North Korea confirms launch of three ballistic missiles and first case of Covid-19

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • North Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles amid 1st virus outbreak
  • North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles toward the sea on Thursday, South Korea’s military said, in the latest of a series of weapons demonstrations this year that came just hours after it confirmed its first case of the coronavirus since the pandemic began.
  • South Korea’s military has boosted its readiness and surveillance while maintaining close coordination with the United States.
  • Earlier Thursday, North Korean state media confirmed the country’s first COVID-19 infections as Kim ordered nationwide lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus. Kim also ordered officials to bolster the country’s defense posture to avoid any security vacuum.

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Arms race in full swing as Russia launched largest ballistic missile in history

Revelations 6:3-4 “ when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Russia’s ‘Satan 2’ and the new missile race
  • On Friday, Russia launched the largest ballistic missile in history. Weighing in at 200 tons, Moscow says the Sarmat rocket – dubbed “Satan 2” by Western defense analysts – is the first with sufficient range to hit any location on earth from a single launch point.
  • Russian military officials claim their new Zircon anti-ship missile is capable of speeds in excess of 4,000 miles per hour, roughly six times the speed of sound
  • In the last two years, China has showcased its own trove of medium-range missiles, one dubbed the “carrier-killer” for its intended ability to take out the United States’ largest warships.
  • Russia and China see missile technology as key to pushing back the United States and its allies. China is believed to be installing such systems on the network of artificial islands it is constructing to dominate the South China Sea.
  • This escalation comes at a dangerous time. Around the world, cyberattacks and other new forms of confrontation are redefining what it even means to be at war. Combined with the return of this very Cold War-style missile contest, the world may be heading towards a very disconcerting balance of terror

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Russian MP urges a physical demonstration on the U.S.

Revelations 6:3-4 “ when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • Twisted Russian MP urges Putin to fire nuclear missile at US to ‘send a message’
  • Russian Duma member Yevgeny Alexeyevich Fyodorov has claimed America would not retaliate if Russia fired a ballistic missile at them, with casualties of roughly 10,000 predicted by the politician
  • Fyodorov, in an interview translated by MEMRI TV, said: “Until there is a physical demonstration of (Moscow’s) determination, America will perceive the positions of Russia and (Putin) as a bluff.
  • “So they need a demonstration. The most convincing demonstration would be the physical destruction of America’s Defense Department facilities. I’m talking about facilities, which international law grants us the right to destroy.”
  • “If we create for US territory – say, a risk of 10,000 casualties, from a strike of even a weak missile, then the US will perceive this as a threat of 10 million casualties. This is the American psychology, how they think about their country.”
  • Fyodorov, who was interviewed in January of this year, added that because of the perceived psychology, “there will be no retaliation strike”.

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Report Says N.K. Recently Tested Reconnaissance Satellite

Matthew 24:6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.”

Important Takeaways:

  • North Korea says it conducted test for developing reconnaissance satellite
  • KCNA’s report did not elaborate on what type of rocket had been used in the test, but authorities in South Korea and Seoul said it appeared to be a ballistic missile fired from an area near Pyongyang where its international airport is located.
  • “This wasn’t a space launch. Instead, it seems (North Korea) tested the camera on a missile fired on a suborbital trajectory
  • North Korea’s push to develop such technology comes as South Korea plans to test a solid-fuel space projectile in March as part of a project to deploy its own military surveillance satellites to monitor the North, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

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As North Korea launches ballistic missile FAA shuts down all flights on west coast for seven minutes

Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Important Takeaways:

  • FAA orders ‘full ground stop’ at ALL West Coast airports for seven minutes after North Korea fired suspected ballistic missile into Sea of Japan
  • The Federal Aviation Administration stopped every plane from taking off or landing at all West Coast airports for seven minutes after North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea off Japan.
  • No details are available of how far the projectile flew and no details have been made public of the launch.
  • North Korea previously gloated that it successfully launched a hypersonic missile last week.
  • North Korea has rejected offers to meet with the Biden administration in its first year, citing sanctions and joint military drills by United States and South Korean forces

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North Korea fired ballistic missile into sea

Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Important Takeaways:

  • North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile, in 1st Test in 2 Months
  • The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the ballistic missile launch “highlights the destabilizing impact of (North Korea’s) illicit weapons program” but didn’t pose an immediate threat to U.S. territory or its allies.
  • South Korea’s military said a suspected ballistic missile fired from North Korea’s mountainous northern Jagang province flew toward its eastern waters.
  • Defense Minister Suh Wook said the launch is seen as part of North Korea’s military buildup
  • During Kim’s rule, North Korea has conducted 62 rounds of ballistic missile tests, compared with nine rounds during his grandfather and state founder Kim Il Sung’s 46-year rule
  • Four of North Korea’s six nuclear tests and its three intercontinental ballistic missile launches all occurred under Kim Jong Un’s rule.

