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Fatty Spoonbanger sabre rattling again - fires missile into Sea of Japan

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Re: Fatty Spoonbanger sabre rattling again - fires missile into Sea of Japan

Post  Lamplighter on Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:21 am

China watches in frustration as North Korea crisis enters dangerous spiral.

The view from China could hardly be much worse: the leaders of North Korea and the United States threatening to rain down total destruction on each other, while U.S. bombers and fighters stage a show of military might close to China’s shores.

In public, China’s foreign ministry has calmly advocated restraint, and warned Pyongyang and Washington not add to fuel to the fire. But behind closed doors, experts said Sunday, it is as frustrated with North Korea, and with the situation, as it has ever been.

As North Korea’s dominant trading partner, China is widely seen as the key to solving the crisis, yet experts say its influence over Pyongyang has never been lower.

Unwilling to completely pull the plug, it has nevertheless agreed to a stiff package of sanctions at the United Nations, and implemented them with unprecedented determination, experts say.

So far, all that has achieved is to alienate its neighbor and erstwhile friend.

“The North Koreans have figured out that the Chinese are genuinely in a bind,” said Euan Graham, director of International Security Program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. “Having cried wolf for so long about having limited influence, the Chinese genuinely do have limited influence in North Korea right now. It’s not just weasel words.”

The key step that China hesitates to take is to cut off crude oil exports to North Korea. On Saturday, it announced that it would limit exports of refined petroleum products, and ban exports of condensates and liquefied natural gas, to comply with the latest U.N. sanctions. It will also ban imports of textiles from North Korea.

But it is not prepared to do anything that might bring down the regime, potentially bringing refugees streaming across its border and unifying the peninsula under an American-friendly government.

North Korea’s leaders, experts in brinkmanship, know that full well, and this knowledge has allowed them to call China’s bluff repeatedly.

But just in case, they are also thought to have stockpiled between six and nine months of oil supplies — enough to keep the military and key industries going for some considerable time, Graham said.

On Saturday, North Korea’s foreign minister warned that a strike against the U.S. mainland is “inevitable” because President Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the nickname “little rocket man.”

In response to Ri Yong Ho’s threats at the U.N., Trump tweeted: “If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

U.S. bombers, escorted by fighter jets, flew off the North Korean coast in a show of force on Saturday, while in Pyongyang, tens of thousands of people staged a mass rally to express support for “final victory” over the United States and call for the annihilation of the enemy, the state Korean Central News Agency reported.

“This is a disaster for all parties, and for China for sure,” said Lu Chao, a Korean Peninsula expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences in Shenyang. “Although there is no imminent sign of an outbreak of war, partial conflicts, especially between the South and North Korea on the sea where boundaries are not set, are very likely to occur.”

Next month, China’s Communist Party leadership meets for a key congress where President Xi Jinping is due to be confirmed for another five-year term as Communist Party general secretary.

At home and abroad, there has been a big effort to project confidence and control, and to ensure calmness and stability, in the run-up to this meeting. That effort has been felt in every arm and at every level of government here. But Pyongyang simply isn’t listening.

Its sixth and most recent nuclear test was staged earlier this month at a time when Xi was hosting leaders from BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations at a key summit — an insult the face-conscious Chinese would have felt deeply.

Xi has never met Kim, and the two men are believed to hold each other in contempt. China’s attempts to send an envoy to Pyongyang to calm the situation have been rebuffed.

Some experts say Beijing has only itself to blame, for helping North Korea in the past and allegedly enabling the regime to develop its missile program. Yet there is no doubt it is now paying a price.

China has watched in alarm and anger this year as South Korea installs an American missile defense system that it fears could be used to spy on Chinese territory. It will also not have welcomed U.S. warplanes flying close to its shores this weekend.
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South Korea’s presidential office said Seoul and Washington had coordinated closely over the deployment of the U.S. bombers, calling it one of the most effective countermeasures against the advancement of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, South Korean media reported.

While Seoul cooperates with Washington, Pyongyang is freezing out Beijing.

