North Korean troops crossed into South while chasing defector, UN says

North Korean troops briefly crossed into South Korea while chasing one of their fellow soldiers who defected earlier this month, violating the armistice that ended the Korean War, the U.S.-led United Nations command said Wednesday.

At a live TV briefing, the command released dramatic video showing the unidentified soldier speeding down a tree-lined road past shocked North Korean soldiers, who begin to run after him. He crashes the jeep near the line that divides North and South in the so-called “truce village” of Panmunjom, where North and South Korean soldiers face each other at their closest distance just feet away.

Soldiers from the North sprint to the area, firing their weapons at the defector; one hurries across the dividing line before running back to the northern side. South Korean soldiers then crawl up to the defector, who has fallen injured in a mass of leaves against a small wall. They drag him to safety as North Korean troops gather on their side of the line.

Surprisingly, North and South Korean soldiers didn’t exchange fire in the first shooting in the area in more than three decades.

U.S. Army Col. Chad G. Carroll, a spokesman for the U.N. command, said the North violated the armistice by “one, firing weapons across the MDL, and two, by actually crossing the MDL temporarily,” referring to the military demarcation line that bisects the Koreas.

A U.N. Command statement said officials notified the North’s military of these violations and requested a meeting to discuss the investigation results and measures to prevent future such violations.

North Korea hasn’t responded and its official media haven’t reported on the case. The North has 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.

South Korea’s military has said North Korean soldiers used handguns and AK rifles to fire about 40 rounds at their former comrade, who was hit at least five times.

The JSA, jointly overseen by the American-led U.N. Command and by North Korea, is inside the 2.5-mile-wide Demilitarized Zone, which has been the de facto border between the Koreas since the war.

Meanwhile, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reportedthat the North Korean soldier had regained consciousness after undergoing two surgeries at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul. One South Korean official told Yonhap the soldier was able to talk to doctors and requested to watch television in his room.

The official added that the soldier was suffering from “fear and heavy stress” from his ordeal and was being treated with “psychotherapy.” A South Korean flag had “apparently” been placed in the soldier’s room in an attempt to improve his mental state.

Hospital official Shin Mi-jeong confirmed to the Associated Press that the soldier is conscious and is no longer relying on a breathing machine. While his condition is improving, doctors plan to keep him at the intensive care unit for at least several more days to guard against possible infections.

While treating the wounds, surgeons removed dozens of parasites from the soldier’s ruptured small intestine, including presumed roundworms that were as long as 10.6 inches, which may reflect poor nutrition and health in North Korea’s military. The soldier is 5 feet, 7 inches tall but weighs just 132 pounds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 Courtesy: Fox News

North Korea: Nuclear Attack Imminent

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pentagon is scrambling to protect America’s power grid amid fears of imminent nuclear attack by North Korea.

North Korea warned the U.S. on Monday that “nuclear war may break out any moment.”

President Trump is facing this threat head-on and he is not backing down. Trump announced North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Former CIA Director James Woolsey:

“According to the Congressional EMP Commission, a single warhead delivered by North Korean satellite could blackout the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for over a year – killing 9 of 10 Americans by starvation and societal collapse.”

North Korea realizes they can’t beat us with brute military force on the conventional battlefield. We are way too strong for that.

However we do have a weakness that North Korea or other foreign terrorists can use against us…

Our crumbling electric grid.

Former CIA official Dr. Peter Pry warns, “There is an imminent threat… to the national electric grid and not just to a single U.S. city.”

When our electric grid fails, it will be like watching America have a heart attack right before your eyes. Because when the heart stops pumping… everything shuts down and the patient flat lines.

Our enemies could cripple our great country in a matter of minutes, without having to fire a single bullet. They could just sit back and watch as we self-destruct through looting, rioting and the targeting of police officers.

It’s a frightening idea, but worst of all…

It may already be happening.

On April 21, 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.

Perhaps those were the real causes. Or maybe these simultaneous blackouts were dry runs for future attacks.

We may never know the truth.

But former CIA official Dr. Peter Pry says that attacks on just 9 of the nation’s 55,000 electrical substations could result in nationwide blackouts for up to 18 months.

Our government is woefully unprepared.

