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  • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

    Russia And China Tell North Korea, U.S. And South Korea To Embrace De-Escalation Plan

    July 4, 2017

    Russia and China joined diplomatic forces on Tuesday and called on North Korea, South Korea and the United States to sign up to a Chinese de-escalation plan designed to defuse tensions around Pyongyang's missile program.

    The plan would see North Korea suspend its ballistic missile program and the United States and South Korea simultaneously call a moratorium on large-scale missile exercises, both moves aimed at paving the way for multilateral talks.

    The initiative was set out in a joint statement from the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries issued shortly after President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping held wide-ranging talks in the Kremlin.

    "The situation in the region affects the national interests of both countries," the joint statement said. "Russia and China will work in close coordination to advance a solution to the complex problem of the Korean Peninsula in every possible way."

    North Korea said on Tuesday it had successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time, which flew a trajectory that experts said could allow a weapon to hit the U.S. state of Alaska.

    Russia and China both share a land border with North Korea and have been involved in past efforts to try to calm tensions between Pyongyang and the West.

    Moscow and Beijing used the same joint declaration to call on Washington to immediately halt deployment of its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, a move Washington says is necessitated by the North Korean missile threat.

    The statement said Washington was using North Korea as a pretext to expand its military infrastructure in Asia and risked upsetting the strategic balance of power in the area.

    "The deployment ... of THAAD will cause serious harm to the strategic security interests of regional states, including Russia and China," the statement said.

    "Russia and China oppose the deployment of such systems and call on the relevant countries to immediately halt and cancel the process of deployment."

    Comment


    • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

      'A Gift For American Bastards!' Defiant Kim Jong-Un's Taunt After His First Successful Test Of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Capable Of Hitting Alaska - As US And South Korea Respond With Joint Show Of Strength

      July 5, 2017

      A defiant Kim Jong-Un seemingly taunted the United States after a successful test of the intercontinental ballistic missile he said was 'a gift for American bastards on July 4.'

      The North Korean leader made the haughty statement after the ICBM was launched Tuesday, the Korean Central News Agency reported. But the U.S. quickly responded along with South Korea by conducting a joint ballistic missile drill.

      South Korea says the response was 'intended as a strong warning against North Korean provocation.'

      'Eighth U.S. Army and Republic of Korea (ROK) military personnel conducted a combined event exercising assets countering North Korea's destabilizing and unlawful actions on July 4,' a statement from US and South Koran officials reads.

      'This exercise utilized the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and the Republic of Korea Hyunmoo Missile II, which fired missiles into territorial waters of South Korea along the East Coast.

      'The system can be rapidly deployed and engaged. The deep strike precision capability enables the ROK-U.S. Alliance to engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions.'

      The statement adds that South Korea and the U.S. are 'committed to peace and prosperity on the Koran Peninsula and throughout the Asia-Pacific.

      'The U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK in the face of threats is ironclad.'


      The United States and South Korea conducted a joint ballistic missile drill in response to North Korea's missile launch on Tuesday. Above an MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile is fired into the East Sea on July 5


      South Korea says it was 'intended as a strong warning against North Korean provocation,' according to CNN. Above an MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile is fired into the East Sea on July 5


      A statement from US and South Koran officials states: 'The system can be rapidly deployed and engaged. The deep strike precision capability enables the ROK-U.S. Alliance to engage the full array of time critical targets under all weather conditions'


      The statement adds that South Korea and the U.S. are 'committed to peace and prosperity on the Koran Peninsula and throughout the Asia-Pacific. Above South Korea's Hyunmu-2 Missile System is pictured firing a tactical ballistic missile into the East Sea on July 5


      'The U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK in the face of threats is ironclad,' the statement concludes. Above South Korea's Hyunmu-2 Missile System is pictured firing a tactical ballistic missile into the East Sea on July 5


      North Korea on Tuesday said it had tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), prompting US experts to say the device could reach Alaska. Pictured above is the ICBM during a test launch

      U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that North Korea successfully tested an ICBM capable of hitting Alaska and that's a new escalation of the threat posed to the United States and the world by North Korea.

      Tillerson said the U.S. will bring North Korea's action before the United Nations Security Council.

      His statement provided the first confirmation of the U.S. conclusion that the missile was an ICBM.

      The U.S. military's initial assessment was that North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile.

      The U.S. has requested a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the latest launch, a spokesman for the US mission to the United Nations says.

      UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the missile test.

      'This action is yet another brazen violation of Security Council resolutions and constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation,' Guterres said through his spokesman according to CNN.

      'The DPRK leadership must cease further provocative actions and comply fully with its international obligations.'

      The spokesman said the meeting of the 15-member council was likely to be scheduled for Wednesday.

      North Korea's Academy of Defense Science claimed the test marked the 'final step' in creating a 'confident and powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth'.

      The US 'attempts to test our determination and ignores our warnings', the state-run Korea Central News Agency cited Kim as saying.

      Breaking into laughter, the news agency said, the leader 'added that we should send them gifts once in a while to help break their boredom'.

      The North Korean leader also said the missile looked 'as handsome as a good-looking boy' and that the country would not negotiate with America to give up its weapons program until Washington abandoned its hostile policy against the North.

