.

The statement of the ASEAN foreign ministers on the developments in the Korean Peninsula was issued yesterday even before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was to arrive in Manila to participate in Asia’s biggest security forum.

The ASEAN foreign ministers’ statement declared: “We, the foreign ministers of the ASEAN, reiterate our grave concerns over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula, including the most recent testing by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on 4 and 28 July 2017 and previous ballistic missile launches and two nuclear tests in 2016.”

The ministers urged North Korea to immediately comply fully with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

“We reiterate our support for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, call for the exercise of self-restraint and underscore the importance of creating conditions conducive for dialogue to de-escalate tensions,” the statement said.

North Korea was urged to contribute to the ARF vision as a participant of the ARF.

“We strongly call upon (North Korea) as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum, to positively contribute to realize the ARF vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity,” said the ASEAN ministers.

North Korea is determined to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and officials in Washington say its latest test a week ago showed it may be able to reach most of the country.

China has urged calm and restraint from all countries involved in the standoff.

Short of tougher line

The ASEAN position is short of the tougher line on North Korea urged by the United States, which wants Southeast Asian countries to downgrade their relations with the already isolated nation.

ASEAN countries have argued that it is difficult since its members do not have substantive ties with North Korea.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who is chairing the Manila meetings, said on Friday ASEAN would not consider expelling North Korea from the ARF.

He argued it is better to have dialogue and utilize a rare opportunity where parties involved in the issue are meeting together.

“There were views that, how can we hear them out or confront them (North Korea) if they’re not there?” he told reporters after a late-night discussion with his ASEAN counterparts.

Some Asian countries, including South Korea, are hoping to have bilateral talks with North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-Ho.

He left Pyongyang yesterday and was en route to Manila, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported.

“If there is a chance, I would tell him that we must have dialogue and that the North must stop the continuous provocations,” South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told reporters upon arrival in Manila.

“Moreover, I will tell him that to build a peace system, North Korea must respond to the two proposals we recently suggested.”

The United Nations Security Council was set to vote yesterday on a US-drafted resolution that aims to slash by a third North Korea’s $3-billion annual export revenue over Pyongyang’s two ICBM tests in July.

North Korea briefed diplomats of Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia in Pyongyang on Tuesday about the “resounding success” of its latest ICBM test, its foreign ministry said on its website.

In the posting yesterday, it said diplomats were told the US “trumpeting” about war and its threat of sanctions only increased Pyongyang’s “vigilance and courage,” and justification for its tests.

Open to discussion

Kang said she was open to rare discussions with her North Korean counterpart.

“If there is an opportunity that naturally occurs, we should talk,” she added.

Kang, South Korea’s first female foreign minister, said any meeting with Ri would be an opportunity “to deliver our desire for the North to stop its provocations and positively respond to our recent special offers (for talks) aimed at establishing a peace regime.”

Seoul last month proposed military talks with Pyongyang but the North refused to respond. Had they gone ahead, they would have been the first official inter-Korean talks since 2015.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has defied international pressure to decelerate his country’s nuclear weapons capabilities, and boasted after the second ICBM test that he could strike any target in the US.

In response, Washington drafted the planned UN resolution to toughen sanctions against Pyongyang.

The US also said it hoped to build unified pressure on the North at the Manila forum.  – AFP

NKorea appears to be prepping for missile test: US official

July 25, 2017

AFP

© KCNA VIA KNS/AFP | This picture taken and released on July 4, 2017 by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (2nd R) inspecting the test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. North Korea is believed to be preparing for a new missile test on July 27, a US defense offiicial said Tuesday

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US military has picked up indications that North Korea is prepping for a new missile test, potentially of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a US defense official said Tuesday.Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official told AFP that if the test goes ahead, it would “probably” occur on July 27, which is the anniversary date of the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement.

“They’re setting up for something,” a second defense official said.

The first official said the test would be of either an intermediate-range missile or North Korea’s ICBM — known as a KN-20 or a Hwasong-14.

Pyongyang triggered global alarm on July 4 — Independence Day in America — when it test-fired its first ICBM which experts believe can reach Alaska.

Related:

North Korea is preparing another missile launch — Intelligence and military officials see mobile launch systems on the move

July 25, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Speculation intensified Tuesday that North Korea is preparing another missile launch test to coincide with a military anniversary, just weeks after conducting its first successful test of an ICBM that experts warned could reach Alaska.

SEOUL (AFP) – Speculation intensified Tuesday that North Korea is preparing another missile launch to coincide with a military anniversary, just weeks after conducting its first successful test of an ICBM that experts warned could reach Alaska.

US and South Korean media reports cited intelligence and military officials as saying transporter vehicles carrying launching equipment had been seen on the move.

The test — which both Seoul and Washington officials warned could be of another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)– could coincide with the 64th anniversary of the end of the Korean War on July 27, reports said.

This is a public holiday in the nuclear-armed North and celebrated as Victory Day.

The two Koreas have remained technically at war since the three-year conflict ended only with a ceasefire rather than a full peace treaty.

“Movements by transporter erector launchers carrying (ICBM) launch tubes have been continuously observed in North Pyongan (province),” a South Korean government source was quoted as saying by the country’s Yonhap news agency.

“There is a high possibility that the North may carry out (the test-launch) around the July 27 armistice day.”

The North in 2014 marked the armistice anniversary by firing a Scud-B short-range missile on July 26.

Yonhap also cited a South Korean military source as saying Pyongyang may be preparing to test a new type of ICBM or an intermediate-range missile.

On Monday CNN cited a US defence official as saying the North appeared to be preparing for another missile test. That official said transporter vehicles carrying launching equipment were seen arriving at Kusong in North Pyongan last Friday.

The US network earlier cited US intelligence as indicating preparations for another test of an ICBM or intermediate-range missile.

Kusong has been the scene of past tests, including in May when an intermediate-range ballistic missile travelled more than 700 kilometres (435 miles).

Pyongyang triggered global alarm on July 4, US Independence Day, when it test-fired its first ICBM which experts believe can reach Alaska — a landmark development in its weapons programme.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who personally oversaw the launch, described it as gift to the “American bastards”.

The ICBM brings within reach Pyongyang’s long-held dream of a missile that can deliver an atomic warhead to the continental United States, and presents US President Donald Trump with a stark challenge.

The North last week refused to respond to the South’s offer to open dialogue to ease tension.

“We’re keeping close surveillance on the North for possible provocative acts”, a South Korean defence ministry spokesman told AFP.

Yonhap also quoted a different Seoul government source as saying that an 1,800-tonne North Korean submarine in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) may be collecting data to prepare for a ballistic missile test-launch from the North’s largest submarine.

The North last August successfully test-fired a submarine launched ballistic missile.