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Thread: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

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    Default Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War


    North Korea Backs Off Guam Missile Threat: Report

    August 14, 2017

    North Korea is backing off a threat to fire missiles at the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, according to a new report.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he had decided not to launch an attack, but warned he could change his mind.

    “If the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the restraint of the DPRK [North Korea], the [North] will make an important decision as it already declared,” Kim said according to the country’s state media, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

    The statement could help reduce tensions in the region.

    President Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric after North Korea carried out ballistic missile tests, warning the country that it would face “fire and fury” if it continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies.

    North Korea responded by threatening an attack on Guam, saying an attack plan could be in place by mid-August.

    Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday warned Pyongyang that if a missile were to hit the U.S. territory that would be treated as an act of war.

    “If they shoot at the United States, I’m assuming they hit the United States. If they do that, it’s game on,” he said.

    North Korean media reportedly said Kim had made the decision not to fire missiles at Guam after being briefed by his top commanders.

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    Default Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War


    Millions Of American Lives Could Be At Stake As North Korea Threatens To Attack Power Grid

    September 6, 2017

    North Korea may very well have the ability to kill millions of Americans, without directly firing on U.S. soil. For the first time, the pariah country’s state news agency warned it could hit the U.S. with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) onslaught, a threat that experts contend is both very real and comes with catastrophic consequences.

    “The biggest danger would be shorting out of the power grid, especially on the East Coast. Imagine a situation where large sections of the U.S. had no power. Imagine New York or Washington D.C. with no power for just a week. The implications would be hard to fathom,” Harry Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest, told Fox News. “The casualty rates would be off the charts.”

    According to Kazianis, an EMP delivered by a nuclear weapon would not just fry power grids but also carry the destructive power of an atomic device.

    “That in it of itself is going to kill thousands if not millions depending on the size of it and where it is dropped. Also, nuclear weapons carry radioactive fallout that would be spread thousands of miles through the atmosphere and oceans,” he continued. “We would be adding to such a casualty count sadly for decades thanks to cancer cases that would arise many years later.”

    So how could North Korea pull off an EMP attack? A hydrogen bomb detonated at a high altitude would create an electromagnetic pulse that would knock out key infrastructure – namely prominent parts of the U.S. electrical grid.

    The higher the bomb’s detonation, the wider the range of destruction. An altitude of just under 250 miles – around the orbit of the International Space Station – would annihilate electronics in majority of the mainland, including parts of neighboring Canada and Mexico, analysts have said. North Korea exhibited its capacity to reach such altitudes in satellite launches in both 2012 and 2016.

    An EMP attack, experts warn, doesn’t require definitive guidance systems as the area affected is so widespread.

    “An EMP is similar to a lightning strike in some respects, but it acts over a wide area – hundreds of miles,” explained John Gilbert, retired Air Force colonel and senior science fellow with the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation in Washington, D.C. “There would be widespread and probably long-lasting power outages and wire-line telecommunications systems such as telephone and TV/internet cable would suffer serious damage. Individual items such as cars and trucks could also be damaged or disabled and damage could occur to electronic devices in homes and businesses.”

    An attack could cut power to health care facilities and cripple municipal facilities and utilities.

    “North Korea consistently exceeds our estimates of what we think they can do, so prudence might indicate we take them at their word,” noted Lieutenant General Wallace Gregson (USMC, Ret.), the former assistant defense secretary, now Senior Director of China and the Pacific at the Center for the National Interest. “The aim is to shut down our electrical grid and all the distribution networks – water, waste, financial, traffic management, air control, radio, computer, others – we depend upon.”

    Scientists first discovered the EMP fallout of a hydrogen bomb during a test in 1962, in which lights were burned out in Honolulu – some 1,000 miles from the test location.

    Experts have long warned of the plausibility of an EMP attack from the likes of North Korea or Iran. A special task force appointed by Congress and known as the EMP Commission cautioned in 2008 that the largely digitized U.S. could be left black for up to a year as a result of an EMP disruption. They say that even the sensors and monitors that function to re-start electronics after a power outage would be wiped out.

    Yet apparently little was done to address the potential crisis.

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported last year that the federal government had failed to implement an array of recommendations they had made eight years earlier to prevent calamitous outages triggered by an EMP incursion, noting that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Energy (DOE) had not “established a coordinated approach to identifying and implementing key risk management activities to address EMP risks” and that securing the grid was far from the top priority.

