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North Korea Preparing For Another Nuclear Test – Report |The Republican News

John Haltiwanger
There's a significant amount of tunneling activity at North Korea's nuclear testing site, commercial satellite images show, which suggests it's prepping the area for a future nuclear test.: 01_11_North_Korea_nuclear_test             © Getty Images 01_11_North_Korea_nuclear_test

 

There’s a significant amount of tunneling activity at North Korea’s nuclear testing site, commercial satellite images show, suggesting the area is being prepped for a future nuclear test, according to a report from 38 North, a website dedicated to analyzing the rogue state.

Tunnel excavation has been ramped up at the West Portal at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, while the North Portal remains dormant, the images show.

“Throughout December 2017, mining carts and personnel were consistently present around the West Portal and there was significant expansion of the spoil pile,” 38 North’s report, released Thursday, stated. “On December 28, there were also a large number of personnel (~100 to 200) observed in seven different formations whose purpose is unknown in the Southern Support Area.”

The images can be viewed via the tweet below.

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test—its most powerful to date—at the site in early September. Shortly thereafter, in October, it was reported that Chinese geologists had warned North Korea the mountainous test site was on the verge of catastrophe.

A senior Chinese nuclear scientist told the reclusive nation another test could blow off the top of the mountain and cause a massive collapse. Not long after this was reported, there was a collapse at the site, which reportedly resulted in the deaths of around 200 people.

A little less than two months after its latest nuclear test, North Korea threatened to conduct a seventh test over the Pacific Ocean, which could pose a huge risk to shipping and aircraft.

At the moment, there are tenuous hopes for relative peace on the Korean Peninsula, after the North and South re-established dialogue. As a result, it was decided earlier this week that North Korea would participate in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February.

This decision was aided, in part, by a decision from the U.S. and South Korea to put off any large-scale military exercises until after the games. But this has not stopped U.S. military activity in the region entirely, as three B-2 stealth bombers were deployed this week to the U.S. territory of Guam, which has been threatened repeatedly by North Korea. (Newsweek)

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Russia ‘Simulated Full-scale War’ Against NATO, Says Military Commander |RN

Samuel Osborne
a helicopter flying in the air: Russian war games held last September "simulated a large-scale military attack against Nato," the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces has claimed.          © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

 

Russian war games held last September “simulated a large-scale military attack against Nato,” the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces has… Russian war games held last September “simulated a large-scale military attack against Nato,” the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces has claimed.

Riho Terras confirmed Nato’s fears the Zapad (or “West) exercises were used to simulate a conflict with the US-led alliance and show off Russia’s ability to mass large numbers of troops at extremely short notice in the event of a conflict.

The drills, which were held in Belarus, the Baltic Sea, western Russia and its Kaliningrad outpost between 14 and 20 September last year, depicted a fictional scenario concerned with attacks by militants, according to Russia’s defence ministry.

But in an interview with Germany’s top-selling newspaper, Bild, Mr Terras said: “Let me be clear: With the exercise Zapad 2017 Russia simulated a large-scale military attack against Nato.

“It was not targeted towards the Baltic states only as it was a theatre-wide series of exercises spanning from high North to the Black Sea.”

He added: “The scale and extent of the entire exercise was far greater than officially stated.”

Instead of being a “purely defensive” exercise as Russia claimed, Zapad was used to simulate a “full-scale conventional war against Nato in Europe,” the newspaper previously reported, citing two analysts from a western intelligence service.

They claimed the drills involved far more troops than the 12,700 Russia’s defence ministry claimed took part. Another 12,000 Russian soldiers took part in exercises in regions “near the Estonian borders” and more than 10,000 in the area near the north of Finland and Norway, the sources said.

Under the Vienna document, a Cold War-era treaty which sets out rules for military exercises, war games numbering more than 13,000 troops should be open to observers who can fly over the drills and talk to soldiers. Nato sent one expert to a visitor day in Russia and two to a visitor day in Belarus.

The intelligence analysts also told the paper the drill rehearsed a “shock campaign” against Nato countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, but also Poland and the non-Nato states of Sweden and Finland.

It practised “neutralising or taking under control air fields and harbours” in the Baltic states as well as simulating bombings of “critical infrastructure” such as “air fields, harbours, energy supplies” in western Europe.

“The number of troops participating in the exercises significantly exceeded the number announced before the exercise, the scenario was a different one and the geographical scope was larger than previously announced,” Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the time.  (The Independent)

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Defected North Korean Nuclear Scientist Commits Suicide After Being Forced to Return

Juliana Rose Pignataro
a group of people standing in a field posing for the camera                            © Provided by IBT US 

A North Korean nuclear scientist who defected to China committed suicide after being forced to return back, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday. The defector was a researcher at the physics center in the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyang, the report said.

