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North Korea is threatening again with actions of war. Due to more U.N. sanctions. 

 

 

Furious over sanctions, NKorea vows to nuke US By EDITH M. LEDERER and HYUNG-JIN KIM | Associated Press – Thu, Mar 7, 2013
  • North Korea Threatens a Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike on U.S.ABC News Videos  0:00North Korea vows nuclear action as the United Nations votes on sanctions.

 

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea vowed on Thursday to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States, amplifying its threatening rhetoric as U.N. diplomats voted on whether to level new sanctions against Pyongyang for its recent nuclear test.

An unidentified spokesman for Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said the North will exercise its right for "a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors" because Washington is pushing to start a nuclear war against the North.

Although North Korea boasts of nuclear bombs and pre-emptive strikes, it is not thought to have mastered the ability to produce a warhead small enough to put on a missile capable of reaching the U.S. It is believed to have enough nuclear fuel, however, for several crude nuclear devices.

Such inflammatory rhetoric is common from North Korea, and especially so in recent days. North Korea is angry over the possible sanctions and over upcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills. At a mass rally in Pyongyang on Thursday, tens of thousands of North Koreans protested the U.S.-South Korean war drills and sanctions.

Army Gen. Kang Pyo Yong told the crowd that North Korea is ready to fire long-range nuclear-armed missiles at Washington.

"Intercontinental ballistic missiles and various other missiles, which have already set their striking targets, are now armed with lighter, smaller and diversified nuclear warheads and are placed on a standby status," Kang said. "When we shell (the missiles), Washington, which is the stronghold of evils, .... will be engulfed in a sea of fire."

  • 2013-03-01T135412Z_1680629751_GM1E9310WH
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman (front L) hug in Pyongyang in this undated picture released by North Korea's KCNA news agency on March 1, 2013. KCNA ... more 
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| Photo By KCNA / REUTERS
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The U.N. Security Council was considering a fourth round of sanctions against Pyongyang in a fresh attempt to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The resolution was drafted by the United States and China, North Korea's closest ally. The council's agreement to put the resolution to a vote just 48 hours later signaled that it would almost certainly have the support of all 15 council members.

The statement by the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman was carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

It accused the U.S. of leading efforts to slap sanctions on North Korea. The statement said the new sanctions would only advance the timing for North Korea to fulfill previous vows to take "powerful second and third countermeasures" against its enemies. It hasn't elaborated on those measures.

The statement said North Korea "strongly warns the U.N. Security Council not to make another big blunder like the one in the past when it earned the inveterate grudge of the Korean nation by acting as a war servant for the U.S. in 1950."

North Korea demanded the U.N. Security Council immediately dismantle the American-led U.N. Command that's based in Seoul and move to end the state of war that exists on the Korean Peninsula, which continues six decades after fighting stopped because an armistice, not a peace treaty, ended the war.

In anticipation of the resolution's adoption, North Korea earlier in the week threatened to cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War.

North Korean threats have become more common as tensions have escalated following a rocket launch by Pyongyang in December and its third nuclear test on Feb. 12. Both acts defied three Security Council resolutions that bar North Korea from testing or using nuclear or ballistic missile technology and from importing or exporting material for these programs.

U.S. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said the proposed resolution would impose some of the strongest sanctions ever ordered by the United Nations.

The final version of the draft resolution, released Wednesday, identified three individuals, one corporation and one organization that would be added to the U.N. sanctions list if the measure is approved.

The targets include top officials at a company that is the country's primary arms dealer and main exporter of ballistic missile-related equipment, and a national organization responsible for research and development of missiles and probably nuclear weapons.

The success of a new round of sanctions could depend on enforcement by China, where most of the companies and banks that North Korea is believed to work with are based.

The United States and other nations worry that North Korea's third nuclear test pushed it closer to its goal of gaining nuclear missiles that can reach the U.S. The international community has condemned the regime's nuclear and missile efforts as threats to regional security and a drain on the resources that could go to North Korea's largely destitute people.

The draft resolution condemns the latest nuclear test "in the strongest terms" for violating and flagrantly disregarding council resolutions, bans further ballistic missile launches, nuclear tests "or any other provocation," and demands that North Korea return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It also condemns all of North Korea's ongoing nuclear activities, including its uranium enrichment.

But the proposed resolution stresses the council's commitment "to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution" and urged a resumption of six-party talks with the aim of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula "in a peaceful manner."

The proposed resolution would make it significantly harder for North Korea to move around the funds it needs to carry out its illicit programs and strengthen existing sanctions and the inspection of suspect cargo bound to and from the country. It would also ban countries from exporting specific luxury goods to the North, including yachts, luxury automobiles, racing cars, and jewelry with semi-precious and precious stones and precious metals.

According to the draft, all countries would now be required to freeze financial transactions or services that could contribute to North Korea's nuclear or missile programs.

To get around financial sanctions, North Koreans have been carrying around large suitcases filled with cash to move illicit funds. The draft resolution expresses concern that these bulk cash transfers may be used to evade sanctions. It clarifies that the freeze on financial transactions and services that could violate sanctions applies to all cash transfers as well as the cash couriers.

The proposed resolution also bans all countries from providing public financial support for trade deals, such as granting export credits, guarantees or insurance, if the assistance could contribute to the North's nuclear or missile programs.

It includes what a senior diplomat called unprecedented new travel sanctions that would require countries to expel agents working for sanctioned North Korean companies.

The draft also requires states to inspect suspect cargo on their territory and prevent any vessel that refuses an inspection from entering their ports. And a new aviation measure calls on states to deny aircraft permission to take off, land or fly over their territory if illicit cargo is suspected to be aboard.

___

Lederer reported from the United Nations. Foster Klug in Seoul contributed to this report.

Edited by Benedict

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UN sanctions may play into North Korean propaganda

Published March 08, 2013

Associated Press

  • North%20Korea_mar%208.JPG?ve=1

    March 7, 2013 - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks with military personnel as he arrives for a military unit on Mu Islet, in the southernmost part of North Korea's border with South Korea. (AP)

SEOUL, South Korea –  Seven years of U.N. sanctions against North Korea have done nothing to derail Pyongyang's drive for a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States. They may have even bolstered the Kim family by giving their propaganda maestros ammunition to whip up anti-U.S. sentiment and direct attention away from government failures.

In the wake of fresh U.N. sanctions leveled at North Korea on Thursday for its latest nuclear test, the question is: Will this time be different?

Since 2006, North Korea has launched long-range rockets, tested a variety of missiles and conducted three underground nuclear explosions, the most recent on Feb. 12. Through it all, Pyongyang was undeterred by a raft of sanctions -- both multilateral penalties from the United Nations and national sanctions from Washington, Tokyo and others -- meant to punish the government and sidetrack its nuclear ambitions.

A problem with the approach, analysts said, is that outsiders routinely underestimate North Korea's knack for survival. The sanctions are intended to make life more difficult for a country that has crushing poverty, once suffered through a devastating famine and lost its Soviet backers long ago, but Pyongyang often manages to find some advantage.

While state media have not officially announced the new measures, North Korean citizens have been both defiant and dismissive about past sanctions.

"The sanctions are a trigger, a confrontation," said Kim Myong Sim, a 36-year-old who works at Pyongyang Shoe Factory. "History has shown that Korea has never even thrown a stone at America, but the U.S. still continues to have a hostile policy toward my country."

If North Koreans have "the respected general's order, we will wipe Washington from the Earth," she said, referring to leader Kim Jong Un. She said North Koreans have "already suffered sanctions in the past, but we have found our own way and have become self-reliant."