It seems like the government has been fixated on taking more and more away from people who worked hard to earn it, while doing virtually nothing to secure our nation’s infrastructure.

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.

“Our death toll would be staggering” reports FOXNews. We’re all fine when the power goes out for a few hours and even days. But an extended blackout would be devastating.

Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy predicts, “… should the power go out and stay out for over a year, 9 out of 10 Americans would likely perish.”

>> When North Korea strikes the U.S.

Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Your life would be frozen in time right at the moment the power fails. Lights all over the country would go out, throwing people into total darkness.

Without access to a generator, your fridge, electric range and microwave would be dead. All the food in your fridge and freezer would spoil.

Your well couldn’t pump any fresh water into your house. And even if you don’t have a well, a total grid failure means no fresh water to drink, cook, or clean with.

You wouldn’t be able to operate your radio or TV, or charge your cell phone, so you’d feel isolated and cut off from your friends and family.

Sadly, this is NOT science fiction or some crazy doomsday theory…

And retired CENTCOM General Lloyd Austin says, “It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.”

Will you be prepared for this devastating crisis… one that could take months or even years to recover from?

How will you stay safe… warm… and protected?

What will you do when the power goes out?

That’s why many Americans are taking matters into their own hands and are securing their own solar powered generator.

Solar generators are a smart choice because they produce an endless supply of life-saving electricity when you need it most – and without gas, fumes or noise.

Our top recommendation in portable solar generators is the Patriot Power Generator 1500.

It’s a breakthrough NEW device that generates up to 1,500 continuous watts of clean, quiet, and FREE renewable power.

That’s enough to power lights for safety and comfort, your computer, TV, or cell phone. Even small appliances like a small freezer or critical medical device that will sustain your family during a power outage.

You can see a live demo of it in action here

Imagine how much peace of mind you’ll have right away when you get your own. Because if a crisis hits and your family asks, “When will the power come back on?” you’ll calmly reassure them that they’re safe and they will have plenty of electricity to power the critical items.

You’ll be able to power lights… preserve food… recharge cell phones and computers… or keep critical medical devices going.

Your home will be a little island of light and warmth in a storm – be it natural or man-made.

Listen, nobody can predict the future. None of us know exactly when or how an attack on our electrical grid will hit.

But from everything we see, it could be soon and it could be devastating.

Courtesy: theblazeexclusives

‘US designation of N. Korea as terrorism sponsor is backdoor for military action’

By designating Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terrorism, US President Donald Trump has opened a backdoor for a potential military option to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, under the pretext of “not talking to terrorists,” experts have told RT.

Announcing the news Monday, Trump stressed that this designation “will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime.”

The expert community, however, disagrees that further punitive measures against Pyongyang will help foster dialogue between the US and North Korea, considering that the North was removed from the terrorist sponsor list in 2008 as part of the George W. Bush administration’s push for progress in denuclearization talks.

“This is going to make the diplomatic pathway that much further away… and I’m afraid it is not going to help the situation,” Sourabh Gupta, an Asia-Pacific strategic and economic policy specialist, told RT. “It is just a little further step more which is paving the way for military action. It just makes the path to diplomacy that much more harder to get to. Even talks about talks regarding talks to get to the negotiating table are stuck at this point in time. These sort of labels will provide no assistance whatsoever.”

“I believe the reason why we’re seeing this it at this point in time is more connected to the fact that the United States is frustrated that it can’t effectuate the change it wants to see in North Korea without the military action. Military action isn’t an option, and so it wants to appear like it is taking further action, but this idea of additional sanctions is probably a bit hollow because there are so many actions now in place that I don’t see it adding that much more to the depth to make a difference,” Eric Sirotkin, a human rights lawyer, told RT.

Experts also dispute Washington’s claim that North Korea sponsors international terrorism. The only case that could arguably back up this claim, Gupta believes, could be the assassination of Kim Jong-nam – the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – who was killed on February 13.

“I assume he has done so primarily because of the attack Kim Jong-un coordinated on his half-brother, regarding killing him in Malaysia airport using a banned chemical agent,” Gupta said, at the same time stressing that this was “something that has been in the works for quite a long time… There has been the political desire in Washington to move down this route.”