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North Korea fires ballistic missile, possibly from submarine, days before talks

By Joyce Lee and Chang-Ran Kim

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – North Korea fired what may have been a submarine-launched ballistic missile from off its east coast on Wednesday, a day after it announced the resumption of talks with the United States on ending its nuclear program.

If confirmed, it would be the most provocative test by North Korea since it started the talks with the United States in 2018. Analysts said it was likely a reminder by Pyongyang of the weapons capability it had been aggressively developing as it gears up for the new round of talks.

A State Department spokeswoman called on Pyongyang to “refrain from provocations” and remain committed to the nuclear negotiations.

South Korea’s military said it had detected the launch of one missile that flew 450 km (280 miles) and reached an altitude of 910 km (565 miles). It was likely a Pukguksong-class weapon, as the North’s earlier submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) under development were known.

South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo told a parliamentary committee that the Pukguksong, or Pole Star in Korean, has a range of about 1,300 km (910 miles) and that the missile’s trajectory may have been raised to reduce the distance it traveled.

CNN, citing a U.S. official, said that the missile was launched from an underwater platform, which North Korea has previously done at the early stage of the SLBM program in 2015.

South Korea expressed concern and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launch, saying it was a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

North Korea rejects U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology, saying they are an infringement of its right to self-defense.

Talks aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have been stalled since a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in February ended without a deal.

The two leaders then met at the Demilitarized Zone border between the two Koreas in June and pledged to reopen working-level talks within weeks.

SEA LAUNCH

South Korea’s military said the missile was launched eastward from the sea northeast of Wonsan, the site of one of North Korea’s military bases on the east coast.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said it appeared that one missile was launched and had split in two and then fallen into the sea. The Japanese government had said earlier it appeared North Korea had launched two missiles, one of which fell inside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

South Korea’s Jeong, asked about Japan’s earlier assessment of two missiles, said the missile might have had at least two stages that separated in flight.

North Korea had been developing SLBM technology before it suspended long-range missile and nuclear tests and began talks with the United States that led to the first summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore in June 2018.

State news agency KCNA released photos and a report of leader Kim Jong Un in July inspecting a large, newly built submarine, seen as a potential signal that Pyongyang was continuing with its development of an SLBM program.

The latest missile launch was the ninth since Trump and Kim met in June, but the others have been of short-range land-based missiles.

David Wright, missile expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, put the range of the missile tested on Wednesday at about 1,900 km (1,200 miles) at standard trajectory.

Hours before Wednesday’s launch, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement the working-level talks with the United States would be held on Saturday – a development that could potentially break what had been months of stalemate.

North Korea’s previous missile launch was on Sept. 10, also hours after Choe had expressed Pyongyang’s willingness for talks with the United States.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said: “North Korea tends to raise the stakes before negotiations in an effort to win unearned concessions.”

Trump has played down North Korea’s recent series of short-range launches, saying in September the United States and North Korea “didn’t have an agreement on short-range missiles” and that many countries test such weapons.

Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the timing of the latest launch enhances leverage for the North and also signals Pyongyang is in for the long haul in its talks with Washington.

“The risk is that testing such a system causes the U.S. to walk away before this weekend, but Kim probably bet that the U.S. is so invested in the talks taking place and making progress … that the U.S. won’t walk away.”

(Reporting by Joyce Lee, Josh Smith and Chang-Ran Kim; Additional reporting by Linda Sieg, Kiyoshi Takenaka, Chris Gallagher and David Dolan in Tokyo, and Eric Beech in Washington; Writing by Jack Kim; Editing by Paul Tait and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

White House: Talks with North Korea must lead to ending nuclear program

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Closing ceremony - Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 25, 2018 - Ivanka Trump (L to R), U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter and senior White House adviser, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Yong Chol of the North Korea delegation attend the closing ceremony. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

By Yuna Park and Roberta Rampton

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said any talks with North Korea must lead to an end to its nuclear program after senior officials from Pyongyang visiting South Korea said on Sunday their government was open to talks with the United States.

The North Korean delegation, in Pyeongchang for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, met at an undisclosed location with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and expressed a willingness to meet with the United States, Moon’s office said in a statement.

The Pyongyang delegation said developments in relations between the two Koreas and between North Korea and the United States should go hand in hand, according to the statement.

The Olympics gave a boost to recent engagement between the two Koreas after more than a year of sharply rising tensions over the North’s missile program and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

The United States announced on Friday it was imposing its largest package of sanctions aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

On Sunday, North Korean state media accused the United States of provoking confrontation on the Korean peninsula with the sanctions.

The White House said its sanctions would continue.

“We will see if Pyongyang’s message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization,” the White House said in a statement.

“In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are a dead end,” it said.

