Archive for the ‘North Korea’ Category

North Korea On Lock Down Amid ‘Imminent’ US Missile Attack

North Korea on lockdown amid threat of missile attack from US

North Korea are bracing themselves for an imminent missile attack from the US which looks set to wipe out their military bases. 

Kim Jong-un has ordered a complete lockdown in the country, with military forces building walls to protect the country from a potential Tomahawk missile attack which they say will be launched from the US Navy ship based in the Sea of Japan.

The Daily Star reports: US forces are lingering off the Korean Peninsula as tensions boil over the tyrant’s repeated missile tests and talk of nuclear weapons.

North Korea warned its missiles can now strike the US mainland as it threatened “hundreds of millions” of Americans would die if conflict comes.

Kim’s preparations reportedly come amid fears the US President Donald Trump could blitz him in the same manner as Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

50 missiles were launched from warships in the Med to crush an airbase in Syria after Assad was accused of using chemical weapons on his own people.

North Korea is understood to fear the same fate as they take action to protect airbases and key military strongholds, reports Asia Press.

“North Korea seems to be very aware of the US attack on Syria,” said Jiro Ishimaru, North Korea expert at the publication.

He added the outlet’s North Korean source claimed Pyongyang was taking specific “preparation against cruise missiles”.

The USS Carl Vinson battle group is on an indefinite mission in the Sea of Japan supported by second aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

Last weekend, the DPRK test-fired a missile called the Hwasong-12 which they said was a “new” type of weapon capable of carrying on a nuclear warhead.

North Korea’s state media claimed the missile launch was a “grave warning to the US” and promised Kim’s arsenal now has the “powerful means for an annihilating retaliatory strike”.

The rogue state continues to threaten – but has yet to deliver on – plans to detonate its sixth nuclear bomb.

North Korea Releases Propaganda Film Showing Washington Under Nuclear Attack


North Korea released a new propaganda video menacingly titled “Last Chance”, showing a submarine-launched nuclear missile laying waste to Washington and concluding with the US flag in flames.

The 40 second video, set to jaunty music, romps through the history of US-Korean relations and ends with a digitally manipulated sequence showing a missile surging through clouds, swerving back to the earth and slamming into the road in front of Washington’s Lincoln Memorial.

The US Capitol building explodes in the impact and a message flashes up on the screen in Korean: “If US imperialists budge an inch toward us, we will immediately hit them with nuclear (weapons).”

The video was published on the North’s propaganda website DPRK Today on Saturday and shows images from the Korean War, the capture of US spy ship Pueblo in 1968 and the first crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program in the early 1990s.

N.K preparing for cruise missile strikes: RFA

SEOUL,  (Yonhap) — The North Korean army is repairing protective walls for gallery positions to brace for possible cruise missile strikes after witnessing such U.S. attacks on Syria last month, a U.S. broadcaster said Thursday.

The North’s armed forces ministry ordered the army to take steps to protect gallery strongholds from air raids in mid-April, Radio Free Asia (RFA) said, citing the Osaka-based North Korea specialist news organ Asia Press.

Early last month, the U.S. military launched over 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield in response to the Bashar al-Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians.

“North Korea seems to be very aware of the U.S. attack on Syria,” Jiro Ishimaru of Asia Press said, adding that the media outlet’s North Korean source clearly said “preparations against cruise missiles.”

In particular, the ministry’s instruction called for the army to remove strongholds made of stones as they can cause additional casualties when they are broken into pieces by missiles and instead make them with gunnysacks filled with earth or sand, Ishimaru said.

Trump would have just 10 minutes to decide what to do if North Korea fired a nuclear missile at the US mainland

The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017

Donald Trump would have just 10 minutes to decide what to do North Korea fired a missile at the US mainland, according to experts.

Although Kim Jong-Un’s arsenal is some way off being able to travel the 5,500 miles needed to reach the US, yesterday it was revealed the nation’s nuclear programme is developing much faster than previously anticipated.

