Image

North Korea Stages Big Artillery Drill As U.S. Submarine Docks In South Korea

 

By Ju-min Park

SEOUL, April 25 (Reuters) – North Korea conducted a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military and a U.S. submarine docked in South Korea in a show of force amid growing concern over the North’s nuclear and missile programs.

The port call by the USS Michigan, which is designed to carry ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, came as a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group steamed towards Korean waters in an effort to deter North Korea from a sixth nuclear test or more missile launches in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

Instead of a nuclear blast or a big missile test, North Korea marked Tuesday’s 85th anniversary of the founding of its military by deploying a large number of long-range artillery units on its east coast for a live-fire drill, South Korea’s military said.

South Korea’s Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was monitoring the situation and “firmly maintaining readiness.”

South Korea’s navy said it was conducting its own live-fire exercise with U.S. destroyers in waters west of the Korean peninsula and would soon join the approaching U.S. carrier group.

North Korea was defiant, saying its military was prepared “to bring to closure the history of U.S. scheming and nuclear blackmail.”

“There is no limit to the strike power of the People’s Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment, including various precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a front-page editorial.

North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threat is perhaps the most serious security challenge confronting U.S. President Donald Trump. He has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile and has said all options are on the table, including a military strike.

Trump sent the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group for exercises off the Korean peninsula as a warning to Pyongyang, but U.S. officials say sanctions, not military strikes, are the preferred option.

On Monday, Trump called North Korea a global threat and “a problem that we have to finally solve” and said the U.N. Security Council must be prepared to impose new sanctions.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a ministerial meeting of the Security Council on Friday to discuss tougher sanctions, which U.S. officials say could include an oil embargo, banning North Korea’s airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese and other foreign banks doing business with Pyongyang.

On Wednesday, Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford, are to hold a rare briefing on North Korea at the White House for the entire U.S. Senate.

The USS Michigan, an Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarine, arrives at a naval base in Busan

The USS Michigan, an Ohio-class nuclear powered submarine, arrives at a naval base in Busan

SENATOR IMPRESSED BY TRUMP RESOLVE

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said he and fellow Republican John McCain had dinner with Trump on Monday and discussed North Korea. Graham told Fox News he was impressed by Trump’s resolve.

“He’s not going to let this nut-job in North Korea develop a missile with a nuclear weapon on top to hit America,” Graham said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“He (Trump) doesn’t want a war any more than I do. But he’s not going to let them get a missile. That’s where they’re headed and China needs to up their game to stop this before it’s too late.”

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said North Korea had become a “front and center front-burner issue” and Tillerson would be “very vocal” on Friday about his concerns that countries were not doing enough to implement sanctions.

“We need to move more quickly and with greater determination to convince North Korea either to pursue denuclearisation or to apply enough pressure that it stops those activities,” Toner told a telephone news briefing.

Japan’s envoy on North Korea, Kenji Kanasugi, said he and his U.S. and South Korean counterparts agreed in talks in Tokyo on Tuesday that China should take a concrete role to resolve the crisis and could use an oil embargo as a tool.

The U.S. envoy for North Korea policy, Joseph Yun, said China had “a very, very important role to play” and South Korea’s envoy, Kim Hong-kyun, said they had also discussed how to get Russia’s help.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 27, the Kremlin said. It did not elaborate.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally which nevertheless objects to its weapons development, has repeatedly called for calm, and its envoy for Korean affairs, Wu Dawei, was in Tokyo on Tuesday.

“We hope that all parties, including Japan, can work with China to promote an early peaceful resolution of the issue,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

North Korea’s foreign ministry said the meetings called by U.S. officials reflected U.S. pressure that could “ignite a full-out war” and showed that Pyongyang’s decision to become a nuclear power was correct.

The official China Daily newspaper said it was time to step back from harsh rhetoric.

“Judging from their recent words and deeds, policymakers in Pyongyang have seriously misread the U.N. sanctions, which are aimed at its nuclear/missile provocations, not its system or leadership,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“They are at once perilously overestimating their own strength and underestimating the hazards they are brewing for themselves.”      (REUTERS)

Image

South Korea In Heightened Alert As North Prepares For Army Anniversary

 

By Ju-min Park and Ben Blanchard
Video by Fox News

SEOUL/BEIJING, April 21 (Reuters) – South Korea said on Friday it was on heightened alert ahead of another important anniversary in North Korea, with a large concentration of military hardware amassed on both sides of the border amid concerns about a new nuclear test by Pyongyang.

North Korea said late on Friday the state of affairs on the Korean peninsula was “extremely perilous” because of “madcap American nuclear war maneuvers aimed at trampling on our sovereignty and right to survival.”

U.S. officials said there was a higher-than-usual level of activity by Chinese bombers, signaling a possible heightened state of readiness by reclusive North Korea’s sole major ally, although the officials played down concern and left open a range of possible reasons. Beijing denied its aircraft were on an increased level of alert.