      The launch in North Korea, which came as the United States prepared to mark its Independence Day, triggered a Twitter outburst from President Donald Trump who urged China to 'put a heavy move' on North Korea to 'end this nonsense once and for all'.

      North Korea has long sought to build a rocket capable of delivering an atomic warhead to the continental United States - something that Trump has vowed 'won't happen', and launch marks a new phase in the country's decades-long weapons program.

      Trump called an emergency meeting on the Fourth of July to formulate a 'measured response' to North Korea's first intercontinental ballistic missile test, amid fears it could reach as far as Alaska.

      Officials say Trump would potentially approve a 'measured response' to deal with North Korea.

      Potential responses include sending additional troops to the region and possibly more sanctions.

      On Tuesday, the US, Japan, and South Korea said intelligence suggested the missile flew for about 40 minutes and reached an altitude of 1,500 miles, which would be longer and higher than any similar North Korean test previously reported. It also covered a distance of about 580 miles.

      In the wake of the test, David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote on the organisation's allthingsnuclear blog that the available figures implied the missile 'could reach a maximum range of roughly 6,700km on a standard trajectory'.

      'That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska.'

      The missile launch prompted control specialist Jeffrey Lewis to respond on Twitter: 'That's it. It's an ICBM. An ICBM that can hit Anchorage not San Francisco, but still.'

      The launch seems designed to send a political warning to Washington and its chief Asian allies, Seoul and Tokyo, even as it allows North Korean scientists a chance to perfect their still-incomplete nuclear missile program.

      When it announced the missile test earlier, North Korean officials called the launch, which leader Kim Jong-un supervised, a 'glistening miracle'.

      The 'landmark' test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by Kim, an emotional female announcer said on state Korean Central Television.

      'The test-fire was conducted at the highest angle and did not have any negative impact on the safety of neighboring countries,' announcer Ri Chun-Hee, who previously told her loyal viewers of the deaths of the country's founder Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il, said.

      'As the dignified nuclear power who possesses the strongest intercontinental ballistic rocket which is capable of hitting any part of the world along with the nuclear weapons, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will fundamentally terminate the US nuclear war threats and blackmail and credibly protect the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region,' she added.

      'Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of our party, state and the army, personally observed the process of the test-launch in field and solemnly declared before the world its shining success,' the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an accompanying article.

      Comment


      • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

        North Korea missile launch: Trump berates China on trade

        • 1 hour ago
        • From the sectionAsia















        Media captionMissiles fired during US-South Korea drills serve as warning to North Korea
        Donald Trump has criticised China following North Korea's test of a long-range missile, condemning it for increasing trade with Pyongyang.
        "So much for China working with us," the US president tweeted.
        The US and South Korea conducted a ballistic missile fire exercise in the Sea of Japan in response to the North.
        China and Russia have urged both sides to stop flexing their military muscle and said they oppose any attempts at regime change in North Korea.
        "It is perfectly clear to Russia and China that any attempts to justify the use of force by referring to [United Nations] Security Council resolutions are unacceptable, and will lead to unpredictable consequences in this region which borders both the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
        "Attempts to strangle the DPRK [North Korea] economically are equally unacceptable," he added.
        The missile launch, the latest in a series of tests, was in defiance of a ban by the UN Security Council.
        The US has asked for an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss the issue. A closed-door session of the 15-member body will take place later on Wednesday.
        Image copyrightREUTERS
        Image captionDonald and Melania Trump have left Washington for a trip to Warsaw and Hamburg
        The US president held talks with China's leader Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida in April.
        Mr Trump hailed "tremendous progress" with China after those meetings.
        The trade figures showing an increase in trade between China and North Korea, which he was apparently referring to in Wednesday's critical tweet, cover the period before that April meeting.
        The US president is now en route to Poland and Germany, where he will meet Mr Xi for the second time.

        China, which is Pyongyang's main economic ally, and Russia have called on North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile programme in exchange for a halt on the large-scale military exercises by the US and South Korea.
        Mr Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met in Moscow on Tuesday, said "the opposing sides should start negotiations".
        Japan on Tuesday said "repeated provocations like this are absolutely unacceptable" and lodged a protest.

        What has North Korea said?

        Tuesday's launch was North Korea's first-ever test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
        State news agency KCNA quoted leader Kim Jong-un as saying the test was a "gift" to the Americans on their independence day.
        The report warned of the possibility of more tests, saying he ordered officials to "frequently send big and small 'gift packages' to the Yankees".
        Pyongyang said earlier the Hwasong-14 ICBM had reached an altitude of 2,802km (1,731 miles) and flew 933km for 39 minutes before hitting a target in the sea.

        North Korea, it said, was now "a full-fledged nuclear power that has been possessed of the most powerful inter-continental ballistic rocket capable of hitting any part of the world".
        What is an ICBM?

        • A long-range missile usually designed to carry a nuclear warhead
        • The minimum range is 5,500km (3,400 miles), although most fly about 10,000km or more
        • Pyongyang has previously displayed two types of ICBMs: the KN-08, with a range of 11,500km, and the KN-14, with a range of 10,000km, but before 4 July had not claimed to have flight tested an ICBM. It is not clear what differentiates the Hwasong-14

        North Korea's missile programme in detail
        Does North Korea really have a long-range weapon now?