    Richard Schoeberl, a terrorism analyst and former unit chief at the CIA’s National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), asserted that while North Korea’s own proclamations of having the capability to strike the U.S. with an EMP attack may be well be over-exaggerated, it is a threat that requires serious mitigations.

    “The United States can provide better protection of the nation’s infrastructure,” he told Fox News. “The threat of EMP is completely plausible.”

    “Most of our East Coast grid has a lot of older equipment that could be vulnerable. We should work quickly to make the necessary upgrades to ensure North Korea can’t catch us by surprise,” Kazianis added. “We are highly vulnerable to such an attack. Considering that if North Koreans are able to pack enough destructive power into such a nuclear device they could fry countless electrical grids and equipment. If they use a big enough device the damage could be beyond belief.”

    The State Department and Department of Energy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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    Default Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

    So now people are worrying about an EMP? Most people I've spoken to that aren't up to speed on EMP scoff at the idea. I guess the Nork fat body "woke" some folks.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

    Yep... It's been an issue that only a few in government have been pushing to have addressed and is certainly our Achilles's Heel.

    I don't think it will be a "Lights Out" scenario if one were to happen but you just need look at the response to Irma, with people wiping out bottled water when they have a week to get containers (via Amazon Prime even!) and fill them ahead of time, to see how easily many thousands could end up dead.

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    North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan, US Confirms

    September 14, 2017

    North Korea fired an unidentified missile over Japan early Friday, the rogue nation's first missile launch since its massive nuclear test more than a week ago, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News.

    The missile was launched eastward early Friday from Sunan, which is the site of Pyongyang's international airport, flying over northern Japan before it landed in the Pacific Ocean, according to U.S. Pacific Command.

    An initial U.S. assessment of the launch indicated it was an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).

    In response to the test, South Korea launched a ballistic missile of its own to show it can reach North Korea's launch site.

    The Japanese government initially asked its residents to avoid anything that could possibly be missile debris, but NHK is now reporting a top government spokesperson said no debris fell from the ballistic missile.

    Both countries are set to hold national security council meetings Friday morning, NHK reported.

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the missile a reckless act by the North Koreans, adding that the missile "was fired over Japan and put millions of Japanese in duck and cover. Mattis said President Donald Trump has been fully briefed on the missile.

    "North Korea's provocative missile launch represents the second time the people of Japan, a treaty ally of the United States, have been directly threatened in recent weeks," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement. "These continued provocations only deepen North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation. United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take. We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime."

    Last month, North Korea used the same airport to fire a Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile that flew over Japan, which the North declared as a "meaningful prelude" to containing the U.S. island territory of Guam, and the start of more ballistic missile launches targeting the Pacific Ocean.

    U.S. officials said the missile launched Friday is what the Pentagon calls a KN-17. The KN-17's maximum range is estimated to be 2,800 miles.

    The launched missile, according to reports, reached a height of 480 miles and flew 2,300 miles out, farther than the North's missile launched in August — the first missile launched over Japan in eight years — which reached a height of 340 miles and flew 1,700 miles out.

    Guam is about 2,100 miles from North Korea.

    The missile launch comes three days after the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions against North Korea.

    The resolution bans the regime from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, and caps Pyongyang’s imports of crude oil at the level of the last 12 months. It also limits the import of refined petroleum products to 2 million barrels per year.

    The sanctions also ban all textile exports and prohibit all countries from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers, both of which are sources of hard currency for the regime.

    Ahead of the vote, North Korea vowed that the United States would face "pain and suffering" if any new sanctions were approved by the U.N.

    “The forthcoming measures to be taken by [North Korea] will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    A call for tougher sanctions against the regime came after the country claimed it successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb.

    The Sept. 3 test triggered an artificial magnitude 6.3 earthquake. According to a South Korean defense official, the test was estimated to have a yield of 100 kilotons, meaning a blast that was four to five times more powerful than the explosion Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945.



    When the hell are we going to shoot one of these damn things down? I don't see anything wrong with a little live fire practice.

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    A South Korean Delegation Asks Washington For Nuclear Weapons

    September 14, 2017

    The heated debate in South Korea over redeploying U.S. nuclear weapons on its territory has now reached Washington. A senior delegation of South Korean lawmakers is in town making the case to the Trump administration and Congress that such a move is needed to confront North Korea’s growing nuclear capability and place more pressure on China.

    “We are here to ask for redeployment of tactical nuclear warheads in South Korea,” Lee Cheol Woo, the head of the intelligence committee of South Korea’s National Assembly, told me Thursday morning.