On Saturday, KCNA issued a list of diplomatic missions that had held celebrations earlier this month to mark the 69th anniversary of the founding of the Republic. The list included 17 nations — but pointedly not China.

The deterioration in relations between Beijing and Pyongyang erupted much more forcefully into the open on Friday when KCNA angrily rebuked its Chinese state media counterparts for threatening, insulting and undermining their country. In a piece entitled “Rude Deed of Shameless Media,” it took aim at the Chinese Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily, for arguing in favor of sanctions.

“The party organ of the socialist country bragging long history denounced socialist Korea so maliciously in collusion with the imperialists,” KCNA wrote.

In China, experts said North Korea has resolved to continue development of its nuclear and missile program — at least until it can put a nuclear warhead on a missile capable of reaching the United States — despite whatever external pressure is applied.

“Sanctions, in my view, will not reverse North Korea’s resolute determination,” said Shen Dingli, deputy dean of Fudan University’s Institute of International Studies in Shanghai.

But Lu at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences insisted sanctions would work — at least by encouraging North Korea to one day return to talks.

“The sanctions that have been imposed will have a significant impact on North Korea’s economy, making them reconsider benefits and losses, and choose between being an enemy of the international community or sitting back at the negotiating table,” he said.

“I believe that one day North Korea will be at the table. "
http://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/china-watches-in-frustration-as-north-korea-crisis-enters-dangerous-spiral/ar-AAspsLD
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Re: Fatty Spoonbanger sabre rattling again - fires missile into Sea of Japan

Post  Lamplighter on Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:47 am

Russia throws North Korea lifeline to stymie regime change.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is quietly boosting economic support for North Korea to try to stymie any U.S.-led push to oust Kim Jong Un as Moscow fears his fall would sap its regional clout and allow U.S. troops to deploy on Russia's eastern border.

Though Moscow wants to try to improve battered U.S.-Russia relations in the increasingly slim hope of relief from Western sanctions over Ukraine, it remains strongly opposed to what it sees as Washington's meddling in other countries' affairs, according to Russian diplomats and analysts familiar with the Kremlin's thinking.

Russia is already angry about a build-up of U.S.-led NATO forces on its western borders in Europe and does not want any replication on its Asian flank, the sources added.

Yet while Russia has an interest in protecting North Korea, which started life as a Soviet satellite state, it is not giving Pyongyang a free pass: it backed tougher United Nations sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear tests last month.

At the same time Moscow is playing a fraught double game, by quietly offering North Korea a slender lifeline to help insulate it from U.S.-led efforts to isolate it economically.

A Russian company began routing North Korean internet traffic this month, giving Pyongyang a second connection with the outside world besides China.

Bilateral trade more than doubled to $31.4 million in the first quarter of 2017, due mainly to what Moscow said was higher oil product exports, according to Russia's ministry for the development of the Far East.

At least eight North Korean ships that left Russia with fuel cargoes this year have returned home despite officially declaring other destinations, a ploy U.S. officials say is often used to undermine sanctions against Pyongyang.

And Russia, which shares a short land border with North Korea, has also resisted U.S.-led efforts to repatriate tens of thousands of North Korean workers whose remittances help keep the country's hard line leadership afloat.

"The Kremlin really believes the North Korean leadership should get additional assurances and confidence that the United States is not in the regime change business," Andrey Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, a think-tank close to the Russian Foreign Ministry, told Reuters.

"The prospect of regime change is a serious concern. The Kremlin understands that (U.S. President Donald) Trump is unpredictable. They felt more secure with Barack Obama that he would not take any action that would explode the situation, but with Trump they don't know."

Trump, who mocks North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a "rocket man" on a suicide mission, told the United Nations General Assembly last month he would "totally destroy" the country if necessary.

He has also said Kim Jong Un and his foreign minister "won't be around much longer" if they made good on a threat to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States.

STRATEGIC BORDER

To be sure, Beijing's economic ties to Pyongyang still dwarf Moscow's and China remains a more powerful player in the unfolding nuclear crisis. But while Beijing is cutting back trade as it toughens its line on its neighbour's ballistic missile and nuclear programme, Russia is increasing its support.

