Tag Archive: north korea threatens nuclear war


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North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile, its first missile launch in two months.    North Korea media claims the successfully tested missile topped with a “super-large heavy warhead,” is capable of striking the US mainland.  The country’s state media made the announcement hours after leader Kim Jong Un ordered the 3 a.m. launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which reached the highest altitude ever recorded by a North Korean missile.

North Korea news agencies called its new missile “the most powerful ICBM” and said it “meets the goal of the completion of the rocket weaponry system development.  After the launch, Kim said North Korea had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.” North Korea has been working on its’ missile “re-entry” technology to one day have a warhead able to survive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.  This ICBM would be able to hit any city within the U.S. if a warhead is able to survive re-entry.

The missile reached an altitude of 2,800 miles, before landing in the Sea of Japan.  U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said it was the furthest missile launch by North Korea to date and demonstrates that North Korea has the ability to hit “everywhere in the world.”  Defense Secretary Mattis added “North Korea is continuing to build missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world as it continues to endanger world peace, regional peace and certainly the United States.”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry said “With each launch, North Korean officials are advancing their capability and they are making it clear that they can hold the entire U.S. at risk.  They are steadily moving on and we’re not responding in kind.”   He added, “It is incredibly serious partly because Kim Jong Un is very serious about what he says and what he says is that he wants to hold the entire United States at risk with his missiles, with nuclear weapons, and we have seen him actually deliver on what he says he wants to do.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and ambassadors from Japan and South Korea, requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. security council following the launch.  Haley said if war comes as a result of further acts of “aggression” like the latest launch “make no mistake the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed”.  Haley says the Trump administration warned North Korea that its future is in the hands of its leaders and the choice was theirs. With Tuesday’s launch, she said, Kim’s regime made a choice “and with this choice comes a critical choice for the rest of the world”.  She called on all countries to cut all ties to North Korea.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that US President Trump was briefed on the launch while it was still in the air.  President Trump told reporters that the missile launch “is a situation that we will handle,” and added the U.S. will “take care of it.” Trump later said in a tweet that he had spoken with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, about “the provocative actions of North Korea”, and promised: “Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!”

As nuclear tensions between the U.S. and North Korea continue to escalate, Hawaii is preparing to test its early warning system aimed at warning residents about a nuclear attack. The test, slated for Friday, will be the first time Hawaii has deployed the warning system since the 1990s, after the Cold War ended.

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Tension between North Korea and the U.S. along with its allies are at an all-time high right now.  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for pressure to be put on North Korea as he warned diplomatic attempts have failed.  Prime Minister Abe said diplomatic attempts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear aspirations have failed over two decades.  China and Russia have repeatedly called for international diplomacy to deal with North Korea’s crisis of its weapons program.  Prime Minister Abe said diplomatic attempts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear aspirations have failed over two decades.

On September 11, the UN Security Council increased sanctions against North Korea over its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, imposing a ban on the isolated nation’s textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.  China said it would ban exports of some petroleum products to North Korea, as well as imports of textiles, to comply with new sanctions by the United Nations Security Council. China’s support of the sanctions would be insufficient to cripple the North Korean economy and force it to the negotiating table, Chinese experts have said.

South Korea opposes the use of force, fearing war on the peninsula and an attack on Seoul. China also does not want war on its border, hoping that North Korea will remain a Communist buffer against South Korea and its ally, the United States.  Tensions rose when President Trump warned North Korea in his speech to the U.N. that the United States would “totally destroy” the country if threatened, adding that while the US has “great strength and patience,” its options could soon run out.  North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Trump escalated when the US chief said at the UN: “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

Both the president and Defense Secretary James Mattis have said all options are on the table for dealing with the threat from North Korea.  While the U.S. could take military action, Trump urged the U.N. to join together in curtailing North Korea’s nuclear efforts.  “We meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril,” Trump said, issuing a call to action that hinged on the responsibility of governments to their citizens.

Days after the U.N. speech, the Pentagon said the Air Force had sent B-1B bombers and F-15C fighters over waters north of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, in response to what it called the North Korean government’s “reckless behavior.” It was the farthest north any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century.  Dana W. White, the Defense Department’s chief spokeswoman, said in a statement.  “This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the president has many military options to defeat any threat.”