    Lee is heading a delegation of members of the Liberty Korea Party, the opposition to President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party. He is also the chairman of the assembly’s special committee for nuclear crisis response.

    Moon told CNN yesterday that he does not agree that tactical nuclear weapons should be reintroduced to South Korea or that Seoul should develop its own nuclear weapons. He warned it could “lead to a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia.” But Lee’s delegation believes that as the North Korea nuclear crisis worsens, a push by the Trump administration or Congress could help persuade Moon’s government to change its position, as it has already done regarding the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system.

    “The ruling party came to power based on their opposition to the deployment of THAAD and having tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea,” Lee said. “But if there were to be additional requests from the U.S. government, then they would have to listen to the many voices that are asking for the additional deployment of nuclear warheads.”

    The delegation will meet with the State Department’s special representative for North Korea policy, Joe Yun, and senior Asia-focused lawmakers including Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).

    The delegation touts rising South Korean public support for their initiative. Even before Kim Jong Un’s latest nuclear test, South Korean polls showed that 68 percent support reintroducing nuclear weapons and that 60 percent support South Korea developing nuclear weapons of its own.

    The United States stationed nuclear weapons in South Korea for most of the Cold War, but they were removed by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. After South Korea’s defense minister suggested this month it’s worth reviewing the idea, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said “it ought to be seriously considered.” Trump administration officials have said they are not ruling out the possibility, should the South Korean government request it.

    Adding nuclear weapons to the already volatile situation on the Korean peninsula seems to run counter to the stated U.S. goal of completely denuclearizing the peninsula. But proponents of the idea lay out three key reasons it could be helpful.

    First, North Korea is very close to achieving the capability to launch nuclear weapons via both intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched missiles. That changes the calculus of strategic deterrence. Putting nukes in South Korea would strengthen the ability of the United States and South Korea to retaliate, thereby bolstering that deterrence.

    Separately, the Chinese government would surely oppose putting nuclear weapons back in South Korea. Beijing has been subjecting the South Korean economy to severe punishment in response to the THAAD deployment. But the threat of South Korea going nuclear could push Beijing into doing more to rein in Pyongyang.

    Lastly, since North Korea is now a de-facto nuclear state, putting nukes back in South Korea could be a bargaining chip for future negotiations with Pyongyang.

    But what about Moon’s warning about potential escalation? Kim Tae Woo of Konyang University, a member of Lee’s special committee, said that the benefits of the move outweigh the risks. “First of all, we want to destroy the North Korean belief that they can decouple the alliance by threatening the U.S. continent,” he said. “And also we have to destroy the Chinese belief that China can let the North Korea nuclear program go on.”

    The current U.S. strategy is to cooperate with Beijing to increase pressure on North Korea to change its calculus and eventually bring it back to the table. “But do you think the current strategy is working?” Kim said.

    So long as Moon is in power, prospects for putting nukes back in South Korea will remain slim. The Trump administration would be unwise to publicly break with Moon on such an important issue. Alliance unity is an important signal to Pyongyang and Beijing. But ignoring the fact that North Korea’s nuclear advancement is changing the strategic situation is also deeply unwise. The only thing worse than failing to prevent a new nuclear arms race would be losing it.

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    North Korea Could Test Hydrogen Bomb In Pacific, Says Foreign Minister

    September 21, 2017

    North Korea could respond to Donald Trump’s threats of military action by testing a powerful nuclear weapon in the Pacific Ocean, the country’s foreign minister has said, hours after the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, said the US president would “pay dearly” for threatening to destroy the regime.

    Ri Yong-ho, who is due to address the UN general assembly at the weekend, told reporters in New York: “It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific. We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong-un.”

    Ri was speaking after Kim said that he was considering retaliating at the “highest level” after Trump warned that the US would “totally destroy North Korea” if it was forced to defend itself or its allies.

    Earlier this month, North Korea detonated a powerful hydrogen bomb at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the north-east of the country. The explosion caused a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that was felt over the Chinese border in Yanji.

    Testing a nuclear device beyond its own borders would mark a major escalation in tensions over the regime’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

    In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, Kim called Trump “mentally deranged” and warned him that he would “pay dearly” for issuing threats to the regime during his maiden UN general assembly speech on Tuesday.

    Describing the president as “a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire”, Kim drew a critical comparison between Trump and his predecessors in the White House, calling him unfit to hold the position of commander in chief.

    “Far from making remarks of any persuasive power that can be viewed to be helpful to defuse tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessors.”