People familiar with elements of Kremlin thinking say that is because Russia flatly opposes regime change in North Korea.

Russian politicians have repeatedly accused the United States of plotting so-called colour revolutions across the former Soviet Union and any U.S. talk of unseating any leader for whatever reason is politically toxic in Moscow.

Russia's joint military exercises with neighbouring Belarus last month gamed a scenario where Russian forces put down a Western-backed attempt for part of Belarus to break away.

With Russia due to hold a presidential election in March, politicians are again starting to fret about Western meddling.

In 2011, President Vladimir Putin accused then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of trying to stir up unrest in Russia and he has made clear that he wants the United States to leave Kim Jong Un alone.

While condemning Pyongyang for what he called provocative nuclear tests, Putin told a forum last month in the eastern Russian port of Vladivostok that he understood North Korea's security concerns about the United States and South Korea.

Vladivostok, a strategic port city of 600,000 people and headquarters to Russia's Pacific Fleet, is only about 100 km (60 miles) from Russia's border with North Korea.

Russia would be fiercely opposed to any U.S. forces deploying nearby in a reunited Korea.

"(The North Koreans) know exactly how the situation developed in Iraq," Putin told the economic forum, saying Washington had used the false pretext that Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction to destroy the country and its leadership.

"They know all that and see the possession of nuclear weapons and missile technology as their only form of self-defence. Do you think they're going to give that up?"

Analysts say Russia's view is that North Korea's transformation into a nuclear state, though incomplete, is permanent and irreversible and the best the West can hope for is for Pyongyang to freeze elements of its programme.

NOTHING PERSONAL

Kortunov, the think-tank chief close to the Russian Foreign Ministry, said he did not think the Kremlin's defence of Kim Jong Un was based on any personal affection or support for North Korea's leadership, likening Moscow's pragmatic backing to that it has given Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow's position was motivated by a belief the status quo made Russia a powerful geopolitical player in the crisis because of its close ties to Pyongyang, Kortunov said, just as Russia's support for Assad has gifted it greater Middle East clout.

He said Moscow knew it would lose regional leverage if Kim Jong Un fell, much as its Middle East influence was threatened when Islamist militants looked like they might overthrow Assad in 2015.

"It's a very delicate balancing act," said Kortunov.

"On the one hand, Russia doesn't want to deviate from the line of its partners and mostly from China's position on North Korea which is getting tougher. But on the other hand, politicians in Moscow understand that the current situation and level of interaction between Moscow and Pyongyang puts Russia in a league of its own compared to China."

If the United States were to remove Kim Jong Un by force, he said Russia could face a refugee and humanitarian crisis on its border, while the weapons and technology Pyongyang is developing could fall into even more dangerous non-state hands.

So despite Russia giving lukewarm backing to tighter sanctions on Pyongyang, Putin wants to help its economy grow and is advocating bringing it into joint projects with other countries in the region.

"We need to gradually integrate North Korea into regional cooperation," Putin told the Vladivostok summit last month.
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/russia-throws-north-korea-lifeline-stymie-regime-change-133736908.html
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Re: Fatty Spoonbanger sabre rattling again - fires missile into Sea of Japan

Post  Lamplighter on Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:48 pm

North Korea says ‘nuclear war may break out any moment’.

UNITED NATIONS — North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador warned Monday that the situation on the Korean peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.”

Kim In Ryong told the U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to “such an extreme and direct nuclear threat” from the United States since the 1970s — and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defense.

He pointed to large-scale military exercises every year using “nuclear assets” and said what is more dangerous is what he called a U.S. plan to stage a “secret operation aimed at the removal of our supreme leadership.”

This year, Kim said, North Korea completed its “state nuclear force and thus became the full-fledged nuclear power which possesses the delivery means of various ranges, including the atomic bomb, H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic rockets.”