Sanctions "may be doing more to strengthen the regime than hasten its demise," according to a 2011 essay by John Delury and Chung-in Moon, North Korea specialists at Yonsei University.

"They have generally been counterproductive by playing into Pyongyang hardliners' argument that U.S. hostility is the root cause of North Korea's predicament, providing an external enemy to blame for all woes and undercutting initiatives by more moderate forces in the North Korean elite who want to shift the focus more toward economic development," Delury said in an interview Friday.

The U.N. resolution approved Thursday targets North Korea's ruling class by banning nations from exporting expensive jewelry, yachts, luxury automobiles and race cars to the North. It also imposes new travel sanctions that would require countries to expel agents working for certain North Korean companies.

Diplomats at the U.N. boasted that the sanctions resolution sends a powerful message to North Korea's young leader. "These sanctions will bite, and bite hard," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said.

But they may also play into Kim Jong Un's hands.

With the outside world clamoring to punish North Korea, Kim can build the same image his late father, Kim Jong Il, looked to create -- that of a strong leader developing nuclear weapons despite outrage from the U.S. superpower, said Ahn Chan-il, a political scientist who heads the World Institute for North Korea Studies in Seoul.

"We have been living with sanctions for a long time, so we're used it," Jang Jun Sang, a department director at the Ministry of Public Health, told The Associated Press in an interview in Pyongyang late last month.

He acknowledged that sanctions have cut imports of medical equipment and supplies. But he said North Korea would find ways to cope. "If we receive medical aid, that's good," he said. "But if we don't, that's fine, too. We're not worried."

The U.N. Security Council issued the latest sanctions because Pyongyang violated earlier resolutions barring it from conducting nuclear or missile tests. The council passed those measures because it considers North Korea's nuclear testing a threat to international peace and stability.

North Korea dismisses that as a double standard, and claims the right to build nuclear weapons as a defense against the United States, which it blames for leading the push for sanctions.

Pyongyang said before the U.N. vote that it would scrap the armistice that ended the Korean War, and after the vote issued a statement saying it was canceling a hotline and a nonaggression pact with rival South Korea.

The U.N. tries to tailor its sanctions to punish the leadership, not average North Koreans. But it's an imperfect exercise.

The latest sanctions will squeeze North Korea's already meager exports and imports, which will in turn cause pain for citizens, said Cho Bong-hyun, a research fellow at the IBK Economic Research Institute in Seoul.

"North Korea's economy faces so many difficulties already, and it can get even worse (because of the sanctions)," Cho said.

A glimpse of North Korean thinking on sanctions can be seen in a wave of recent warlike threats from North Korea. Fierce language associated with the specter of yet more sanctions leveled at the North by Washington and its allies feeds into an us-against-the-world mentality.

It is meant to "solidify Kim Jong Un's leadership by creating a state of quasi-war and tension," said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University.

Immediately before the Security Council vote, a spokesman for Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said the North will exercise its right for "a pre-emptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors" because of the U.S.-led push for sanctions and U.S.-South Korean joint military drills.

The primary intended audience for such rhetoric is often not outsiders but North Koreans.

When a crisis looms, soldiers, officials and propaganda writers vie with each other to show their extreme loyalty to, and to win promotion and praise from, the ruling Kim family.

Analyst Baek Seung-joo, of the South Korean state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, said it's "like a loyalty competition."

One caveat to the sanctions dilemma is China, which is North Korea's economic lifeline, providing almost all the country's oil and generous amounts of food aid.

Pyongyang's dependency on Beijing has grown as sanctions have piled up. Chinese products made up only about 43 percent of North Korean imports in 2006, compared to more than 95 percent in 2012, according to data from the International Trade Centre. The group, a joint agency of the U.N. and the World Trade Organization, said more than $3.5 billion in Chinese exports reached North Korea last year.

Beijing's backing for the new measures signals its growing frustration with its neighbor and ally.

"In the past, we opened our eyes and closed our eyes as need be. Now we're not closing our eyes anymore," said Cui Yingjiu, a retired professor from Peking University in China and a former classmate of Kim Jong Il.

But Chinese leaders have been wary of putting too much pressure on Pyongyang for fear that the Kim government would collapse, sending North Koreans streaming across the border and potentially leading to the loss of a buffer against a U.S.-allied South Korea.

If China changes course and rigorously enforces the U.N. resolution, "it could seriously disrupt, if not end, North Korea's proliferation activities. Unfortunately, if past behavior is any guide, this is unlikely to happen," Marcus Noland, a North Korean watcher at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in an institute blog post.

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/08/un-sanctions-may-actually-play-into-nkorean-leaders-us-versus-them-propaganda/#ixzz2MzYeVaN7

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sorry here is the rest of the OP.

 

 

The U.N. Security Council was considering a fourth round of sanctions against Pyongyang in a fresh attempt to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The resolution was drafted by the United States and China, North Korea's closest ally. The council's agreement to put the resolution to a vote just 48 hours later signaled that it would almost certainly have the support of all 15 council members.

The statement by the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman was carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

It accused the U.S. of leading efforts to slap sanctions on North Korea. The statement said the new sanctions would only advance the timing for North Korea to fulfill previous vows to take "powerful second and third countermeasures" against its enemies. It hasn't elaborated on those measures.

The statement said North Korea "strongly warns the U.N. Security Council not to make another big blunder like the one in the past when it earned the inveterate grudge of the Korean nation by acting as a war servant for the U.S. in 1950."

North Korea demanded the U.N. Security Council immediately dismantle the American-led U.N. Command that's based in Seoul and move to end the state of war that exists on the Korean Peninsula, which continues six decades after fighting stopped because an armistice, not a peace treaty, ended the war.

In anticipation of the resolution's adoption, North Korea earlier in the week threatened to cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War.

North Korean threats have become more common as tensions have escalated following a rocket launch by Pyongyang in December and its third nuclear test on Feb. 12. Both acts defied three Security Council resolutions that bar North Korea from testing or using nuclear or ballistic missile technology and from importing or exporting material for these programs.

U.S. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said the proposed resolution would impose some of the strongest sanctions ever ordered by the United Nations.

The final version of the draft resolution, released Wednesday, identified three individuals, one corporation and one organization that would be added to the U.N. sanctions list if the measure is approved.

The targets include top officials at a company that is the country's primary arms dealer and main exporter of ballistic missile-related equipment, and a national organization responsible for research and development of missiles and probably nuclear weapons.

The success of a new round of sanctions could depend on enforcement by China, where most of the companies and banks that North Korea is believed to work with are based.

The United States and other nations worry that North Korea's third nuclear test pushed it closer to its goal of gaining nuclear missiles that can reach the U.S. The international community has condemned the regime's nuclear and missile efforts as threats to regional security and a drain on the resources that could go to North Korea's largely destitute people.

The draft resolution condemns the latest nuclear test "in the strongest terms" for violating and flagrantly disregarding council resolutions, bans further ballistic missile launches, nuclear tests "or any other provocation," and demands that North Korea return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It also condemns all of North Korea's ongoing nuclear activities, including its uranium enrichment.

But the proposed resolution stresses the council's commitment "to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution" and urged a resumption of six-party talks with the aim of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula "in a peaceful manner."

The proposed resolution would make it significantly harder for North Korea to move around the funds it needs to carry out its illicit programs and strengthen existing sanctions and the inspection of suspect cargo bound to and from the country. It would also ban countries from exporting specific luxury goods to the North, including yachts, luxury automobiles, racing cars, and jewelry with semi-precious and precious stones and precious metals.