        Some experts believe that Tuesday's test proves that North Korea has a missile that could travel across the globe and reach Alaska.
        Physicist David Wright said it could reach a maximum range of about 6,700km on a standard trajectory, while South Korea's defence ministry on Wednesday put the range between 7,000 and 8,000km.
        But whether that missile could deliver a warhead is still a question.
        Pyongyang claimed the rocket carried a "heavy warhead" and that it "accurately hit the targeted waters without any structural breakdown".
        South Korea said there was no evidence proving the missile could withstand high temperatures and successfully re-enter the atmosphere, reported Yonhap news agency.
        Experts believe Pyongyang does not yet have the capability to miniaturise a nuclear warhead, fit it onto a long-range missile, and ensure it is protected until delivery to the target.
        They say many of North Korea's missiles cannot accurately hit targets.
        But others believe that at the rate it is going, Pyongyang may overcome these challenges and develop a nuclear weapon that could strike the US within five to 10 years.
        How advanced is North Korea's nuclear programme?
        What now for Washington? - Dr John Nilsson-Wright, Chatham House

        Image copyrightKCNA
        Image captionNorth Korean media released this image of Tuesday's missile launch
        By bringing Alaska within range, the new missile test is an unambiguous game-changer in both symbolical and practical terms.
        US territory (albeit separate from the contiguous continental US) is now finally within Pyongyang's cross-hairs.
        For the first time a US president has to accept that the North poses a "real and present" danger not merely to north-east Asia and America's key allies - but to the US proper.
        President Trump's weakness lies in having overplayed his hand too publicly and too loudly.
        Libertatem Prius!

        sigpic


        Comment


        • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

          https://www.aol.com/article/news/201...fici/23016188/
          Libertatem Prius!

          sigpic


          Comment


          • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

            Originally posted by American Patriot View Post
            North Korea missile launch: Trump berates China on trade

            • 1 hour ago
            • From the sectionAsia















            Media captionMissiles fired during US-South Korea drills serve as warning to North Korea
            Donald Trump has criticised China following North Korea's test of a long-range missile, condemning it for increasing trade with Pyongyang.
            "So much for China working with us," the US president tweeted.
            The US and South Korea conducted a ballistic missile fire exercise in the Sea of Japan in response to the North.
            China and Russia have urged both sides to stop flexing their military muscle and said they oppose any attempts at regime change in North Korea.
            "It is perfectly clear to Russia and China that any attempts to justify the use of force by referring to [United Nations] Security Council resolutions are unacceptable, and will lead to unpredictable consequences in this region which borders both the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
            "Attempts to strangle the DPRK [North Korea] economically are equally unacceptable," he added.
            The missile launch, the latest in a series of tests, was in defiance of a ban by the UN Security Council.
            The US has asked for an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss the issue. A closed-door session of the 15-member body will take place later on Wednesday.
            Image copyrightREUTERS
            Image captionDonald and Melania Trump have left Washington for a trip to Warsaw and Hamburg
            The US president held talks with China's leader Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida in April.
            Mr Trump hailed "tremendous progress" with China after those meetings.
            The trade figures showing an increase in trade between China and North Korea, which he was apparently referring to in Wednesday's critical tweet, cover the period before that April meeting.
            The US president is now en route to Poland and Germany, where he will meet Mr Xi for the second time.

            China, which is Pyongyang's main economic ally, and Russia have called on North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile programme in exchange for a halt on the large-scale military exercises by the US and South Korea.
            Mr Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met in Moscow on Tuesday, said "the opposing sides should start negotiations".
            Japan on Tuesday said "repeated provocations like this are absolutely unacceptable" and lodged a protest.

            What has North Korea said?

            Tuesday's launch was North Korea's first-ever test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
            State news agency KCNA quoted leader Kim Jong-un as saying the test was a "gift" to the Americans on their independence day.
            The report warned of the possibility of more tests, saying he ordered officials to "frequently send big and small 'gift packages' to the Yankees".
            Pyongyang said earlier the Hwasong-14 ICBM had reached an altitude of 2,802km (1,731 miles) and flew 933km for 39 minutes before hitting a target in the sea.

            North Korea, it said, was now "a full-fledged nuclear power that has been possessed of the most powerful inter-continental ballistic rocket capable of hitting any part of the world".
            What is an ICBM?

            • A long-range missile usually designed to carry a nuclear warhead
            • The minimum range is 5,500km (3,400 miles), although most fly about 10,000km or more
            • Pyongyang has previously displayed two types of ICBMs: the KN-08, with a range of 11,500km, and the KN-14, with a range of 10,000km, but before 4 July had not claimed to have flight tested an ICBM. It is not clear what differentiates the Hwasong-14

            North Korea's missile programme in detail
            Does North Korea really have a long-range weapon now?

