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Britain ‘Prepares For War With North Korea’ While ‘New Carrier Could Be Rushed Into Service’

By Telegraph Reporters
UK readies new carrier as it 'prepares for war with N Korea'   © Getty UK readies new carrier as it ‘prepares for war with N Korea’

Britain is reportedly preparing for the possibility of war breaking out with North Korea as concerns rise that another provocative missile test could trigger a military response by the US.

North Korea is being closely watched amid fears it could launch another long-range missile test on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the founding of its ruling party.

Bellicose rhetoric from Donald Trump has heightened tensions in the region in recent months, prompting British officials to draw up military plans for a response to a break out of hostilities, it was reported.

Among the plans disclosed by the Daily Mail is the deployment of the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, before it has undergone flight trials.

“We have plenty of ships to send… the Type-45 destroyers, the Type-23 frigates. Britain’s new aircraft carrier could be pressed into service early if things turn south,” a senior Whitehall source told the newspaper

HMS Queen Elizabeth, which arrived at its home in Portsmouth in August after extensive sea trials, is not due to enter service until 2020.

The possible move to deploy it ahead of schedule drew comparisons with the start of the Falklands War.

“In the Falklands, we had to react to an event and HMS Illustrious was accelerated to respond,” a Navy source told the Mail.

“This was a reaction to protect British territory, however. In this case [North Korea], the UK would be part of a united global coalition. We would see what support we could give.”

The US president hinted on Saturday at taking military action against Kim Jong-un’s regime, saying “only one thing will work” in dealing with the country.

The president has previously said the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies from Pyongyang’s nuclear threats.

Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said last week that the UK should increase its military spending in the face of growing threats from states such as North Korea.

Last month, Sir Michael told the BBC that Britain was at risk from Pyongyang’’s long-range nuclear missile programme.

“The US is fully entitled to defend its own territory, to defend its bases and to look after its people, but this involves us, London is closer to North Korea and its missiles than Los Angeles,” he said.       (Telegraph)

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War With North Korea Might Be Bloodier Than Expected |The Republican News

Jonathan Broder
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.           © AP Photo/Wong Maye-E North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
As the U.S. military considers plans for a possible war with North Korea, Pentagon officials and their congressional overseers are facing a stark battlefield reality: If combat broke out between the two countries, American commanders in the Pacific would very quickly exhaust their stockpiles of smart bombs and missiles, possibly within a week, sources tell Newsweek.These sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss such sensitive matters, say U.S. warplanes would then resort to dropping crude gravity bombs on their targets, guaranteeing a longer and bloodier conflict for both sides. Dropping such unguided ordnance would require pilots to approach their targets at lower altitudes, exposing them to enemy surface-to-air missiles.

And after more than a decade flying unchallenged over Afghanistan and Iraq, most American pilots won’t have much experience evading a North Korean anti-aircraft missile, increasing the likelihood they’d get shot down.

Their unguided gravity bombs would be notoriously inaccurate, increasing the probability they’d miss their targets and cause collateral damage. Meanwhile, it could take as long as a year before stocks of smart bombs and missiles could be replenished, prolonging the fighting.

In such a scenario, North Korea could be expected to unleash artillery and missile barrages against Seoul, South Korea’s capital. The city and its suburbs have a population of 25 million.

Seoul lies only 35 miles south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, according to retired Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, a military analyst with Defense Priorities, a think tank in the Washington, D.C., area that focuses on national security issues. According to some estimates, the death toll from such a war could reach 1 million, assuming neither side escalates the conflict and uses nuclear weapons.

Pentagon planners must wrestle with this scenario as President Donald Trump continues to trade threats and personal insults with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Many U.S. officials fear this sparring could lead to an otherwise avoidable war. On Sunday, Trump appeared to undercut Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s latest effort to reach out directly to North Korea to defuse the situation, tweeting that Tillerson was “wasting his time” negotiating with North Korea and again mocking Kim, calling him “Little Rocket Man.”

During a visit to Beijing on Saturday, Tillerson disclosed that the Trump administration was in direct contact with North Korea. “We can talk to them,” he told reporters. “We do talk to them.” Asked if China, a close ally of North Korea, was acting as the intermediary for these communications, Tillerson said, “We have our own channels.”