According to the draft, all countries would now be required to freeze financial transactions or services that could contribute to North Korea's nuclear or missile programs.

To get around financial sanctions, North Koreans have been carrying around large suitcases filled with cash to move illicit funds. The draft resolution expresses concern that these bulk cash transfers may be used to evade sanctions. It clarifies that the freeze on financial transactions and services that could violate sanctions applies to all cash transfers as well as the cash couriers.

The proposed resolution also bans all countries from providing public financial support for trade deals, such as granting export credits, guarantees or insurance, if the assistance could contribute to the North's nuclear or missile programs.

It includes what a senior diplomat called unprecedented new travel sanctions that would require countries to expel agents working for sanctioned North Korean companies.

The draft also requires states to inspect suspect cargo on their territory and prevent any vessel that refuses an inspection from entering their ports. And a new aviation measure calls on states to deny aircraft permission to take off, land or fly over their territory if illicit cargo is suspected to be aboard.

___

Lederer reported from the United Nations. Foster Klug in Seoul contributed to this report.

 

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2013/03/20133823322395983.html

Edited by Benedict

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North Korea to end peace pacts with South  

Hotline and nonaggression agreement with South Korea "cancelled" in anger over UN Security Council sanctions vote.
 
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2013 14:14
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North Korea has announced that it is cancelling a hotline and a nonaggression pact with South Korea while reiterated past threats in anger over a UN Security Council vote to impose more sanctions on the country for its third nuclear test.

A statement the North issued on Friday said the country would retaliate with "crushing strikes" if enemies intruded into its territory.

It also said that North Korea was voiding past inter-Korean nuclear disarmament statements.

North Korea previously said it was cancelling a hotline with the US and the armistice that closed the Korean War in 1953.

Thursday's Security Council resolution will tighten financial restrictions on North Korea and crack down on its attempts to ship and receive banned cargo in breach of UN sanctions.

 

The US-drafted statement, which was approved unanimously by the 15-nation council, was the product of three weeks of negotiations between the US and China after North Korea's February 12 nuclear test.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general who is a former South Korean foreign minister, welcomed the council's move, saying in a statement that the resolution "sent an unequivocal message to [North Korea] that the international community will not tolerate its pursuit of nuclear weapons".

Cash transfers targeted

Al Jazeera's diplomatic editor, James Bays, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said the resolution was "pretty much a certainty".

 

The resolution is targeting North Korean diplomats, cash transfers and access to luxury goods.

"I think it is fair to say that this resolution does expand the sanctions regime - not really looking at any new areas to sanction ... the North Korean economy, but what it is trying to do is close the loop holes," our diplomatic editor said.

 

It imposes asset freezes and travel bans on three individuals and two firms linked to North Korea's military.

201249144410895734_20.jpg Spotlight coverage of tension in Northeast Asia

The UN vote came just hours after North Korea threatened to use its right to a pre-emptive nuclear attack against its aggressors.

 

North Korea has accused the US of using military drills in South Korea as a launch pad for a nuclear war and hasscrapped the armistice with Washington that ended hostilities in the 1950-53 Korean War.

 

"Now that the US is set to light a fuse for a nuclear war, revolutionary armed forces... will exercise the right to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors," a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The US said on Thursday it was "fully capable" of defending itself against any North Korean ballistic missile strike.

 

Jay Carney, White House spokesman, said the US military could deal with any such attack and repeated earlier warnings that North Korea would gain nothing by threats and provocations.

Third nuclear test

The North conducted its third nuclear test  in defiance of UN resolutions, and declared it had achieved progress in securing a functioning atomic arsenal.

 

Although North Korea boasts of nuclear bombs and pre-emptive strikes, it is not thought to have mastered the ability to produce a warhead small enough to put on a missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

 

It is believed to have enough nuclear fuel, however, for a handful of crude nuclear devices.

201337111719570734_20.jpgThe latest UN resolution targets North Korean diplomats, cash transfers and access to luxury goods [AFP]

The North's unnamed foreign ministry spokesman also said it would be entitled to take military action as of March 11 when US-South Korea military drills move into a full-scale phase as it had declared the truce invalid.

It is the latest in an escalation of tough words from both sides of the armed Korean border this week as the UN Security Council deliberates a resolution to tighten financial sanctions and a naval blockade against the North.

 

North Korea, which held a mass military rally in Pyongyang on Thursday in support of its recent threats, has protested against the UN censures of its rocket launches.

It says they are part of a peaceful space programme and that the criticism is an exercise of double standards by the US.

In 2010, the North bombed South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island killing two civilians. It is widely accused of sinking a South Korean navy ship earlier in the year, killing 46 sailors.

North Korea was conducting a series of military drills and getting ready for state-wide war practice of an unusual scale, South Korea's defence ministry said earlier on Thursday.

South Korea and the US, which are conducting annual military drills until the end of April, are watching the North's activities for signs they turn from an exercise to an actual attack, a South Korean official said.

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Experts fear North Korea advertising weapon sales with nuclear tests

Published March 19, 2013

Associated Press

  • NorthKoreaslideshow2.jpg

    Dec. 12, 2012: A screen shows a rocket being launched from a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at North Korea's satellite control centre in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province, in this photo released by Kyodo News. (Reuters/Kyodo News)

SEOUL, South Korea –  North Korea's nuclear test last month wasn't just a show of defiance and national pride; it also serves as advertising. The target audience, analysts say, is anyone in the world looking to buy nuclear material.

Though Pyongyang has threatened to launch nuclear strikes on the U.S., the most immediate threat posed by its nuclear technology may be North Korea's willingness to sell it to nations that Washington sees as sponsors of terrorism. The fear of such sales was highlighted this week, when Japan confirmed that cargo seized last year and believed to be from North Korea contained material that could be used to make nuclear centrifuges, which are crucial to enriching uranium into bomb fuel.

The dangerous message North Korea is sending, according to Graham Allison, a nuclear expert at the Harvard Kennedy School: "Nukes are for sale."

North Korea launched a long-range rocket in December, which the U.N. called a cover for a banned test of ballistic missile technology. On Feb. 12, it conducted its third underground nuclear test, which got Pyongyang new U.N. sanctions.

Outside nuclear specialists believe North Korea has enough nuclear material for several crude bombs, but they have yet to see proof that Pyongyang can build a warhead small enough to mount on a missile. The North, however, may be able to help other countries develop nuclear expertise right now, as it is believed to have done in the past.

"There's a growing technical capability and confidence to sell weapons and technology abroad, without fear of reprisal, and that lack of fear comes from (their) growing nuclear capabilities," Joel Wit, a former U.S. State Department official, said at a recent nuclear conference in Seoul.

Pyongyang says it needs nuclear weapons because of what it calls a hostile U.S. policy aimed at invading the North. The U.S., South Korea and others say North Korean brinksmanship meant to win aid and other concessions is the real motive. Even China, North Korea's most important ally, opposes its neighbor's nuclear ambitions.

North Korean nuclear sales earn the impoverished country money that can be pumped back into weapons development, analyst Shin Beomchul at the South Korean-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul said Tuesday.

Its growing capabilities could make North Korea more attractive to buyers, especially if it is determined that highly enriched uranium was used in last month's test.

Proliferation worries have ramped up since late 2010, when North Korea unveiled a long-suspected uranium enrichment operation. North Korea's first two nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009, were suspected to be fueled by its limited plutonium stockpile. A crude uranium bomb is easier to produce than one made with plutonium, and uranium production is easier to conceal.

