Tag Archives: North Korea

North Korea test fires four ballistic missiles

Does this make you feel safe? North Korea today test fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

North Korea on Monday launched four ballistic missiles, three of which fell into Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan, the Japanese government said. There were no immediate reports of damage to ships or aircraft in the area, Japan’s top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said at a news conference in Tokyo, calling the latest missile launch a “grave threat to national security.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe separately told reporters that the missiles traveled around 1,000 km. He later said at a Diet session that the remaining missile also fell near the EEZ.

It is very unclear whether these missile tests were a success, since we really don’t know what kind of missiles they were. If short or medium range, they went the right distance. If longer range, the distance traveled (600 miles or 1000 kilometers) suggests the missiles did not travel as far as they should.

China suspends coal purchases from North Korea

Finally! In an apparent response to North Korea’s recent ballistic missile test China has suspended its coal purchases from North Korea through the end of this year.

China will suspend all imports of coal from North Korea until the end of the year, the Commerce Ministry announced Saturday, in a surprise move that would cut off a major financial lifeline for Pyongyang and significantly enhance the effectiveness of U.N. sanctions. Coal is North Korea’s largest export item, and also China’s greatest point of leverage over the regime.

The ministry said the ban would come into force Sunday and be effective until Dec. 31. China said the move was designed to implement November’s United Nations Security Council resolution that tightened sanctions against the regime in the wake of its last nuclear test.

While there are doubts this will change policy in North Korea, it does indicate that China is finally losing patience with that rogue state and its threatening behavior. And since China is one of the few countries that does any trade with North Korea, it is probably one of the few countries that can influence it in any way.

The present strengths and limits to North Korea’s nuclear missile capabilities

Does this make you feel safer? A U.S. military official today outlined the strengths and weaknesses of North Korea’s aggressive effort to develop the capability of launch missiles with nuclear warheads.

North Korea appears able to mount a miniaturized nuclear warhead on a missile but is still struggling with missile re-entry technology necessary for longer range strikes, a senior U.S. military official said on Thursday. “I think they could mate a warhead with a delivery device. They’re just not sure (about) re-entry,” said the official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity. “They’re endeavoring to overcome that.”

North Korea has carried out repeated nuclear and missile tests this year in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and sanctions and claims it has the capability to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile. Asked whether North Korea could mate the warhead to the missile, the official said: “I think they can.”

Kim Jong-un orders investigation into missile failures

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered an investigation into his country’s string of missile failures recently.

“Kim has instructed the special investigation team to implement a probe into the national defense sector starting on Nov. 1 to make the causes for the launch failures clear,” said Kim Heung-kwang, a North Korean defector and executive director of Seoul-based dissidents’ group North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, in a press conference. Kim attributed the investigation to the North Korean leader’s belief that spies from the United States and South Korea had been implicated in a series of Musudan missile failures.

I wouldn’t want to be an engineer who worked on this missile, as Kim has a bad habit of routinely executing people at the slightest whim, and the failures here have been routinely spectacular.

China considers moves against North Korea

It took them long enough. Faced with news that North Korea is preparing for a sixth nuclear test, China policy makers are now considering various options for removing North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.

According to the Korea Times, Professor Zhe Sun told a security forum in Washington that the Chinese were debating how best to deal with the North Korean leader. ‘Some Chinese scholars and policy makers began to talk about supporting “surgical strikes” and “decapitation” by the U.S. and South Korea as one policy option,’ he said.
Satellite images of North Korea’s nuclear test site shows activity at all three of its tunnel complexes, fuelling speculation of another test ahead of a key political anniversary next week
Professor Zhe Sun told a security forum in Washington that the Chinese were debating how best to deal with the North Korean leader ‘More radical proposals indicate that China should change the leader, send troops across borders and station in DPRK, force DPRK into giving up nuclear and beginning opening up and reforming.’

North Korea has never been able to do anything without the support of China. That China has allowed them to get this far in their nuclear weapon and missile development has been an enormous mistake. That they might now be finally realizing this means that we could see some drama there very shortly.

North Korea fires three more test missiles

What, me worry? North Korea today fired three test ballistic missiles into an area of the Sea of Japan considered part of the Japanese defense zone, repeating their previous test.

Unlike the previous test, these were ground-based missiles. Either way, the Obama administration was immediately on the case!

In a statement, the US said it “strongly condemns” the multiple launches. The move came at a potentially embarrassing time for North Korea’s only real ally, China, which is currently hosting the G20 summit in Hangzhou. “Today’s reckless launches by North Korea threaten civil aviation and maritime commerce in the region,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Monday. “We will raise our concerns at the UN about the threat posed to international security by these programs,” he continued. “We will also do so in other fora — including the upcoming East Asia Summit — to bolster international resolve to hold the DPRK accountable for its provocative actions. Our commitment to the defense of our allies in the face of these threats remains ironclad.”