“The entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range and if the U.S. dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe,” he warned. More at link.
http://nypost.com/2017/10/16/north-korea-says-nuclear-war-may-break-out-any-moment/
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Re: Fatty Spoonbanger sabre rattling again - fires missile into Sea of Japan

Post  Lamplighter on Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:43 pm

Seoul: N. Koreans fire at soldier trying to defect to South.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean soldiers shot at and wounded a fellow soldier who was crossing a jointly controlled area at the heavily guarded border to defect to South Korea on Monday, the South's military said.

North Korean soldiers have occasionally defected to South Korea across the border. But it's rare for a North Korean soldier to defect via the Joint Security Area, where border guards of the rival Koreas stand facing each other just meters (feet) away, and be shot by fellow North Korean soldiers.

The soldier bolted from a guard post at the northern side of Panmunjom village in the Joint Security Area to the southern side of the village, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. He was shot in the shoulder and elbow and was taken to a South Korean hospital, the South's Defense Ministry said. It wasn't immediately known how serious the soldier's injuries were or why he decided to defect.

South Korean troops found the injured soldier south of the border after hearing sounds of gunfire, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said, requesting anonymity, citing department rules. South Korean troops didn't fire at the North, he said.

The defection came at a time of heightened tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, and could escalate animosities between the rival countries. North Korea has typically accused South Korea of enticing its citizens to defect, something the South denies.

About 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, but most travel through China. Panmunjom, once an obscure farming village inside the 4-kilometer-wide (2 1/2-mile-wide) Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, is where an armistice was signed to pause the Korean War. Jointly controlled by the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea, the DMZ is guarded on both sides by hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops, razor-wire fences and tank traps. More than a million mines are believed to be buried inside the zone.

American presidents often visit Panmunjom and other DMZ areas during their trips to South Korea to reaffirm their security commitment to the South. President Donald Trump planned to visit the DMZ to underscore his stance against North Korea's nuclear program when he came to South Korea last week as part of an Asian tour, but his plans were thwarted by heavy fog that prevented his helicopter from landing at the border area.

At Panmunjom, North Korean soldiers wearing lapel pins with the images of late North Korean leaders often use binoculars to monitor visitors from the South. They stand only several meters (yards) away from tall South Korean soldiers wearing aviator sunglasses standing motionless like statues. This makes the area a popular stop for visitors from both sides.

Areas around Panmunjom were the site of bloodshed and defection attempts by North Koreans in the past, but there have been no such incidents in recent years. The most famous incident was in 1976, when two American army officers were killed by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers. The attack prompted Washington to fly nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate North Korea.

In 1984, North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire after a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the truce village. The incident left three North Korean soldiers and one South Korean soldier dead. In 1998, a North Korean solider fled to South Korea via Panmunjom.
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Re: Fatty Spoonbanger sabre rattling again - fires missile into Sea of Japan

Post  Lamplighter on Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:42 am

Seoul: N. Koreans fired 40 shots at defector, hit him with 5.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Four North Korean soldiers fired about 40 rounds at a comrade fleeing into South Korea and hit him five times in the first shooting at the jointly controlled area of the heavily fortified border in more than 30 years, the South's military said Tuesday.

South Korean soldiers did not fire their weapons, but Monday's incident occurred at a time of high animosity over North Korea's nuclear program. The North has expressed intense anger over past high-profile defections.

The soldier is being treated at a South Korean hospital after a five-hour operation for the gunshot wounds he suffered during his escape across the Joint Security Area. His personal details and motive for defection are unknown and his exact medical condition is unclear.

South Korea's military said he suffered injuries in his internal organs but wasn't in a life-threatening condition. But the Ajou University Medical Center near Seoul said the soldier was relying on a breathing machine after the surgery removed the bullets. Lee Guk-jong, a doctor who leads Ajou's medical team for the soldier, described his patient's condition as "very dangerous" and said the next 10 days might determine whether he recovers.

On Monday, he first drove a military jeep but left the vehicle when one of its wheels fell into a ditch. He then fled across the JSA, with fellow soldiers chasing and firing at him, South Korea's military said, citing unspecified surveillance systems installed in the area.

Suh Wook, chief director of operations for the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers that North Korea fired a total of about 40 rounds in a shooting that his office suggested started while the soldier was in the jeep.