    In a combative speech, Trump warned he would “totally destroy” North Korea if it attacked the US or its allies, and called on other countries to cut the regime off from its sources of funds.

    “The mentally deranged behaviour of the US president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to ‘totally destroy’ a sovereign state … makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure,” the statement said.

    Kim said Trump’s remarks had convinced him “that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last”.

    He added that he was “thinking hard” about his response, but vowed that Trump would “pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying” North Korea.

    “Action is the best option in treating the dotard, who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say,” he said.

    “Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy [North Korea], we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

    His lengthy criticism of Trump ended: “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”

    The statement came just hours after Trump issued a new executive order that expands US sanctions on North Korea’s shipping, banking, ports and manufacturing. Trump also claimed China’s banking system had shut down business with the country.

    Reuters reported earlier in the day that China’s central bank had ordered financial institutions to implement UN sanctions rigorously after frequent complaints from Washington that Beijing was leaving open too many loopholes.

    Trump thanked China’s president Xi Jinping and said the move was “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected”.

    There was no immediate confirmation from the Chinese government that it had imposed a financial embargo on North Korea. If confirmed, it would represent a significant tightening of the economic noose around the Pyongyang regime, by a country which accounts for 90% of its trade.

    But it is unclear whether any amount of financial or economic pain would induce Kim Jong-un to relinquish North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles, which he believes are essential for the regime’s survival.

    Trump announced the new executive order during a working lunch with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, and Shinzō Abe, the Japanese prime minister.

    “Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind,” Trump said. “The order enhances the treasury department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services, or technology with North Korea.”

    Under the new measures, no ship or aircraft can visit the US within 180 days of going to North Korea. The same restriction would apply to any vessel involvement in ship-to-ship transfers with North Korean vessels. The order gives the US Treasury the power to sanction anybody involved in a wide variety of North Korean industries, ports, trade, and banking.

    “Foreign financial institutions must choose between doing business with the United States or facilitating trade with North Korea or its designated supporters,” a White House statement said.

    “To prevent sanctions evasion, the order also includes measures designed to disrupt critical North Korean shipping and trade networks,” he said. “For much too long, North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system to facilitate funding for its nuclear weapons and missile programs.”

    On the same day, the EU announced new sanctions of its own, including a ban on investment in North Korea and on EU exports of oil. The impact will be minimal, as trade and investment relations between North Korea and EU are tiny.

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    Default Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

    I think we're reaching, or we've reached, a point where there simply must be decisive military action. The other options are falling away quickly.

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    Default Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

    Yep... Kim Jong Fatboy is rapidly taking options off the table.

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    US Flies Bombers Off North Korean Coast To Send Message On America's 'Military Options'

    September 23, 2017


    U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flying with F-35B fighter jets and South Korean Air Force F-15K fighter jets during a training at the Pilsung Firing Range, Sept. 18, 2017 in Gangwon-do, South Korea.

    The U.S. flew bombers and fighter jets along the North Korean coast Saturday to send a message about the "military options" open to America in dealing with Kim Jong Un's regime, the Pentagon said.

    U.S. B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam and F-15 fighter jets from Okinawa, Japan, joined in the exercise which was in international airspace to the east of North Korea.

    "This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea's coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take DPRK's reckless behavior," Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said in a statement, using the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea..

    The show of strength comes days after President Donald Trump increased economic sanctions and threatened military action against the regime.

    "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," Trump told the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday, "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime."

    The Pentagon said Saturday's flight off the North Korean coast "is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the president has many military options to defeat any threat," adding, "We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies."

    Kim Jong Un fired back in a statement Thursday responding to Trump's U.N. address. He called Trump "mentally deranged" and said the president was "playing with fire." The North Korean leader said Trump's speech convinced him he's leading his nation down the right path.

    "Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy the DPRK, we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history," Kim said.

    Trump's executive order, issued Thursday, expanded the authority to target individuals and companies that finance or facilitate trade with North Korea -- a move the U.S. president said will disrupt critical North Korean shipping and trade networks.

    The North Korean regime has conducted 14 ballistic missile tests and one underground nuclear test since the beginning of the year.

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    North Korea Says Rockets To U.S. 'Inevitable' As U.S. Bombers Fly Off North Korean Coast

    September 23, 2017

    North Korea said on Saturday targeting the U.S. mainland with its rockets was inevitable after “Mr. Evil President” Donald Trump called Pyongyang’s leader “rocket man”, further escalating rhetoric over the North’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s remarks to the United Nations General Assembly came hours after U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighters flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea in a show of force the Pentagon said showed the range of military options available to Trump.

