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Kim Jong Un Launches Missiles Like He’s In An Olympic Competition (#GotBitcoin?)

The latest missiles test likely required a route that traveled above North Korean land. Kim Jong Un Launches Missiles Like He’s In An Olympic Competition (#GotBitcoin?)

Kim Jong Un Launches Missiles Like He's In An Olympic Competition (#GotBitcoin?)

A File Photo Shows A North Korean Intercontinental Ballistic Rocket Hwasong-14 Being Prepared Last Month Before A Test Launch. It Isn’t Yet Known Whether This Was The Type Of Missile Launched Over Japan Early Tuesday (9-11-2019) Local Time.

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles Tuesday morning, Seoul officials said, the latest weapons test to challenge both the U.S. positioning in stalled nuclear negotiations and its tolerance for such provocations.

Pyongyang’s latest weapons test represents its fourth in 13 days. The missiles were launched from the North’s South Hwanghae province, on the country’s west coast, before splashing into the waters between South Korea and Japan, Seoul’s military said.

The missiles were fired at 5:24 a.m. local time, with the second coming 12 minutes later, soaring about 23 miles high and over a 280-mile distance, South Korea’s military said. The North has claimed in state media that some of the recent tests were rocket-launched weapons, though South Koreans have initially classified them as short-range missiles.

The latest missiles test likely required a route that traveled over North Korean territory. The other recent tests were conducted off the country’s east coast. Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missiles hadn’t reached its territory.

President Trump and senior U.S. officials have sought to play down the North’s recent weapons launches, noting that other countries engage in similar short-range testing. Washington has drawn the line with long-range missile tests, which the Kim regime has avoided since November 2017.

Some North Korea experts have argued that the U.S. should have taken a tougher stance publicly, denouncing the Kim regime’s weapons tests which started back up again in April. Taking such a posture, those experts say, might have dissuaded Pyongyang from tests that allow the regime to hone short-range weapons that could attack Seoul and Tokyo.

In Washington, a senior administration official said the U.S. will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with South Korean and Japanese allies. South Korea’s military said it would monitor for further launches and maintain a preparatory position.

North Korean state media didn’t have immediate comment. But in a separate Tuesday report, taking aim at coming South Korea-U.S. military exercises, Pyongyang warned it may “seek a new road” and saw no need for a “fruitless and exhausting dialogue.” The regime often hurls exaggerated threats against Seoul and Washington.

But the state-media report, citing an unnamed foreign ministry official, also signaled that Pyongyang was willing to hold nuclear talks. The North remains “unchanged in our stand to resolve the issues through dialogue,” the state media report said.

Updated: 9-10-2019

North Korea ‘Fires Two Short-Range Missiles’ In Latest Launch

It was the fifth round of test launches in two weeks to protest US-South Korea joint military drills, Seoul says.

North Korea has fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, according to South Korea’s military, the latest in a series of launches to protest US-South Korea joint military drills.

Defence officials in Seoul said the missiles were fired early on Saturday from near North Korea’s northeastern city of Hamhung, flying 400km at a height of about 48km before splashing down in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

“Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches while maintaining a readiness posture,” South Korean military’s joint chiefs of staff said in a statement.

A US official said at least one projectile was launched and that it appeared to be similar to previous short-range missiles fired by Pyongyang.

It was the fifth round of launches in two weeks, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un labelling them a “solemn warning” over the joint military exercises that began on Monday.

Seoul’s presidential office said the tests were likely aimed at verifying the reliability of the North’s newly developed weapons and also demonstrating displeasure over the allied drills.

North Korea did not immediately comment on the latest launches.

Saturday’s tests came a few hours after US President Donald Trump said he had received a “very beautiful letter” from Kim and reiterated that he wasn’t bothered by the recent flurry of short-range weapons launched.

“I’ll say it again. There have been no nuclear tests. The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests. No long-range missiles,” Trump told reporters on Friday.

Stalled talks
North Korea’s recent tests have dampened the optimism that followed the third and latest meeting between Trump and Kim on June 30 at the inter-Korean border.

The leaders agreed to resume working-level nuclear talks, but there have been no known meetings between the two sides since then.

So far, North Korea has stuck by its unilateral suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests, which came during its diplomatic outreach to Washington last year.

Kim has said the latest weapons tests were a response to US-South Korean military drills being held this month.

Trump said he agreed with Kim’s opposition to the war games – albeit for financial rather than military reasons.

“He wasn’t happy with the war games. I’ve never liked it either. I’ve never been a fan. And you know why? I don’t like paying for it,” Trump said.

Experts say Trump downplaying North Korea’s launches has allowed the country more room to intensify its testing activity while it seeks to build leverage ahead of negotiations.

“The North is up to humiliate the US president,” said Gordon Chang, author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World.

“This is the first stage of an escalatory cycle. The North Koreans will continue up that stage, and when they do it will be much more difficult in the later parts of the cycle to stop it and certainly much more dangerous,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Trump needs to change his policies and pose some costs on North Korea for violating these UN Security Council resolutions on missile launches.”

UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from launching ballistic missiles, whether short-, medium- or long-range.

Updated: 9-11-2019

North Korea Launches Missile Over Japan

Tokyo condemns ‘unprecedented, grave and serious threat’

North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan Tuesday, the latest in a string of direct provocations that have destabilized the region and triggered global alarm.

The missile—the first Pyongyang has fired over Japan’s main islands since 2009—prompted a fiery response from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“This outrageous action of firing a missile over our country is an unprecedented, grave and serious threat that seriously damages peace and security in the region,” he said. “We have firmly protested to North Korea.”

Mr. Abe called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. He said he spoke by phone with President Donald Trump for 40 minutes and that the president gave a “strong commitment” to Japan’s security.