The scientist was identified as Hyun Cheoi Huh, though RFA clarified it was unclear whether that was his real name. The man reportedly took a leave of absence from his job at the academy before defecting.

He was sent back to North Korea Nov. 17, RFA reported.

“He killed himself only a few hours after he was placed in solitary confinement at the State Security Department in Sinuiju city,” a source told RFA, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “He died before he could be questioned about the reasons for his escape, and what his route had been.”

The man took poison inside the security cell where he was set to be questioned. It remained unclear how he smuggled the poison inside.

The man was detained in China and sent back to North Korea. It appeared he had kept his occupation a secret when he was detained, RFA reported, though it was unclear why.

“If the Chinese government had known who he was, they would have wanted to learn what he knew and would never have sent him back,” the source said.  (International Business Insider)

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North Korea ‘Executes Official In Charge Of Nuclear Test Site’ |The Republican News

Samuel Osborne
a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera           © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly executed the official responsible for the country’s nuclear test site.Park In-young was the chief of Bureau 131, a division of the ruling Workers Party of Korea’s Central Committee tasked with supervising military facilities such as the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility and the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.The official was dismissed and then executed as part of a recent purge, an unnamed North Korean defector told Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

Two potential reasons were given for the reported execution.

Mr Park could have been blamed for North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test being delayed, the defector said. The test was originally planned to take place in Spring, but was pushed back to 3 September due to delays in tunnel construction.

Experts have warned a series of tremors and landslides near the nuclear test facility probably mean the country’s latest nuclear blast has destabilised the region, and the Punggye-ri nuclear site may not be in use much longer.

Chinese scientists have warned that if the whole mountain collapsed, radiation could escape and drift across the region.

It is also possible Mr Park was held responsible for the reported collapse of a tunnel in October, which killed around 200 people, though North Korea has denied the reports. (The Independent)

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North Korea ‘Accidentally Reveals First Atomic Bomb In The Background Of State TV Footage’

Chris kitching
a group of people in a room                    © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc
North Korea appears to have inadvertently revealed a never-before-seen photo of one of its first atomic bombs while broadcasting footage of a conference.The snap – previously unseen in the West – shows former leader Kim Jong-il inspecting a possible weapon of mass destruction.

The photo was hanging on a wall in the background as state TV showed footage from an arms and munitions industry conference attended by current dictator Kim Jong-un.

a group of people standing in front of a building                            © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

It shows the new leader’s father, who died in 2011, looking at a large globe-like object with other officials from the regime.

North Korea observers believe the object could be an atomic bomb, pointing to similarities between that image and recent snaps showing Kim Jong-un inspecting what Pyongyang claimed was a hydrogen bomb, one of which was hanging nearby.

The photo of Kim Jong-il and the round object was first spotted by a China-based Twitter user, the BBC reported.

a man wearing a suit and tie                      © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

The user, xutianran, wrote: “Is this an A-bomb or sth [something]?”

That sparked an effort to try to verify the object, with speculation that it could have been taken in 2006 or 2009 when Kim Jong-il oversaw nuclear tests.

But it is still possible that the globe is a mock device given its small size, the report added.

a group of people standing next to a man in a military uniform: Credits: AFP                      © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: AFP

The hermit state has inadvertently given away some of its secrets in past state news reports.

In August, new ballistic missile types were seen on wall charts as Kim Jong-un visited a defence facility.

North Korea has carried out a series of intercontinental ballistic missile tests this year, in addition to its sixth nuclear test ever, despite UN sanctions.

Kim Jong-un standing in front of a snow covered mountain: Credits: AFP                 © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: AFP

Pyongyang is working to develop a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the US mainland, and the dictator recently told of his plans to include atomic bombs in its arsenal of catastrophic weapons.

He vowed to make North Korea the world’s “strongest nuclear power” as he spoke to military scientists this week.