In Russia, the RIA news agency said a Kremlin spokesman declined to comment on media reports Russia was moving military hardware and troops towards the border with North Korea.

U.S. and South Korean officials have been saying for weeks that the North could soon stage another nuclear test in violation of United Nations sanctions, something both the United States and China have warned against.

North Korea marks the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People’s Army on Tuesday, an important anniversary that comes at the end of major winter military drills, South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Duk-haeng said.

Top envoys from the United States, South Korea and Japan are due to meet on Tuesday, South Korea’s foreign ministry said, to “discuss plans to rein in North Korea’s additional high-strength provocations, to maximize pressure on the North, and to ensure China’s constructive role in resolving the North Korea nuclear issue.”

South Korea and the United States have also been conducting annual joint military exercises, which the North routinely criticizes as a prelude to invasion.

“It is a situation where a lot of exercise equipment is amassed in North Korea and also a lot of strategic assets are situated on the Korean peninsula because of the South Korea-U.S. military drills,” Lee told a briefing.

“We are closely watching the situation and will not be letting our guards down.”

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday praised Chinese efforts to rein in “the menace of North Korea,” after North Korean state media warned the United States of a “super-mighty preemptive strike.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday North Korea’s rhetoric was provocative but he had learned not to trust it.

“UNUSUAL MOVES”

The North’s foreign ministry said in a statement that its military was ready to respond to American aggression.

“Now that we possess mighty nuclear power to protect ourselves from U.S. nuclear threat, we will respond without the slightest hesitation to full-out war with full-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike, and we will emerge victor in the final battle with the United States.”

In a tweet, Trump said: “China is very much the economic lifeline to North Korea so, while nothing is easy, if they want to solve the North Korean problem, they will.”

The president told a news conference “some very unusual moves have been made over the last two or three hours,” and that he was confident Chinese President Xi Jinping would “try very hard” to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump gave no indication of what the moves might be. None of the U.S. officials who told Reuters about the heightened level of activity by Chinese bombers suggested alarm or signaled that they knew the precise reason for such activity.

China’s Defence Ministry said its forces on the border with North Korea were maintaining a state of normal combat preparedness and training.

Asked earlier about Trump’s comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Xi and Trump had had a full and deep discussion about North Korea when they met this month.

“I can only say that via deep communications between China and the U.S. at various levels including at the highest levels, the U.S. now has an even fuller and more correct understanding of China’s policy and position and has a more rounded understanding of China’s efforts,” Lu said. “We feel very gratified about this.”

An official Chinese newspaper said there was optimism about persuading the North to end its pursuit of a nuclear program without the use of force, “now that even the once tough-talking Donald Trump is onboard for a peaceful solution.”

“Beijing has demonstrated due enthusiasm for Washington’s newfound interest in a diplomatic solution and willingness to work more closely with it,” the state-run China Daily said in an editorial.

In Russia’s Far East, some media have cited residents as saying they have seen military hardware being moved towards North Korea, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said deployment of Russian troops inside Russia was not a public matter.

Tensions have risen sharply in recent months after North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests last year and carried out a steady stream of ballistic missile tests. Trump has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile.

“RED LINE”

North Korea has said it will test missiles when it sees fit and a South Korean analyst said he believed the country would do so.

“Without crossing the red line such as a nuclear test or a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, until the April 25 anniversary of the Korean People’s Army, North Korea is expected to continue to launch mid-range missiles,” said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at Sejong Institute outside Seoul.

The joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises are due to finish at the end of April.

A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, is heading towards the Korean Peninsula, Trump’s administration has said.

North Korea test-fired what the United States believed was a mid-range missile on Sunday. It blew up almost immediately.

The failed launch came a day after the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korea’s founding father, Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather.

There is concern the North will use the next big day on its calendar, April 25, to show off its strength.

“Although North Korea attempted a missile launch but failed on April 16, considering the April 25 anniversary of the Korean People’s Army, there are concerns that it can make another provocation again at any time,” South Korea’s acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn told top officials on Thursday.

He called on the military to maintain readiness. (Addtional reporting by Polina Devitt in MOSCOW, Idrees Ali in TEL AVIV; Writing by Jack Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel and Alex Richardson

(REUTERS)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Putin Sends Troops And Equipment To Russia’s Border With North Korea

Putin sends troops to Russia’s border with North Korea after China also sends soldiers to its boundary over fears Trump will attack Kim Jong-un, sparking a tidal wave of refugees

  • The Russian President has sent troops and equipment to his North Korea border
  • Footage shows trains carrying tanks to 11-mile frontier in Russia’s south east
  • Comes after China sent 150,000 troops to its own frontier with North Korea
  • There are fears of a mass exodus of North Korean refugees if war breaks out

Vladimir Putin is sending troops and equipment to Russia‘s border with North Korea over fears the US is preparing to attack Kim Jong-un.