    Ri’s speech capped a week of rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, with Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un trading insults. Trump called Kim a “madman” on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

    On Saturday, the mudslinging continued with Ri calling Trump “a mentally deranged person full of megalomania and complacency” who is trying to turn the United Nations into a “gangsters’ nest”. Ri said Trump himself was on a “suicide mission” after the U.S. president had said Kim was on such a mission.

    ”‘President Evil’ is holding the seat of the U.S.

    President,” Ri said, warning that Pyongyang was ready to defend itself if the United States showed any sign of conducting a “decapitating operation on our headquarters or military attack against our country”.

    “Now we are finally only a few steps away from the final gate of completion of the state nuclear force,” Ri told the annual gathering of world leaders.

    He said sanctions would have no effect on Pyongyang’s resolve to develop its nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal being “balance of power with the U.S.”

    Trump announced new U.S. sanctions on Thursday that he said allow targeting of companies and institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea.

    Earlier this month the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth round of sanctions on Pyongyang to counter its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.

    The U.S. bombers’ flight was the farthest north of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea that any U.S. fighter jet or bomber has flown in the 21st century, the Pentagon said.

    “This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.

    “We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies.”

    North Korea has launched dozens of missiles this year, several flying over Japan, as it accelerates its program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

    Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on Sept. 3 and has threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.

    Ri met with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after delivering his speech. Guterres expressed concern to Ri over the escalating tensions and appealed for de-escalation, the United Nations said in a statement.

    The Pentagon said the B-1B bombers came from Guam and their U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts came from Okinawa, Japan. Previous shows of force with bombers have stayed south of the demilitarized zone.

    The patrols came after officials and experts said a small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one.

    China’s Earthquake Administration said the quake was not a nuclear explosion and had the characteristics of a natural tremor.

    The CTBTO, or Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which monitors nuclear tests, and officials of the South Korean meteorological agency also said they believed it was a natural quake.

    The earthquake, which South Korea’s Meteorological Agency put at magnitude 3.0, was detected 49 km from Kilju in North Hamgyong Province, where North Korea’s known Punggye-ri nuclear site is located, the official said.

    All North Korea’s nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above. The last registered as a magnitude 6.3.

    Tensions have continued to rise around the Korean Peninsula since Pyongyang carried out its sixth test, prompting a new round of U.N. sanctions.

    Trump told the United Nations on Tuesday the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the United States or its allies.

    North Korea’s nuclear tests to date have all been underground, and experts say an atmospheric test, which would be the first since one by China in 1980, would be proof of the success of its weapons program.

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

    The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

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    Default Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War



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    Default Re: Korean Peninsula On The Brink Of War

    This is coming at the same time the Courageous Channel exercise is starting up, an annual drill to evacuating personnel from the Peninsula.


    U.S. Evacuation Drills in South Korea Heighten Fears of Military Action

    October 16, 2017

    The United States military said on Monday that it would practice evacuating noncombatant Americans out of South Korea in the event of war and other emergencies, as the two allies began a joint naval exercise amid heightened tensions with North Korea.

    It has conducted similar evacuation exercises for decades. But with fears rising in the South that the United States might be preparing for military action against the North, the American military issued a rare news release on Monday stressing that the noncombatant evacuation exercise was a “routinely scheduled” drill.

    The drill, known as Courageous Channel, is scheduled from next Monday through Friday and is aimed at preparing American “service members and their families to respond to a wide range of crisis management events such as noncombatant evacuation and natural or man-made disasters,” the United States military said in a statement.

    The South Korean government of President Moon Jae-in has repeatedly warned that it opposes a military solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis because it could quickly escalate into a full-blown war in which Koreans would suffer the most.

    United States officials said they were hoping for a diplomatic end to the crisis, but would not rule out military action. And in recent months, as North Korea has accelerated its nuclear and missile programs, President Trump has issued a series of comments that have stoked fears among South Koreans of possible war on the Korean Peninsula. He has threatened to “totally destroy” or rain down “fire and fury” on the North, and has also said that Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with the country.

    North Korea has matched Mr. Trump’s tough talk by calling the American leader a “mentally deranged dotard” and threatening to launch missiles around Guam, an American territory in the Western Pacific, and shoot down long-range bombers taking off from the island for exercises near Korea.