I especially like this State Department spokeman’s use of “fora”, the Latin plural of “forum.” That’s telling ’em! We aren’t going only raise this issue in one forum, we’re going to raise it in many forums!

North Korea fires a ballistic missile from submarine

North Korea today successfully launched a ballistic missile from a submarine, landing it within Japanese waters.

In addition, North Korea on Monday threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S.

North Korea warned Monday that it would launch a preemptive nuclear attack against the U.S. and South Korea if they showed the “slightest sign of aggression” toward Pyongyang while conducting their annual military drills. The North’s Foreign Ministry said its “first-strike” units are prepared to conduct retaliatory strikes on South Korean and U.S. forces, threatening to turn the two nations into “a heap of ashes.”

Don’t worry however. The Obama administration “strongly condemned” the test launch today. That will certainly make a difference.

North Korea’s space goal: Hit the Moon in five years

The competition heats up? According to one North Korean official, that country’s goal in space is to put a spacecraft on the Moon sometime in the next five years.

I actually believe this official. Their dear leader has demanded this, and they are sincerely trying to do it. Since they have had enormous trouble simply launching short range ballistic missiles, I have serious doubts they will make it happen, at least within five years.

North Korea fires three more missiles

Does this make you feel safer? North Korea fired three ballistic missiles early Tuesday,

North Korea fired three ballistic missiles early on Tuesday which flew between 500 and 600 kms (300 and 360 miles) into the sea off its east coast, South Korea’s military said, the latest in a series of provocative moves by the isolated country.

The U.S. military said it detected launches of what it believed were two Scud missiles and one Rodong, a home-grown missile based on Soviet-era Scud technology. North Korea has fired both types numerous times in recent years, an indication that unlike recent launches that were seen as efforts by the North to improve its missile capability, Tuesday’s were meant as a show of force.

I am sure the Obama administration is monitoring this closely!

Another North Korea missile test

Does this make you feel safer? North Korea test fired two missiles today, with one traveling more than 300 miles.

At around 5:58 a.m., North Korea fired off what is presumed to be a Musudan missile from near Wonsan along the east coast, but the launch seems to have ended in failure, the JCS said, providing no further details. About two hours later at 8:05 a.m., the North launched another missile presumed to be the same type of IRBM from the same area, the JCS noted. “The second Musudan-like missile flew about 400 km,” the JCS said without elaborating on whether it was a success. “South Korea and the United States (militaries) are carrying out an in-depth analysis on it.” Military sources added the first missile has been detected to have burst into pieces in the air after flying some 150 km after launch.

I am sure the Obama administration will express deep concern about this, which of course solves the problem.

North Korea restarts processing of plutonium for nuclear weapons

Does this make you feel safer? In defiance of global sanctions, North Korea has reopened its facility for processing spent nuclear fuel into plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

But don’t worry. I am sure the Obama administration, as well as whoever wins the Democratic Party primary in November, will express their serious concerns about this saber-rattling.

North Korea might have mobile ICBM capability

Does this make you feel safer? Satellite data suggests that North Korea might be preparing to test launch a mobile ICBM.

North Korea could launch either its Kn-08 or Kn-14 mobile ballistic missiles which would have a longer range and could potentially hit the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The Kn-14 is thought to be a more precise version of the Kn-08, and it is believed the regime showed it for the first time at a military parade in 2015, officials say.

…if the North were, for the first time, to launch a mobile missile with these types of ranges, it would be a significant military advance and a change in the North Korean calculus for the U.S., military officials say. In a conflict, mobile launchers can quickly shoot and move to a new position making it very difficult for satellites or spy planes to track them. It would also be a violation of U.N. resolutions banning North Korea from ballistic missile tests.

Well, why worry? Those U.N. resolutions will obviously prevent North Korea from doing anything. So will harsh words from Obama and his diplomats. Hasn’t that always worked?

North Korea can launch nuclear bombs

Peace in our time! South Korean intelligence experts have concluded that North Korea now has both the rocket and miniaturized nuclear warhead capable of hitting Russian, China, Japan, and all of South Korea.

“We believe they have accomplished miniaturization of a nuclear warhead to mount it on a Rodong missile,” said the South Korean official, who has knowledge of South Korea’s assessment of the North’s nuclear program. The official spoke to a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity… The Rodong missile can fire a 1 tonne (1,100 lb) warhead a distance of up to 2,000 km (1,250 miles), the official said. That would put all of South Korea, most of Japan and parts of Russia and China in range.

But don’t worry. President Obama has eased tensions worldwide by his speech-making abilities!

Images of North Korea’s rocket and nuclear bomb?

North Korea's nuclear bomb?

Does this make you feel safer? The North Korean state-run news agency today claimed that they can now build a nuclear bomb small enough to fit on their ballistic missiles.