Later, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert issued a statement saying, “North Korean officials have shown no indication that they are interested in or ready for talks regarding denuclearization.”

In September, after the North tested what it said was a hydrogen bomb and missiles that could reach the U.S., Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, calling Kim “Little Rocket Man” for the first time.

Pyongyang responded by calling Trump a “mentally deranged dotard,” an outdated term for a senile old fool, and threatened to test another hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean, which would spread radioactivity into the air. The North also said it had the right to shoot down U.S. warplanes in international airspace.

This is not the first time the U.S. has come to the brink of war with North Korea. In 1994, on the orders of President Bill Clinton, the U.S. military drew up plans to send cruise missiles and stealth bombers to take out a small nuclear reactor at Yongbyon to prevent North Korea from recovering spent fuel and enriching it to weapons-grade uranium.

Although the Pentagon was convinced such an attack could destroy the Yongbyon reactor with little risk of spreading radiation, Clinton ultimately rejected the military option, believing an attack would spark an all-out war. Instead, he opted to seek tougher United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.

Today, with Trump kneecapping Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts, the threat of war seems more urgent. In September, Defense Secretary James Mattis urged Pyongyang to stop its nuclear and ballistic missile testing. He also warned the U.S. would destroy North Korea if it launched a nuclear attack on the U.S. or its allies. “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so,” Mattis said.

Presumably, he was referring to the various way the U.S. could respond with its own nuclear weapons. But the Pentagon also has military options that fall short of such apocalyptic scenarios. In the event of a conventional North Korean missile attack on America’s regional allies, the Pentagon is considering using missile defence batteries in South Korea, Japan and aboard U.S. Navy ships, although experts have questioned their effectiveness against North Korea’s high-flying missiles.

U.S. intelligence agencies are also exploring ways to use cyberweapons to sabotage Pyongyang’s nuclear program, much as the U.S. and Israel reportedly used the Stuxnet virus to set back the Iranian one in 2010.

If U.S. intelligence detects preparations for an atmospheric nuclear test, another option would be an airstrike against the country’s missile-launching sites. Such an attack would involve the use precision-guided munitions—the laser-, radar-, thermal- and GPS-guided smart bombs and missiles that have become the weapons of choice for the U.S. military because of their accuracy.

But the Pentagon is struggling with a shortage of these weapons partly because of the accelerated pace of their use in the air campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. U.S. officials won’t comment on the record about how the munitions shortage would affect the Air Force’s ability to carry out any air war against North Korea. But others, speaking anonymously to discuss such sensitive issues, say if such a conflict erupted, the impact of the shortage soon would become evident. “We would likely very quickly exhaust stockpiles of all different kinds of precision-guided munitions and slip back into the use of dumb gravity bombs,” a congressional expert on munitions says.

Asked if Pacific commanders would run through their smart bomb and missile stocks in less than a week, this expert adds: “It wouldn’t surprise me at all, because, first, we shifted a lot of our PGM [precision-guided munition] stocks to places where we’re actively dropping them right now, and second, there’s just not that many. And all of a sudden, you’re going to find yourself without that stuff.” Several other analysts agree with this assessment.

Not everyone, however, thinks a smart bomb shortage is imminent. A recently retired senior Air Force officer, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to address the smart bomb shortage, questions whether Pacific commanders would run out of the munitions in only a week. “I don’t know whether that’s true or not,” the retired officer says. “We have the capability to move weapons from where they are to where we need them.”

              © Provided by IBT Media

But in recent public appearances, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has been speaking out with growing urgency about the shortage of smart bombs and missiles. In Iraq and Syria, U.S. warplanes are now running through 100 to 200 of these munitions every day, Wilson told a Washington defence conference on September 27. “But we are not replacing those weapons at the same rate,” she said.

To maintain the pace of the strikes, the Pentagon has been forced to draw smart bombs and missiles from other regional commands around the globe, leaving their stockpiles depleted. Since the air campaign against ISIS began in August 2014, U.S. warplanes have used more than 54,000 smart bombs and missiles. “When it comes to [smart] munitions,” said Wilson, a former Air Force officer who has served in Congress, “we are stretched.”