Little is known about North Korea's uranium program, but Washington and others are keenly interested in whether it is producing highly enriched uranium for bombs and whether uranium was used in the third test — two things suspected, but not yet confirmed, by outsiders.

A nuclear test using highly enriched uranium "would announce to the world — including potential buyers — that North Korea is now operating a new, undiscovered production line for weapons-usable material," Allison, the Harvard nuclear specialist, wrote in a New York Times op-ed after the North's test.

U.S. officials have hinted that retaliation would follow should Washington discover North Korean cooperation behind any atomic attack on an American city or U.S. ally.

Pyongyang's nuclear transfers and any use of weapons of mass destruction "would be considered a grave threat to the United States and our allies, and we will hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences," President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Tom Donilon, said last week.

U.S. officials have long tracked North Korean dealings in nuclear and weapons technology. Sanctions have cut down on missile sales, but Iran and Syria, two countries seen by Washington as rogue actors, may continue to be customers.

In November, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization proposed observing North Korea's nuclear test, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported, citing an unidentified Western diplomatic source privy to Pyongyang-Tehran ties.

North Korea is believed to have helped Syria build what senior U.S. intelligence officials called a secret nuclear reactor meant to produce plutonium. In 2007, israeli jets bombed the structure in a remote Syrian desert.

Japan's government said Monday that it has determined that a shipment believed to have originated in North Korea violated U.N. sanctions because it contained material that could be used to make nuclear centrifuges.

The shipment of an aluminum alloy was seized from a Singaporean-flagged ship transiting Tokyo last August. The ship was reportedly bound for Myanmar from the Chinese port of Dalian, although Japanese government officials didn't confirm Myanmar as the destination.

Japan's chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said officials searched the ship because they believed it carried North Korean cargo. News reports said the United States tipped off Japan. Suga said officials had determined in subsequent analyses that the rods were made of an alloy that suggests they were intended for use in a nuclear centrifuge.

Suga said the seizure was the first to be conducted under a law Japan passed in 2010 to clamp down on the movement of materials that could be used for nuclear weapons development being brought into, or exported from, North Korea.

The murkiness of the clandestine nuclear trade is a major worry. It's difficult to know how a buyer would use atomic material or know-how, or where material could end up after being sold.

"The terrorist threat of an improvised nuclear device delivered anonymously and unconventionally by a boat or a truck across our long and unprotected borders is one against which we have no certain deterrent or defensive response," Robert Gallucci, a former senior U.S. diplomat who negotiated a U.S.-North Korea nuclear deal used to defuse a nuclear crisis in the 1990s, said late last month in Seoul.

"For Americans, this threat is far greater than the unlikely threat that may someday be posed by North Korean nuclear weapons delivered by a ballistic missile," he said

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/19/experts-fear-north-korea-advertising-weapon-sales-with-nuclear-tests/#ixzz2O21g63jR

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Experts fear North Korea advertising weapon sales with nuclear tests

 

Never thought in that way!

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South Korean banks and media report computer network crash, causing speculation of North Korea cyberattack

Published March 20, 2013

Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea –  A cyberattack caused computer networks at major South Korean banks and top TV broadcasters to crash simultaneously Wednesday, paralyzing bank machines across the country and prompting speculation of North Korean involvement.

Screens went blank at 2 p.m. (0500 GMT), the state-run Korea Information Security Agency said, and more than seven hours later some systems were still down.

Police and South Korean officials couldn't immediately determine responsibility and North Korea's state media made no immediate comments on the shutdown. But some experts suspected a cyberattack orchestrated by Pyongyang. The rivals have exchanged threats amid joint U.S.-South Korean military drills and in the wake of U.N. sanctions meant to punish North Korea over its nuclear test last month.

The network paralysis took place just days after North Korea accused South Korea and the U.S. of staging a cyberattack that shut down its websites for two days last week. Loxley Pacific, the Thailand-based Internet service provider, confirmed the North Korean outage but did not say what caused it.

The South Korean shutdown did not affect government agencies or potential targets such as power plants or transportation systems, and there were no immediate reports that bank customers' records were compromised, but the disruption froze part of the country's commerce.

Some customers were unable to use the debit or credit cards that many rely on more than cash. At one Starbucks in downtown Seoul, customers were asked to pay for their coffee in cash, and lines formed outside disabled bank machines.

Shinhan Bank, a major South Korean lender, reported a two-hour system shutdown, including online banking and automated teller machines. It said networks later came back online and that banking was back to normal. Shinhan said no customer records or accounts were compromised.

Another big bank, Nonghyup, said its system eventually came back online. Officials didn't answer a call seeking details on the safety of customer records. Jeju Bank said some of its branches also reported network shutdowns.

Broadcasters KBS and MBC said their computers went down at 2 p.m., but that the shutdown did not affect TV broadcasts. Computers were still down about seven hours after the shutdown began, according to the state-run Korea Communications Commission, South Korea's telecom regulator.

The YTN cable news channel also said the company's internal computer network was paralyzed. Footage showed workers staring at blank computer screens.

KBS employees said they watched helplessly as files stored on their computers began disappearing.

Last year, North Korea threatened to attack several news companies, including KBC and MBC, over their reports critical of children's' festivals in the North.

'It's got to be a hacking attack. Such simultaneous shutdowns cannot be caused by technical glitches.'

- Lim Jong-in, dean of Korea University's Graduate School of Information Security

 

"It's got to be a hacking attack," said Lim Jong-in, dean of Korea University's Graduate School of Information Security. "Such simultaneous shutdowns cannot be caused by technical glitches."

The Korea Information Security Agency had reported that an image of skulls and a hacking claim had popped up on some of the computers that shut down, but later said those who reported the skulls did not work for the five companies whose computers suffered massive outages. KISA was investigating the skull images as well.

"If it plays out that this was a state-sponsored attack, that's pretty bald faced and definitely an escalation in the tensions between the two countries," said James Barnett, former chief of public safety and homeland security for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

An ominous question is what other businesses, in South Korea or elsewhere, may also be in the sights of the attacker, said Barnett, who heads the cybersecurity practice at Washington law firm Venable.

"This needs to be a wake-up call," he said. "This can happen anywhere."

An official at the Korea Communications Commission said investigators speculate that malicious code was spread from company servers that send automatic updates of security software and virus patches.

LG Uplus Corp., which provides network services for the companies that suffered outages, saw no signs of a cyberattack on its networks, company spokesman Lee Jung-hwan said.

The South Korean military raised its cyberattack readiness level but saw no signs of cyberattacks on its networks, the Defense Ministry said.

No government computers were affected, officials said. President Park Geun-hye called for quick efforts to get systems back online, according to her spokeswoman, Kim Haing.

The shutdown raised worries about the overall vulnerability to attacks in South Korea, a world leader in broadband and mobile Internet access. Previous hacking attacks at private companies compromised millions of people's personal data. Past malware attacks also disabled access to government agency websites and destroyed files in personal computers.

Seoul believes North Korea runs an Internet warfare unit aimed at hacking U.S. and South Korean government and military networks to gather information and disrupt service.

Seoul blames North Korean hackers for several cyberattacks in recent years. Pyongyang has either denied or ignored those charges. Hackers operating from IP addresses in China have also been blamed.

In 2011, computer security software maker McAfee Inc. said North Korea or its sympathizers likely were responsible for a cyberattack against South Korean government and banking websites earlier that year. The analysis also said North Korea appeared to be linked to a 2009 massive computer-based attack that brought down U.S. government Internet sites. Pyongyang denied involvement.

