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North Korea

Since King Jong Un was named supremem leader of North Korea after his father’s death on Dec. 28, 2011, Jong Un has stepped up his rhetoric surrounding longstanding animosities with South Korea and the United States.

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 (CNN) — After weeks of hurling threats at the United States and its allies, North Korea announced Tuesday it will restart a nuclear reactor it had shut more than five years ago.

The declaration demonstrates Kim Jong Un’s commitment to the country’s nuclear weapons program that the international community has tried without success to persuade it to abandon.

The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the reclusive state’s atomic energy department intends to “readjust and restart all the nuclear facilities” at its main nuclear complex, in Yongbyon.

N. Korea holds party plenary meeting

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang. South Korea’s president told its military to respond powerfully to North Korean provocations, amid heightened tensions on the peninsula. (Photo: KCNA)

Those facilities include a uranium enrichment facility and a reactor that was “mothballed and disabled” under an agreement reached in October 2007 during talks among North Korea, the United States and four other nations, KCNA said.

The announcement was followed by a plea for calm from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is himself South Korean. He said he was “deeply troubled.”

North Korean defectors return rhetorical fire

“The current crisis has already gone too far,” he said in a statement from Andorra. “Nuclear threats are not a game. Aggressive rhetoric and military posturing only result in counter-actions, and fuel fear and instability.

For the complete CNN story, go here.

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) — North Korea said Tuesday that it plans to restart all the facilities at its Yongbyon nuclear complex, including a uranium enrichment plant and a reactor that was shut down in 2007.

The announcement follows a new strategic line set out at a recent meeting of a key committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Sunday, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Tuesday.

The reactor at Yongbyon was “mothballed and disabled” under an agreement reached during talks between North Korea, the United States and four other nations in October 2007, KCNA said.

N. Korea holds party plenary meeting

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang. South Korea’s president told its military to respond powerfully to North Korean provocations, amid heightened tensions on the peninsula. (Photo: KCNA)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy is moving a sea-based radar platform closer to the North Korean coast in order to monitor that country’s military moves, including possible new missile launches, a Defense Department official said Monday.

The decision to dispatch the oil rig-like SBX-1 is the first of what may be other Navy deployments, CNN has learned. It follows weeks of belligerent rhetoric from North Korea since a February nuclear bomb test, including the renunciation of the 60-year-old armistice that ended the Korean War and threats to use nuclear weapons.

northkoreanThe United States and South Korea have gone ahead with joint military exercises despite the threats, and South Korea warned Monday that any provocative moves from North Korea would trigger a strong response “without any political considerations.” The United States has bolstered the exercises with shows of force that include overflights by nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers, massive Cold War-era B-52s and F-22 Raptor stealth fighters.

From CNN

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) — North Korea has entered a “state of war” with neighboring South Korea, according to a report Saturday from the state-run Korean Central News Agency that included a threat to “dissolve” the U.S. mainland.

“Any issues regarding North and South will be treated in accordance to the state of war,” North Korea’s government said in a special statement carried by KCNA. “… The condition, which was neither war nor peace, has ended.”

northkoreanNorth Korea and South Korea technically remain at war since their conflict between 1950 and 1953 ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty. On March 11, the North Korean army declared the armistice agreement invalid.

This report represented Pyongyang’s latest salvo aimed at South Korea and its ally the United States. Tensions in the area have been ratcheting up for months, with North Korea remaining defiant and, in some opinions, belligerent in the face of international efforts to halt its nuclear program.

Saturday’s report included a direct threat to the United States, while also asserting Pyongyang “will not limit (itself) to limited warfare but to all-out war and nuclear war.”

“We will first target and dissolve mainland United States, Hawaii and Guam, and United States military based in South Korea. And the (South Korean presidential office) will be burned to the ground,” the KCNA report said.

In a statement later Saturday, South Korea did not treat their neighbor’s latest threat as anything new.

Seoul noted scores of its personnel had entered the Kaesong Industrial complex — a joint economic cooperation zone between the two Koreas situated on the North’s side of the border — on Saturday morning with hundreds more set to join them later in the day, seemingly suggesting they were going about business as usual.

“The announcement made by North Korea is not a new threat, but part of follow-up measures after North Korea’s supreme command’s statement that it will enter the highest military alert” on Tuesday, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in a statement.

A day earlier, same official North Korean news agency reported its leader Kim Jong Un had approved a plan to prepare standby rockets to hit U.S. targets.

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) — North Korea’s leader has approved a plan to prepare rockets to be on standby for firing at U.S. targets, including the U.S. mainland and military bases in the Pacific and in South Korea, state media reported Friday.

In a meeting with military leaders early Friday, Kim Jong Un “said he has judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation,” the state-run KCNA news agency reported.

“If they make a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces, [we] should mercilessly strike the U.S. mainland, their stronghold, their military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea,” KCNA reported.

North-Korea-missile

Courtesy of blog.heritage.org

Kim’s regime has unleashed a torrent of threats in the past few weeks, and U.S. officials have said they’re concerned about the recent rhetoric.

“North Korea is not a paper tiger, so it wouldn’t be smart to dismiss its provocative behavior as pure bluster,” a U.S. official said Wednesday.

But Pentagon spokesman George Little said Thursday that it was important to remain calm and urged North Korea to “dial the temperature down.”

Behind North Korea’s heated words about missile strikes, one analyst said, there might not be much mettle.