    The United States military did not disclose how many people would participate in the evacuation drill next week. But it said the scale and focus would not vary from past versions. “Nonparticipants across the peninsula can expect little to no disruption of daily activities on and around military installations,” it said.

    Participants in the exercise receive briefings on evacuation procedures and “limited rehearsals,” it said.

    Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of United States Forces Korea, said, “Although not directly tied to current geopolitical events, our forces must be ready in all areas.”

    “This training is as important to readiness as our other routine events such as tank gunnery and fighter wing exercises,” he said.

    Also on Monday, the United States and South Korea started a 10-day joint naval exercise in waters east and west of the Korean Peninsula. The American aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan is joining the annual drill, as are American and South Korean warplanes. The nuclear-powered submarine Michigan arrived at the South Korean port of Busan on Friday to join the naval exercise.

    North Korea considers joint military drills by the United States and South Korea rehearsals for invasion. On Friday, its officials renewed their threats to launch missiles into the waters around Guam, home to major American military bases from which the United States would send major reinforcements should war break out on the Korean Peninsula.

    Mr. Tillerson said on Sunday that his diplomatic efforts would continue even though Mr. Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, have been exchanging threats and personal insults.

    “Those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops,” Mr. Tillerson said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    Despite Mr. Trump’s rebuffing of Mr. Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts, the secretary of state said that the president preferred making diplomacy a priority as an option to tame the North’s nuclear ambitions.

    “The president has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically,” Mr. Tillerson said. “He is not seeking to go to war.”

    In Moscow, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia approved a package of sanctions against North Korea, fulfilling provisions of a United Nations resolution passed in November 2016 in response to the North’s nuclear program.

    According to the document, published on Monday, Russia banned imports of zinc, silver, copper and nickel from North Korea, as well as exports of helicopters and vessels. It also suspended scientific and technical cooperation with the country.

    The document also bans exports of luxury products to North Korea, such as carpets worth more than $500 and china worth more than $100. It also included a list of people and companies that were barred from having financial transactions with Russian entities.

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    U.S. Sends Hundreds Of Thousands Of Bombs To Guam As North Korea Threat Looms

    October 19, 2017

    The Air Force munitions stockpile in Guam recently received a 10 percent boost, according to the U.S. military.

    A total of 816,393 munitions assets valued at over $95 million dollars were delivered to Andersen Air Force Base between August 21 and September 30, 36th Wing Public Affairs revealed in a statement Wednesday.

    “The inbound munitions ensure required assets are available in theater to support national objectives,” explained Maj. Erik Schmid, 36th Munitions Squadron commander. “The munitions will increase the overall availability of day-to-day training assets and War Reserve Material stocks to support warfighting capabilities,” the statement introduced.

    The commander of the Pacific Air Forces addressed the severity of the North Korean threat Monday while warning that the U.S. military remains ready to fight should that course of action be required.

    “The North Korean nuclear weapons and missile development program is truly a threat to us all,” Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Terrence O‘Shaughnessy said in Seoul, South Korea, adding, “While the United States will always seek peace over war, we remain poised to defend our ideals, our allies, and those who help preserve these international rules and norms.

    The strategic air assets located at Andersen Air Force Base facilitate America’s continuous bomber presence in the Asia Pacific and are regularly used to warn North Korea of the dangers of threatening the U.S. and its allies.

    B-1B Lancers, powerful bombers that are no longer nuclear capable but carry the largest conventional payload of any U.S. bomber, are regularly sent to Korea to train alongside South Korean and Japanese forces, conduct practice bombing raids, and carry out flybys near the inter-Korean border. These flights typically follow North Korean provocations, such as missile and nuclear tests.

    With memories of the intense bombing campaigns of the Korean War still fresh in mind, Pyongyang tends to express outrage about the threat posed by U.S. flights around the peninsula. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho recently suggested that North Korea has the right to defend itself and could move to shoot down U.S. aircraft that get too close.

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    Senator: It's Time For US Military Families To Leave South Korea

    December 3, 2017

    Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday that he believes it's time to start moving the families of American military personnel out of South Korea as North Korea pushes the U.S. closer to a military conflict.

    Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he will also urge the Pentagon not to send any more dependents to South Korea.

    "It's crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea. South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour," the South Carolina Republican said on CBS' "Face the Nation." ''So, I want them to stop sending dependents, and I think it's now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea."

    About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to deter potential aggression from the North.