A test launch on Sunday would have reached 2,500 miles if fired at a standard trajectory, prompting leading scientists David Wright and Markus Schiller to analyse what would happen should North Korea strike.

Wright said: ‘The timelines are short. Even for long-range missiles, there are a lot of steps that go into detecting the launch and figuring out what it is, leaving the president with maybe 10 minutes to decide whether to launch a retaliatory strike.’


North Korea’s Latest Missile Test Brings Us One Step Closer to World War Three


Daniel Lang

As time goes on, North Korea’s nuclear program is making war with the United States more and more likely. We’re on a terrible path that no one knows how to escape from.

On the one hand, North Korea is clearly led by an unhinged and tyrannical government that can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons. So you can understand why the US is so determined to stop their progress with these weapons. But at the same time, those nuclear weapons could one day guarantee that the leaders of North Korea will remain in power for a long time. Those weapons would make any potential aggressor think twice about trying to invade the bellicose nation, so there’s no way that North Korea is going to abandon its nuclear program.

Perhaps the only thing that’s preventing a war from breaking out right now, is the fact that North Korea doesn’t have an effective way to deliver a nuke, nor have they been making much progress in that arena. It seems like every time they test a long range missile, it fails spectacularly. So long as that state of affairs continues, war can be averted.

Unfortunately, North Korea’s missile program has just made a huge leap. On Sunday they tested a new missile that was arguably far more effective than anything they’ve ever launched before.

A Hwasong-12, a new medium long-range surface-to-surface missile, was launched from Kusong early Sunday morning. The missile flew roughly 430 miles, but the weapon was intentionally lofted. Analysts suspect the missile could potentially hit targets 2,800 miles away if fired along a standard trajectory.

In other words, the missile was launched with a steep arc, as a opposed to a relatively flat trajectory. This was done so that the missile could be tested without launching it over any neighboring countries. Most experts believe that if the missile had been given a flatter trajectory, it could have reached American military assets throughout much of the Pacific.

The North “appears to have not only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that might enable them to reliably strike the U.S. base at Guam, but more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),” John Schilling, a respected aerospace engineer who specializes in rockets, explained.

With the ability to strike Guam, the North may now have the means to strike most major U.S. strategic assets in East Asia and the western Pacific. While this would be an impressive achievement, North Korea is determined to master ICBM technology. The missile tested Sunday may be the predecessor to a future ICBM.

Is it any wonder why  North Korea is the perfect trigger for World War 3? This unstable nation is rapidly increasing its nuclear capabilities, and it’s a nation that China and Russia have a vested interest in keeping alive. They want a buffer state between their borders and South Korea, which is allied with the United States. So any conflict with North Korea (a conflict that is looking more likely every day) could easily drag more nuclear armed nations into the fray.

Unless one side of this fight backs down, World War 3 is inevitable. And so far it doesn’t look like either side is willing to compromise on North Korea’s missile program.


CIA Creates Mission Center to Address North Korean Threat

New unit will focus on “the nuclear and ballistic missile threat posed by North Korea”

CIA Creates Mission Center to Address North Korean Threat


The Central Intelligence Agency announced Wednesday the creation of a new mission center tasked with addressing the threat of North Korea.

Located in CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the unit, according to an agency press release, will focus on “the nuclear and ballistic missile threat posed by North Korea.”

“The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has established a Korea Mission Center to harness the full resources, capabilities, and authorities of the Agency in addressing the nuclear and ballistic missile threat posed by North Korea,” the statement says.

“The new Mission Center draws on experienced officers from across the Agency and integrates them in one entity to bring their expertise and creativity to bear against the North Korea target.”

An unnamed veteran CIA operations officer, who recently became Assistant Director for Korea, has been chosen to head up the center.

According to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the unit will analyze and direct CIA efforts toward the “serious threats” posed by the regime.

“Creating the Korea Mission Center allows us to more purposefully integrate and direct CIA efforts against the serious threats to the United States and its allies emanating from North Korea,” Pompeo said.  “It also reflects the dynamism and agility that CIA brings to evolving national security challenges.”