            Some experts believe that Tuesday's test proves that North Korea has a missile that could travel across the globe and reach Alaska.
            Physicist David Wright said it could reach a maximum range of about 6,700km on a standard trajectory, while South Korea's defence ministry on Wednesday put the range between 7,000 and 8,000km.
            But whether that missile could deliver a warhead is still a question.
            Pyongyang claimed the rocket carried a "heavy warhead" and that it "accurately hit the targeted waters without any structural breakdown".
            South Korea said there was no evidence proving the missile could withstand high temperatures and successfully re-enter the atmosphere, reported Yonhap news agency.
            Experts believe Pyongyang does not yet have the capability to miniaturise a nuclear warhead, fit it onto a long-range missile, and ensure it is protected until delivery to the target.
            They say many of North Korea's missiles cannot accurately hit targets.
            But others believe that at the rate it is going, Pyongyang may overcome these challenges and develop a nuclear weapon that could strike the US within five to 10 years.
            How advanced is North Korea's nuclear programme?
            What now for Washington? - Dr John Nilsson-Wright, Chatham House

            Image copyrightKCNA
            Image captionNorth Korean media released this image of Tuesday's missile launch
            By bringing Alaska within range, the new missile test is an unambiguous game-changer in both symbolical and practical terms.
            US territory (albeit separate from the contiguous continental US) is now finally within Pyongyang's cross-hairs.
            For the first time a US president has to accept that the North poses a "real and present" danger not merely to north-east Asia and America's key allies - but to the US proper.
            President Trump's weakness lies in having overplayed his hand too publicly and too loudly.
            Look at those ranges the Norks have now; covering all of China, Russia, Korea and Japan, and now Alaska. Everybody wants to get rid of the Norks except that they mistrust everyone else that is also within those ranges, so nothing is done, and shortly, nothing can be done short of war, possibly nuclear war, in which the fallout would cover a lot of non-DPRK territory, and millions certainly on the Korean peninsuela would perish.
            Let's all unite together against the threats to Christians and Jews and the threat against civilization itself!

            Comment


            • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

              South Korea's President Made A Move Signalling A Possible Strike On North Korea

              July 29, 2017



              In the immediate aftermath of North Korea testing an intercontinental ballistic missile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered talks with the US about adding more Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile interceptor systems to South Korea.

              While the move may seem like a common-sense defensive measure, it actually indicates that South Korea may be getting ready for a fight with the North.

              The THAAD has a perfect record of intercepting shorter-range ballistic missiles in test conditions, but cannot handle the reentry speeds of an ICBM. Furthermore, if a missile fired from North Korea is landing in South Korea, it’s not an ICBM.

              The THAAD can only block shorter-range missiles, and it does so with a powerful radar that scares the pants off the Chinese. China hates the THAAD because it fears the US could potentially use its powerful radar to negate China’s nuclear ICBM force, and thereby erode its nuclear deterrent. China routinely protests THAAD and pressures South Korea economically into giving it up.

              So why would Moon take a huge political risk by increasing defences against missiles that aren’t even supposed to target his country?

              One possible explanation is that he’s moving to defend his country against shorter-range missiles from the North in the event of a strike on Kim Jong Un. Seoul is within range of nuclear and conventional arms from North Korea that hold its 25 million inhabitants hostage.

              But if South Korea could block the nuclear strikes, its air force could knock out North Korea’s massive artillery installation, and US forces could move in and destroy the country’s nuclear infrastructure.

              Comment


              • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

                Trump Says North Korea Will Be Met By 'Fire, Fury' If Threats Continue

                August 8, 2017

                President Donald Trump warned against North Korea's making any further threats against the U.S. on Tuesday.

                "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening — beyond a normal statement — and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and, frankly, power the likes of which the world has never seen before," Trump said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an event this afternoon.

                Yesterday, North Korean officials released a statement through the Korean Central News Agency, a state-run media outlet, in response to the U.N. Security Council's unanimous approval of sanctions on Aug. 5 to penalize the isolated regime for its escalating nuclear and missile programs, including its recent launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, most recently in late July.

                North Korea slammed the penalties — which could slash a third of the country’s $3 billion in export revenue — as a “violent infringement of its sovereignty” and part of a “heinous U.S. plot to isolate and stifle” the country.

                “It’s a wild idea to think the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] will be shaken and change its position due to this kind of new sanctions formulated by hostile forces,” the statement said.

                Comment


                • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

                  US Spy Satellites Detect North Korea Moving Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles To Patrol Boat

                  August 7, 2017

                  Despite the United States' insistence that North Korea halt its missile tests, U.S. spy agencies detected the rogue communist regime loading two anti-ship cruise missiles on a patrol boat on the country’s east coast just days ago.

                  It's the first time these missiles have been deployed on this type of platform since 2014, U.S. officials with knowledge of the latest intelligence in the region told Fox News on Monday.

                  It also points to more evidence that North Korea isn't listening to the diplomatic threats from the West.

                  “The best signal that North Korea could give us that they're prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the Philippines Monday.

                  North Korea loaded two Stormpetrel anti-ship cruise missiles on a Wonsan guided-missile patrol boat at Toejo Dong on North Korea’s east coast.

                  “North Korea is not showing any evidence it plans to halt its missile tests,” said one official who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information. “It's a trend that does not bode well for hopes of de-escalating tensions on the [Korean] peninsula.”

                  The latest moves by Pyongyang point to a likely missile test in the days ahead or it could be a defense measure should the U.S. Navy dispatch more warships to the Korean peninsula, officials said.