"North Korea has almost certainly done similar attacks before," said Tim Junio, a cybersecurity fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation. "Part of why this wasn't more consequential is probably because South Korea took the first major incident seriously and deployed a bunch of organizational and technical innovations to reduce response time during future North Korea attacks."

South Korea has created a National Cybersecurity Center, a national monitoring sector and a Cyber Command modeled after the U.S. Cyber Command.

"These companies have security monitoring centers getting fed info from all over Korea to help detect incidents quickly and push technical solutions," he said. "They also have formal relationships with the government and sectors within their companies dedicated to national security work, including North Korean malware."

The shutdown comes amid rising rhetoric and threats of attack from Pyongyang over the U.N. sanctions. Washington also expanded sanctions against North Korea this month in a bid to cripple the government's ability to develop its nuclear program.

North Korea has threatened revenge for the sanctions and for ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills, which the allies describe as routine but which Pyongyang says are rehearsals for invasion.

On Wednesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected military drills in which drone planes hit targets and rockets shot down mock enemy cruise missiles. Kim told officers the North should "destroy the enemies without mercy so that not a single man can survive to sign a document of surrender when a battle starts," according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

Last week, North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea warned South Korea's "reptile media" that the North was prepared to conduct a "sophisticated strike" on Seoul.

North Korea also has claimed cyberattacks by the U.S. and South Korea. The North's official Korean Central News Agency accused the countries of expanding an aggressive stance against Pyongyang into cyberspace with "intensive and persistent virus attacks."

South Korea denied the allegation and the U.S. military declined to comment.

Lim said he believes hackers in China were likely culprits in the outage in Pyongyang, but that North Korea was probably responsible for Wednesday's attack.

"Hackers attack media companies usually because of a political desire to cause confusion in society," he said. "Political attacks on South Korea come from North Koreans."

Orchestrating the mass shutdown of the networks of major companies would have taken at least one to six months of planning and coordination, said Kwon Seok-chul, chief executive officer of Seoul-based cybersecurity firm Cuvepia Inc.

Kwon, who analyzed personal computers at one of the three broadcasters shut down Wednesday, said he hasn't yet seen signs that the malware was distributed by North Korea.

"But hackers left indications in computer files that mean this could be the first of many attacks," he said.

Lim said tracking the source of the outage would take months.

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/20/south-korean-banks-and-media-report-computer-network-crash/#ixzz2O8CnyxvT

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Never thought in that way!

It could be fear mongering but only time will tell. Hoping N. Korea will listen to its allies like China. Then again maybe they won't. I hate the nuke arms race crap. 

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North Korea threatens to attack US air bases in Pacific

Published March 21, 2013

FoxNews.com

North Korea is threatening to attack American air bases on Guam and the Japanese island of Okinawa in response to a series of military drills involving the U.S. and South Korea.

The U.S. Air Force has been flying B-52 bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, over the Korean Peninsula.

"The U.S. should not forget that the Anderson Air Force Base on Guam, where B-52 bombers take off, and naval bases in Japan and Okinawa where nuclear-powered submarines are launched, are within the striking range of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea precision strike means," read a statement from Kim Yong Chul, the spokesman of North Korea’s army.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday that the B-52 drills show a commitment and ability to defend South Korea from the North, Sky News reports.

North Korea has been increasing its anti-U.S. rhetoric after the United Nations imposed harsh sanctions on the country over its nuclear program.

 

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China tightens border searches to punish North Korea as US asks for sterner measures

Published March 23, 2013

Associated Press

BEIJING –  China is trying to punish ally North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests, stepping up inspections of North Korean-bound cargo in a calibrated effort to send a message of Chinese pique without further provoking a testy Pyongyang government.

Freight handlers and trading companies at ports and cities near the North Korean border complain of more rigorous inspections and surprise checks that are raising the costs to doing business with an often unpredictable North Korea. Machinery, luxury goods and daily necessities such as rice and cooking oil are among the targeted products, the companies said, and business is suffering.

"Some business orders we don't dare take. We don't dare do that business because we fear that after the orders are taken, we will end up unable to ship them," said a Mr. Hu, an executive with Dalian Fast International Logistics Co. in the northeastern port city of Dalian, across the Yellow Sea from the North Korean port of Nampo. Hu said the company's business is off by as much as 20 percent this year.

North Korea's economic lifeline, China is showing signs of getting tough with an impoverished neighbor it has long supported with trade, aid and diplomatic protection for fear of setting off a collapse.

The moves to crimp, but not cut off trade with North Korea come as Beijing falls under increased scrutiny to enforce new U.N. sanctions passed after last month's nuclear test, Pyongyang's third. Targeted in the sanctions are the bank financing and bulk smuggling of cash that could assist North Korea's nuclear and missile programs as well as the luxury goods that sustain the ruling elite around leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang has reacted with fury and threatening rhetoric against South Korea and the U.S.

U.S. officials in Beijing for two days of talks to lobby China on enforcement said Friday that they were heartened by Chinese expressions of resolve. Spurring Beijing to cooperate, the U.S. officials said, is a concern that North Korean behavior had begun threatening China's interests in a region vital to its economic and security.

"There's reason to believe the Chinese are looking at the threat in a real way," Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen told reporters.

China's change of tack with North Korea unlikely foreshadows a total end to Beijing's support. For Beijing, North Korea remains a pivotal strategic buffer between China and a U.S.-allied South Korea, and Chinese leaders worry that too much pressure could upend an already fragile North Korean economy and cause the Kim government to collapse, leaving Beijing with a security headache and possible refugee crisis.

But North Korea watchers said between blind support and complete abandonment there's much Beijing is doing and can do to try to rein in Pyongyang.

"We have to get away from the binary thinking that either they support North Korea or they pull the plug. That's not the way the world works," said Jonathan Pollack of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank. "The interesting thing is not what happens at the UN but what happens beneath the radar in terms of what Chinese provide in economic aid and energy assistance."

Over the past decade, as previous nuclear and long-range missile tests and other provocations saw the UN, the U.S., South Korea and Japan impose sanctions and reduce trade and assistance to North Korea, China has stepped into the breach. By 2011, China provided nearly all of North Korea's fuel and more than 83 percent of its imports, everything from heavy machinery to grain and electronics and other consumer goods, according to statistics from the International Trade Center, a research arm of the United Nations and World Trade Organization.

Though Pyongyang could look to other trading partners like Russia, Iran or Kuwait for fuel and some other goods, China's proximity — their shared 1,400-kilometer (880-mile) border — makes it indispensable. Chinese companies, often with backed by the government, are enlarging North Korean ports and building roads, helping to underpin growth after more than a decade of famine and economic decay.

Such was the Chinese support that U.S. politicians and UN experts complained that Beijing was failing to enforce previous rounds of sanctions, particularly on luxury goods. The $169,000 worth of pleasure boats imported by North Korea last year all came from China, the ITC data show, as did most of the liquor and cigarettes.

As China upped its investment, it became disillusioned with Kim Jong Un. Since coming to power after the sudden death of his dictator father, Kim has refused to heed Beijing's prodding to engage in economic reform and return to negotiations over its nuclear program.

Beijing's unhappiness began to show in December, around the time of North Korea's latest long-range rocket launch but before the nuclear test. It was then, traders and cargo companies said, that orders for tightened inspections appeared.