The mission center surfaces as tensions in the Korean Peninsula escalate over the North’s nuclear weapons program.

North Korea last week accused the CIA and South Korea of attempting to assassinate Kim Jong Un with biochemical weapons.

The U.S. has responded to the Pyongyang’s continued missile tests by deploying the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group and a nuclear-powered submarine to Korean waters as well as moving the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea.

Want to Wreck the Trump-Xi Bromance? Sell F-35s to Taiwan.

F-35A Lightning II aircraft receive fuel from a KC-10 Extender. U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Madelyn Brown

The Taiwan arms sales issue will certainly throw cold water on Washington’s new rapprochement with Beijing on North Korea.

Everything came up roses during the summit meeting between President Trump and Chinese Leader Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in early April. Previous condemnation of China as “a currency manipulator” and “job stealer” evaporated as the leaders of the world’s two largest economies agreed on a “100-day trade plan” to increase U.S. exports to China and shrink America’s enormous trade deficit. Singapore’s Strait Times quoted President Trump as stating “the relationship developed by President Xi and myself, I think, is outstanding.” Trump had further noted that he informed Xi over dessert at a summit dinner of the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base.

However, the president’s granddaughter, Arabella, age five, restored a feeling of conviviality before the summit concluded with a rendition in Mandarin of the Chinese folk song “Mo Li Hua” (Jasmine Flower), which she learned from her Chinese nanny. This personal touch was certain to have pleased Xi and especially his spouse, Madame Peng Liyuan, who reportedly sang the same song herself during her career as a vocal artist.

The two leaders also reportedly discussed the growing crisis over North Korea’s nuclear development. Bill Gertz noted in the Washington Times that “both leaders exchanged views on their assessment of the problem, but ‘there was mutual agreement the problem has become more urgent,’ a senior administration official tells Inside the Ring.” And a follow-up White House statement on April 24 noted that President Trump and his Chinese counterpart vowed to “strengthen coordination” to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to USA Today. The statement followed a late April phone call between the two leaders.

North Korea also served to underscore the urgency of the matter by firing yet one more missile just before the Trump/Xi summit. The BBC reported on April 5 that “North Korea has test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan. South Korea’s defense ministry said the missile flew about 60 km (40 miles) . . . The launch comes on the eve of a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to the US to meet President Donald Trump.”

President Xi reportedly gave President Trump a miniature history lesson on the importance of Sino-Korean relations. President Trump’s takeaway from the discussion, according to an April 12 interview with the Wall Street Journal, was that “Korea actually used to be a part of China,” a statement that caused heartburn in Seoul. This only added to the jitters of a South Korean ally convinced that, with a political transition taking place in South Korea, including a presidential impeachment and a heated election campaign, that there has been a “Korea passing.” The Korea Times editorial went on to note that “concerns over Korea’s diplomatic isolation are mounting after U.S. President Donald Trump assumed office in January. Before his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump talked on the phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for thirty-five minutes and discussed Pyongyang’s ballistic missile test from its eastern port of Sinpo. But there was no phone conversation with acting Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn . . . Even though there is no president in Korea at the moment after Park Geun-hye was removed from office last month, Trump should have communicated with the acting president over security issues on the Korean Peninsula.”

President Trump created further alliance anxiety in Seoul when he told Reuters that he expected to “either renegotiate or terminate a ‘horrible’ trade deal with South Korea (KORUS FTA)” and that he “wants South Korea to pay for the $1 billion THAAD missile defense system,” the deployment of which has already led to Chinese economic retaliation against South Korean companies. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on March 24 that House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee Chairman Ted Yoho had introduced a bipartisan-sponsored resolution (H. Res. 223) “condemning China’s retaliation against South Korea for its decision to host the U.S. THAAD missile defense system and urging Beijing to exercise pressure on North Korea. . . . China’s retaliatory measures against South Korea potentially constitute a violation of its World Trade Organization obligations.”