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho gave a General Assembly address in which he called Trump’s  threat to “totally destroy” North Korea an irreversible mistake.  He also said the North’s nuclear program was a deterrent intended to avert an invasion, with the ultimate goal being “balance of power with the U.S.”  “We do not have any intention at all to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the countries that do not join in the U.S. military actions against” North Korea, Mr. Ri said.

Relations between North Korea and the US and South Korea have rapidly deteriorated in recent months, as the rhetoric and military posturing on both sides has increased.  North Korea has threatened to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier that is conducting military drills, along with Japanese ships, in the waters off the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. Aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain and guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy and USS Wayne E Meyer have practiced for war with North Korea with a series of military drills.  US allies South Korea and Japan surrounded North Korea with joint exercises on both sides of the Korean peninsula.  The navy fleet is now within “striking range” of North Korea, in the Philippine Sea- just east of the Japanese island of Okinawa.

North Korea conducted its own military drills which involved 300 large-caliber self-propelled guns lined up along the coast where they opened fire with live rounds.  A statement from the South Korean military said the live-fire exercises were in the Wonsan region in the east of the country.  North Korea fired four ballistic missiles toward Japan as part of its exercise targeting US bases there.

Soon after those drills were conducted, the US began to deploy its advanced THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea, despite opposition from Russia and China. The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system came THAAD is a missile defense system designed to intercept short and medium-range ballistic missiles as they begin their descent to their targets.   Developed by Lockheed Martin, THAAD missiles use infrared seeker technology to locate their targets and detonate on impact.

Both Russia and China have spoken out against the THAAD deployment.  China’s Foreign Ministry stated that it was “resolutely opposed” to the move and say the missile system actually aims to counter China’s military power in the region, not to contain North Korea.  The deployment also drew protests from hundreds of villagers in Seongju, South Korea, who clashed with police as troops began deploying THAAD hardware on a local golf course.

The Trump administration called the entire US Senate to a meeting at the White House, for a briefing on North Korea with the US secretaries of Defense and State.   President Trump recently stated “North Korea is a big world problem, and it’s a problem we have to finally solve. People put blindfolds on for decades and now it’s time to solve the problem.”  Many fear that Trump is backing himself into a corner with his firm stance on North Korea, leading both countries to a point where “bad things are going to happen.”

 

 

A major escalation of the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea has led to the US sending the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and several warships toward the Korean Peninsula.  The Carl Vinson and three guided-missile destroyers and cruisers to the peninsula were sent only days after North Korea launched its latest ballistic missile test. This missile reportedly flew only 37 miles.

North Korea has condemned the U.S. for bringing the aircraft carrier group and other nuclear-armed assets into the region, and threatened an assault on South Korea, Japan and U.S. bases.  A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that “We will hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions. North Korea is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S.”

U.S. intelligence officials believe North Korea is preparing its sixth nuclear weapons test, possibly as early as Saturday, April 15 which coincides with the 105th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung.

North Korean senior officials have accused the Trump administration of wanting to “annihilate” their country and blamed the escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula squarely on the U.S. and South Korea.  Han Song Ryol, North Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs stated in an interview that if North Korea felt they were going to be attacked they would use nuclear weapons.

Experts say the sixth nuclear test could come at any time and is part of the Kim Jong Un regime’s quest to build a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Most analysts believe North Korea is still at least several years away from that capacity, but Pyongyang already has weapons that pose a serious threat to U.S. allies South Korea and Japan, and U.S. troops based in those countries.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program has been a primary focus and a tense topic for years. Just last month North Korea successfully launched four ballistic missiles into the waters off northwest Japan.   State media in Pyongyang said it was just a dry run of a nuclear attack against US military bases in Japan and experts say this exercise was defensive, not offensive.

A North Korea official stated Pyongyang intends to “relentlessly strengthen” the country’s nuclear weapons.  Experts say North Korea’s goal in advancing their nuclear program and developing nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the US is a deterrent for a US invasion.

Experts have debated whether North Korea possesses a nuclear warhead it can mount to a short or medium-range missile. North Korea claims that it has miniaturized a nuclear warhead and is capable of mounting it to a short, medium, or long-range missile – has never been independently verified.  Kim said in his New Year’s address that the country had reached “the final stages” of that weapon’s development.

While analysts say it is unlikely that North Korea possesses an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching West Coast cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle, they are well on their way to developing such a weapon.