READ MORE: N. Korean state media blames Malaysian govt for Kim Jong Nam’s death

Sirotkin meanwhile believes there’s no evidence which would justify the Trump administration placing Pyongyang on its blacklist.

“The banter about the term terrorism a lot because it gets people afraid. It is the buzz word since the Cold War to justify certain military actions and other actions. But frankly, the designation violates the very law that it said to be based upon, which requires there to be repeated support for state-sponsored international acts of terrorism,” Sirotkin told RT. “By doing that we’re faced with a situation where there is not that kind of evidence against North Korea. We can disagree with their human rights; we can believe in non-proliferation of nuclear weapons but in reality that does not meet the definition.”

While Pyongyang has not yet formally responded to Washington’s designation of it as a state sponsor of terrorism, experts believe that the tensions on the Korean Peninsula will only get worse.

“I feel in the next couple of months the situation is going to get very, very hard, simply because the current Trump administration believes that its leverage gets negated when North Korea has an ICBM with a deliverable nuclear warhead,” Gupta told RT. “So there is the belief, and I would say a wrongful belief, that there is still a military option left.”

READ MORE: US to ‘pay dearly’ if it re-includes N. Korea in terrorism sponsors blacklist – official

“It is a backdoor way to try to prevent dialogue and diplomacy… and to maintain the instability that is going on there,”Sirotkin said. “It is not constructive; it does not lead to dialogue. You don’t do name calling and labeling and then say, ‘hey, do you want to talk?’ It is an effort to demean and isolate, and perhaps just not talking to them, because, ‘We don’t talk to terrorists.’”

Courtesy: RT

US nuclear general says would resist ‘illegal’ Trump strike order

Amid rising nuclear tensions with North Korea and concern over the potential for war, the top U.S. nuclear commander said on Saturday that he would resist President Donald Trump if he ordered an “illegal” launch of nuclear weapons.

Air Force General John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada that he had thought a lot about what to say if he received such an order.

“I think some people think we’re stupid,” Hyten said in response to a question about such a scenario, reports Reuters. “We’re not stupid people. We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?”

Hyten, who is responsible for overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, detailed the process that would follow such a command.

As head of STRATCOM “I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do,” he said in his remarks, which were retransmitted in a video posted on the forum’s Facebook page.

“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I‘m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”

Hyten said running through scenarios of how to react in the event of an illegal order was standard practice, and added: “If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life.”

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Hyten’s remarks.

The general’s comments came after U.S. lawmakers, including some Republicans, expressing concern about Trump’s authority to wage war using nuclear weapons.

Trump has traded insults with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and threatened in his maiden United Nations address to “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people if it threatened America.

Some senators want legislation to alter the nuclear authority of the U.S. president and a Senate committee on Tuesday held the first congressional hearing in more than four decades on the president’s authority to launch a nuclear strike.

Courtesy: Fox News

Dozens of worms, parasites removed from escaped North Korean soldier

Surgeons treating a North Korean soldier who was severely wounded by gunfire while escaping to South Korea have removed dozens of parasites from his body, including presumed roundworms as long as 11 inches, hospital officials said.

The soldier, whose name and rank have not been disclosed, defected to South Korea last Monday by driving a military jeep near a line that divides the Koreas and then rushing across it under a barrage of bullets. Hospital officials said Saturday that it was too early to tell whether he will make a recovery.

While treating the wounds, surgeons found the large parasites, which may be reflective of poor nutrition and health in North Korea’s military, the hospital said. Doctors measured the soldier as being 5 feet, 7 inches tall, but weighing just 132 pounds.

“I spent more than 20 years of experience as a surgeon, but I have not found parasites this big in the intestines of South Koreans,” Lee Cook-jong, who leads the soldier’s medical team, told reporters last week.

Lee is a famous trauma specialist who was hailed as a hero in 2011 after conducting life-saving surgeries on the captain of a South Korean freighter ship who was shot during a rescue mission after being held by Somali pirates.

While the North Korean soldier’s vital signs were stabilizing on Saturday, he continued to remain unconscious and relying on a breathing machine. After consecutive surgeries to repair internal organ damage and other injuries, no further surgeries are planned as of yet, said Shin Mi-jeong, an official at the Ajou University Medical Center near Seoul.