The military has seen this problem coming for a while. In its 2018 budget request, the Pentagon proposed doubling production of Lockheed Martin’s Hellfire missile, from about 1,500 in 2017 to 3,600 in 2018, and boosting production of the Boeing and Raytheon versions of the Small Diameter Bomb, from 4,500 in 2017 to more than 7,300 in 2018. The 250-pound bombs, which use variations of the laser, radar, GPS and infrared systems to guide them to their targets, are commonly used against ISIS.

The main reason for the smart bomb shortage, Wilson said, is the dysfunction of Congress. Over the past few years, lawmakers have been paralyzed by partisan bickering and unable to pass a budget. Instead, Congress has signed off on a series of temporary spending measures that have frozen government funding at lower levels. The latest was a continuing resolution Trump signed on September 8 that funds the Pentagon for the first three months of fiscal 2018, which started on October 1, at 2017 levels.

What defence firms need, Wilson argued, is a budget certainty to make the investments needed to boost production. Still, assuming a budget is in place, a 2016 Pentagon report says defence industries would need at least a year to ramp up munitions production to alleviate the shortage.

If Trump’s latest tweets are any indication, however, he appears ready to escalate the confrontation with North Korea. Even if his top commanders and diplomats would prefer more time—and prudence.           (Source: Newsweek)

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Britain Prepares For ‘Real Possibility’ Of US War With North Korea – Report |RN

By Roland Oliphant, Senior Foreign Correspondent
 

Tensions between the United States and North Korea are now so high that war is “a real possibility” that Britain must prepare for, a respected defence think tank has warned.

Such a conflict would result in “hundreds of thousands” of casualties, severely disrupt the global economy, and have profound implications for the political and diplomatic landscape of East Asia, the report for the Royal United Services Institute said.

US bombers accompanied by fighter jets flew off the east coast of North Korea on September 23, in a show of force

“This report is not saying that war is likely. But the probability of war is an uncomfortably real prospect,” said Professor Malcolm Chalmers, who authored the report.

<span class="article-body-image-caption" itemprop="caption" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:1.2rem;line-height:1.6rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;color:#888888;">US bombers accompanied by fighter jets flew off the east coast of North Korea on September 23, in a show of force</span><span style="color:#888888;font-family:'Austin News Text Semibold', Georgia, Times, serif;font-size:10px;">&nbsp;</span><span class="article-body-image-copyright" itemprop="copyrightHolder" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:0.9rem;line-height:1.3rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;text-transform:uppercase;color:#888888;"><span class="article-body-image-copyright-label" style="box-sizing:border-box;">CREDIT:</span>&nbsp;STEVEN SCHNEIDER/AFP PHOTO / US ARMY</span>© Provided by The Telegraph US bombers accompanied by fighter jets flew off the east coast of North Korea on September 23, in a show of force CREDIT: STEVEN SCHNEIDER/AFP PHOTO / US ARMY  

Tensions between North Korea and the US have escalated over the past year as Pyongyang pursues a nuclear weapons programme that it says is intended to achieve a “balance of power” with the US and deter an American-led regime change operation of the kind that toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.

A series of missile and nuclear tests this year have left US officials concerned that Pyongyang is closer than previously thought to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting America.

Donald Trump, the US president, has threatened to use military force to halt Kim Jong-un’s weapons programme.

<span class="article-body-image-caption" itemprop="caption" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:1.2rem;line-height:1.6rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;color:#888888;">North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile</span><span style="color:#888888;font-family:'Austin News Text Semibold', Georgia, Times, serif;font-size:10px;">&nbsp;</span><span class="article-body-image-copyright" itemprop="copyrightHolder" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:0.9rem;line-height:1.3rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;text-transform:uppercase;color:#888888;"><span class="article-body-image-copyright-label" style="box-sizing:border-box;">CREDIT:</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;KCNA KCNA/REUTERS</span>© Provided by The Telegraph North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile CREDIT:  KCNA KCNA/REUTERS  

Other senior US officials have made clear that Washington would not accept a North Korean nuclear deterrent similar to that possessed by Russia or China and that all options, including military force, would be considered to prevent it.

On Thursday, China ordered all North Korean businesses and ventures operating on its territory to close within 120 days, after the United Nations imposed fresh sanctions against Pyongyang.

China is North Korea’s main trading partner and North Korean firms operating there provide the country with a crucial source of foreign currency.

Adam Smith, a former staffer on Barack Obama’s National Security Council, warned Thursday that the US had “reached the end of its diplomatic tether” and that this round of sanctions may be the last.

“We can only hope, then, that the economic ramifications for North Korea of these sanctions will be sufficient enough to help avoid an otherwise globally destabilising conflict,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

Professor Chalmers said he believed a “deterrent relationship” between the US and North Korea remained the most likely outcome of the crisis, despite the rhetoric.

<span class="article-body-image-caption" itemprop="caption" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:1.2rem;line-height:1.6rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;color:#888888;">South Korean forces would almost certainly be drawn into the war on the US side if hostilities broke out</span><span style="color:#888888;font-family:'Austin News Text Semibold', Georgia, Times, serif;font-size:10px;">&nbsp;</span><span class="article-body-image-copyright" itemprop="copyrightHolder" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:0.9rem;line-height:1.3rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;text-transform:uppercase;color:#888888;"><span class="article-body-image-copyright-label" style="box-sizing:border-box;">CREDIT:</span>&nbsp;AHN YOUNG-JOON/AP</span>© Provided by The Telegraph South Korean forces would almost certainly be drawn into the war on the US side if hostilities broke out CREDIT: AHN YOUNG-JOON/AP  

But he warned war could erupt as the result of a limited preemptive US attack aimed at disrupting Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme, or a North Korean attack on South Korea, Japan, or the US.

Either scenario would likely escalate to a full-scale war culminating in a US invasion of North Korea, accompanied by a massive cyber and air campaign to destroy and disrupt communications and command and control, the report says.

<span class="article-body-image-caption" itemprop="caption" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:1.2rem;line-height:1.6rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;color:#888888;">What analysts believe may be a North Korean Hwasong 12 missile was seen during a military parade in Pyongyang in April</span><span style="color:#888888;font-family:'Austin News Text Semibold', Georgia, Times, serif;font-size:10px;">&nbsp;</span><span class="article-body-image-copyright" itemprop="copyrightHolder" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:0.9rem;line-height:1.3rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;text-transform:uppercase;color:#888888;"><span class="article-body-image-copyright-label" style="box-sizing:border-box;">CREDIT:</span>&nbsp;WONG MAYE-E/AP</span>© Provided by The Telegraph What analysts believe may be a North Korean Hwasong 12 missile was seen during a military parade in Pyongyang in April CREDIT: WONG MAYE-E/AP  

What analysts believe may be a North Korean Hwasong 12 missile was seen during a military parade in Pyongyang in April

North Korea would likely launch a barrage of artillery and tactical missiles in the direction of Seoul, the South Korean capital, resulting in high civilian casualties.

Technologically superior US and South Korean forces would probably defeat North Korea’s “million men” army in pitched battle, and North’s generals would likely resort to partisan-style “asymmetric” tactics and possibly use nuclear weapons to counter that imbalance of power, the report says.

<span class="article-body-image-caption" itemprop="caption" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:1.2rem;line-height:1.6rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;color:#888888;">Members of the North Korea's People's Security Council take part an anti-U.S. rally on September 23</span><span class="article-body-image-copyright" itemprop="copyrightHolder" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:0.9rem;line-height:1.3rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;text-transform:uppercase;color:#888888;"><span class="article-body-image-copyright-label" style="box-sizing:border-box;">CREDIT:</span>&nbsp;KCNA/REUTERS</span>© Provided by The Telegraph Members of the North Korea’s People’s Security Council take part an anti-U.S. rally on September 23CREDIT: KCNA/REUTERS  

Professor Chalmers called on the British government to urge the US against considering a preventive first strike against North Korea and to consult with regional allies, including South Korea, Japan, and Australia, about how best to handle the crisis.

The warning came as North Korea escalated a war of words with the US by calling Donald Trump an “old lunatic.” In a statement, North Korea’s foreign ministry accused Mr Trump of “slander” and exploiting the memory of the dead after he said an American student who died after being held in North Korea for over a year had been tortured.

<span class="article-body-image-caption" itemprop="caption" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:1.2rem;line-height:1.6rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;color:#888888;">"Rocket man" Kim Jong Un and "old lunatic" Donald Trump have engaged in an acrimonious - &nbsp;and increasingly creative - exchange of insults and threats.</span><span style="color:#888888;font-family:'Austin News Text Semibold', Georgia, Times, serif;font-size:10px;">&nbsp;</span><span class="article-body-image-copyright" itemprop="copyrightHolder" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:0.9rem;line-height:1.3rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;text-transform:uppercase;color:#888888;"><span class="article-body-image-copyright-label" style="box-sizing:border-box;">CREDIT:</span>&nbsp;SAUL LOEB/AFP</span>© Provided by The Telegraph “Rocketman” Kim Jong Un and “old lunatic” Donald Trump have engaged in an acrimonious –  and increasingly creative – exchange of insults and threats. CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP  

Otto Warmbier, who was arrested and imprisoned for stealing a propaganda poster while visiting the North as a tourist in January 2016, died in June this year days after he was released from custody and sent home in a mysterious coma.

Warmbier’s parents said in a television interview on Wednesday that their son was returned to the US blind, deaf, and that it looked like “someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth”.

<span class="article-body-image-caption" itemprop="caption" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:1.2rem;line-height:1.6rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;color:#888888;">University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier died after more than a year in North Korean custody&nbsp;</span><span class="article-body-image-copyright" itemprop="copyrightHolder" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:0.9rem;line-height:1.3rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;text-transform:uppercase;color:#888888;"><span class="article-body-image-copyright-label" style="box-sizing:border-box;">CREDIT:</span>&nbsp;REUTERS/KYODO/FILE PHOTO</span>© Provided by The Telegraph University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier died after more than a year in North Korean custody CREDIT: REUTERS/KYODO/FILE PHOTO  

University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier died after more than a year in North Korean custody

Mr Trump tweeted afterwards: “Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea.”

North Korea has denied torturing Mr Warmbier and said it provided him with medical care.

“The fact that the old lunatic Trump and his riff-raff slandered the sacred dignity of our supreme leadership, using bogus data full of falsehood and fabrications, only serves to redouble the surging hatred of our army and people towards the U.S.,” the ministry said in a statement issued by the KCNA news agency yesterday.

An Ohio coroner on Wednesday said her office was unable to determine what caused the brain damage that led to Warmbier’s death, other than it stemmed from oxygen deprivation more than a year before his death.

“Could that have been torture at the time? We don’t know,” Dr Lakshmi Sammarco said.

<span class="article-body-image-caption" itemprop="caption" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:1.2rem;line-height:1.6rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;color:#888888;">North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile</span><span style="color:#888888;font-family:'Austin News Text Semibold', Georgia, Times, serif;font-size:10px;">&nbsp;</span><span class="article-body-image-copyright" itemprop="copyrightHolder" style="box-sizing:border-box;font-size:0.9rem;line-height:1.3rem;font-family:'Telesans Text Regular', Arial, sans-serif;text-transform:uppercase;color:#888888;"><span class="article-body-image-copyright-label" style="box-sizing:border-box;">CREDIT:</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;KCNA KCNA/REUTERS</span>

(The Telegraph)

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North Korea: Trump Says He Is Prepared To Take ‘Devastating’ Military Action To End Tensions

Clark Mindock

 Donald Trump says that the US is ready with a “military option” to end the escalating crisis with North Korea that would be devastating for Pyongyang.

“We are totally prepared for the second option, not a preferred option,” Mr Trump said at a White House news conference alongside Spain’s prime minister. “But if we take that option, it will be devastating, I can tell you that, devastating for North Korea. That’s called the military option. If we have to take it, we will.”