“We can confirm that the missile launched by North Korea flew over Japan,” said U.S. Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman. “We are still in the process of assessing this launch.”

President Trump later said that North Korea displayed “contempt” for its neighbors and for the world by firing a ballistic missile over Japan, and said “all options are on the table” in dealing with the threat. “The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior,” Mr. Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

The missile passed over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific Ocean about 14 minutes after its launch early Tuesday morning, Japan’s chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said, splashing down in the Pacific 733 miles east of Hokkaido’s Cape Erimo.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was fired from near Sunan, a suburb of North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, where the city’s international airport is located. They said the missile flew almost 1,700 miles and reached a maximum altitude of 342 miles.

Mr. Suga said no damage has been reported from the missile, adding that Japan believes it broke into three parts but was still analyzing the matter.

While the missile was still in the air, Japanese authorities sent an alert to northern areas near its path.

“A missile has apparently been launched from North Korea. Please take refuge in a sturdy building or underground,” the alert said. The warning was lifted a few minutes later, after the missile went down in the Pacific.

The North Korean missile was the fifth to pass over Japanese territory and the first since 2009 to overfly the main islands of Japan. Pyongyang fired missiles over the Ryukyu Islands, the Japanese territories including Okinawa south of the main islands, in 2012 and 2016.

The launch came three days after North Korea attempted to fire three missiles off its east coast, at least one of which appeared to fail.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised North Korea for exercising “restraint” in not having conducted any missile tests during joint annual exercises between the U.S. and South Korean militaries, which began on Aug. 21.

The exercises, which are slated to end on Thursday, are a perennial irritant to North Korea, which has called them a prelude to a possible attack on the country.

The launch occurred as Japan’s air force temporarily deployed Patriot missile-defense batteries at a pair of U.S. bases in Japan, in what a U.S. military statement called an effort “to practice and refine their ability to rapidly respond to North Korean missile threats.”

South Korea’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting an hour after the launch.

South Korean authorities’ assessment of the trajectory of the North’s latest launch suggested that Pyongyang fired the missile at a more conventional angle than its two intercontinental ballistic missile test launches last month, which traveled deep into space but only a short lateral distance.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said initial analysis suggests the missile was an intermediate-range ballistic missile of the same type that North Korea fired on May 14.

Tuesday’s missile reached a maximum altitude of 342 miles, far short of the 2,300 miles of the North’s ICBM test launch on July 28, while traveling farther laterally.

Earlier this month, North Korea said through its state media that it was preparing for a possible launch of multiple missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a trajectory that would overfly parts of Japan. Days later, the North said leader Kim Jong Un had decided against the launch for now, but warned it would watch the U.S.’s behavior before making a final decision.

On Tuesday, the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam said U.S. authorities there had detected the missile “in real time” but determined it wasn’t a threat to Guam.

“How the U.S. responds to this provocation will be closely watched by both Japan and South Korea, and could be a critical moment in alliance relations,” said Jenny Town, assistant director for the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. ​Given the administration’s strong response to the earlier threat against Guam, she said, “a tepid response now to this missile test further erodes U.S. credibility with our allies.”

Before the missile launch, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on Monday ordered changes to the country’s military structure so that Seoul could “immediately switch to an offensive operation” in the event that North Korea “crosses the line” or launches an attack on Seoul, the South Korean capital.

In a military drill Tuesday, South Korea dropped eight bombs on an artillery range after Mr. Moon ordered a “show of force.” It was the latest in a series of steps he has taken to boost South Korea’s military posture against a threat from the North, even as he continues to extend an olive branch to Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster discussed expanding the deployment of “strategic assets” to South Korea with Chung Eui-yong, his South Korean counterpart, according to a statement from the presidential Blue House in Seoul. While the statement didn’t elaborate on what strategic assets were being considered, the phrase typically refers to deployment of nuclear weapons, stealth bombers or aircraft carriers—all of which tend to trigger complaints from Pyongyang.

South Korea’s intelligence agency told lawmakers on Monday that North Korea appeared ready to conduct a sixth nuclear test, according to a lawmaker who attended the closed-door session.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R., Calif.), who is leading a U.S. congressional delegation to South Korea, said officials in Seoul had told him that North Korea had successfully miniaturized a nuclear weapon and continues to improve its long-range missile capabilities.

“This is very concerning,” Mr. Royce said in an interview following a meeting with Mr. Moon. “We need to be focused right now on keeping up this pressure.”

While North Korea has steadily extended the range and capabilities of its missiles, experts remain divided on whether Pyongyang can shrink a nuclear device to fit on the tip of a missile.

Last month, the Defense Intelligence Agency issued a new analysis concluding North Korea had produced nuclear weapons small enough to be carried by intercontinental ballistic missiles, U.S. officials confirmed. But U.S. officials say there isn’t any indication that North Korea’s miniaturized nuclear warhead could withstand re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

In addition to the new military posture, Mr. Moon is pushing ahead with the temporary deployment of four missile-defense launchers in southern South Korea meant to defend against North Korean missile attacks. That move came after North Korea conducted a pair of intercontinental ballistic missile launches last month, and as Pyongyang has batted away Seoul’s proposals for dialogue.

Mr. Moon, South Korea’s first left-leaning president in nearly a decade, was elected in May on a platform that included suspending the deployment of the missile-defense system, known as Thaad, favored by his unpopular predecessor.

He also called for more dialogue with North Korea, and has proposed a summit meeting with leader Kim Jong Un on several occasions. North Korea has so far rebuffed all of Mr. Moon’s advances. Kim Jong Un Launches,Kim Jong Un Launches,Kim Jong Un Launches,Kim Jong Un Launches,Kim Jong Un Launches

 

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