South Korea’s military said four North Korean soldiers used handguns and AK rifles to fire about 40 rounds at their former comrade, who was hit at least five times. He was found beneath a pile of leaves on the southern side of the Joint Security Area, and South Korean troops crawled there to recover him. A United Nations Command helicopter later transported him to the Ajou hospital.

It remains unclear whether the North Koreans chasing the soldier fired at him even after he crossed into the southern side of the border, which would be a violation of an armistice agreement that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. The U.N. Command, which is investigating the incident, postponed a plan to release video footage of the soldier’s escape on Thursday.

The Joint Security Area 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 feet part. It is located inside the 2.5-mile-wide Demilitarized Zone, which forms the de facto border between the Koreas since the Korean War.

Courtesy: Fox News

North Korean soldier shot trying to defect to South

A North Korean soldier was shot and wounded as he made it to a South Korean controlled border post. It was a rare defection at the only point where soldiers from the two sides stand just meters from each other.

South Korean soldiers look toward the North Korean side

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea on Monday by bolting across the border truce village of Panmunjom, the only place along the heavily-militarized Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where the two sides stand face-to-face.

The North Korean soldier was shot and wounded by his own side before reaching the section controlled by South Korea. He was taken by helicopter to a hospital.

There was no exchange of gunfire between the two sides, but South Korea said its forces were put on alert.

North Korean soldiers occasionally try to defect across the heavily-fortified DMZ, but it is rare for defections at Panmunjom.

Read more:

– North Korea: From war to nuclear weapons

– North Korean defector pushes for diplomacy in US testimony

– What is China’s role in the North Korean crisis?

North Korea and South Korea Military Demarcation Line

Cold War relic

Unlike the rest of the DMZ, the border post at Panmunjom has no mines or barbed wire and is only separated by a low concrete barrier.

Soldiers from each side stand only a few meters (yards) away from each other.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said that soldiers at the border post are often chosen for their loyalty to avoid defections.

More than 30,000 North Koreans have fled the hermit country since it was split 1948. Most attempts to flee are made through China before defectors go to South Korea.

Separately on Monday, South Korean police arrested a 58-year-old American man from Louisiana in a restricted zone apparently trying to reach North Korea.

Yonhap reported the American man wanted to cross to the North for “political purposes.”

He is being investigated by the army, intelligence services and police.

cw/rt (AFP, AP, dpa)

Courtesy: DW

Chinese, US ‘unequivocal’ on rejecting nuke-armed North Korea: Tillerson

Good Morning America

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said talks here between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping forged an “unequivocal” agreement between both countries that North Korea cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

“There is no disagreement on North Korea. We were pretty pleased by the fact that the Chinese have been really clear and unequivocal that they will not accept a North Korea with nuclear weapons,” Tillerson told ABC News’ Cecilia Vega in a briefing at the conclusion of the summit.

“Our efforts are complementary -– not in any way contradictory -– to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table about how they will denuclearize their country,” he said.

While the comments highlighted a key area of common ground, officials gave no indication of new steps China would take to help resolve the standoff with North Korea or a clear timeline for other possible moves in the future.

Tillerson acknowledged that Trump and Xi differ in timing, tactics and approach to pressuring the Kim Jong Un regime. He said China believes the sanctions currently in place need time to have maximum effect.

“We’ve had some tremendous discussions on that today and I think things will happen, I believe things will happen,” Trump said during the meeting with Xi.

White House aides have said Trump believes Xi uniquely holds the key to resolving the crisis in North Korea. China is the Kim regime’s largest financial benefactor and has multiple points of leverage — from cross-border trade, to bank accounts and oil exports.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Beijing. (The Associated Press)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Beijing. (The Associated Press)

Tillerson suggested Trump showered Xi with flattery in their meetings to try to drive home that point.

“President Trump has been very clear with President Xi -– that you are a very powerful neighbor of theirs, you account for 90-plus percent of their economic activity, you’re a very strong man and you can solve this for me,” Tillerson said.

At a joint press conference by Trump and Xi, both men expressed optimism for a solution short of war.

“As long as we stand together, with others if necessary, against those who threaten our civilization that threat will never happen. It doesn’t even have a chance,” Trump said.

Courtesy: abc

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