The despot said: “We will develop new strategic weapon systems, including atomic bombs, hydrogen and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

a group of people standing in the grass: Credits: REUTERS            © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS

“Our defense industry, self-defense power has been enormously strengthened at an extraordinary speed, and our republic will become the world’s strongest nuclear power and a military power. We will fight for it.”   (Mirror)

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Destruction Of Mankind Via Nuclear Weapon ‘One Tantrum Away’, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Warns

Ben Doherty

 The destruction of humankind is one “impulsive tantrum away”, the Australian-founded winner of the Nobel peace prize, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, warned overnight on Sunday as the United States and North Korea exchange threats over Pyongyang’s nuclear testing regime.
“Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?” the Ican head, Beatrice Fihn, said in Oslo after receiving the peace prize on behalf of the anti-nuclear group.“The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away,” Fihn said. “[Nuclear weapons] are a madman’s gun held permanently to our temple.”

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have escalated as Pyongyang has ramped up its missile and nuclear tests, and the accompanying political rhetoric has grown increasingly bombastic: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un taunted Donald Trump as a “dotard”, while the US president dubbed his rival “Little Rocket Man” and a “sick puppy”.

Leader of the Nobel committee Berit Reiss-Andersen, left, presents the award to Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow and Beatrice Fihn, leader of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in Oslo.© AP Leader of the Nobel committee Berit Reiss-Andersen, left, presents the award to Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow and Beatrice Fihn, leader of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in Oslo.

 

Ican led the campaign for a global treaty banning nuclear weapons that resulted in a UN treaty being adopted in July this year, under which states committed to never “develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons”.

One hundred and twenty-three countries voted for the treaty at the UN general assembly in July. So far, 56 countries have signed up to it and three have ratified it. The ban treaty will come into force when 50 countries have signed and ratified it.

Ican was established in Melbourne in 2007. Its founding chair, Dr Tilman Ruff, associate professor at the Nossal institute for global health at the University of Melbourne, said in Oslo the Nobel was recognition for the millions of campaigners who had worked over decades for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

“That particularly includes the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the hibakusha – and victims of nuclear test explosions, including in Australia and the Pacific, whose painful personal testimonies have played such a crucial role.”

Australia has not supported nor signed the treaty.

But Ruff – who was also a member of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War when that organisation won the peace prize in 1985 for its work highlighting the catastrophic health consequences of atomic war – urged Australia to follow the lead of New Zealand, Indonesia and other countries in the Asia-Pacific and sign and ratify the accord.

“Nuclear weapons pose an existential threat in any hands and the risks of nuclear war are as high now as they have ever been.

“Yet the current Australian government has done all it can to get in the way of efforts to end this existential threat to humanity.”

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is seen as the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15's test was successfully launched.© REUTERS/KCNA North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is seen as the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15’s test was successfully launched. The

 

Australian government has maintained a longstanding opposition to a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

As a key plank of its foreign policy, Australia has consistently maintained that, as long as nuclear weapons exist, it must rely on the protection of the extended deterrent effect of the US’s nuclear arsenal, the second largest in the world.

Australia was a key agitator in preliminary meetings in trying to get the resolution establishing treaty negotiations defeated.

But the push for a treaty won massive global support, with 123 nations voting in favour, 38 opposing and 16 abstaining.

Australia joined the nuclear weapons states Russia, the US, Israel, France and the UK to vote against the resolution. China abstained.

The treaty will not offer a practical path to effective disarmament or enhanced security, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman told the Guardian during negotiations.

“Australia regards the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of global non-proliferation and disarmament efforts.”

But the nuclear ban treaty has widespread community – and growing political – support.

A September poll by ReachTel found 73% of Australians support the ban on nuclear weapons and believe nuclear weapons pose a threat to global security.

Seventy-three parliamentarians – including 60 members of the Labor party, eight Greens, one Liberal and one National – have signed Ican’s global parliamentary pledge, which commits parliamentarians “to work for the signature and ratification of this landmark treaty by our respective countries”.

“We consider the abolition of nuclear weapons to be a global public good of the highest order and an essential step to promote the security and well-being of all peoples,” the pledge says.

The nuclear ban treaty is supported by the majority of the nations on earth but it has no backing from the nine known nuclear states – the US, China, France, Britain, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – which include the veto-wielding permanent five members of the security council.

Critics argue that a treaty cannot succeed without the participation of the states that possess nuclear weapons.

But proponents say a nuclear weapons ban will create moral suasion – in the vein of the cluster weapons ban and landmine conventions – for nuclear weapons states to disarm and establish an international norm prohibiting the development, possession and use of nuclear weapons.

Non-nuclear states have expressed increasing frustration with the sclerotic movement towards disarmament.

With nuclear weapons states modernising and in some cases increasing their arsenals, instead of discarding them, more states are becoming disenchanted with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and lending their support for an outright ban.  (The Guardian)

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Nuclear Power Countries And How Many Nukes Each Has |The Republican News

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