While China has now become the center of the Trump administration’s diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula, Beijing’s ultimate resolve in seeking to rein in the petulant Kim Jong-un and his nuclear adventurism remains open to question. The website NK News carried a post Xi-Trump summit report of “four N. Korean ships, three with troubled pasts, allowed into Chinese coal port” despite Beijing’s earlier pledge to cut off coal imports from Pyongyang for the rest of 2017. Coal remains North Korea’s main legitimate export. President Trump himself has taken note of the pledged coal import ban, calling Beijing’s action “a big step” towards cracking down on the rogue state, according to CNN.

CNN further reported that a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, with Beijing caught with its proverbial hand in the cookie jar on the coal issue, issued the following statement on April 23: “There have been some reports that some coal ships have tied up in port. You are aware if these ships continue to remain out at sea, away from port, we need to make some humanitarian consideration for their crews.” The spokesperson added that “nothing that violates the implementation” of sanctions had occurred.

Subsequent to that, on April 27, ITV carried a report titled “Coal train seen travelling between North Korea and China could be breaching embargo.” The reporter noted that “all we can state is that in the early hours of Thursday morning we saw a coal train coming across from North Korea into China. The train was not turned back by those manning the checkpoint as it would have been easy to do.”

North Korean coal, however, may prove of secondary importance compared to another looming issue which could throw a wrench in the works of blossoming Sino-American cooperation. That is the issue of Taiwan, which was raised again during the recent thirty-eighth anniversary of the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The chairmen of both the House and Senate Taiwan Caucuses sent President Trump letters not only to commemorate the April 10 anniversary but also to note the continued “vital partnership with Taiwan” in light of the summit with Xi Jinping.

The TRA, of course, stipulates that the United States “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character.” The Republican Congress was critical of the former Obama administration for being what it perceived as rather anemic on the Taiwan arms sales question, apparently so as not to unduly provoke Beijing. Reuters had carried a pre-summit March 17 report, stating that “the Trump administration is crafting a big new arms package for Taiwan that could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles to defend against China, U.S. officials said, a deal sure to anger Beijing. The package is expected to be significantly larger than one that was shelved at the end of the Obama administration.”

Additionally, the South China Morning Post reported that “China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier was launched on Wednesday (April 26) in the latest display of Beijing’s growing naval power. The carrier was released into open water from a shipyard in the port of Dalian, northeastern Liaoning province, on Wednesday morning as a bottle of champagne was popped and the national anthem played in the background.” Such a demonstration of increased Chinese maritime might should only increase Congressional concerns about the growing Cross-Strait arms gap and the urgent necessity for Taiwan to have sufficient defensive arms, including updated diesel-electric submarines and F-35 fighters, as Taiwan has requested.

In the absence of backtracking by the Trump administration, the Taiwan arms sales issue will certainly throw cold water on the new rapprochement with Beijing on North Korea and, potentially, trade issues. Xi Jinping has been more forceful in his assertions on the Taiwan question than a number of his predecessors. Xi, known for using a favorite phrase of “brandishing the sword,” has moved up the timetable for political talks with Taipei on Beijing’s “great goal of national unification.” While Chairman Mao once told Henry Kissinger that China could “wait 100 years” for Taiwan, Xi warned otherwise in a 2013 meeting with a former Taiwanese vice president. “The issue of the political divide that exists between the two sides (China and Taiwan) must step by step reach a final resolution and it cannot be passed on from generation to generation,” he stated, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

Based on past experience, there will be a fiery reaction from China if and when the Trump administration announces a new Taiwan arms sales package. And past precedent indicates that Beijing will then severely restrict dialogue with Washington to send a clear signal of its displeasure. That will likely include no discussions on North Korea. So the Trump administration may find North Korean coal in its Christmas stocking from China if it approves defensive arms for Taiwan.

That will clearly indicate that the honeymoon is over.

Dennis Halpin, a former adviser on Asian issues to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is currently a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS (Johns Hopkins) and a consultant at the Poblete Analysis Group.

Image: F-35A Lightning II aircraft receive fuel from a KC-10 Extender. U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Madelyn Brown

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