The President proceeded to say that North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho – who said over the weekend that it was “inevitable” that North Korean rockets would hit the US mainland – was acting “very badly, saying things that should never be said.”                       (The Independent)

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North Korea Accuses Donald Trump Of ‘Suicide Mission’, Declares Rocket Attack On USA Mainland Inevitable

Kara O’Neill
Credits: REUTERS         © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: REUTERS  

North Korea says Donald Trump’s labelling of Kim Jong-Un as “Rocket Man” has made “our rockets’ visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable”.

Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told the United Nations that Mr Trump had committed an irreversible mistake during his speech to the body in New York last week.

His comments came today after it emerged the US had sent bombers to the North Korean border today in the closest they have been this century.

Foreign Minister Ri said if US lives were lost, Mr Trump would be held totally responsible.

Credits: REUTERS© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: REUTERS  

“Through such a prolonged and arduous struggle, now we are finally only a few steps away from the final gate of completion of the state nuclear force,” Ri told the annual gathering of world leaders for the United Nations General Assembly.

“It is only a forlorn hope to consider any chance that the DPRK (North Korea) would be shaken an inch or change its stance due to the harsher sanctions by the hostile forces.”

He said North Korean did not have any intention to use or threaten its nuclear weapons against countries that did not join US military action.

He added that Mr Trump’s speech at the UN was reckless and violent and he was trying to the turn the body into “a gangster’s nest where money is respected and bloodshed is the order of the day”.

 

Pyongyang would make sure that he bears the consequences far beyond his words and beyond the scope of what he can hand even if he was ready to do, the Foreign Minister added.

He said the nation’s ultimate goal was to establish the balance of power with the US.

He said North Korean would take preventive measures by “merciless preemptive action” in case the US showed any sign of conducting a kind of “decapitating” operation on North Korea.

Credits: AFP       © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: AFP  

Earlier tonight, reports emerged Mr Trump had sent bombers towards the North Korean border – the closest they’ve been in the 21st century.

US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighter jets flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea on Saturday in a show of force which the Pentagon said demonstrated the range of military options available to the US President.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said: “This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take (North Korea’s) reckless behaviour.”

Credits: AFP        © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: AFP  

She added: “This mission is a demonstration of US resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat.”

Ms White went on to call North Korea’s weapons program “a grave threat.”

“We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the US homeland and our allies.”

Credits: Getty Images AsiaPac© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty Images AsiaPac  

The Pentagon said the B-1B Lancer bombers came from Guam and the U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts came from Okinawa, Japan. It said the operation showed the seriousness with which it took North Korea’s “reckless behaviour.”

The patrols came after officials and experts said a small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one.

Saturday’s seismic activity came just hours before North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho – who warned on Thursday that North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale over the Pacific – was due to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Ri did not respond when asked by reporters whether North Korea had conducted a new nuclear test.

Hours earlier seismologists around the world had detected a small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site

Credits: Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror  

China’s Earthquake Administration said the quake was not a nuclear explosion and had the characteristics of a natural tremor. The administration had said earlier the magnitude 3.4 quake detected at 0829 GMT was a “suspected explosion”.

The CTBTO, or Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which monitors nuclear tests, and officials of the South Korean meteorological agency also said they believed it was a natural quake.

The Pentagon and the US State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment

Credits: REUTERS        © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: REUTERS  

A US intelligence official and US-based non-governmental experts said their initial assessment was that the quake was either natural or connected to North Korea’s latest and largest nuclear test on Sept.3, and not caused by a new nuclear test.

“It seems likely that these small tremors are related to the shifts in the ground due to the recent large test,” said David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists in the United States.

Credits: REUTERS© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: REUTERS  

A US government intelligence analyst said the events could have been a “mine-type” collapse of tunnels damaged by North Korea’s previous nuclear test but was more likely a small earthquake.

An official of South Korea’s Meteorological Agency said acoustic waves should be detected in the event of a man-made earthquake.

“In this case, we saw none. So as of now, we are categorising this as a natural earthquake.”

Credits: Sky News           © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Sky News  

The earthquake, which South Korea’s Meteorological Agency put at magnitude 3.0, was detected 49 km from Kilju in North Hamgyong Province, where North Korea’s known Punggye-Ri nuclear site is located, the official said.