    Last week, North Korea shattered 2 months of relative quiet by firing off an intercontinental ballistic missile that some observers say showed the reclusive country's ability to strike the U.S. East Coast. It was North Korea's most powerful weapons test yet.

    The launch was a message of defiance to President Donald Trump's administration, which a week earlier had restored North Korea to a U.S. list of terror sponsors. It also hurt nascent diplomatic efforts and raised fears of a pre-emptive U.S. strike. Threats traded by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have further stoked fears of war.

    Graham expressed confidence in the Trump administration's ability to manage the growing conflict with North Korea.

    "He's got the best national security team of anybody I have seen since I have been in Washington," said Graham, who has served in Congress since 1995.

    The Trump administration has vowed to deny North Korea the capability of striking the U.S. homeland with a nuclear-tipped missile.

    "Denial means pre-emptive war as a last resort. The pre-emption is becoming more likely as their technology matures," Graham told CBS. "I think we're really running out of time. The Chinese are trying, but ineffectively. If there's an underground nuclear test, then you need to get ready for a very serious response by the United States."

    Trump has said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about Pyongyang's "provocative actions," and he vowed that additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea. China is North Korea's only significant ally, but it has grown increasingly frustrated over the North's nuclear and missile tests that have brought a threat of war and chaos to China's northeastern border.

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    China's Air Force Drills Warn U.S., South Korea

    December 5, 2017

    China may have recently conducted air force drills to send a message to the United States and South Korea, while flying near the peninsula to collect military intelligence.

    Chinese air force spokesman Shen Jinke said Monday the exercises involved aircraft traveling along "routes and areas it has never flown before," the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

    The Chinese spokesman did not provide details on dates, but the announcement came the same day Washington and Seoul launched their biggest joint air force exercise.

    Reconnaissance planes, fighter jets, an early warning and control aircraft, were included in the exercise, according to Beijing.

    Li Jie, a Chinese military expert based in Beijing, said the announcement was targeting the United States and South Korea.

    "The timing of this high-profile announcement by the PLA is also a warning to Washington and Seoul not to provoke Pyongyang any further," he said.

    Song Zhongping, an independent commentator for Hong Kong-based Phoenix Satellite Television, said China may have flown over China's air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, in the East China Sea.

    Those areas overlap with Japanese and South Korean airspace.

    Surveillance equipment may have also been used to collect data on military deployments on the Korean peninsula, Song added.

    The United States and South Korea deployed THAAD, a U.S. missile defense system, that is strongly opposed in Beijing.

    China claims missile defense can be used to track movements within its borders.

    U.S. Forces in Japan may be preparing future provocations with navy patrols.

    South Korean newspaper Seoul Shinmun reported Tuesday from Yokosuka naval base the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was north of the Philippines, on a patrol mission.

    The U.S. crew at the base are ready at all times to respond to crisis on the peninsula, according to the report.

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    Hawaii Brings Back Cold War Era Sirens To Warn Of Nuclear Attack

    November 28, 2017

    Hawaii will resume nuclear warning sirens for the first time in 30 years this week, amid growing concerns about a strike from North Korea.

    The state will sound its Cold War-era air raid sirens on Friday for about 60 seconds across the islands, and will do so monthly thereafter to prepare citizens for an attack, a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesperson told Reuters.

    Along with the air raid warnings, officials are releasing public service announcements telling citizens to "get inside, stay inside and stay tuned" when the sirens sound, Reuters learned.

    North Korea has launched several ballistic missiles in recent months, which experts have calculated could possibly reach the Hawaiian Islands, home to many key U.S. military bases.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un previously threatened to launch missiles at Guam, a U.S. territory west of Hawaii.

    U.S. Pacific Command would reportedly order officials to sound the sirens in the case of an actual missile launch, giving residents between 12 and 15 minutes to take cover.

    Vern Miyagi, chief of the state's emergency agency told Reuters there were concerns that reviving the sirens would scare residents.

    But he said the effort was based on "the best science that we have on what would happen if that weapon hit Honolulu or the assumed targets.”

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    US Closer Than Ever To 'Nuclear War With North Korea,' Mullen Says

    December 31, 2017

    Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen on Sunday gave a dire predication about U.S.-North Korea relations, suggesting the countries are closer than ever to a nuclear war with no diplomatic solution.

    “We're actually closer, in my view, to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we've ever been,” Mullen, a retired Navy admiral, told ABC News' “This Week.” “I don't see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point.”

    Relations between the countries certainly have gotten worse -- even threatening -- in recent months, analysts have pointed out, as President Trump and world leaders call for North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un to end his pursuit and testing of a nuclear warhead and inter-continental missiles on which to launch the weapon.

    The United Nations Security Council recently imposed more economic sanctions on the rogue nation to curtail such testing. And the Trump administration has sought help from neighboring China, Japan and South Korea to reach a diplomatic solution.

    But Trump has also confronted Kim with the threat of U.S. military action and has taken personal jabs, even calling Kim “Little Rocket Man.”

    In September, Trump, in his first U.N. speech, vowed to “totally destroy” North Korea if it continues to threaten the U.S. and its allies with its actions.

    A few weeks later Trump tweeted: “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man...”

    Kim has in turn called Trump “old” and a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

    Pyongyang called the recent U.N. vote “act of war.”

    Mullen also suggested Sunday that Trump has created an “incredibly dangerous (international) climate” with North Korea at the “top of the list.”

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    The US Is Reportedly Considering A 'Bloody Nose' Attack To Humiliate North Korea

    January 9, 2018

    President Donald Trump is reportedly considering launching a "bloody nose" attack to batter and humiliate North Korea.

    The strategy is incredibly risky and relies on Kim Jong Un correctly interpreting the attack as a limited, punitive strike, rather than the opening of the second Korean War.

    If the US is determined to strike North Korea despite the risks, they have a few options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

    But if the US did pull it off, they could put the fear in North Korea, which has killed hundreds of US and South Koreans with impunity since 1953.

    As North Korea's nuclear and missile programs make leaps and bounds in advancement, the most powerful military on earth has sat just a few dozen miles away with little they could do about it — but that may be about to change.

    Multiple reports out of the White House indicate an internal debate over a hot topic: Whether or not to strike North Korea.

    Both The Telegraph and the Wall Street Journal have reported that President Donald Trump's administration is weighing a "bloody nose" strike to batter and humiliate North Korea as it illegally advances its weapons programs. The strategy calls for a limited strike on North Korea in response to some provocation, like a missile or nuclear test.

    The news that the Trump administration is seriously considering a strike has rattled international observers and experts on North Korea, as any attack on North Korea runs the enormous risk of starting an all out war.

    If the US strikes North Korea, it then places its trust in the country's leader Kim Jong Un not to retaliate massively against South Korea or Japan. As North Korea demonstrates an ever-increasing nuclear capability, the prospect only becomes more dangerous.

    But a cowed North Korea would lose enormous standing internationally and domestically, as putting the fear of repeated punishment in the belligerent country that has for decades killed US and South Korean citizens with impunity.

    How The US Could Give Kim Jong Un A Bloody Nose

    Unlike the US' April 7 strike on a Syrian airbase in response to the regime's use of chemical weapons, the US couldn't just pull up a guided-missile destroyer to North Korea's coast and let 59 cruise missiles rip.

    "Cruise missiles give a fair bit of warning," Justin Bronk, an expert in combat airpower at the Royal United Services Institute told Business Insider. Bronk pointed out that the missiles fly at subsonic speeds and that "North Korea is fairly careful to monitor their waters."

    Using manned aircraft for an airstrike would require the US to attack North Korean air defenses, according to Bronk, or risk ending up with a "nightmare scenario where you have an aircraft down in North Korea and then you have to rescue or have them, or they're paraded around and probably executed."

    "I wouldn't say there are any good options," Bronk said, but the "least risky one is trying to intercept a missile."

    The Losing Missile Intercept Gamble

    Bronk calls the US attempting to shoot down a North Korean missile launch a "potentially unsustainable challenge."

    "It's a financially impossible position to keep pace with very cheap launches with very high-end missile interceptors," Bronk said.

    The US would need a constant presence of ballistic missile defense platforms gathered off North Korea's coast. Keeping ships there would strain an already thin US Navy Pacific fleet and cost billions.

    Then comes the more glaring question: Can the US even shoot down a North Korean missile launch? Even if the US had ships or even aircraft in place, shooting down a North Korean missile represents a truly dubious prospect.

    In theory, the US could stop a North Korean launch, at tremendous cost, but if they miss even a single shot, the party leaving the encounter with a bloody nose would be the US.

    If North Korea manages to evade a US intercept test, it grants them a "huge prestige value and a massive prestige loss for the US," according to Bronk.

    Even with the best weapons systems in the world and the finest military, the US faces real danger in attempting to bloody North Korea's nose, as its unpredictable dictator may decide that he can't tolerate the humiliation associated with being beaten by his sworn enemy.

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