NO INTERACTION WITH IVANKA TRUMP

Moon, the North Korean delegation, and Ivanka Trump, U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter, were among dignitaries who attended the Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday.

Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser, did not interact with the North Korean delegation, a senior U.S. administration official said. She met Moon on Friday as part of a weekend trip leading the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremony.

North Korea sent former military intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol, an official accused of being behind a deadly 2010 attack on a South Korean warship, to lead its delegation.

The decision enraged the families of 46 sailors killed in the torpedo attack and threatened the mood of rapprochement that Seoul sought to create at what it called the “Peace Games.”

North Korea has denied its involvement in the sinking.

Moon met Kim in Pyeongchang, where the Olympics were held, before the closing ceremony, the South Korean government said.

Earlier, about 100 conservative South Korean lawmakers and activists staged a sit-in near the border with North Korea, to protest Kim’s arrival and facing off against about 2,500 South Korean police.

The North’s delegation took a different route, prompting the opposition Korea Liberty Party to accuse Moon’s administration of “abuse of power and an act of treason” by rerouting the motorcade to shield it from the protest.

TRUMP WARNING

The North sent Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, to the opening ceremony.

She was the center of a frenzy of attention, especially when she appeared at the opening ceremony and was only a few feet from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. They did not speak.

Kim Yo Jong and the North’s nominal head of state were the most senior North Korean officials to visit the South in more than a decade. The North Korean leader later said he wanted to create a “warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue.”

The U.S. president, in announcing the new sanctions on Friday, warned of a “phase two” that could be “very, very unfortunate for the world” if the sanctions did not work.

North Korea denounced the sanctions in a statement carried on its state media and said a blockade by the United States would be considered an act of war.

China also reacted angrily, saying on Saturday the unilateral targeting of Chinese firms and people risked harming cooperation on North Korea.

Moon won election last year promising to try to improve relations with the North.

(Reporting by Yuna Park and Christine Kim in Seoul; additional reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Roberta Rampton in Washington; Writing by Josh Smith; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Jeffrey Benkoe)

U.S. warns North Korean leadership will be ‘utterly destroyed’ in case of war

U.S. warns North Korean leadership will be 'utterly destroyed' in case of war

By Josh Smith and Michelle Nichols

SEOUL/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States warned North Korea’s leadership it would be “utterly destroyed” if war were to break out after Pyongyang test fired its most advanced missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The Trump administration has repeatedly said all options are on the table in dealing with North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear weapons programmes, including military ones, but that it still prefers a diplomatic option.

Speaking at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States had never sought war with North Korea.

“If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday,” she said. “…and if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”

Haley said the United States has asked China to cut off oil supply to North Korea, a drastic step that Beijing – the North’s neighbour and sole major trading partner – has so far refrained from doing. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping talked on the phone earlier on Wednesday.

“Just spoke to President Xi Jinping of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Previous U.S. administrations have failed to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and a sophisticated missile programme. Trump, who has previously said the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies from the nuclear threat, has also struggled to contain Pyongyang since he came to office in January.

Urging China to use its leverage and promising more sanctions against North Korea are two strategies that have borne little fruit so far.

In a speech in Missouri about taxes, Trump, who has traded insults with the North in the past, referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a derisive nickname.

“Little Rocket Man. He is a sick puppy,” Trump said.

For a graphic on North Korea’s missile program, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2twm7W3

A man looks at a street monitor showing a news report about North Korea’s missile launch, in Tokyo, Japan, November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

“CLOCK TICKING”

North Korea, which conducted its sixth and largest nuclear bomb test in September, has tested dozens of ballistic missiles under Kim’s leadership.

Pyongyang has said its weapons programmes are a necessary defence against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, denies any such intention.

North Korean state media said on Wednesday the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was launched from a newly developed vehicle in a “breakthrough” and that the warhead could withstand the pressure of re-entering the atmosphere.

Kim personally guided the missile test and said the new launcher was “impeccable”. Pyongyang claimed it had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force”.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called on North Korea to stop its weapons tests and for the United States and South Korea not to hold military drills in December as it would “inflame an already explosive situation”.

The official China Daily newspaper said in an editorial that the latest launch may have been prompted by the Trump administration’s decision to label North Korea a sponsor of state terrorism.

Beijing wants the two “belligerents” to calm down and is vexed that a golden opportunity to encourage Pyongyang into talks was “casually wasted” by the Trump administration, the paper said.

“The clock is ticking down to one of two choices: learning to live with the DPRK having nuclear weapons or triggering a tripwire to the worst-case scenario,” it added.

North Korea said the new missile soared to an altitude of about 4,475 km (2,780 miles) – more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station – and flew 950 km (590 miles) during its 53-minute flight.

It flew higher and longer than any North Korean missile before, landing in the sea near Japan.

Photos released by North Korean state media appeared to show a missile being positioned on the launch site by a mobile vehicle, designed to allow the missile to be fired from a wider number of areas to prevent it being intercepted before launch.