The solider was found beneath a pile of leaves on the southern side of the JSA and South Korean troops crawled there to recover him. A U.N. Command helicopter later transported him to the Ajou medical center, according to South Korean officials.

The North's official media haven't reported the case as of Tuesday afternoon. They have previously accused South Korea of kidnapping or enticing North Koreans to defect. About 30,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea, mostly via China, since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The JSA is jointly overseen by the American-led U.N. Command and by North Korea, with South Korean and North Korean border guards facing each other only meters (feet) apart. It is located inside the 4-kilometer-wide (2 1/2-mile-wide) Demilitarized Zone, which forms the de facto border between the Koreas since the Korean War. While both sides of the DMZ are guarded by barbed wire fences, mines and tank traps, the JSA includes the truce village of Panmunjom which provides the site for rare talks and draws curious tourists.

Monday's incident was the first shooting at the Joint Security Area since North Korean and U.N. Command soldiers traded gunfire when a Soviet citizen defected by sprinting to the South Korean sector of the JSA in 1984. A North Korean soldier defected there in 1998 and another in 2007 but neither of those events involved gunfire between the rivals, according to South Korea's military.

The 1984 exchange of gunfire happened after North Korean soldiers crossed the border and fired, according to the U.N. Command. In Monday's incident, it wasn't known if the North continued firing after the defector was officially in the southern part of the Joint Security Area. The U.N. Command said Tuesday that an investigation into the incident was underway.

The Joint Security Area was the site of some bloodshed during the Cold War but there hasn't been major violence there in recent years. In 1976, North Korean soldiers axed two American army officers to death and the United States responded by flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers toward the DMZ in an attempt to intimidate the North.
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Re: Fatty Spoonbanger sabre rattling again - fires missile into Sea of Japan

Post  Lamplighter on Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:52 am

NKorea launches ICBM in possibly its longest-range test yet.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — After 2 ½ months of relative peace, North Korea launched its most powerful weapon yet early Wednesday, claiming a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that some observers believe could put Washington and the entire eastern U.S. seaboard within range.

The North said in a special televised announcement hours after the launch that it had successfully fired what it called the Hwasong-15, a new nuclear-capable ICBM that's "significantly more" powerful than the long-range weapons it's previously tested. Outside governments and analysts backed up the North's claim to a jump in missile capability.

A resumption of Pyongyang's torrid testing pace in pursuit of its goal of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland had been widely expected, but the apparent power and suddenness of the new test still jolted the Korean Peninsula and Washington. The launch at 3:17 a.m. local time and midday in the U.S. capital indicated an effort to perfect the element of surprise and to obtain maximum attention in the United States.

In a government statement released through state media, North Korea said the Hwasong-15, the "greatest ICBM," could be armed with a "super-large heavy nuclear warhead" and striking the "whole mainland" of the United States. The North said the missile, which was fired near the capital Pyongyang, reached a maximum height of 4,475 kilometers (2,780 miles) and traveled 950 kilometers (590 miles) before accurately hitting a sea target, similar to the flight data announced by South Korea's military.

The North said the missile, which was fired at the "highest" launch angle, didn't pose a security threat to its neighbors. It said leader Kim Jong Un after the successful launch "declared with pride" that the country has achieved its goal of becoming a "rocket power."

"The development and advancement of the strategic weapon of the DPRK are to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country from the U.S. imperialists' nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat, and to ensure the peaceful life of the people, and therefore, they would not pose any threat to any country and region as long as the interests of the DPRK are not infringed upon," said the statement, referring to North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The firing is a clear message of defiance aimed at the Trump administration, which had just restored the North to a U.S. list of terror sponsors. It also ruins nascent diplomatic efforts, raises fears of war or a pre-emptive U.S. strike and casts a deeper shadow over the security of the Winter Olympics early next year in South Korea.

A rattled Seoul responded by almost immediately launching three of its own missiles in a show of force. The South's president, Moon Jae-in, expressed worry that North Korea's growing missile threat could force the United States to attack the North before it masters a nuclear-tipped long-range missile, something experts say may be imminent.

"If North Korea completes a ballistic missile that could reach from one continent to another, the situation can spiral out of control," Moon said at an emergency meeting in Seoul, according to his office. "We must stop a situation where North Korea miscalculates and threatens us with nuclear weapons or where the United States considers a pre-emptive strike."

Moon, a liberal who has been forced into a more hawkish stance by a stream of North Korean weapons tests, has repeatedly declared that there can be no U.S. attack on the North without Seoul's approval, but many here worry that Washington may act without South Korean input.

The launch is North Korea's first since it fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan on Sept. 15, and may have broken any efforts at diplomacy meant to end the North's nuclear ambitions. U.S. officials have sporadically floated the idea of direct talks with North Korea if it maintained restraint.

The missile also appears to improve on North Korea's past launches. If flown on a standard trajectory, instead of Wednesday's lofted angle, the missile would have a range of more than 13,000 kilometers (8,100 miles), said U.S. scientist David Wright, a physicist who closely tracks North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. "Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States," Wright wrote in a blog post for the Union for Concerned Scientists.

North Korea's description of a "super-large heavy" warhead is also likely to raise debate on whether the country is planning another nuclear test to demonstrate it has such a weapon. When the North flight tested two of its older ICBM models, the Hwasong-14s, in July, it said the missiles were capable of delivering "large-sized heavy" warheads. The North went on to conduct its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, which it described as a detonation of a weapon built for ICBMs.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers in a closed-door briefing on Wednesday that the possibility of another North Korean nuclear test "cannot be discounted," lawmaker Kim Byung-kee said.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile landed inside of Japan's special economic zone in the Sea of Japan, about 250 kilometers 155 miles) west of Aomori, which is on the northern part of Japan's main island of Honshu.

A big unknown, however, is the missile's payload. If, as expected, it carried a light mock warhead, then its effective range would have been shorter, analysts said. An intercontinental ballistic missile test is considered particularly provocative, and indications that it flew higher than past launches suggest progress by Pyongyang in developing a weapon of mass destruction that could strike the U.S. mainland. President Donald Trump has vowed to prevent North Korea from having that capability — using military force if necessary.

In response to the launch, Trump said the United States will "take care of it." He told reporters after the launch: "It is a situation that we will handle." He did not elaborate. Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said the missile was launched from Sain Ni, North Korea, and traveled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan within 370 nautical kilometers (200 nautical miles) of Japan's coast. It flew for 53 minutes, Japan's defense minister said.

South Korea's responding missile tests included one with a 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) range, to mimic striking the North Korea launch site, which is not far from the North Korean capital. The U.N. Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday afternoon at the request of Japan, the U.S. and South Korea.

Italy's U.N. Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, the current Security Council president, told reporters late Tuesday that "it's certainly very worrying. Everybody was hoping that there would be restraint from the regime."

He said the latest and toughest sanctions resolutions against North Korea "are working, having an effect on the situation ... on the capacity of the regime to obtain hard currency because to go along with the military programs or missile or nuclear (programs) you need money, and that's the objective."

"There is still room for new measures, but for the moment ... we don't know what the council decision will be," he said. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the missile flew higher than previous projectiles.

"It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they've taken," he told reporters at the White House. "It's a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world."

A week ago, the Trump administration declared North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, further straining ties between governments that are still technically at war. Washington also imposed new sanctions on North Korean shipping firms and Chinese trading companies dealing with the North.

North Korea called the terror designation a "serious provocation" that justifies its development of nuclear weapons. Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said the North is likely trying to further evaluate the weapon's performance, including the warhead's ability to survive atmospheric re-entry and strike the intended target, before it attempts a test that shows the full range of the missile.

South Koreans are famously nonchalant about North Korea's military moves, but there is worry about what the North's weapons tests might mean for next year's Winter Olympics in the South. President Moon told his officials to closely review whether the launch could in anyway hurt South Korea's efforts to successfully host the games in Pyeongchang, which begin Feb. 9.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who spoke with Trump, said Japan will not back down against any provocation and would maximize pressure on the North in its strong alliance with the U.S. Trump has ramped up economic and diplomatic pressure on the North to prevent its nuclear and missile development. So far, the pressure has failed to get North Korea's government, which views a nuclear arsenal as key to its survival, to return to long-stalled international negotiations on its nuclear program.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that North Korea was "indiscriminately threatening its neighbors, the region and global stability." He urged the international community to not only implement existing U.N. sanctions on North Korea but also to consider additional measures for interdicting maritime traffic transporting goods to and from the country.

"Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now," Tillerson said, adding the U.S. remains committed to "finding a peaceful path to denuclearization and to ending belligerent actions by North Korea."
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Re: Fatty Spoonbanger sabre rattling again - fires missile into Sea of Japan

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:53 am

Seoul: N. Korea's new missile could reach Washington.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Two days after North Korea test-launched its most powerful missile to date, a clearer picture is emerging of Pyongyang's impressive technological achievement — and what still remains before it can legitimately threaten the continental United States.

Many questions remain, but there's broad agreement from government and outside analyses that the huge Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile represents a significant step forward, putting the North very close to its goal of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped long-range missiles — maybe as early as the middle of next year.

The two-stage liquid-fuel missile fired Wednesday is potentially capable of striking targets as far as 13,000 kilometers (8,100 miles), which would put Washington within reach, South Korea's Defense Ministry said Friday in a report to lawmakers. It's also considerably larger than North Korea's previous ICBM, the Hwasong-14, and designed to deliver larger warheads, the ministry said. That would seem to confirm the North's boast after the launch that the Hwasong-15 can carry "super-large heavy nuclear warheads."

Michael Elleman, an analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said it appears that the Hwasong-15 can deliver a 1,000-kilogram (2,200 pound) payload to any point on the U.S. mainland. North Korea, which has so far conducted six nuclear tests, has almost certainly developed a nuclear warhead that weighs less than 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) , if not one considerably lighter, Elleman wrote Friday on the 38 North website .

North Korea said the missile on Wednesday reached an apogee of 4,475 kilometers (2,780 miles) and flew 950 kilometers (600 miles), splashing down close to Japan after being launched from a site near Pyongyang on a high trajectory to avoid other countries; that flight data was similar to what was announced by South Korea's military.

It's still not clear how close the missile is to being combat ready. The Defense Ministry told lawmakers that further review is needed to determine whether the missile's warhead can survive atmospheric re-entry, accurately hit a target and detonate properly.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in shared his country's assessment with President Donald Trump in a telephone conversation Thursday night. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang to discourage its nuclear ambitions, Seoul's presidential office said Friday. Eugene Lee, spokeswoman of South Korea's Unification Ministry, which deals with affairs related to North Korea, said the Seoul government thinks the North hasn't crossed the "red line" in weapons development yet because it hasn't perfected its ICBMs.

North Korea has described its new ICBM as "significantly more" powerful than the Hwasong-14, which the North flight tested twice in July. Photos and video of the launch released by the North's state media on Thursday confirm the Hwasong-15 is an entirely different beast.

After initially assessing the missile as a modified version of the Hwasong-14 following Wednesday's launch, South Korea's military now says the Hwasong-15 is considerably larger and potentially capable of carrying bigger payloads.

The Hwasong-15 is longer than the Hwasong-14 by 2 meters (6.56 feet) and also thicker, particularly its second stage, which is 80 centimeters (2.62 feet) wider than Hwasong-14's second stage, Seoul's Defense Ministry said.

Hwasong-15's 9-axle transport vehicle, which the North also revealed for the first time, was also 2 meters (6.56 feet) longer than the 8-axle truck the North used to carry the Hwasong-14s. The Hwasong-15's first stage is powered by a pair of engines that were also used in the single-engine first stages of the Hwasong-14, the ministry said. It was still working to analyze the construction of the second stage.

It's possible that the missile has been designed to carry simple decoys, or other countermeasures, to confuse the U.S. missile defense system, Elleman wrote. He added that "if low confidence in the missile's reliability is acceptable, two or three test firings over the next four to six months may be all that is required before Kim Jong Un declares the Hwasong-15 combat ready."
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