The story includes pictures. In addition, John Batchelor sent me a few more, including the one posted above. It supposedly shows Kim Jong Un, the supreme dictator of North Korea, inspecting a miniaturized warhead. Whether that is a real bomb or not cannot be confirmed. I would be curious hearing what some of my engineering readers think of this image and the bomb that he is admiring.

Below shows Kim Jong Un inspecting two rockets. Once again, I wonder how real this is, or is it a Potemkin Village.

North Korea's rockets?

North Korea’s satellite tumbling

U.S. Defense officials stated today that the satellite that North Korea launched on Sunday is now tumbling in orbit and is useless.

Do not take comfort from this failure. North Korea has demonstrated that it can put payloads in orbit. From this achievement it is a very short leap to aiming those payloads to impact any continent on Earth. They might not be able to aim that impact very accurately, but if you want to ignite an atomic bomb somewhere, you don’t have to be very accurate.

North Korea announces planned satellite launch

North Korea today revealed plans to place a satellite in non-geosynchronous orbit sometime in the next two weeks.

News of the planned launch between Feb. 8 and Feb. 25 drew fresh U.S. calls for tougher U.N. sanctions already under discussion in response to North Korea’s nuclear test. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United Nations needed to “send the North Koreans a swift, firm message.”

Pyongyang has said it has a sovereign right to pursue a space programme by launching rockets, although the United States and other governments worry that such launches are missile tests in disguise.

It is horrifyingly hilarious to read the bluster put forth by Obama administration officials about this new North Korean effort to develop ICBMs that, as the article says, “could reach the U.S. West Coast.” Besides wanting to send “a swift, firm message,” they call the North Korean launch announcement a “slap in the face”, “another destabilizing provocation,” and “an egregious violation.” They then say they are working “cooperatively and effectively with the Chinese to counter this threat.”

It is laughable, but terrifying at the same time. North Korea, led by the worst kind of power-mad tyrant, is developing the ability to launch nuclear weapons to any place on Earth, and all our leaders can do is whine how mean they are.

The cowards in the Sony/North Korea kerfuffle

From Presidents to movie executives, everyone involved in the Sony software hack by North Korea has shown themselves to be a weak-kneed coward, willing to fold to the demands of a meglo-maniac dictator rather than to stand for freedom.

I want to underline one fact about almost all these cowards: They are almost all liberals. Except for Clooney and a handful of other liberals, the only people willing to stand up to North Korea here have been conservatives.

Meanwhile, Sony is now giving tax cheat, bigot, race-baiter, and anti-Semite Al Sharpton veto-power over the movies it makes.

An image of North Korea taken from ISS illustrates starkly the failure of a state-run top-down dictatorial society.

An image of North Korea taken from ISS illustrates starkly the failure of a state-run top-down dictatorial society.

As is typical for today’s leftwing political correct journalism, this reality is attributed not to communism but to vague generalities. North Korea is a “rogue state” or “North Korea stands alone as an unusually isolated nation, where residents live under a familial dictatorship,” statements that embarrassingly avoid the truth. The rulers of North Korea, like Cuba, refused to reject communist when the Soviet bloc fell in 1991 and have thus left their countries and the people trapped within them poor and bankrupt.

Aren’t you glad that today’s Democratic Party here in the United States considers leftwing dogma the height of progress and a goal worthy of emulation?

North Korea says it has authorized plans for nuclear strikes against the United States.

Bad: North Korea says it has authorized plans for a nuclear strike against the United States.

But, while Pyongyang has successfully carried out test nuclear detonations, most experts think it is not yet capable of mounting a device on a ballistic missile capable of striking US bases or territory. Mounting tension in the region could however trigger incidents on the tense and heavily-militarised border between North and South Korea. There was no immediate American reaction to the North’s latest statement, but US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Pyongyang represented a “real and clear danger” to the United States and to its allies South Korea and Japan. [emphasis mine]

Right now North Korea almost certainly cannot hit the U.S. with an ICBM. However, South Korea and Japan are very very very exposed.

North Korea on Wednesday closed access to the Kaesong Industrial Park, a joint factory zone with South Korea.

Bad news: North Korea on Wednesday closed access to the Kaesong Industrial Park, a joint factory zone with South Korea.

Experts on the Korean situation had noted that we shouldn’t take seriously the harsh language coming out of North Korea as long as Kaesong was in operation. Thus, this news is very bad indeed.

One very good sign that North Korea’s recent warlike threats are merely posturing.

One very good sign that North Korea’s recent warlike threats are merely posturing.

[W]e do have one pretty good metric with which to judge the country’s intentions: the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The Kaesong Industrial Complex, located just across the northern side of the border, is staffed by South and North Koreans. It can’t function without Pyongyang’s daily okay. If the North suddenly shuts down Kaesong at some point, watch out. But as long as it’s still running, as it has been throughout the provocations and tensions of the last few weeks, we can probably – probably — assume that North Korea is not actually planning to launch a war.

And the complex is still in operation.

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