All of North Korea’s six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above. The last test registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.

A secondary tremor detected after that test could have been caused by the collapse of a tunnel at the mountainous site, experts said at the time. Satellite photos of the area after the Sept 3 quake showed numerous landslides apparently caused by the massive blast, which North Korea said was an advanced hydrogen bomb.

Credits: REX/Shutterstock© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: REX/Shutterstock  

The head of the international nuclear test monitoring agency CTBTO said on Saturday that analysts were “looking at the unusual seismic activity of a much smaller magnitude” than the Sept. 3 test in North Korea.

“Two #Seismic Events! 0829UTC & much smaller @ 0443UTC unlikely Man-made! Similar to “collapse” event 8.5 mins after DPRK6! Analysis ongoing,” CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a Twitter post, referring to the Sept. 3 test.

Russia’s emergency ministry said background radiation in nearby Vladivostok was within the natural range.

The US Geological Survey said it could not conclusively confirm whether the quake, which it measured at magnitude 3.5, was man-made or natural.

“The depth is poorly constrained and has been held to 5 km by the seismologist,” USGS said.

Jeffrey Lewis, head of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of Strategic Studies at Monterey, California, said: “Seismologists are very good at discriminating between earthquakes and explosions. I see no reason to doubt that it was an earthquake.”

There was no immediate reaction from China’s Foreign Ministry, but the news was widely reported by Chinese state media outlets and on social media.

Tensions have continued to rise around the Korean Peninsula since Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test, prompting a new round of U.N. sanctions.

US President Donald Trump called the North Korean leader a “madman” on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a “mentally deranged US dotard” who would face the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history”.

Credits: Daily Mirror© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Daily Mirror  

Kim was responding to a speech by Trump at the United Nations General Assembly in which Trump said the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the United States or its allies.

On Thursday Trump announced new U.S. sanctions that he said allows the targeting of companies and institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea.

Earlier on Saturday, China said it will limit exports of refined petroleum products from Oct. 1 and ban exports of condensates and liquefied natural gas immediately to comply with the latest U.N. sanctions. It will also ban imports of textiles from North Korea.

North Korea’s nuclear tests to date have all been underground, and experts say an atmospheric test, which would be the first since one by China in 1980, would be proof of the success of its weapons programme.

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles this year, several of them flying over Japan, as it accelerates a weapons programme aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.   (The Mirror)

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‘Seoul Will Be Vapourised’: Boris Johnson Warns As U.S. Threatens To Annihilate North Korea

By Gordon Rayner,
                      © Provided by The Telegraph  

Boris Johnson has warned President Donald Trump that taking military action against North Korea could provoke Kim Jong-un to “vaporise” the South Korean population in response.

Pyongyang announced on Sunday that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded onto a long-range missile, which Mr Johnson described as “a new order of threat”.

The Foreign Secretary condemned Pyongyang’s “reckless” act, and said that “all options are on the table, but we really don’t see any easy military solution”.

President Trump led world condemnation of North Korea’s biggest ever nuclear test, describing the actions of the “rogue nation” as “very hostile and dangerous” to the US.

He added that “appeasement with North Korea will not work”, having recently promised to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continued to threaten the US.

South Korea launched a ballistic missile exercise late on Sunday in response to Pyongyang’s provocative detonation, state news agency Yonhap reported. “S. Korea’s military stages ballistic missile exercise in response to N. Korea’s nuke test,” the agency said.

Donald Trump reaffirmed that Washington would defend itself and its allies “using the full range of diplomatic, conventional, and nuclear capabilities at our disposal”

Jim Mattis, the US defence secretary, warned that “any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming”.

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea. But as I said, we have many options to do so,” he added.

              © Provided by The Telegraph  

Mr Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later condemned in a phone call North Korea’s “continued destabilising and provocative actions,” the White House said.

The President also reaffirmed that Washington would defend itself and its allies “using the full range of diplomatic, conventional, and nuclear capabilities at our disposal,” the White House said.

