North Korea flexes muscles ahead of Winter Olympics with military parade

North Korea has staged a huge military parade less than 24 hours ahead of the opening of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The extravaganza celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea.

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North Korea holds military parade before Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched on as tanks and thousands of troops staged a military parade on Thursday, marking seven decades since the formation of the country’s armed forces.

Dressed in a long black winter coat and fedora, Kim could be seen at the beginning of the event walking on a red carpet with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and Kim Yong Nam, the country’s ceremonial head of state.

North Korea Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Ju (picture-alliance/AP Photo/KRT)Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju appeared together at the event, brought forward from April

The north is using the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea to stage a charm offensive, including sending performers, cheerleaders and Kim Jong Un’s sister to the games.

As well as an estimated 13,000 soldiers, the parade included artillery tanks and trucks and a band forming the Korean word for “victory.”

“We … have become capable of showcasing our stature as a world-class military power to the world,” said Kim, who took his place on a rostrum to watch the parade.

He added that, even during the games, the military should ensure that invaders could not impinge on the North’s sovereignty “even by 0.001 mm.”

Soldiers taking part in the event (picture-alliance/AP Photo/KRT)Thousands of soldiers took part in the event, with no foreign journalists invited as would normally be the case

The North’s last parade took place in April 2017, when state television showed the event live. This time, instead, it was aired hours later and foreign reporters were not invited to the event. The North usually invites hundreds of foreign journalists to show off the spectacle.

As well as including Kim Yong Nam, the North’s high-level delegation to the South for the Olympics will include Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong, who appears to be an increasingly powerful and influential figure.

Among the most noteworthy pieces of hardware that made an appearance at the parade were four giant Hwasong-15 long-range missiles, part of the ballistics program that has attracted further sanctions from the world community against the country.

Missiles in North Korea parade (picture-alliance/AP Photo/KRT)The parade included trucks, artillery, tanks and four giant Hwasong-15 ICBMs

rc/sms (dpa, AFP, AP)

COURTESY: DW

U.S. Takes Aim at North Korea’s Shipping and Oil With New Sanctions

Kim Jong-Un speaks in Pyongyang in this picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sept. 22, 2017.
Kim Jong-Un speaks in Pyongyang in this picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sept. 22, 2017.
STR—AFP/Getty Images

By ELI MEIXLER

11:17 PM EST

The U.S. unveiled a new raft of sanctions against North Korea Wednesday, targeting financial and other support for the country’s development of weapons of mass destruction.

Sixteen individuals, nine companies and six ships were designated as the administration of President Donald Trump piles pressure on Kim Jong Un to abandon his weapons program.

The sanctions primarily target Chinese and North Korean trade companies, shipping firms and vessels, as well as the Ministry of Crude Oil Industry.

Last month, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution targeting North Korea’s oil imports, shipping companies and foreign labor as efforts increase to disrupt the country’s energy supply.

Among the new designations are 10 individuals associated with the Korea Ryonbong General Corp., which Treasury said specializes in acquisitions for the defense industries and probable procurements supporting chemical weapons development.

The individuals included company representatives in Russia, Georgia and China.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assetts Control (OFAC) said the new designations were a response to weapons development and violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement the U.S. would also target actors “that continue to provide a lifeline to North Korea,” calling on China and Russia to expel illicit actors.

The Trump administration has vowed to put “maximum pressure” on the Kim regime, which has in recent years accelerated progress toward developing nuclear-tipped intercontinental missiles capable of reaching the U.S.

Courtesy:TIME

Pompeo: North Korea ‘Handful of Months’ Away from Threatening U.S. with Nuclear Weapons

Speaking at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) forum on the future of U.S. intelligence operations, CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned that North Korea could be a “handful of months” away from plausibly threatening the continental United States with nuclear weapons.

Pompeo warned North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is advancing at a “very rapid clip.” He added that U.S. intelligence fears Kim would aggressively use nuclear weapons as a tool to conquer the entire Korean Peninsula.

Pompeo repeated his recent warnings that “North Korea is ever closer to being able to hold America at risk,” but said the intelligence community is helping to hold them just shy of achieving their goals.

“I said that was a handful of months,” he recalled. “I said the same thing several months before that. I want everyone to understand that we are working diligently to make sure that a year from now, I can still tell you they are several months away from having that capacity.”

Later in his appearance, Pompeo clarified that he was not laying out a timeline where North Korea might be fielding nuclear missiles by the end of the summer, or anything quite so immediate. He said it was inappropriate to think in terms of timelines to landmark missile test launches. Instead, the real issue is reliability—“Can they reliably deliver the pain which Kim Jong-un wants to be able to deliver against the United States of America?”

He explained:

It’s one thing to be able to say, ‘Yes, it’s possible if everything went right, if the missile flew in the right direction, we could do it,’ as opposed to certainty. This is the core of deterrence theory. In the deterrence model, you have to be certain that what you aim to deliver will actually be successful. At the very least, you need to make sure your adversary believes that it is certain.

“That’s what Kim Jong-un is driving for. He is trying to put in our mind the reality that he can deliver that pain to the United States of America. Our mission is to make the day that he can do that as far off as possible,” Pompeo said.

He disputed the commonly reported notion that the intelligence community was caught by surprise when North Korea’s nuclear program surged forward. “We’ll never get the week or the month right on something that’s this complicated, but we can get the direction of travel and the capacity for the rate of change right, and we did,” he insisted.

During a question-and-answer session with AEI’s Marc Thiessen, Pompeo cautioned that he was not at liberty to divulge sensitive intelligence about North Korea, other than to say, “They have moved at a very rapid clip, make no mistake about it.”

“They’re testing capacity has improved. The frequency that they have tests which are more materially successful has also improved, putting them ever closer to a place where Americans can be held at risk,” he said.

Pompeo said the CIA believes Kim Jong-un to be a “rational actor,” and that his rational strategy is about more than achieving deterrence against conventional military action by the United States and its allies since the massive North Korean artillery threat to South Korean cities already provides such deterrence.

Pompeo said the CIA believes that Kim wants “more than just regime preservation,” which is why the Trump administration is so determined to prevent him from achieving nuclear ICBM capability. They suspect Kim will not be content to become merely the latest authoritarian ruler sitting on an inventory of nuclear weapons he would never dare to use.

Thiessen asked if Kim’s status as a “rational actor” meant limited military action to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program is possible since a rational state would not respond in a manner that guaranteed its own destruction.

“I’m thrilled that you asked that. I’m equally happy not to answer,” Pompeo replied. “Let me say this, though: the American people should know we’re working to prepare a series of options to make sure that we can deliver a range of things, so the president will have the full suite of possibilities.”

“We are in a much better place today than we were twelve months ago,” he said. “We are still suffering from having gaps. Part of that is not the intelligence community’s fault per se. These are difficult target sets. I’ll concede that at the outset. But it’s completely inadequate for the CIA to say, ‘Well, that’s a hard problem.’ Of course it’s a hard problem. That’s why you pay us.”

He said the CIA’s top priorities in North Korea included analyzing its command structure, determining how sanctions affect various individuals and layers of North Korean society, and who might be helping the Kim regime mitigate the effects of sanctions.

  North Korea’s Nuclear Threat and the EMP Deterrence

                

Gabby Ogbechie, The Property Gazette 

 

 

Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.), Fox News senior strategic analyst, on President Trump's strategy for Iran, the North Korea nuclear threat and Trump signing a $700 billion military budget.An analysis of statements by President Donald Trump of the United States, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the military might of their respective countries, especially at the commencement of the Trump Presidency on one hand, and the threats of Kim Jong-un of North Korea, which he repeatedly backed up with unending tests of his country’s missiles, would suggest to many observers that someone is eager to prove his country’s nuclear superiority by being the first to push the button.

‘’On April 21, 2017 three major U.S. cities – New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco – experienced virtually simultaneous power outages. Businesses emptied. Schools closed. Subway commuters were stuck underground in the dark.

Rumors immediately started flying that a cyber-attack had caused all three blackouts.

The “official” word in San Francisco was that the outage was caused by a fire in a substation. In Los Angeles, high winds were blamed. In New York, an equipment failure was the announced culprit.

