North Korea’s Kim Jong Un uses terrifyingly creative methods to kill enemies

From siccing wild dogs on his own uncle to gunning down his enemies with artillery meant for taking out planes, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has built a reputation for dispatching with extreme prejudice all those who cross him.

While some of the terrifying methods of execution have never been confirmed, the mere mention of them is sure to keep his inner circle in line – and any potential rivals quiet, say experts. A confirmed favorite tactic, blowing people away with anti-aircraft guns, leave victims unrecognizable.

“Because there are several guns bound together, it would be hard to find the body after firing it once.”

– Hong Hyun-ik, Sejong Institute

“Because there are several guns bound together, it would be hard to find the body after firing it once,” Hong Hyun-ik, chief researcher at the Sejong Institute, a security think tank based in Seoul, told local broadcaster YTN in 2015. “It’s really gruesome.”

In late February, South Korean officials revealed that five North Korean officials had been subjected to the particularly grisly form of overkill. Other methods trickle out of the secretive Hermit Kingdom, their unverified status only burnishing the legend of Kim’s depravity.

report that one official was killed by a mortar round has been treated with skepticism. But the tale sent a strong message when coupled with his alleged crime: drinking and carousing during the official mourning period following the death of Kim’s father, the equally brutal Kim Jong Il.

Kim’s reach extends beyond the pariah nation he never leaves, as demonstrated by the almost certainly sanctioned hit on his half-brother earlier this year. Kim Jong Nam, seen as a successor to Kim should a coup take place, was sprayed in the face with VX nerve agent by two women as he prepared to catch a flight from Kuala Lampur to Macau. North Korea has denied reports that Kim ordered his paternal half-brother’s murder.

Perhaps the most frightening method of execution ordered by the 33-year-old, third-generation dictator is allowing a pack of starving dogs to devour enemies. In one notable case, the victim was purportedly Kim’s own uncle.

Jang Song-thaek was thought of as a father figure to Kim Jong Un, and served as the second-in-command to the supreme leader. But when he ran afoul of Kim in 2013 for “anti-state acts” and “double-dealing,” his familial ties couldn’t save him from his nephew’s wrath.

How Jang died may never come to light, but a rumor that he was fed to dogs was widely reported. Other reports subsequently claimed that Jang was likely executed by anti-aircraft guns before his body was incinerated by flamethrowers.

The gout-addled Kim also had several of his uncle’s cronies killed, and was reportedly “very drunk” when he gave the orders.

According to a report from the Institute for National Security Strategy, a South Korean think tank, Kim has ordered the execution of more than 340 individuals since taking power in 2011. The report also indicates that the number of military and government officials purged by Kim since 2011 has increased every year. Just 3 officials were executed in 2012, compared to about 140 since the beginning of 2016.

Michael Malice, author of “Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il,” said Kim’s real favored means of murder is simply presiding over what Malice calls “the worst country on earth.”

“[Kim] chose to let a million to two million people starve to death in the 90’s. So 340 executions,” Malice said. “That number is better to focus on than the guy who probably wasn’t eaten by dogs.”

But when Kim turns executioner, he maximizes the deterrent effect, Malice said.

“If you want to talk about weird methods of killing, the fact that everyone has to watch is horrifically weird,” the author told Fox News.

Malice was referring to reports from defectors that North Koreans are forced to watch the many public executions that occur. The claim – and Kim’s underlying purpose – were echoed by a 2014 report from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“Public executions and enforced disappearance to political prison camps serve as the ultimate means to terrorize the population into submission,” the report stated.

Americans consider Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old college student sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor for stealing a poster, to have effectively been a victim of Kim’s bloodlust. It may never be known what killed Warmbier, but he was returned to the U.S. last week, 17 months after beginning his sentence, in a terminal state. He was buried Thursday.

Even if Warmbier’s death was not technically an execution, it is a stark reminder of how even minor crimes are dealt with in North Korea. People are publicly executed for such “crimes” as importing South Korean or American music and movies or being caught with a Bible.

“To focus on this carnival aspect [of Kim’s allegedly unusual executions] really misses the point about what makes this place so unique and horrible,” Malice said. “This is what they have to worry about on a regular basis.”