Kim is shown laughing and smiling with officials both next to the missile as it is readied, and in a control booth. The launch itself shows the missile lifting off amid smoke and fire, with Kim watching from a field in the distance.

U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded from satellite and other data that the test missile was fired from a fixed position, not a mobile launcher, three U.S. officials said.

One official said the test appears to demonstrate a more powerful North Korean solid-fuel propulsion system, especially in its second stage rocket.

The photos also revealed a larger diameter missile, which could allow it to carry a larger warhead and use a more powerful engine, said David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a U.S.-based nonprofit science advocacy group.

Three U.S. intelligence analysts said they were trying to assess whether North Korea’s comments meant Kim might now be open to a longer halt in testing in order to reopen negotiations that might help prevent, or at least defer, the imposition of additional sanctions.

The officials also noted, however, that North Korea has not proved it has an accurate guidance system for an ICBM or a re-entry vehicle capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and surviving a return from space through Earth’s atmosphere, meaning further tests would be needed.

An international meeting in Canada in January is designed to produce “better ideas” to ease tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests, Canadian officials said on Wednesday, although North Korea itself will not be invited.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday the United States has “a long list of additional potential sanctions, some of which involve potential financial institutions, and the Treasury Department will be announcing those when they’re ready to roll those out”.

In just three months, South Korea hosts the Winter Olympics at a resort just 80 km (50 miles) from the heavily fortified border with North Korea.

(For a graphic on North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2f3Y8rQ )

(Interactive graphic: Nuclear North Korea, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2lE5yjF )

(Reporting by Christine Kim and Soyoung Kim in Seoul, Linda Sieg, William Mallard, Timothy Kelly in Tokyo, Mark Hosenball, John Walcott, Steve Holland, Susan Heavey and Tim Ahmann, Makini Brice in Washington, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Michael Martina and Christian Shepherd in Beijing; Writing by Yara Bayoumy, Lincoln Feast and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Alistair Bell, Michael Perry and Nick Macfie)

North Korea fires ballistic missile close to Japan: officials

North Korea fires ballistic missile close to Japan: officials

By Christine Kim and Mark Hosenball

(Reuters) – North Korea fired a ballistic missile that landed close to Japan on Wednesday, the first test by Pyongyang since a missile fired over its neighbor in mid-September, officials said.

North Korea launched the missile a week after President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a U.S list of countries that Washington says support terrorism. The designation allows the United States to impose more sanctions, although some experts said it risked inflaming tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Japan’s government estimated that the missile flew for about 50 minutes and landed in the sea in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Japanese broadcaster NHK said. An Aug. 29 missile fired by North Korea that flew over Japan was airborne for 14 minutes.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday’s missile was fired from Pyongsong, a city in South Pyongan Province, at around 1817 GMT over the sea between South Korea and Japan.

Minutes after the North fired the missile, South Korea’s military conducted a missile-firing test in response, the South Korean military added.

The Pentagon said it had detected a “probable” missile launch from North Korea.

“We detected a probable missile launch from North Korea. We are in the process of assessing the situation and will provide additional details when available,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters.

Leading Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun quoted an unidentified government official as saying the missile did not cross over Japan and it fell into the Sea of Japan or on the Korean peninsula.

The White House said U.S. President Donald Trump was briefed while the missile was still in the air.

South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the missile flew to the east and the South Korean military was analyzing details of the launch with the United States.

U.S. stocks pared gains after reports of the missile launch. The S&P 500 index was up half a percent in midafternoon.

Two authoritative U.S. government sources said earlier that U.S. government experts believed North Korea could conduct a new missile test within days.

After firing missiles at a rate of about two or three a month since April, North Korea paused its missile launches in late September, after it fired a missile that passed over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island on Sept. 15.

The U.S. officials who spoke earlier declined to say what type of missile they thought North Korea might test, but noted that Pyongyang had been working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States and had already tested inter-continental ballistic missiles.

Last week, North Korea denounced Trump’s decision to relist it as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “serious provocation and violent infringement.”

Trump has traded insults and threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and warned in his maiden speech to the United Nations in September that the United States would have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

Washington has said repeatedly that all options are on the table in dealing with North Korea, including military ones, but that it prefers a peaceful solution by Pyongyang agreeing to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

To this end, Trump has pursued a policy of encouraging countries around the world, including North Korea’s main ally and neighbor, China, to step up sanctions on Pyongyang to persuade it to give up its weapons programs.

North Korea has given no indication it is willing to re-enter dialogue on those terms.

North Korea defends its weapons programs as a necessary defense against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention.

(Reporting by Christine Kim in Seoul, Linda Sieg and William Mallard in Tokyo, Mark Hosenball and Tim Ahmann in Washington; editing by Dan Grebler and Grant McCool)