Commenting on the improbability of such occurrences in three major cities simultaneously, an informed observer remarked:  ‘’They’ve ignored dire warnings from experts about the grid’s vulnerability to physical, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and cyber-attack by North Korea, Russia, China and even ISIS, and other terrorist groups.’’

At about the same time-frame, there were reports that in France, the United Kingdom and a few other European nations, services were disrupted; and for a number of hours, governmental departments, train services, Ocean going Liners   which rely on computer services were disrupted and suspended for an appreciable period of time; long enough for enemy operatives to deploy nuclear warheads without allowing the opposition the benefit of a mutually assured deterrence.

What is EMP, Electromagnetic Pulse?

Electromagnetic Pulse is the resultant effect, or ‘eddies’ of a nuclear detonation; the aftermath of a nuclear blast from a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. It could be likened to the resultant eddies after an object is thrown into or strikes a body of water. While a stone or any relatively small object could cause a little eddy, a Tsunami results from the huge explosion of either an earthquake, or a volcanic eruption in the Sea or an Ocean. The Tsunami is not the blast itself; similarly, the EMP is not the nuclear explosion itself; it is the aftermath of the explosion which could extend vertically or horizontally.

Studies on the EMP, according to available reports, have not progressed into the orbit of weaponization in the Western world, especially the United States. On the other hand, there appears to be evidence that Russia has not only advanced in its study of the EMP, but has already weaponized it. Russia is equally suspected to have shared its knowledge of the EMP with China and North Korea.

‘’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 (SDI) under President George H.W. Bush, wrote.

He pointed to the time the U.S. detonated a 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.”

Stretching one’s imagination on the application of the EMP in any warfare scenario, not just the nuclear one, the following could be the results:

  • An enemy, employing the services of Satellites, could simultaneously target nuclear silos, naval nuclear arsenal/missile bearing submarines and vessels, and immobilize them with nuclear blasts several miles above such targets;
  • Having rendered the enemy’s retaliatory capability void, the belligerent may proceed to direct missile attacks targeted at knocking out such battery of nuclear weapons;
  • Send a second barrage of nuclear missiles into major cities and towns to create the required panic and effect as much destruction of lives and property as possible;
  • Release a third set of missiles to completely destroy the command center of the opposition; which would imply the seat of government where the Commander-in-chief resides, the seat of the defense apparatus, and the entire city.

All these could be achieved in a few minutes, while commanders are waiting for orders to launch retaliatory missiles which may never come. Defence systems such as THAAD would work under normal conditions, but if they are attacked with EMPs, they would be rendered inoperable and ineffective.

As someone who intended, ab initio to pull back significantly from America’s involvements in far-flung places all over the world with his ‘’America first’’ policy, President Trump would have significantly reduced the United States’ military commitments all over the world, and made the North Korean issue the world’s problem which it is, rather than America’s problem which it has become.

There’s no doubt that China and Russia, regarding the DPKR missile quagmire are ‘’running with the hares, and chasing with the hounds.’’ If these two countries were to verifiably withdraw or suspend their trade and other collaborative activities with North Korea, the regime would either crumble or hurriedly head to the negating table for long overdue talks. We are not suggesting a one-sided negotiation in which North Korea would not receive an iron-clad assurance of non-regime change and interference in its internal affairs by the United States and any of the other world powers.

However, a nation that is not accountable to any other nation is a danger in our nuclear age. A leader like Kim Jong Un who is not answerable to either any other leader or regional association of nations, with nuclear weapons, is a danger that must receive the undivided attention of every nation; not only the United States.

Finally, the history of the verbal duel between President Trump and Kim Jong-un of DPRK as chronicled by Julie Vitkovskaya, as detailed below, and the recent panic which ensued after the false alarm in Hawaii point to the fact that the world could be closer than we all think to a nuclear holocaust:

April 28: Approaching his 100th day in office, Trump tells Reuters a “major, major” conflict with North Korea is possible but that he still seeks diplomacy.

May 14: Kim celebrates the test of a ballistic missile. He’s quoted by state media saying, “If the U.S. awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it will not escape from the biggest disaster in the history.”

May 23: The Post reports that Trump called Kim a “madman with nuclear weapons” during a phone conversation weeks before with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump said: Kim’s “rockets are crashing. That’s the good news,” according to a transcript obtained by The Post.