North Korea, Kim Jong Un, anti-aircraft guns, South Korea, overkill, Kim Jong Nam, Jong Song-thaek, Otto Warmbier

US urges China to pressure North Korea to rein in weapons programs

A day after the US president said China’s efforts on North Korea had failed, his secretary of state has asked for Beijing’s help. The situation has been complicated by the death of a US student imprisoned by Pyongyang.

Watch video00:43

Trump says China should help more on NKorea

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged China to help pressure North Korea to rein in its weapons programs.

“[China has a] diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region,” he said in Washington. Tillerson said North Korea was the “top security threat” to the US.

Tillerson made the comments at a press conference after high-level talks with Chinese officials at the State Department.

Read more: Trump ‘furious’ over Seoul’s North Korea ‘appeasement’

Read more: North Korea attempts to split South Korea-US security alliance

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis vowed at the same press conference to “continue to take necessary measures to defend ourselves and our allies” against North Korea, which is working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US.

The meeting of top US and Chinese diplomats and defense chiefs came just a day after US President Donald Trump said China’s efforts to use its leverage with Pyongyang had failed.

On Tuesday, Trump posted a tweet suggesting Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts were ineffective, a message he reiterated before supporters in Iowa.

While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!

“I do like President Xi,” he told the crowd Wednesday evening. “I wish we would have a little more help with respect to North Korea, from China. That doesn’t seem to be working.”

Trump did not elaborate on what might happen next if China fails to rein in its ally.

Complicated position

Trump’s approach to North Korea was further complicated by the death of American university student Otto Warmbier earlier this week, after he was recently released in a comatose state 17 months after being jailed in Pyongyang.

Read more: Otto Warmbier, US student released from North Korea, dies

In Beijing, officials insisted they have not given up hope of influencing Pyongyang.

“To resolve the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, China has been making unremitting efforts and we have been playing an important and constructive role,” said Geng Shuang, a foreign ministry spokesman, while stressing China was not the “focus and the crux” of the crisis.

Tillerson said Trump would make a state visit to China later this year, and Mattis said both sides had agreed to expand military-to-military ties.

A US official said on Tuesday that spy satellites had detected new movements at North Korea’s nuclear test site, but it was unclear if Pyongyang was preparing for a sixth nuclear test.

aw/cmk (AFP, dpa)

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North Korea could reportedly wreak havoc with high-altitude nuclear blast

A former U.S. ambassador wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal Friday warning that North Korea’s nuclear threat is not limited to a bomb striking a U.S. city.

A nuclear bomb that detonates 40 miles above a target (and hundreds of miles away) could deliver serious consequences, Henry F. Cooper, who was the director of the Strategic Defense initiative under President George H.W. Bush, wrote.

He pointed to the time the U.S. detonated nuclear warhead 900 miles southwest of Hawaii. It was 1962 and the high-altitude nuclear bomb “destroyed hundreds of street lights in Honolulu, caused electrical surges on airplanes in the area and damaged at least six satellites.”

Russian generals reported back in 2004 that North Korea has in its possession the designs for these so-called “super EMP nuclear weapons,” th op-ed said. At around that time, Congress put together a commission to study such an explosion, and determined that there would be no effects on the ground, but the high-altitude electromagnetic pulse would render “critical electricity-dependent infrastructure” inoperable.

The op-ed raises questions about whether or not North Korea ran a “dry run” recently, when a medium-range missile reportedly exploded midflight in what was seen as a failure. The article questions if the missile was deliberately detonated.

The op-ed mentions that some analysts say that Pyongyang is far from launching a viable EMP attack on the U.S. or South Korea. But the EMP may be a more realistic option for Pyongyang, because there is little need for accuracy.

The op-ed pointed to a report that said “even a balloon-lofted warhead detonated at 30 kilometers altitude could blackout the Eastern Grid that supports most of the population and generates 75 percent of US electricity.”

“Detonation at that altitude of a nuclear warhead with a yield of 10 to 20 kilotons—similar to those tested by North Korea—would produce major EMP effects and inflict catastrophic damage to unhardened electronics across hundreds of miles of surface territory. It is a myth that large yield nuclear weapons of hundreds of kilotons are required to produce such effects,” he writes.

North Korea threat: Mattis says war with isolated nation would be ‘catastrophic’

Defense Secretary James Mattis offered a dark outlook of what war with North Korea would look like hours before the rogue regime launched another ballistic missile.

Mattis said in a televised interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that a conflict with North Korea would be “probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetime.”

“The bottom line is it would be a catastrophic war if this turns into a combat if we’re not able to resolve this situation through diplomatic means,” he said.

Later Sunday, North Korea tested a short-range Scud ballistic missile off of its eastern coast, the U.S. military said. The statement said the missile flew for six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile flew about 280 miles.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said what appeared to be a North Korean ballistic missile fell within Japan’s exclusive maritime economic zone.

“We cannot tolerate such repeated actions from North Korea, and we have lodged a strong protest against North Korea, criticizing them in the strongest form,” Suga said.

There was no immediate comment from North Korea’s state controlled media. But the launch followed a report from the North that said leader Kim Jong Un had watched a successful test of a new type of anti-aircraft guided weapon system. It wasn’t clear from the report when the test happened.

North Korea is still thought to be several years away from its goal of being able to target U.S. mainland cities with a nuclear ICBM, but each new test puts it closer to success. The North has a strong arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles that target Japan and South Korea and U.S. forces in the region, and it is working to perfect its longer-range missiles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Japan vows to take action with US after North Korea missile test

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to take action against North Korea after Pyongyang’s missile test on Sunday ended in the Sea of Japan.

Abe addressed the situation in a brief televised address on Monday: “As we agreed at the recent G7, the issue of North Korea is a top priority for the international community,” according to Reuters.

“Working with the United States, we will take specific action to deter North Korea.”

NORTH KOREA THREAT: MATTIS SAYS WAR WITH ISOLATED NATION WOULD BE ‘CATASTROPHIC’

North Korea tested a short-range Scud ballistic missile off its eastern coast at 4:40 p.m. ET (5:40 a.m. Monday Korea time). The missile flew for six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan.

US officials told Fox News a North Korean MiG fighter jet crashed near the launch site of the latest surface-to-air missile test.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile fell within Japan’s exclusive maritime economic zone. He said there was no immediate report of damage to planes or vessels in the area.

“We cannot tolerate such repeated actions from North Korea, and we have lodged a strong protest against North Korea, criticizing them in the strongest form,” Suga said in a statement after the test.

This is the third missile test North Korea has conducted in a month. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to field a nuclear-armed missile that is capable of reaching U.S. territory.

Russia and China condemned Sunday’s missile test and called for restraint.

FOX NEWS: COMPLETE COVERAGE OF NORTH KOREA CONFLICT

The U.S. military announced last Friday that it will be launching a first-of-its-kind missile intercept test this week. The test would involve launching a custom-made missile from the Marshall Island and aim to shoot it down in space by firing an interceptor missile from a base in California.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

Is North Korea’s EMP threat real or ‘something out of a James Bond movie’?

Doug McKelway

“A failure of imagination” is how some experts described the intelligence community’s inability to foresee and interrupt the 9/11 plot. But it might as well describe America’s apparent disinterest in preparing for a potentially bigger threat – an EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, a nuclear capability that North Korea is believed to be pursuing.

An EMP is a short burst of electromagnetic energy, specifically gamma rays, that all nuclear explosions produce to varying degrees. A large EMP triggered over the United States from a ballistic missile or a satellite orbiting at the right altitude could fry unprotected electronics from coast to coast, rendering electric grids, cellphones, banking and financial institutions, automobile computers, railways, air traffic control, and airplanes themselves, useless. Food would rot in refrigerators and in farm fields, with no means of transporting agricultural products to population centers.

But for all the Mad Max predictions that a EMP strike would cause, there are some who dismiss the threat.

“It’s not real and it’s something out of a James Bond movie,” says John Tierney, the executive director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. “The general consensus is it’s not a real threat imminent by any stretch of the imagination.”

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, chief of staff for the Congressional EMP Commission, vehemently rejects that assessment. “We’re constantly cleaning up after these guys,” he said.

“We have information, data from actual high altitude nuclear detonations that were conducted by us and the Russians back in the 1961-62 time frame, that did things like knock the lights out in Hawaii,” Pry said. “But most dramatically what the Russians did when they triggered a series of high altitude EMP tests that destroyed electric grids and critical infrastructure at Kazakhstan, then an industrial area, an area larger than Western Europe.”

Pry describes what he calls a nuclear “taboo” that allows the United States and many of its Western allies to cavalierly dismiss the threat.

“In the West, we have for generations believed that a nuclear war would be unthinkable. And for Western democracies, that is understandable, because democratic states derive their legitimacy from the people,” he said.

“But for totalitarian and authoritarian states, where a nation would be willing to sacrifice itself for an ideology, in the case of Iran or North Korea, the use of nuclear weapons is not unthinkable. In their open source military doctrine, they’ve written for years about being able to win a nuclear war,” Pry said.

Adding to EMP worries — North Korea’s recent successful test of a solid-fueled ballistic missile. Solid fuel missiles need less preparation, meaning less warning time for those targeted.

In addition, North Korea has at least two observation or weather satellites whose orbits take them routinely over the U.S., at precisely the altitude that is ideal for an EMP attack.

For at least 15 years, Congress has struggled with many bills designed to harden the nations electric grid against an EMP attack. But none have made it out of committee. Special interests often intervene, fearful of the cost that hardening the electric grid would impose on utility customers, a fear heightened by the ongoing dispute over whether an EMP attack would be as destructive as hardening proponents proclaim.

Doug McKelway joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in November 2010 and serves as a Washington-based correspondent. Click here for more information on Doug McKelway.

South Korean military fires warning shots at objects flown from North

South Korean forces have fired at objects flown across the border from North Korea, officials said. The balloon-like items flew with the wind and may have been carrying propaganda leaflets.

Nordkorea Südkorea Konflikt DMZ UN (Getty Images/AFP/J. Martin)

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Seoul’s forces fired around 90 machine gun rounds towards the targets and across the heavily militarized border, according to South’s Yonhap news agency. The incident was triggered by ten spherical objects flying with the wind in the border area. Some of them traveled into Seoul’s territory, defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Gyun said on Wednesday.

The military later analyzed the data, determining the objects were “balloon-like,” Moon added.

Both Seoul and Pyongyang use balloons to distribute propaganda leaflets across the border. Moon ruled out the possibility of the balloons coming from the South, saying that Seoul uses cylindrical balloons, rather than spherical ones.

Previously, Yonhap cited a defense official as saying that the military fired at what could have been a drone. The object returned across the borders and disappeared from the radar, according to this official’s account.

The military said it had sent a warning to Pyongyang and increased its air surveillance in response to the incident.

The rival governments remain on edge as the North escalates its nuclear program. Pyongyang also has a history of sending spy aircraft across the border. In January 2016, the military fired on a North Korean drone that flew into the demilitarized zone, and in September 2014, a South Korean fisherman found a drone that was also believed to have come from there.

China | Bundesaußenminister Gabriel besucht China (picture-alliance/dpa/G. Fischer
)Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has arrived in China

Gabriel in China

Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned of “dangerous developments” in North Korea after landing in Beijing on Wednesday.

“We believe the Chinese have a big responsibility there, but we’re also sure that the Chinese government is aware of that,” Gabriel said at the start of his one-day diplomatic visit to China, North Korea’s key ally.

Pyongyang’s nuclear program is expected be among key issues as Gabriel meets with Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi later in the day.

Watch video00:34

North Korea fires another missile

UN Security Council vows new sanctions

The border incident came two days after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. It was the second launch in just over a week and the eighth since the start of 2017.

The United Nations Security Council said on Monday it would impose additional sanctions on North Korea in response, accusing the country of “destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance.”

Members of the council vowed to better implement six rounds of sanctions already imposed against Pyongyang and demanded that the country halt its nuclear program and missile tests.

China called on “all parties to remain calm, exercise self-restraint and avoid taking provocative actions that would escalate the tensions.”

The United States has urged China to use its influence over North Korea to change its behavior.

dj/jm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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