The nuclear weapon test registered with international seismic monitoring agencies as a man-made earthquake of magnitude 6.3, making it 10 times more powerful that North Korea’s last nuclear test a year ago.

                     ©  Provided by The Telegraph

Hours before the explosion, the North Korean state news agency had released pictures of Kim inspecting a silver-coloured, hourglass-shaped warhead, which was markedly different from a ball-shaped device detonated last year.

Experts said it indicated a two-stage thermonuclear device, suggesting Pyongyang has made significant progress towards its goal of a long-range nuclear missile.

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the latest development and possible responses.

Mr Johnson said: “It’s certainly our view that none of the military options are good…the distance between North Korea and Seoul is very, very small and they could basically vaporise large parts of the South Korean population even with conventional weapons, so that’s not really very easy to threaten or to deliver.”

                     ©  Provided by The Telegraph  

Calling on China to take stronger action against its client state, he went on: “We have to consider how to respond and it’s our view in the UK, overwhelmingly that peaceful, diplomatic means are the best and we think the sanctions route still holds potential.

“China is responsible for 90 per cent of North Korea’s trade and North Korea only has six months of oil supplies left. There is scope to continue to put pressure on the regime.”

Theresa May, meanwhile, called on the United Nations “urgently” to look at fresh sanctions.

The hydrogen bomb test, the sixth to be carried out by Kim and the first since Mr Trump became president, follows a series of long-range missile tests that pose an increasing threat to the US, and comes just days after a missile was launched that flew over Japan.

Mr Johnson said: “They seem to be moving closer towards a hydrogen bomb which, if fitted to a successful missile, would unquestionably present a new order of threat.”

President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China met at a pre-planned summit in Xian, where they agreed to adhere to “the goal of denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula”.

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Russia Fears New U.S. Bomb Increases Risk Of Nuclear Strike |The Republican News

Damien Sharkov
A B-2 Spirit Bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, drops a B61-11 "Bunker Buster" bomb casing during an exercise in this undated photo.: B61 model 11 drop                       © Stringer/Reuters B61 model 11 drop

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs fears updated, high-precision U.S. models of nuclear bombs will lower inhibitions to use nuclear weapons in combat, Russian state news agency Itar-Tass reported on Tuesday.

The B-61 model 12 is a weapon that the U.S. has worked on for some time, testing a mock-up of it in 2015. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration announced on Tuesday that it had carried out another non-nuclear test of the model 12 and would continue doing so in the next three years, hoping to clear it for service. The weapon is meant to be the first precision-guided atomic bomb, and Russia does not like the sound of it.

“The advantage of the new modification of the B61-12, according to U.S. military experts themselves lies in the fact that it will be, as they put it, ‘more ethical’ and ‘more usable’,” Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Nonproliferation and Weapons Control Department told Tass.

Referring to comments made by former undersecretary of defence James Miller and ex-President Barack Obama’s key nuclear strategist General James E. Cartwright, Ulyanov expressed fears the U.S. may develop a more laissez-faire view of nuclear arms’ use, knowing they “cause less catastrophic consequences for the civilian population.

“From this, we can conclude that the clearing of such bombs for service could objectively lead to lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear arms,” Ulyanov said. “This, we can imagine, is the main negative impact of the ongoing modernization.”

The upgrade is, in the eyes of some U.S. defence experts, a needed replacement of an integral part of U.S. nuclear capabilities whose design dates back to the 1960s. Former U.S. General Cartwright defended the program in 2016, noting that increasing precision and shrinking the size of the arms means fewer will be needed to act as a deterrent in the first place.

Ulyanov, however, felt the U.S. and any of its NATO allies that may benefit from the upgrade sought the B-61 model 12’s potential clearing in response to what they perceive as Russian nuclear posturing. Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have issued a handful of verbal reminders that Russia’s own nuclear capabilities exist to back up its foreign policy if needed.

North Korea’s current nuclear missile program has topped the list of concerns for the U.S. of late, with a missile test flying over Japan taking place on Tuesday morning. Though Russia formally opposes the North’s nuclear program, Moscow chose to once again condemn the U.S. for provoking the test by carrying out its annual defence drill with regional ally South Korea.  (Newsweek)

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