The Russian President fears there will be a huge exodus of North Korean refugees if his American counterpart, Donald Trump, launches military action against Pyongyang.

It comes days after it emerged that China is also sending 150,000 soldiers to its southern frontier to cope with the tidal wave of North Koreans Beijing fears would flee across the border if war breaks out.

This morning, footage emerged appearing to show how Putin is reinforcing his 11-mile border with North Korea by relocating troops and equipment.

Reinforcements: Vladimir Putin is sending troops and equipment to Russia's border with North Korea over fears the US is preparing to attack Kim Jong-un. Footage shows a train carrying Russian tanks to the border in the country's far south east

Vladimir Putin is reinforcing his border with North Korea by relocating troops and equipment
Vladimir Putin is reinforcing his border with North Korea by relocating troops and equipment

Vladimir Putin is reinforcing his border with North Korea by relocating troops and equipment, including helicopters (left) and tanks (right)

Russia is sending troops to its tiny border with North Korea while China is also understood to have sent 150,000 soldiers to its southern frontier amid fears of a refugee crisis in the event of war

Russia is sending troops to its tiny border with North Korea while China is also understood to have sent 150,000 soldiers to its southern frontier amid fears of a refugee crisis in the event of war

A video purports to show one of three trains loaded with military equipment moving towards the 11 mile-long land frontier between Russia and the repressive state.

Another evidently highlights military helicopter movements towards the North Korean border and manoeuvres across rough terrain by army combat vehicles.

Other reports suggest there have been military moves by road as well.

There have been concerns that if a conflict breaks out Russia could face a humanitarian exodus from North Korea.

But Putin has been warned, too, that in the event of a US strike on Kim Jong-un’s nuclear facilities, contamination could swiftly reach Russia.

‘Railway trains loaded with military equipment moving towards Primorsky region via Khabarovsk have been noticed by locals,’ reported primemedia.ru in the Russian far East – linking the development to the North Korean crisis.

‘The movement of military equipment by different means of transport to southern areas is being observed across Primorsky region over the past week,’ said military veteran Stanislva Sinitsyn.

Putin (pictured) has reportedly been warned that in the event of a US strike on Kim Jong-un's nuclear facilities, contamination could swiftly reach Russia

Putin (pictured) has reportedly been warned that in the event of a US strike on Kim Jong-un’s nuclear facilities, contamination could swiftly reach Russia

Another clip highlights military helicopter movements towards the North Korean border and manoeuvres across rough terrain by army combat vehicles

Another clip highlights military helicopter movements towards the North Korean border and manoeuvres across rough terrain by army combat vehicles

The movements of troops and equipment have been described as 'a preventive but necessary' measure.

The movements of troops and equipment have been described as ‘a preventive but necessary’ measure.

‘Many relate this to the situation in the Korean peninsula.

‘The video shows artillery systems that either support troops in assault or meet the aggressor.’

He said: ‘The movement of military equipment means that authorities of our country are keeping up with the situation – and take appropriate measures.’

The movements were ‘a preventive but necessary’ measure.

‘If the situation worsens, especially related to military events, the armed forces of all the neighbouring countries obviously monitor it more closely, and we are no exception.

‘It is not the first time that North Korea has broken the peace in the region, that’s why this situation deserves attention.’

Russian military spokesman Alexander Gordeyev declined to give the exact reasons for the troop and equipment movements but said exercises had recently ended in the TransBaikal region of Siberia.

Kim Jong-un has threatened the US with a 'super-mighty preemptive strike' and warned America: 'Don't mess with us'

Thousands of goose-stepping troops paraded through Pyongyang in a show of strength on Saturday

Chilling: An enormous missile drives past troops during the Day of the Sun military parade on Saturday

However, a number of local sources appear to believe the movements are linked to the Korean crisis.

The naval port of Vladivostok – where Russia has huge military forces – is less than 100 miles from North Korea.

Expert on the repressive state, Konstantin Asmolov, said: ‘Should the US strike with missiles at North Korea’s nuclear facilities, a radioactive cloud will reach Vladivostok within two hours.’

Asmolov, from the Russian Far Eastern Institute, warned that in the event of full-scale war ‘hungry asylum seekers will flood into Russia.’

Russia on Wednesday blocked UN Security Council condemnation of Pyongyang’s latest missile test – even though China, which has a major frontier with North Korea had backed the strongly-worded statement put forward by the United States.

The proposed statement would have demanded that North Korea ‘conduct no further nuclear tests’ and halt missile launches .

Pyongyang carried out a failed test on Sunday.

Russia wanted to include language contained in a previous statement stressing the need to achieve a solution through dialogue, according to council diplomats.

Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said: ‘Unfortunately, we have to admit that the risk of a serious conflict in this region has substantially increased.’

He called for a ‘demonstration of responsibility’ from all sides to avoid escalation.

(MailOnline)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: