SEATTLE – Dan Springer’s latest test launch over the weekend has raised concerns among U.S. officials. The Pentagon says the ballistic missile flew 1,000 miles higher than NASA’s International Space Station. It was then able to re-enter earth’s atmosphere and splash down just 60 miles from Russia. One official told Fox News it was a “big step forward” in North Korea’s nuclear missile program.
Emergency planners in Hawaii, the closest state to North Korea, have taken notice and are evaluating existing nuclear attack response plans. Meanwhile, another possible target on the West Coast is barred from taking any steps to plan for a nuclear attack.
Washington State allows evacuation plans for every disaster scenario except a nuclear bomb. Former state Rep. Dick Nelson remembers the prevailing thinking in the legislature at the time concerning response plans in the event of nuclear war.
“You are really sending a message that you’re getting ready to do something maybe yourself,” Nelson said.
The law passed in 1984, seven years before the end of the Cold War. It was the opposite approach taken by President Ronald Reagan, whose peace through strength doctrine helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
A current Washington state senator says the current law is irresponsible and naïve.
“I think it’s ridiculous and silly,” says state Sen. Mark Miloscia, “And sort of the head-in-the-sand mentality. If it has a probability of happening, prepare for it.”
Seattle could be in the crosshairs if North Korea’s leader, Kim Jung Un, ever did the unthinkable. Naval Base Kitsap reportedly has roughly 1,300 nuclear warheads — almost one-quarter of the U.S. arsenal — making it the largest stockpile of nukes in the world. The Puget Sound is also home to Joint Base Lewis McChord, home to the important Stryker Brigade. With the headquarters of Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon, the region is a high-tech hub. Read the rest of this entry »
The latest screed from Pyongyang’s unnamed prince of prose (or princes — it’s unclear how many write these gems) was delivered Monday in response to Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., asserting Kim Jong Un was a “whack job.”
Like previous statements, it bucked all norms for engaging in international repartee:
“It is a serious provocation that Gardner, like a psychopath, dare to bear the evil that dares our highest dignity,” the statement said, according to a translation. “It is America’s misfortune that a man mixed in with human dirt like Gardner, who has lost basic judgment and body hair, could only spell misfortune for the United States.”
The real-world reference point behind some of the putdowns, most of which are disseminated by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, is unclear. Gardner, for instance, has a full head of hair.
But KCNA has been dealing out hits against U.S. and international politicians for years, perfecting a style that’s veered from jaw-dropping to shockingly racist.
Among the worst insults directed at former President Barack Obama, North Korea in 2014 branded him a “juvenile delinquent,” “clown” and a “dirty fellow.” Obama, the KCNA statement said, was somebody who “does not even have the basic appearances of a human being.” Read the rest of this entry »
(1) Titan launch test from Cape Canaveral, only first stage engine tested, 2nd stage only a dummy, engine with 300,000 lbs thrust successful (2) News In Brief – Berlin mayor Willy Brandt arrives in U.S., speaks in English (3) “Virginia” – Fort Meyer VA funeral of 6 bodies returned by Russia, crew of plane shot done by Russia, no word of other 11 crew missing (partial newsreel).
1959: The United States successfully test-fires its first Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile. The threat of global nuclear holocaust moves from the plausible to the likely.
Tony Long The Titan I was not the first ICBM: Both the United States and Soviet Union had already deployed ICBMs earlier in the 1950s (the Atlas A by the Americans, the R-7 by the Russians). But the Titan represented a new generation, a liquid-fueled rocket with greater range and a more powerful payload that upped the ante in the Cold War.
The Titan that the U.S. Air Force successfully launched from Cape Canaveral featured a two-stage liquid rocket capable of delivering a 4-megaton warhead to targets 8,000 miles away. A 4-megaton detonation, puny by today’s standards, nevertheless dwarfed the destructive power of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan.
The Titan’s range meant that, firing from its home turf, the United States was now capable of hitting targets in Eastern Europe, the western Soviet Union and the Soviet Far East.
The first squadron of Titan I’s was declared operational in April 1962. By the mid-’60s, five squadrons were deployed in the western United States.
The missiles were stored in protective underground silos, but had to be brought to the surface for firing. The Titan II, which began appearing in large numbers during the mid-’60s and eventually supplanted the Titan I, would be the first ICBM that could be launched directly from its silo.
Today, ICBMs can be launched from silos, from mobile launchers and, most effectively, from submarines. Read the rest of this entry »
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
“If this occurs, if the North Koreans test an intercontinental ballistic missile, that means they could wipe out Los Angeles tomorrow, if they can mount a warhead on it. That would be the single most important and threatening action that one can imagine for 2017. When Trump says “It’s not going to happen,” I don’t know what he quite means. But if he means a preemptive attack by the United States or something of that sort, we are looking at a crisis of the ultimate proportions.”
“…he’s aware of the fact that we are looking at what could be a strategic hinge point in history. That would be really serious. This is an insane regime with the ability to push a button and wipe out a U.S. city. That has never happened. We have had the Chinese, the Russians, but they are not insane. That’s quite different. I think he is recognizing we have an issue. I think he ought to be asked in the next press conference, ‘What exactly do you mean by ‘It ain’t gonna happen’?”
Source: National Review
The government decided Friday to strengthen unilateral sanctions against North Korea using measures such as expanding the range of entities and individuals subject to asset freezes.
The decision follows North Korea’s repeated nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.
The new measures, which are in line with the unilateral sanctions introduced in February, include expanding a reentry ban to include people who have traveled to North Korea.
The government intends to urge Pyongyang to change its position by stringently blocking the departure and entry of people linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments and flow of funds, according to sources.
“I intend to take further unilateral measures in cooperation with the United States and South Korea,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a meeting of Cabinet ministers concerned with the issue of Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea, held at the Prime Minister’s Office the same day.
Under the new measures, the range of asset freezes will be expanded to 54 entities and 58 individuals, the sources said.
The list includes a trading company in Liaoning Province, China, that was sanctioned by the United States in September for its alleged involvement in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »
More than 28,000 people have fled North Korea since the end of the Korean War, but high level defections are rare.
A senior North Korean military officer who oversaw spying operations has defected, say South Korean officials.
The officer has not been named, but the defence ministry in Seoul said he was a senior colonel in the Reconnaissance General Bureau and left last year.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a source as saying the colonel was seen as elite by other defectors.
More than 28,000 people have fled North Korea since the end of the Korean War, but high level defections are rare.
Yonhap said a number of senior political figures had defected while working overseas recently.
It quoted government officials as saying this was a sign the leadership of Kim Jong-un was cracking.
Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said the South could not release further information on the colonel.
One unnamed official told Yonhap the man was the highest-level military official ever to have defected.
“He is believed to have stated details about the bureau’s operations against South Korea to the authorities here,” said the official.
The Reconnaissance General Bureau handles intelligence gathering and spying operations, as well as cyber warfare, said Yonhap.
The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Seoul said such a figure would likely have valuable information about the workings of Kim Jong-un’s government.
How do you leave North Korea?
For most North Koreans it is almost impossible. The borders are heavily guarded and few people have the resources to fund an escape. Many previous defectors have escaped across the Yalu River into China. Read the rest of this entry »
Professor Toshio Miyatsuka is one of Japan’s leading experts on North Korea. He has filled his office with mundane objects such as toys and packs of cigarettes, all from the Hermit Kingdom. Photo: Miho Inada/The Wall Street Journal
The U.S., South Korea and Japan condemned North Korea’s plan to launch a long-range rocket that Pyongyang says is carrying an earth-observation satellite. Photo: Airbus Defense & Space and 38 North satellite imagery.
Old literary references prove flower synonymous with Japan originated on Chinese soil, argues association, after South Korea has also laid claim to the species
Alice Yan reports: A group in China has weighed into the debate about the origins of a flower synonymous with Japan, the cherry blossom, saying it was first found on Chinese soil.
“We don’t want to start a war of words with Japan or Korea, but we would like to state the fact that many historical literary references prove that cherry blossom originated in China. As Chinese, we are obliged to let more people know about this part of history.”
He Zongru, executive chairman of the China Cherry Blossom Association, told a press conference that historical references proved that the flower originally came from China.
He’s comments came after media reports in South Korea earlier this month suggested that cherry blossom was first found in the country’s southern province of Jeju.
”To put it simply, cherry blossoms originated in China and prospered in Japan. None of this is Korea’s business.”
“We don’t want to start a war of words with Japan or Korea, but we would like to state the fact that many historical literary references prove that cherry blossom originated in China. As Chinese, we are obliged to let more people know about this part of history.” he was quoted a saying by the Southern Metropolis News.
He said the species spread to Japan from the Himalayan region during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).
Zhang Zuoshuang, an official at the Botanical Society of China, was quoted as saying that among the 150 types of wildly-grown cherry blossoms around the world, more than 50 could be found in China. Read the rest of this entry »
Note: Who wouldn’t want to see the proud loyalists at MSNBC, America’s Official State Media, celebrate election day with programming like this? Imagine Chris Matthews reading “The Billows Of Emotion And Happiness”. Or Rachel Maddow rallying fellow Democrats with a rousing rendition of “We Go To The Polling Station”. It makes me tingle just thinking about it…
Official news agency KCNA reports that poets of the Central Committee of the Writers Union of Korea have created election-themed poems in the run-up to polling day on 9 March. Titles include The Billows Of Emotion And Happiness, We Break Into Cheers From The Bottom Of Our Heart and We Go To The Polling Station.
[There’s actually a book available in the U.S. of Central Committee of the Writers Union of Korea material, Immortal History: The Year 1932, available at Amazon, in paperback, for $59.52, though there’s not much information about it in the display page. At that price maybe it’s only for die-hard collectors of North Korean propaganda]
The poems are said to represent what the agency calls “the immutable will of all service personnel and people to remain loyal to the revolutionary leadership of Marshal Kim Jong-un“.
Deputies will be elected from 687 constituencies for the Supreme People’s Assembly, the rubber-stamp legislature that is dominated by the Korean Workers’ Party. Although other parties are represented in the election, all fall under the umbrella of the Fatherland Front, which is subservient to leader Kim Jong-un, who will be standing in the Paektusan constituency, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper says.
Expert: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s once-powerful uncle has been purged before, but has never done a perp walk.
(SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korean state media has confirmed that the nation’s hard-line military chief was replaced only a few months after his appointment.
The personnel change was believed to have been made in August and came as North Korea was pushing to ease animosity and resume lucrative cooperation projects with South Korea after threatening nuclear war this past spring.
The name of new military chief, Ri Yong Gil, came in a Korean Central News Agency dispatch listing top officials who accompanied leader Kim Jong Un to a Pyongyang mausoleum on Thursday. Little is known about Ri.
Ri’s predecessor, Kim Kyok Sik, is the former commander of battalions believed responsible for attacks on South Korea in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans. State media dispatches first identified Kim as military chief in May.
North Korea claims to have domestically manufactured a smart phone, a device called the Arirang, which appears to use a version of Android as its operating system.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency released photos of Kim Jong Un touring a facility where the phones are supposedly made. (Notice that nothing resembling manufacturing is going on in the photos.)
According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un praised the “high pixels” of the phone’s camera function and predicted that the “hand phone” would “instill national pride and self-respect” in the North Korean people. Though the manufacture of the phones began “a few days ago,” according to the report, Kim Jong Un believes they are in “high demand.”
Martyn Williams, the editor of a website on North Korean technology, says the phones were likely produced in China and shipped to the factory.
Cell phones were introduced into North Korea in 2008 thanks to a partnership with the Egyptian telecom firm Orascom, but subscribers are limited to making domestic calls. Presumably anyone purchasing an “Arirang” would be prohibited from using it to surf the worldwide web.
Kim Jong-un has ordered the North Korean military to construct a “world-class” ski resort that will rival the winter sports facilities being built in South Korea to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The highest peak in the mountains around the site rises more than 4,400 feet above sea level.
No expense is being spared on the project and the resort will have a hotel, cable cars, equipment stores and a heliport, the KCNA state media reported.
“[Kim] mounted an observation deck to hear a detailed report on the construction of the skiing ground,” the report said.
“He was greatly satisfied to learn that soldier-builders have constructed a skiing area on mountain ranges covering hundreds of thousands of square metres.”
Kim also commented that it would be “more fantastic” to see the ground covered with snow and ordered the military to accelerate the pace of the construction so that the resort is operational from the coming winter.
The site also benefits from its proximity to the Pyongyang-Wonsan motorway, while a nearby military airfield might be turned into an airport to handle an anticipated surge in tourists.
KCNA quoted Kim as saying that once the resort is completed, “A skiing wave will seize the country.”
The North Korean leader also ordered the domestic production of skiing equipment and clothing as sanctions imposed on the regime by the United Nations in the wake of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes forbid imports of luxury goods.
Kim is a known fan of basketball but spent seven years at international schools near the Swiss city of Berne from 1993, where he may have picked up an interest in skiing…