At Complant International Transportation in the port of Dalian, customs inspectors began opening containers and packages with equipment or luxury goods or anything they deemed sensitive rather than just scan them, said a company executive who identified himself only by his surname, Zhang.

"That was since the end of last year. Now they're even stricter," Zhang said.

Companies in the border city of Dandong on the Yalu River said North Korean-bound goods have to be stored in bonded logistics centers for inspection by customs authorities. Banking restrictions mean North Korean traders have a hard time getting hard currency.

"Due to the lack of cash, North Korean companies tend to pay with minerals or coal, but we only trade with those able to pay in cash," said Yu Tao, vice general manager of the Dandong Import and Export Co. Yu said the company trades daily consumer goods and has been reducing its trade with North Korea because of the risks.

Banking is one area where China has been tightening controls, but the U.S. would like Beijing to do more. "China remains the name of the game when it comes to financial sanctions against North Korea," said Jo Dong-ho, an expert on the North Korean economy at Seoul's Ewha Womans University.

In late 2011, Beijing forced the China Construction Bank to close accounts opened by the Korea Kwangson Banking Corp. in Dandong and the Golden Triangle Bank in Hunchun, another border city, to comply with previous U.N. sanctions. Still, with tens of thousands of North Koreans having fled to China, many just for short-term work, plus traders, the yuan is used inside North Korea, and smuggling of large amounts of the Chinese currency across the border has become common.

Cohen, the U.S. Treasury official, said he urged China to follow the U.S. lead and impose sanctions on North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank. The bank serves as the main foreign exchange bank for North Korea, wiring and receiving funds to facilitate trade, most of which goes through China, so sanctions would in effect further force more North Koreans to turn to cash.

"North Koreans will have no choice but to carry a large amount of cash by themselves," said Kim Joongho, a senior research fellow at South Korea's Export-Import Bank. That will cause "inconvenience on the Pyongyang elites' economic lives.

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/23/china-tightens-border-searches-to-punish-north-korea-as-us-asks-for-sterner/#ixzz2ONfzhxaI

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N. Korea puts artillery forces at top combat posture in latest threat on S. Korea, US

Published March 26, 2013

Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea –  North Korea's military warned Tuesday that its artillery and rocket forces are at their highest-level combat posture in the latest in a string of bellicose threats aimed at South Korea and the United States.

The announcement came as South Koreans marked the third anniversary of the sinking of a warship in which 46 South Korean sailors died. Seoul says the ship was hit by a North Korean torpedo, while the North denies involvement.

Seoul's Defense Ministry said Tuesday it hasn't seen any suspicious North Korean military activity and that officials are analyzing the North's warning. Analysts say a direct North Korean attack is extremely unlikely, especially during joint U.S.-South Korean military drills that end April 30, though there's some worry about a provocation after the training wraps up.

The rival Koreas have had several bloody naval skirmishes in disputed Yellow Sea waters since 1999. In November 2010, a North Korean artillery strike on a South Korean island killed two marines and two civilians.

North Korea, angry over routine U.S.-South Korean drills and recent U.N. sanctions punishing it for its Feb. 12 nuclear test, has vowed to launch a nuclear strike against the United States and repeated its nearly two-decade-old threat to reduce Seoul to a "sea of fire." Despite the rhetoric, outside weapons analysts have seen no proof that North Korea has mastered the technology needed to build a warhead small enough to mount on a missile.

On Tuesday, the North Korean army's Supreme Command said it will take "practical military action" to protect national sovereignty and its leadership in response to what it called U.S. and South Korean plots to attack.

The statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, cited the participation of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers in South Korea-U.S. drills.

North Korea's field artillery forces -- including strategic rocket and long-range artillery units that are "assigned to strike bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor troops in the U.S. mainland and on Hawaii and Guam and other operational zones in the Pacific as well as all the enemy targets in South Korea and its vicinity" -- will be placed on "the highest alert from this moment," the statement said.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said the threat would only further isolate North Korea.

"North Korea's bellicose rhetoric and threats follow a well-worn pattern designed to raise tensions and intimidate others," Little said. He said there have been three flights by U.S. B-52 bombers during the recent military drills with South Korea.

The North's recent threats are seen partly as efforts to strengthen internal loyalty to young leader Kim Jong Un and to build up his military credentials.

Kim "needs to show he has the guts. The best way to do that is to use the military might that he commands," said Lee Yoon-gyu, a North Korea expert at Korea National Defense University in Seoul. "This paves the way for greater praise for him if North Korea makes a provocation later and claims victory."

Kim will eventually be compelled to do "something provocative to prove the threats weren't empty," Lee said.

Meanwhile, websites and organizations run by North Korean defectors in South Korea said they suffered cyberattacks on Tuesday, one week after computer systems at some South Korean banks and TV networks were widely disrupted.

Daily NK, which posts news about North Korea, said it experienced a cyperattack, and South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Free North Korea Radio also was attacked.

Yonhap said a computer network used by seven local governments was also briefly attacked, as was a network belonging to broadcaster YTN.

Authorities have not confirmed who was behind last week's cyberattack but suspect North Korea.

At a ceremony marking the third anniversary of the warship sinking, new South Korean President Park Geun-hye urged the North again to abandon its nuclear weapons program. "Focusing its national strength on the development of nuclear weapons while its people are suffering starvation ... will only bring international isolation to themselves," Park said in a televised speech at a national cemetery south of Seoul where the 46 sailors are buried.

 

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US moving ships, radar systems in response to N. Korean threat

Published April 02, 2013

FoxNews.com

The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that it is positioning an array of military assets near the Korean Peninsula, as the White House stressed that the "entire national security team" is focused on the escalating threats out of Pyongyang -- with the latest being a pledge to restart a key nuclear reactor. 

Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking Tuesday at a news conference with the visiting foreign minister of South Korea, said recent belligerent rhetoric from North Korea is "unacceptable" and that the U.S. will defend itself, as well as South Korea and Japan, from any threat from the North.

The amount of hostile language from North Korea in recent weeks was "extraordinary," Kerry said, adding that the isolated state should have no doubt that the U.S. will fulfill its treaty obligations to allies in the region.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said that two destroyer warships, the USS Decatur and USS McCain, have arrived in the region as part of a missile-defense mission. Previously, the Pentagon had only revealed that it had moved the USS McCain to the region. 

"They have arrived at predetermined positions in the western Pacific, where they will be poised to respond to any missile threats to our allies or our territory," Little said Tuesday.

In addition, the Pentagon has already announced plans to have two sea-based radar systems in the western Pacific. One is already in northern Japan; the other has not yet deployed and is currently conducting non-North Korean related systems tests off Pearl Harbor. 

The system in Japan can serve to protect the Korean peninsula as well as threats to the western United States that originate from North Korea. 

"I am not going to get into specifics of where our assets are in South Korea or elsewhere, but we stand ready to defend South Korea from external threats, wherever they may originate," Little said, while also calling for "the temperature to be taken down." 

Meanwhile, U.S. officials on Tuesday condemned North Korea's latest threat to restart a nuclear reactor that can make one bomb's worth of plutonium a year. The plutonium reactor was shut down in 2007 as part of international nuclear disarmament talks that have since stalled. The declaration of a resumption of plutonium production -- the most common fuel in nuclear weapons -- and other facilities at the main Nyongbyon nuclear complex will boost fears in Washington and among its allies about North Korea's timetable for building a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach the mainland U.S., technology it is not currently believed to have. 

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said it would be "extremely alarming" if North Korea followed through on the vow to restart the reactor, though added that there was "a long way to go" between the North stating an intention and following through on it. 

Nuland spoke ahead of a meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se. 

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. is taking steps to ensure it has the capacity to defend itself and its allies, and that President Obama is being updated regularly. 

"The entire national security team is obviously focused on this, as you would expect," Carney said. 

But Carney noted that a string of threats from North Korea toward the U.S. and South Korea so far have not been backed up by action, calling the threats part of a counterproductive pattern. He called on Russia and China, two countries he said have influence on North Korea, to use that influence to persuade the North to change course. 

A spokesman for North Korea's General Department of Atomic Energy said Tuesday scientists will quickly begin "readjusting and restarting" the facilities at its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex, including the plutonium reactor and a uranium enrichment plant. Both could produce fuel for nuclear weapons. 

Fox News' Justin Fishel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/02/us-moving-ships-radar-systems-in-response-to-n-korean-threat/?cmpid=googextension#ixzz2PLYGWmse

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Hagel calls N. Korea 'real and clear danger,' as US plans defense system in Guam

Published April 03, 2013

FoxNews.com

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that North Korea's rising threats pose a "real and clear danger," as the Pentagon continued to take precautions with a plan to deploy a missile-defense system to Guam. 

A senior U.S. official confirmed to Fox News that the military will deploy an Army system shown as a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery to Guam. The system is capable of shooting down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. 

This follows the positioning of two U.S. destroyer ships in the region, along with plans to have two sea-based radar systems in the western Pacific.

At the same time, North Korea seemed to ramp up its rhetoric even further Wednesday, warning that it's military had been cleared to attack the U.S. with "smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear" weapons. The National Security Council responded by saying such "unhelpful and unconstructive threats ... only serve to further isolate North Korea."

Hagel, speaking Wednesday at the National Defense University, said the cascade of threats out of North Korea must be taken "seriously," given the country's nuclear and missile-delivery capacity -- though analysts say the country still could not fire a nuclear-tipped missile all the way to the continental United States. 

"As they have ratcheted up (their) bellicose, dangerous rhetoric -- and some of the actions they've taken over the last few weeks present a real and clear danger and threat to the interests, certainly of our allies, starting with South Korea and Japan," Hagel said. He also cited the "threats that the North Koreans have leveled directly at the United States regarding our base in Guam, threatened Hawaii, threatened to the West Coast of the United States." 

The Kim Jong Un regime has toggled in recent weeks between threatening the U.S. and threatening South Korea. 

In addition to announcing through an unnamed army spokesman that it had cleared a strike plan for a potential attack on the U.S., North Korea said Wednesday it had decided to bar South Korean managers and trucks delivering supplies from crossing the border to enter a jointly run factory park called Kaesong. 

The Kaesong industrial park started producing goods in 2004 and has been an unusual point of cooperation in an otherwise hostile relationship between the Koreas, whose three-year war ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty. 

The Kaesong move came a day after the North said it would restart its long-shuttered plutonium reactor and a uranium enrichment plant. Both could produce fuel for nuclear weapons that North Korea is developing and has threatened to hurl at the U.S., something experts don't think it will be able to accomplish for years. 

The North's rising rhetoric has been met by a display of U.S. military strength, including flights of nuclear-capable bombers and stealth jets at annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that the allies call routine and North Korea says are invasion preparations. 

In a telephone call Tuesday evening to Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, Hagel cited North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and said Washington and Beijing should continue to cooperate on those problems. 

"The secretary emphasized the growing threat to the U.S. and our allies posed by North Korea's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and expressed to General Chang the importance of sustained U.S.-China dialogue and cooperation on these issues," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement describing the phone call. 

Little also disclosed that Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will visit China later this month. It would be Dempsey's first trip to China as head of the Joint Chiefs. 

Hagel also invited the Chinese defense minister to visit the United States this year. 

Fox News' Justin Fishel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/03/hagel-calls-n-korea-real-and-clear-danger-as-us-plans-defense-system-in-guam/#ixzz2PS5uDYVx

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US missile defense shield going to Guam to help counter threat of possible North Korean attack

Published April 03, 2013

Associated Press

  • 5bd690083d4f010b2e0f6a70670023fa.jpg?ve=

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, Wednesday, April 3, 2013. Hagel warned of sharply deeper cuts to personnel, health care and weapons systems across his department, in order to put the brakes on spiraling costs and reshape the military for leaner budgets and new challenges. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (The Associated Press)

  • 4a1ed5523d50010b2e0f6a706700ce82.jpg?ve=

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, Wednesday, April 3, 2013. Hagel warned of sharply deeper cuts to personnel, health care and weapons systems across his department, in order to put the brakes on spiraling costs and reshape the military for leaner budgets and new challenges. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (The Associated Press)

WASHINGTON –  The Pentagon said Wednesday it was deploying a missile defense shield to Guam to protect the U.S. and its allies in the region in response to increasingly hostile rhetoric from North Korea. The North renewed its threat to launch a nuclear attack on the United States.

The threat issued by the General Staff of the Korean People's Army capped a week of psychological warfare and military muscle moves by both sides that have rattled the region.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced it will deploy a land-based, high-altitude missile defense system to Guam to strengthen the Asia-Pacific region's protections against a possible attack.

Pyongyang, for its part, said that America's ever-escalating hostile policy toward North Korea "will be smashed" by the North's nuclear strike and the "merciless operation" of its armed forces.

"The U.S. had better ponder over the prevailing grave situation," said the translated statement, which was issued before the Pentagon announced plans to send a missile defense shield to Guam.

The Pentagon had no immediate reaction to the latest statement, but earlier Wednesday Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel labeled North Korea's rhetoric as a real, clear danger and threat to the U.S. and its Asia-Pacific allies. And he said the U.S. is doing all it can to defuse the situation, echoing comments a day earlier by Secretary of State John Kerry.

"Some of the actions they've taken over the last few weeks present a real and clear danger and threat to the interests, certainly of our allies, starting with South Korea and Japan and also the threats that the North Koreans have leveled directly at the United States regarding our base in Guam, threatened Hawaii, threatened the West Coast of the United States," Hagel said.

He said he believes that the U.S. has had a "measured, responsible, serious responses to those threats."

Deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System is the latest step the U.S. has taken to bolster forces in the region in a far-reaching show of force aimed at countering the North Korean threat.

In recent months, North Korea has taken a series of actions Washington deemed provocative, including an underground nuclear test in February and a rocket launch in December that put a satellite into space and demonstrated mastery of some of the technologies needed to produce a long-range nuclear missile. Then, several weeks ago, the North threatened to pre-emptively attack the U.S.

In response, the Pentagon announced it would enhance missile defenses based on the U.S. West Coast, and it highlighted the deployment of B-52 and B-2 bombers, as well as two F-22 stealth fighters, to South Korea as part of an annual military exercise.

As the exchange of rhetoric grew, U.S. officials this week said the Navy would keep the USS Decatur, a destroyer armed with missile defense systems, near the Korean peninsula for an unspecified period of time. Another destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, was shifted to the waters off the southwest coast of the Korean peninsula.

Tensions have flared many times in the six decades since a truce halted the 1950-53 Korean War, but the stakes are higher now that a defiant North Korea appears to have moved closer to building a nuclear bomb that could not only threaten the South and other U.S. allies in Asia but possibly, one day, even reach U.S. territory.