                  President Trump on Monday afternoon voiced his displeasure about the coverage of the unanimous U.N. Security Council vote over the weekend to sanction Pyongyang. "The Fake News Media will not talk about the importance of the United Nations Security Council's 15-0 vote in favor of sanctions on N. Korea!" Trump tweeted.

                  Meantime, there currently are limits to the size of the warheads South Korea is allowed to deploy on top of its missiles. But following a talk between leaders of South Korea and the United States, the Pentagon is working on allowing changes to the policy.

                  "Yes, we are working on it," said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. "It's a topic under active consideration here, and I would tell you that we would be favorably inclined to do anything which furthers the defensive capabilities of South Korea."

                  The United States removed its tactical nuclear missiles from South Korea in 1991.

                  Comment


                  • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

                    Simply amazing how all of this comes to light now that Obama is out of office...

                    North Korea Making Missile-Ready Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Analysts Say

                    August 8, 2017

                    North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

                    The analysis, completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency, comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The United States calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts think the number is much smaller.

                    The findings are likely to deepen concerns about an evolving North Korean military threat that appears to be advancing far more rapidly than many experts had predicted. U.S. officials concluded last month that Pyongyang is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the American mainland.

                    President Trump, speaking Tuesday at an event at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., said North Korea will face a devastating response if its threats continue. “They will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” he said.

                    Earlier Tuesday, North Korea described a new round of U.N. sanctions as an attempt “to strangle a nation” and warned that in response, “physical action will be taken mercilessly with the mobilization of all its national strength.”

                    Although more than a decade has passed since North Korea’s first nuclear detonation, many analysts thought it would be years before the country’s weapons scientists could design a compact warhead that could be delivered by missile to distant targets. But the new assessment, a summary document dated July 28, concludes that this critical milestone has been reached.

                    “The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Washington Post. Two U.S. officials familiar with the assessment verified its broad conclusions. It is not known whether the reclusive regime has successfully tested the smaller design, although North Korea officially claimed last year that it had done so.

                    The DIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

                    An assessment this week by the Japanese Ministry of Defense also concludes that there is evidence to suggest that North Korea has achieved miniaturization.

                    Kim is becoming increasingly confident in the reliability of his nuclear arsenal, analysts have concluded, explaining perhaps the dictator’s willingness to engage in defiant behavior, including missile tests that have drawn criticism even from North Korea’s closest ally, China. On Saturday, China and Russia joined other members of the U.N. Security Council in approving punishing new economic sanctions, including a ban on exports that supply up to a third of North Korea’s annual $3 billion in earnings.

                    The nuclear progress further raises the stakes for Trump, who has vowed that North Korea will never be allowed to threaten the United States with nuclear weapons. In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC’s “Hugh Hewitt Show,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the prospect of a North Korea armed with *nuclear-tipped ICBMs would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

                    “We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option,” he said. But McMaster said the administration would do everything short of war to “pressure Kim Jong Un and those around him, such that they conclude it is in their interest, to denuclearize.” The options said to be under discussion range from new multilateral negotiations to reintroducing U.S. battlefield nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula, officials familiar with internal discussions said.

                    At the same time, the administration has been attempting to push North Korea toward talks, but Pyongyang has shown no interest in dialogue.

                    Determining the precise makeup of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal has long been a difficult challenge for intelligence officials because of the regime’s culture of extreme secrecy and insularity. The country’s weapons scientists have conducted five nuclear tests since 2006, the latest being a 20- to 30-kiloton detonation on Sept. 9, 2016, that produced a blast estimated to be up to twice that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

                    But producing a compact nuclear warhead that can fit inside a missile is a technically demanding feat, one that many analysts thought was still beyond North Korea’s grasp. Last year, state-run media in Pyongyang displayed a spherical device that government spokesmen described as a miniaturized nuclear warhead, but whether it was a real bomb remained unclear. North Korean officials described the September detonation as a successful test of a small warhead designed to fit on a missile, although many experts were skeptical of the claim.

                    Kim has repeatedly proclaimed his intention to field a fleet of nuclear-tipped ICBMs as a guarantor of his regime’s survival. His regime took a major step toward that goal last month with the first successful tests of a missile with intercontinental range. Video analysis of the latest test led some analysts to conclude that the missile caught fire and disintegrated as it plunged back toward Earth’s surface, suggesting that North Korea’s engineers might not be capable yet of building a reentry vehicle that can carry the warhead safely through the upper atmosphere. But U.S. analysts and many independent experts think this hurdle will be overcome by late next year.

                    “What initially looked like a slow-motion Cuban missile crisis is now looking more like the Manhattan Project, just barreling along,” said Robert Litwak, a nonproliferation expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the author of “Preventing North Korea’s Nuclear Breakout,” published by the center this year. “There’s a sense of urgency behind the program that is new to the Kim Jong Un era.”

                    Although few discount North Korea’s progress, some prominent U.S. experts warned against the danger of overestimating the threat. Siegfried Hecker, director emeritus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the last known U.S. official to inspect North Korea’s nuclear facilities, has calculated the size of North Korea’s arsenal at no more than 20 to 25 bombs. He warned of potential risks that can come from making Kim into a bigger menace than he actually is.