“The fact is that despite the bombast, and unless there has been a miraculous turnaround among North Korea’s strategic forces, there is little to no chance that it could successfully land a missile on Guam, Hawaii or anywhere else outside the Korean Peninsula that U.S. forces may be stationed,” James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, wrote in an opinion column published Thursday on CNN.com.

North Korea’s latest threat Friday morning came after the United States said Thursday that it flew stealth bombers over South Korea in annual military exercises.

The mission by the B-2 Spirit bombers, which can carry conventional and nuclear weapons, “demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will,” a statement from U.S. Forces Korea said.

The North Korean state news agency described the mission as “an ultimatum that they (the United States) will ignite a nuclear war at any cost on the Korean Peninsula.”

B 52SEOUL – The United States said Thursday it flew stealth bombers over South Korea to participate in annual military exercises amid spiking tensions with North Korea.

The B-2 Spirit bombers flew more than 6,500 miles from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to South Korea, dropping inert munitions there as part of the exercises, before returning to the U.S. mainland, the U.S Forces in Korea said in a statement.

The mission by the planes, which can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, “demonstrates the United States’ ability to conduct long range, precision strikes quickly and at will,” the statement said.

The U.S. military’s announcement earlier this month that it was flying B-52 bombers over South Korea to participate in the routine exercises prompted an angry reaction from the regime of Kim Jong Un, which has unleashed a torrent of threats in the past few weeks.

There was no immediate reaction to the U.S. statement Thursday from the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.

“The United States is steadfast in its alliance commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, to deterring aggression, and to ensuring peace and stability in the region,” the statement said, using South Korea’s official name. “The B-2 bomber is an important element of America’s enduring and robust extended deterrence capability in the Asia-Pacific region.”

 

North-Korea-missile

Courtesy of blog.heritage.org

HONG KONG – The United States’ plans to beef up its missile defenses against North Korea are likely to inflame tensions that are running high over Pyongyang’s nuclear program, China said Monday.

“Bolstering missile defenses will only intensify antagonism, and it doesn’t help to solve the issue,” Hong Lei, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular news briefing in Beijing.

The United States will deploy additional ground-based missile interceptors on the West Coast as part of efforts to enhance the nation’s ability to defend itself from attack by North Korea, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday.

The U.S. announcement came after North Korea recently threatened a pre-emptive nuclear attack on South Korea and the United States in response to stepped-up U.N. Security Council sanctions over its latest nuclear test last month.

The threat from the regime of young leader Kim Jong Un was part of a recent barrage of vitriolic statements, which included a vow to nullify the armistice agreement that stopped the Korean War in 1953.

Military and White House officials have said current U.S. missile defenses are adequate for the present level of threat, and President Barack Obama said in an interview with ABC News last week that he didn’t think North Korea could carry out a missile attack on the United States.

For more on this CNN story, click here.

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans Friday to add 14 interceptors to a missile defense site in Alaska by 2017 in an unusual move to beef up U.S. defenses after recent threats by North Korea’s new leadership to carry out a nuclear strike.

The 14 ground-based interceptors would be added to 26 already in place at Fort Greeley in Alaska as defensive measures against incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles. Another four interceptors are in place at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, Calif.

North-Korea-missile

Courtesy of blog.heritage.org

Boosting the U.S. defensive posture is aimed both at reassuring America and its allies in northeast Asia and warning Pyongyang that America is not letting down its defenses despite recent cuts to the Pentagon budget. Warships in the north Pacific also would provide potential cover in the event of an attack.

U.S. intelligence officials say North Korea has not developed or built long-range ballistic missiles capable of striking the continental United States, although parts of Alaska may be vulnerable.

In recent months, however, Pyongyang has tested an underground nuclear device, launched a small satellite into orbit for the first time, and displayed what U.S. intelligence officials said appeared to be a road-mobile ballistic missile.

North Korea has stepped up its bellicose rhetoric in recent weeks, including a threat to make Seoul a “sea of fire” and to carry out preemptive nuclear attacks on Washington. It has demanded that the Pentagon and South Korea cease joint military exercises that are now underway, claiming they are masking a planned invasion.

“North Korea’s shrill public pronouncements underscore the need for the U.S. to take prudent steps to deter any future North Korean ICBM threats,” Undersecretary of Defense James Miller said in a speech Tuesday, referring to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

,to beef up U.S. anti-missile defenses along the West Coast in a signal to North Korea.

The North Koreans do not have missiles capable of hitting the United States, according to U.S. intelligence. But the North Korean government has recently ratcheted up its rhetoric about striking U.S. targets.

The plan for the U.S. to add to its existing missile defenses in Alaska and California appears to be a show of resolve to counter that rhetoric. The U.S. has 26 anti-missile interceptors on the West Coast, mostly in Alaska, with some at Vandenberg Air Force Base on the Central California coast. The plan is to add additional missiles to that stock.

– By David S. Cloud/Los Angeles Times

kim jong un

Courtesy of blog.foreignpolicy.com

(CNN) — Saber rattling rose to new levels Monday on the Korean Peninsula as Pyongyang officials “scrapped” the armistice credited for nearly 60 years of uneasy peace and then failed to answer a hotline phone.

“The Korean Armistice Agreement is to be scrapped completely just from today,” said a spokesman for the North Korean military — the Korean People’s Army Supreme Command — according to Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party.

North Korea cited the U.N. Security Council’s unanimous passage Thursday of tougher sanctions against Pyongyang for carrying out missile and nuclear tests.

For the complete CNN story, go here.

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