Even without nuclear arms, the communist North poses enough artillery within range of Seoul to devastate large parts of the capital before U.S. and South Korea could fully respond. The U.S. has about 28,500 troops in the South, and it could call on an array of air, ground and naval forces to reinforce the peninsula from elsewhere in Asia and the Pacific.

U.S. officials have said that the Pentagon's military response to Pyongyang's threats has so far been aimed more at assuring South Korea and other allies in the region that America is committed to their security. U.S. military leaders also have said that despite the escalating rhetoric, they have seen nothing to suggest that North Korea is making any military moves to back up its threats.

Hagel told an audience at the National Defense University that there is a path to peace on the troubled Korean peninsula, but it doesn't include making nuclear threats or taking provocative actions.

The land-based THAAD missile defense system includes a truck-mounted launcher, tracking radar, interceptor missiles, and an integrated fire control system. The Pentagon said the system will boost defenses for American citizens in Guam, a U.S. territory, and U.S. forces stationed there.

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/04/03/us-missile-defense-shield-going-to-guam-to-help-counter-threat-possible-north/#ixzz2PS69gIJh

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North Korea warns military cleared to wage nuclear attack against US

Published April 03, 2013

FoxNews.com

  • NorthKoreanukeattack.jpg

    April 3, 2013: South Korean Marines pass by K-55 self-propelled howitzers during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea. (AP)

An unnamed spokesman for the North Korean army is warning the U.S. that its military has been cleared to wage an attack using "smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear" weapons in the latest of the country's escalating warnings. 

North Korea has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.

The spokesman said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency that troops have been authorized to counter U.S. aggression with "powerful practical military counteractions."

National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden called the threats "unhelpful and unconstructive."

"It is yet another offering in a long line of provocative statements that only serve to further isolate North Korea from the rest of the international community and undermine its goal of economic development," she said. "North Korea should stop its provocative threats and instead concentrate on abiding by its international obligations."

The Pentagon said in Washington that it will deploy a missile defense system to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam to strengthen regional protection against a possible attack from North Korea. The defense secretary said the U.S. was seeking to defuse the situation.

Despite the rhetoric, analysts say they do not expect a nuclear attack by North Korea, which knows the move could trigger a destructive, suicidal war that no one in the region wants.

The strident warning from Pyongyang is latest in a series of escalating threats from North Korea, which has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.

Following through on one threat Wednesday, North Korean border authorities refused to allow entry to South Koreans who manage jointly run factories in the North Korean city of Kaesong.

Washington calls the military drills, which this time have incorporated fighter jets and nuclear-capable stealth bombers, routine annual exercises between the allies. Pyongyang calls them rehearsals for a northward invasion.

The foes fought on opposite sides of the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953. The divided Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war six decades later, and Washington keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect its ally.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Washington was doing all it can to defuse the situation, echoing comments a day earlier by Secretary of State John Kerry.

"Some of the actions they've taken over the last few weeks present a real and clear danger and threat to the interests, certainly of our allies, starting with South Korea and Japan and also the threats that the North Koreans have leveled directly at the United States regarding our base in Guam, threatened Hawaii, threatened the West Coast of the United States," Hagel said Wednesday.

In Pyongyang, the military statement said North Korean troops had been authorized to counter U.S. "aggression" with "powerful practical military counteractions," including nuclear weapons.

"We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever-escalating U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel and people and cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means," an unnamed spokesman from the General Bureau of the Korean People's Army said in a statement carried by state media, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "The U.S. had better ponder over the prevailing grave situation."

However, North Korea's nuclear strike capabilities remain unclear.

Pyongyang is believed to be working toward building an atomic bomb small enough to mount on a long-range missile. Long-range rocket launches designed to send satellites into space in 2009 and 2012 were widely considered covert tests of missile technology, and North Korea has conducted three underground nuclear tests, most recently in February.

"I don't believe North Korea has to capacity to attack the United States with nuclear weapons mounted on missiles, and won't for many years. Its ability to target and strike South Korea is also very limited," nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker, a senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, said this week.

"And even if Pyongyang had the technical means, why would the regime want to launch a nuclear attack when it fully knows that any use of nuclear weapons would result in a devastating military response and would spell the end of the regime? " he said in answers posted to CISAC's website.

In Seoul, a senior government official said Tuesday that it wasn't clear how advanced North Korea's nuclear weapons capabilities are. But he also noted fallout from any nuclear strike on Seoul or beyond would threaten Pyongyang as well, making a strike unlikely. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly to the media.

North Korea maintains that it needs to build nuclear weapons to defend itself against the United States. On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un led a high-level meeting of party officials who declared building the economy and "nuclear armed forces" as the nation's two top priorities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/04/03/north-korea-warns-military-cleared-to-wage-nuclear-attack/?cmpid=googextension#ixzz2PS8qGM2n

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North Korea moves missile launchers, issues safety warning to foreign embassies

Published April 05, 2013

FoxNews.com

As tensions continued to mount on the Korean peninsula, the communist dictatorship in the North deployed mid-range missile launchers to its east coast and reportedly warned foreign embassies Friday it cannot guarantee the safety of diplomats after April 10.

Reuters reported early Friday that North Korea deployed two of its intermediate range missiles on mobile launchers and hid them on the east coast of the country, citing a South Korean news agency.

South Korea said Thursday North Korea moved a missile with "considerable range" to its east coast after an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean army warned the U.S. Wednesday that its military has been cleared to wage an attack using "smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear" weapons.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom foreign office confirmed in a statement Friday that North Korea asked a number of foreign embassies in Pyongyang  to consider moving staff out since they could not assure their safety in the event of conflict.

"We are consulting international partners about these developments.  No decisions have been taken, and we have no immediate plans to withdraw our Embassy,”  the UK foreign office statement said.

Under the Vienna Convention that governs diplomatic missions, host governments are required to assist in the evacuation of embassy staff from the country in the event of conflict.

North Korea has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.

``The current question was not whether, but when a war would break out on the peninsula,'' because of the ``increasing threat from the United States'', China's state news agency Xinhua quoted the North's Foreign Ministry as saying, according to a Reuters report.

U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden has called North Korea's threats "unhelpful and unconstructive."

"It is yet another offering in a long line of provocative statements that only serve to further isolate North Korea from the rest of the international community and undermine its goal of economic development," she said. "North Korea should stop its provocative threats and instead concentrate on abiding by its international obligations."

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin dismissed reports in the Japanese and South Korean media that the missile moved this week could be a KN-08, which is believed to be a long-range missile that if operable could hit the United States.

Kim told lawmakers at a hearing that the missile's range is considerable but not far enough to hit the U.S. mainland. He said he did not know the reasons behind the missile movement, saying it "could be for testing or drills."

The range he described could refer to a mobile North Korean missile known as the Musudan, which has a range of 1,800 miles. That would make Japan and South Korea potential targets, but little is known about the missile's accuracy.

Despite North Korea's rhetoric, analysts say they do not expect a nuclear attack, which knows the move could trigger a destructive, suicidal war that no one in the region wants.

 ``The rhetoric is off the charts,'' said Victor Cha, former director for Asian affairs at the White House National Security.

Following through on one threat Wednesday, North Korean border authorities refused to allow entry to South Koreans who manage jointly run factories in the North Korean city of Kaesong.

Washington calls the military drills, which this time have incorporated fighter jets and nuclear-capable stealth bombers, routine annual exercises between the allies. Pyongyang calls them rehearsals for a northward invasion.

Fox News' Justin Fishel and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/04/05/north-korea-warns-military-cleared-to-wage-nuclear-attack/#ixzz2Pd3NzyYv

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