                    “Overselling is particularly dangerous,” said Hecker, who visited North Korea seven times between 2004 and 2010, and met with key leaders of the country’s weapons programs. “Some like to depict Kim as being crazy — a madman — and that makes the public believe that the guy is undeterrable. He’s not crazy and he’s not suicidal. And he’s not even unpredictable.”

                    “The real threat,” Hecker said, “is we’re going to stumble into a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.”

                    In the past, U.S. intelligence agencies have occasionally overestimated the North Korean threat. In the early 2000s, the George W. Bush administration assessed that Pyongyang was close to developing an ICBM that could strike the U.S. mainland — a prediction that missed the mark by more than a decade. More recently, however, analysts and policymakers have been surprised repeatedly as North Korea achieved key milestones months or years ahead of schedule, said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. There was similar skepticism about China’s capabilities in the early 1960s, said Lewis, who has studied that country’s pathway to a successful nuclear test in 1964.

                    “There is no reason to think that the North Koreans aren’t making the same progress after so many successful nuclear explosions,” Lewis said. “The big question is: Why do we hold the North Koreans to a different standard than we held [Joseph] Stalin’s Soviet Union or Mao Zedong’s China? North Korea is testing underground, so we’re always going to lack a lot of details. But it seems to me a lot of people are insisting on impossible levels of proof because they simply don’t want to accept what should be pretty obvious.”

                    Comment


                    • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

                      North Korea Seriously Considering Strike On Guam, State Media Outlet Says

                      August 8, 2017

                      North Korea said on Wednesday it is "carefully examining" a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam with missiles, just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury".

                      A spokesman for the Korean People's Army, in a statement carried by the North's state-run KCNA news agency, said the strike plan will be "put into practice in a multi-current and consecutive way any moment" once leader Kim Jong Un makes a decision.

                      In another statement citing a different military spokesman, North Korea also said it could carry out a pre-emptive operation if the United States showed signs of provocation.

                      Earlier Pyongyang said it was ready to give Washington a "severe lesson" with its strategic nuclear force in response to any U.S. military action.

                      Washington has warned it is ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs but that it prefers global diplomatic action, including sanctions.

                      The consequences of any U.S. strike would potentially be catastrophic not only for North Koreans but also South Korea, Japan and the thousands of U.S. military personnel within range of any North Korean retaliatory strikes.

                      "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump told reporters at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

                      The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday over its continued missile tests, that could slash the reclusive country's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

                      North Korea has made no secret of plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile able to strike the United States and has ignored international calls to halt its nuclear and missile programs.

                      It says its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are a legitimate means of defense against perceived U.S. hostility. It has long accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills.

                      U.S. stocks closed slightly lower after Trumps comment, while a widely followed measure of stock market anxiety ended at its highest in nearly a month. The U.S. dollar index pared gains and the safe-haven yen strengthened against the U.S. currency.

                      Tensions Rise

                      The United States has remained technically at war with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty. The past six decades have been punctuated by periodic rises in antagonism and rhetoric that have always stopped short of a resumption of active hostilities.

                      Tensions have risen since North Korea carried out two nuclear bomb tests last year and two ICBM tests last month.

                      The Trump administration's attempts to pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear and missile ambitions have so far gained little traction.

                      U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has warned of an "effective and overwhelming" response against North Korea if it chose to use nuclear weapons but has said any military solution would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale."

                      The United States has 28,500 troops in South Korea to guard against the North Korean threat. Japan hosts around 54,000 U.S. military personnel, the U.S. Department of Defense says, and tens of thousands of Americans work in both countries.

                      Seoul is home to a population of roughly 10 million, within range of massed pre-targeted North Korean rockets and artillery, which would be impossible to destroy in a first U.S. strike.

                      The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, according to a confidential U.S. intelligence assessment.

                      But U.S. intelligence officials told Reuters that while North Korea has accelerated its efforts to design an ICBM, a miniaturized nuclear warhead, and a nosecone robust enough to survive reentry through the Earths atmosphere from space, there is no reliable evidence that it has mastered all three, much less tested and combined them into a weapon capable of hitting targets in the United States.

                      The bottom line is that its almost impossible, given the amount and reliability of available intelligence, to reach a high-confidence assessment of the Norths nuclear capabilities, a U.S. intelligence official said.

                      U.S. intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said there is no certainty about the number of nuclear warheads North Korea has assembled, with estimates ranging from 20 to as many as 60 and most experts leaning toward the lower end of that range.

                      North Korea's ICBM tests last month suggested it was making technical progress, Japan's annual Defence White Paper warned.

                      "It is conceivable that North Korea's nuclear weapons programme has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturisation of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads," it said.

                      War Of Words

                      On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held the door open for dialogue, saying Washington was willing to talk to Pyongyang if it halted its missile test launches.

                      Still, he maintained the pressure, urging Thailand on Tuesday for more action against Pyongyang.

                      Former U.S. diplomat Douglas Paal, now with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank in Washington, said Trump should not get into a war of words with Pyongyang.

                      It strikes me as an amateurish reflection of a belief that we should give as we get rhetorically. That might be satisfying at one level, but it takes us down into the mud that we should let Pyongyang enjoy alone, said Paal, who served as a White House official under previous Republican administrations.

                      South Korea reiterated further United Nations resolutions against Pyongyang could follow if it did not pull back.

                      "North Korea should realize if it doesn't stop its ... provocations, it will face even stronger pressure and sanctions," Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told a news briefing. "We warn North Korea not to test or misunderstand the will of the South Korea-U.S. alliance."

                      Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon's No. 1 weapons supplier, said on Tuesday its customers are increasingly asking about missile defense systems.

                      "The level of dialogue ... is now at the prime minister and minister of defense level," Tim Cahill, the vice president of Lockheed's Air and Missile Defense business, told Reuters.

                      Comment


                      • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

                        Now China Is Testing Missiles Off The Korean Peninsula

                        August 8, 2017

                        China is holding live-fire drills off the Korean peninsula this week in a show of force analysts say is a warning to North Korea in response to its latest nuclear test.

                        China’s navy tested dozens of types of missiles on Monday, and plan to practice defensive and offensive maneuvers with surface ships, submarines, air support and coastguard forces, according to state media.

                        The exercises came shortly after China backed United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea, and less than two weeks after Pyongyang conducted its second successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in a month.

                        Comment


                        • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

                          Mattis To North Korea: Stop Actions That Could Lead To 'Destruction Of Its People'

                          August 9, 2017

                          US Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a dramatic ultimatum to North Korea on Wednesday to "cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people" -- strong words that come just one day after President Donald Trump warned that the US could unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang.

                          "The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons," Mattis said in a written statement, adding that the "regime's actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates."

                          Mattis has consistently said that he prefers to resolve issues over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs through diplomacy -- noting military action could yield catastrophic consequences.

                          On Wednesday, Mattis called on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to cooperate with the international community.

                          "Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council's unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability," he said.

                          The threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs has been a top foreign policy priority for Trump since taking office in January, but the dangers posed by North Korea have taken center stage since the country test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.

                          The latest crisis intensified when reports emerged this week that US intelligence sources believed North Korea had developed the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to fit top of a missile. Those reports appeared to prompt Trump's tirade from Bedminster Tuesday.

                          "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump said on Tuesday.

                          Hours after Trump spoke, and apparently in response to military exercises by the US earlier in the week, Pyongyang warned that it would carry out pre-emptive military strikes against the US, including the Pacific territory of Guam.

                          US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to allay fears of a military confrontation earlier on Wednesday -- defending Trump's comments but telling reporters there was no sign that the threat level from North Korea had changed and that Americans should "sleep well at night."

                          Tillerson has maintained that the US is open to dialogue with North Korea, if it promises to abandon its development of nuclear weapons. But that precondition has been a non-starter for Pyongyang.

                          But the US military has flexed its muscles by conducting joint military drills with Japan and South Korea and conducting show-of-force operations.

                          And Mattis clearly reminded Pyongyang of that military strength on Wednesday.

                          "While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed, and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth," Mattis said.

                          "The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from attack," he added.

                          State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Wednesday that the administration is working in concert with US allies to carry out a "pressure campaign" against North Korea.

                          "The United States is on the same page, whether it's the White House, the State Department, we're speaking with one voice," Nauert said.

                          "We've talked about our pressure campaign ... that's backed by many other nations," she added. "That campaign is working, it is ratcheting up the pressure every day."

                          Comment


                          • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

                            Chinese Paper Says China Should Stay Neutral If North Korea Attacks First

                            August 10, 2017

                            If North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States then China should stay neutral, but if the United States attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea's government China will stop them, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday.

                            President Donald Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric toward North Korea and its leader on Thursday, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or U.S. allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory.

                            China, North Korea's most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis. It has expressed frustration with both Pyongyang's repeated nuclear and missile tests and with behavior from South Korea and the United States that it sees as escalating tensions.

                            The widely read state-run Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, wrote in an editorial that Beijing is not able to persuade either Washington or Pyongyang to back down.

                            "It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China's interests, China will respond with a firm hand," said the paper, which does not represent government policy.

                            "China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral," it added.

                            "If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so."

                            China has long worried that any conflict on the Korean peninsula, or a repeat of the 1950-53 Korean war, could unleash a wave of destabilizing refugees into its northeast, and could end up with a reunified county allied with the United States.

                            North Korea is a useful buffer state for China between it and U.S. forces based in South Korea, and also across the sea in Japan.

                            The Global Times said China will "firmly resist any side which wants to change the status quo of the areas where China's interests are concerned".

                            "The Korean Peninsula is where the strategic interests of all sides converge, and no side should try to be the absolute dominator of the region."

                            Comment


                            • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

                              Trump Warns U.S. “Locked And Loaded” As North Korea Readies Missiles

                              August 11, 2017

                              President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” as he warned North Korea against threatening the U.S., escalating an exchange of threats between the nuclear-armed nations.

                              American and South Korean officials said they would move forward with large-scale military exercises later this month that North Korea, which has laid out plans to strike near the U.S. territory of Guam, claims are a rehearsal for war.

                              Trump tweeted Friday: “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

                              Two days after North Korea laid out its plans to strike near Guam with unsettling specificity, there was no observable march toward combat, despite the angry rhetoric from both sides. U.S. officials said there was no major movement of U.S. military assets to the region, nor were there signs Pyongyang was actively preparing for war.

                              As it is, the U.S. has a robust military presence in the region, including six B-1 bombers in Guam and Air Force fighter jet units in South Korea, plus other assets across the Pacific Ocean and in the skies above. Washington’s vast military options range from nothing to a full-on conventional assault by air, sea and ground forces. Any order by the president could be executed quickly.

                              German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded Friday to Trump’s tweet, saying she sees no military solution to North Korea crisis. Merkel declined to say whether Germany would stand with the U.S. in case of a military conflict with North Korea. She said, “I don’t see a military solution and I don’t think it’s called for.”

                              Merkel called on the U.N. Security Council to continue to address the issue. She added: “I think escalating the rhetoric is the wrong answer.”

                              The U.S.-South Korea exercises are an annual event, but they come as Pyongyang says it is readying a plan to fire off four Hwasong-12 missiles toward the tiny island, which is U.S. territory and major military hub. The plan would be sent to leader Kim Jong Un for approval just before or as the U.S.-South Korea drills begin.

                              Called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, the exercises are expected to run from Aug. 21-31 and involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air. Washington and Seoul say the exercises are defensive in nature and crucial to maintaining a deterrent against North Korean aggression.

                              The exercises were scheduled well before tensions began to rise over Trump’s increasingly fiery rhetoric and North Korea’s announcement of the missile plan, which if carried out would be its most provocative launch yet. Along with a bigger set of maneuvers held every spring, the exercises are routinely met by strong condemnation and threats of countermeasures from North Korea.

                              The heightened military activity on the peninsula this time is a concern because it could increase the possibility of a mishap or an overreaction of some sort by either side that could spin into a more serious escalation. North Korea has been increasingly sensitive to the exercises lately because they reportedly include training for “decapitation strikes” to kill Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants.

                              Pyongyang is also switching its propaganda machine into high gear by bringing in a large number of foreign journalists to ensure it gets global attention for an event next week in honor of its ruling Kim family on Mount Paektu, a dormant volcano that straddles the Chinese border and is something of a spiritual home for the regime.

                              Defense officials in Seoul confirmed that the exercises are expected to begin without any delays, but refused to provide further details. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Ulchi-Freedom Guardian involves about 40,000 troops, along with civilian South Korean government personnel who train their civil defense responses.

                              The possibility of escalation is made even more acute by the lack of any means of official communication across the Demilitarized Zone, though there has been no easing of the barrage of inflammatory comments in the U.S. and the North since new sanctions against North Korea were announced last week.

                              Keeping up the tough talk Thursday from his New Jersey golf resort where he is on a working vacation, Trump warned Kim Jong Un’s government to “get their act together” or face extraordinary trouble, and suggested his threat on Tuesday to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea was too mild.

                              “North Korea better get their act together, or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble,” Trump said, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence. Accusing his predecessors of insufficient action, Trump said it was time somebody stood up to Kim Jong Un.

                              Though tensions have been building for months amid new missile tests by the North, including the launch of its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the pace has intensified since the U.N. Security Council on Saturday passed sweeping new sanctions Trump had requested.

                              U.S. allies Japan and South Korea quickly vowed a strong reaction if the North follows through.

                              Trump echoed that threat Thursday, insisting if North Korea took any steps to attack Guam, its leaders would have reason to be nervous.

                              “Things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?” Trump said. He did not specify what they might be.

                              Comment


                              • Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

                                Kim Jong Un's Disappearance Sparks Concerns Missile Launch Could Be Imminent

                                August 14, 2017

                                North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has vanished from the public eye for two weeks, South Korean media reported, prompting fears that he may be preparing to mark Tuesday’s public holiday by firing a new rocket.

                                The last time Kim went days without being seen was prior to the ICBM launch in late July, when he remained incognito for two weeks before making his grandiose public appearance. His public withdrawal comes as nuclear tensions mount between Washington and Pyongyang, and on the heels of the leader’s threat to attack the U.S. island territory of Guam.

                                On Tuesday, North Korea is set to commemorate the Korean Peninsula’s liberation from Japan at the end of World War II.

                                Adding to the speculation of an imminent rocket-fire test, last week U.S.-based North Korea watchdog site 38 North released satellite imagery of a submarine base in the hermit country, showing that tarps had been placed above both the fore and aft decks of the Sinpo-class submarine base, presumably to conceal any inside movements.

                                However, other analysts have also pointed out that Kim has previously disappeared for lengthy periods due to an unknown “physical condition.” Furthermore, his father, Kim Jong Il, disappeared for around six weeks after the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, prompting speculation that he simply may have felt threatened.

                                Trump vowed last week that the U.S. would respond with “fire and fury” and is “locked and loaded” should North Korea dare come close to carrying an attack on the U.S. territory of Guam. Pentagon officials have told Fox News that the U.S. military stands ready to “fight tonight.”

                                Pyongyang, in turn, warned that “even a single shell dropped on the Korea Peninsula might lead to the outbreak of thermonuclear war” and that North Korea considers “the U.S. no more than a lump” which it “can beat to a jelly at any time.”

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