Aug. 8: Trump warns North Korea that it will be met with “fire and fury” if it continues to threaten the United States. It is his harshest language yet against the regime.

Aug. 9: North Korea responds by saying it is reviewing plans to target the U.S. territory of Guam. “The nuclear war hysteria of the U.S. authorities including Trump has reached an extremely reckless and rash phase for an actual war,” said the KCNA, North Korea’s official state media.

Sept. 17: Trump taunts Kim on Twitter: “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!”

Sept. 22: Kim calls Trump a “mentally deranged dotard,” prompting the public to search for the definition of the archaic insult.

Sept. 23: Trump tweets: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

Sept. 19: Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Trump threatens to “totally destroy North Korea” and says “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.”

Oct. 1: Trump sends two tweets. One at 9:30 a.m. EST, saying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” and another at 2 p.m. saying he “won’t fail” to rein in Kim.

Nov. 11: After reports surface that North Korean state media referred to Trump as a “lunatic old man,” Trump tweets: “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”

We believe the major world powers would do well to co-operate with the United States toward forestalling the looming holocaust by sorting out this North Korea problem. It is not a Trump problem and must never be seen as such.

 

North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet

 January 16 at 6:36 AM
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images; KCNA/KNS)

North Korea’s official news agency responded Tuesday to President Trump’s controversial “nuclear button tweet,” describing it as the “spasm of a lunatic,” according to the Associated Press.

“Trump’s bluff is regarded by the DPRK as just a spasm of a lunatic frightened by the might of Juche Korea and a bark of a rabid dog,” said the report, which summarized a commentary in the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun. DPRK is the abbreviation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name. Juche is the North Korean state ideology, often translated as self-reliance.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) says the White House effectively enforced a “gag order” to prevent Stephen K. Bannon from answering questions from lawmakers. 

“The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental state of a loser who failed to check the vigorous advance of the army and people of the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. . . . He is making [a] bluff only to be diagnosed as a psychopath,” it added.

North Korean media were referring to the U.S. president’s response to Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Day taunt two weeks ago that his nuclear button was always on his desk. Trump tweeted Jan. 3 that his “nuclear button” was “much bigger & more powerful” than the North Korean leader’s. He went on to threaten that the U.S. arsenal “works.”

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!

Pyongyang still agreed later on to high-level talks with Seoul, which has raised hopes of an improvement of relations with South Korea.

But North Korea’s latest mocking of Trump — even though it may not be unusual — certainly won’t help to calm tensions, especially given that Trump has responded to previous North Korean provocations by referring to Kim as “rocket man,” “short and fat” and “madman.”

My colleague Julie Vitkovskaya recently summarized how the Trump-Kim rhetoric escalated in 2017. Here are some excerpts:

April 28: Approaching his 100th day in office, Trump tells Reuters a “major, major” conflict with North Korea is possible but that he still seeks diplomacy.

May 14: Kim celebrates the test of a ballistic missile. He’s quoted by state media saying, “If the U.S. awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it will not escape from the biggest disaster in the history.”

May 23: The Post reports that Trump called Kim a “madman with nuclear weapons” during a phone conversation weeks before with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump said: Kim’s “rockets are crashing. That’s the good news,” according to a transcript obtained by The Post.

Aug. 8: Trump warns North Korea that it will be met with “fire and fury” if it continues to threaten the United States. It is his harshest language yet against the regime.

Aug. 9: North Korea responds by saying it is reviewing plans to target the U.S. territory of Guam. “The nuclear war hysteria of the U.S. authorities including Trump has reached an extremely reckless and rash phase for an actual war,” said the KCNA, North Korea’s official state media.

Sept. 17: Trump taunts Kim on Twitter: “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!”

Sept. 22: Kim calls Trump a “mentally deranged dotard,” prompting the public to search for the definition of the archaic insult.

Sept. 23: Trump tweets: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

Sept. 19: Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Trump threatens to “totally destroy North Korea” and says “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself.”

Oct. 1: Trump sends two tweets. One at 9:30 a.m. EST, saying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” and another at 2 p.m. saying he “won’t fail” to rein in Kim.

Nov. 11: After reports surface that North Korean state media referred to Trump as a “lunatic old man,” Trump tweets: “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”

Trump’s Jan. 3 tweet about his “nuclear button” drew perhaps the strongest condemnations, as observers from the United States and abroad condemned the remarks as ill-advised and “infantile.”

“Trump plays with the subject so carelessly and recklessly as if it were some kind of video game,” commented Aaron David Miller, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars who has advised several secretaries of state.

In their Tuesday responses to the tweet, North Korean media also appeared to address speculation over President Trump’s mental fitness, which was raised in the controversial “Fire and Fury” book. Trump has rejected the claims made in the book and has boasted about being “like, really smart” and a “very stable genius” in response.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

Not-so-instant message: N. Korea calls Trump’s New Year ‘bigger button’ jibe ‘spasm of a lunatic’

Not-so-instant message: N. Korea calls Trump’s New Year ‘bigger button’ jibe ‘spasm of a lunatic’
It took Pyongyang almost two weeks to respond to US President Donald Trump’s bragging about the size of his ‘nuclear button,’ but a state-run newspaper has now called it “spasm of a lunatic” and the “bark of a rabid dog.”

The response came in the latest edition of Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling party. In the controversial tweet, Trump mocked North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un for saying in his New Year address to the nation that he had a nuclear button on his desk and could order a strike against America if the country is threatened. The American president said “his button” was “a much bigger and more powerful one” that actually worked.

North Korea, which for decades used a unique style of communication involving flamboyant threats and insults against its enemies, seems to have found a more-than-willing counterpart in the Oval Office. Trump and Kim exchanged personal insults, as well as promises of death and destruction, as Pyongyang and Washington remain deadlocked over the North’s latest advances in rocket and nuclear technology, which have given new credibility to the country’s race for a nuclear deterrent against America.

Unlike Trump, Kim has no Twitter page, so the exchanges come at a slow pace, with insults traded days – or, as in this case, even weeks apart. Nevertheless, Kim at one point managed to amuse English-speakers by rediscovering the little-used word “dotard” to berate Trumps’ mental capacity. The US president invented the nickname “little rocket man” for the North Korean leader and shamed him as “short and fat” in one of his tweets.

READ MORE: US, Canada host world summit on N. Korea… but Russia & China will only be briefed on results

Trump’s brand of rhetoric is not solely reserved for Kim Jong-un, nor is it confined to his Twitter feed. One of his latest controversial remarks targeted Haiti, Honduras and African nations, which he reportedly dismissed as a “sh**hole countries” while arguing against admitting immigrants from those nations into America. The US president has denied making the remarks.

The denial didn’t stop a flurry of outraged responses both domestically and from foreign commentators, who accused Trump of being racist and unsuitable for office.

Courtesy: RT

‘US mainland in our nuclear strike range’, Kim Jong-un warns in New Year’s speech

‘US mainland in our nuclear strike range’, Kim Jong-un warns in New Year’s speech
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declared his county a nuclear power in possession of technology capable of striking the US mainland should there be a need.

“The US mainland is in our nuclear strike zone,” Kim said in his New Year’s message which was broadcast on Chosun Central TV. “The United States will never start a war with me and our country,” and Pyongyang has“completed the creation of North Korea’s nuclear forces,” he added.

Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang reached unprecedented levels last year, as the North continued to pursue its missile and nuclear programs. Washington said all options, including a military solution, are on the table to tame North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. While the US is still on course to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Pyongyang has so far refused to negotiate its nuclear status.

In 2018, Kim promised to focus his country’s efforts on the “operational deployment” of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. At the same time, the North Korean leader said Washington “will never” be able to start a war of aggression against Pyongyang as long as the North remains a nuclear power.

Boombastic: N. Korea salutes 2017, promises more tests in 2018

Pyongyang had a busy time developing its nuclear and ballistic programs over the course of 2017, having staged 16 missile tests and conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.

In light of recent success in his nuclear endeavor, Kim called for the “mass-production” of nukes and missiles to be used as a deterrent against the US and its allies.

However, despite maintaining a belligerent posture towards the US, Kim said that the North is open to talks with S. Korea. North Korea, he said, is also willing to take part in PyeongChang Winter Olympics scheduled to begin in February 2018.

Courtesy: RT

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