North Korea

Mattis: Military solution in place to address North Korea threat

U.S. military strategists at the Pentagon have a military solution in place to address the growing threat emanating from North Korea, but they are holding their fire in favor of ongoing diplomatic efforts by Washington and its allies, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday. The Pentagon chief remained largely mum on the details of that military solution, which theoretically would curb Pyongyang’s efforts to develop a nuclear-capable, ballistic missile arsenal, except to say any military option would be a multilateral one involving a number of regional powers in the Pacific. “Do I have military options? Of course, I do. That’s my responsibility, to have those. And we work very closely with allies to ensure that this is not unilateral either … and of course there’s a military solution,” Mr. Mattis told reporters en route to meet with senior leaders in the technology sector in Seattle and California. The former four-star general declined to provide any additional insight to a statement released Wednesday, warning that the North’s continued provocations — including alleged plans for an attack against U.S. forces in Guam by Pyongyang — “would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.” Instead, Mr. Mattis reiterated that the administration’s diplomatic efforts to quell tensions on the peninsula remained the top priority for the White House. “We want to use diplomacy. That’s where we’ve been, that’s where we are right now. and that’s where we hope to remain. But at the same time, our defenses are robust” and ready to take on any threat posed by the North Korean regime, Mr. Mattis said. U.S. defense and national security officials have repeatedly touted the capabilities of the U.S. missile defense shield over the last several weeks, in the wake of a pair of successful test launches by North Korea of its latest intercontinental ballistic missile in July. President Trump has made revamping U.S. missile defense systems a top objective for the Pentagon since taking office. That impetus has only grown among administration officials amid reports this week that Pyongyang had built a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop one of the country’s long-range missiles. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump threatened to rain down “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea did not curb its nuclear programs. In response, North Korea announced it was developing plans for a missile strike against Guam. On Thursday, Mr. Mattis declined to comment whether he was taken aback by Mr. Trump’s harsh rhetoric. “I was not elected, the American people elected the president,” he said. “I think what he’s pointing out is simply these provocations … [and] his diplomatic effort to try and stop it,” Mr. Mattis said.

And that’s where things stand, currently.  If anything significant should happen, we’ll of course report it here at The Daily Buzz..

UN imposes tough new sanctions on North Korea

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea including banning exports worth over $1 billion. The resolution adopted Saturday afternoon would also ban countries from giving any additional permits to North Korean laborers – another source of money for Kim Jong Un’s regime. The U.S.-drafted measure, negotiated with North Korea’s neighbor and ally China, is aimed at increasing economic pressure on Pyongyang to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs. It follows North Korea’s first successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States last month. The resolution bans North Korea from exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood products estimated to be worth over $1 billion. This represents one-third of its total exports last year, estimated at $3 billion.

North Korea firing squad carries out public executions in school yards, report says

Kim Jong Un’s brutal North Korean regime shot so-called “criminals” to death in schoolyards and fish markets in a twisted attempt to create an “atmosphere of fear” throughout the dictatorship, a Wednesday report from a human rights group revealed. The report, released by The Transnational Justice Working Group in Seoul, gathered information from more than 300 North Korean refugees who witnessed the regime’s firing squad executing criminals in public areas to attract large crowds and instill fear in its citizens. “In ordinary areas outside the prison system, our interviewees stated that public executions take place near river banks, in river beds, near bridges, in public sports stadiums, in the local marketplace, on school grounds in the fringes of the city, or on mountainsides,” the report stated. The report said people were publicly executed for crimes such as stealing rice and livestock and distributing South Korean media. Those prisoners were mixed in with citizens convicted of violent crimes, such as murder and manslaughter, as well as organized prostitution and sexual assault. “Many interviewees said that the final decision for a public execution was often influenced by individuals having a ‘bad’ family background in addition to the crime they were alleged to have committed,” the report stated. The executions were carried out publicly to create an “atmosphere of fear,” according to the report. The South Korean non-governmental organization that authored the document also mapped out the “killing sites” in provinces within the dictatorship, hoping such detailed work would finally help to hold the rogue regime accountable for what TJWG called crimes against humanity. “The maps and the accompanying testimonies create a picture of the scale of the abuses that have taken place over decades,” the report said. Kim’s regime has long denied human rights abuses. But in 2014, a United Nations commission report found the country had a slew of human rights violations. North Korea, however, has continued to insist its citizens are protected under the country’s constitution, Reuters reported. Pyongyang also accuses the United States of being the “world’s worst rights violator.” Questions about North Korea’s treatment of prisoners recently made international news after American student Otto Warmbier died last month. Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor last year for allegedly stealing a political poster from a hotel in Pyongyang. But North Korea returned him last month to his Cincinnati home in a coma. Warmbier suffered from severe brain damage and soon died. North Korea denied cruelly treating or torturing Warmbier during his time in prison, saying they were the “biggest victim” in the incident.

…a tactic that the DPRK often employs when accused of anything.  North Korea is truly an evil empire.  We recommend a National Geographic video that came out on DVD back in 2007 called:  “Inside North Korea.”    You can Google it and see a youtube excerpt from the DVD.  Also, this is an eye-opening link:  http://www.destinationtips.com/destinations/asia/24-forbidden-photos-inside-kim-jong-uns-north-korea/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=adwords&utm_content=North+Korea&utm_campaign=ADW003-DST-research-us&utm_term=-201197541491-b-north%20korea&mmp=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwqvvLBRDIARIsAMYuvBGzh1cDGcM9jutnIeiFMMp5_dcuc1P7ufTfJCGK64xUW2VKOkFEKDMaAvByEALw_wcB

Analysis: North Korea may have just shown a capability to strike the continental US

Top U.S. generals are weighing ”military response options” following a North Korean missile test that analysts believe, for the first time, showed a capability to strike the continental United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile. Following the launch Friday morning, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, and Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris called the Republic of Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Gen. Lee Sun-jin, according to the Pentagon. “During the call Dunford and Harris expressed the ironclad commitment to the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance,” a Pentagon release stated. ”The three leaders also discussed military response options.” Harris joined Dunford in his Pentagon office to make the phone call. Hours after the launch, there is increasing consensus among analysts that the preliminary characteristics of the launch show the capability to exceed 10,000 km in range, a distance capable of potentially threatening New York or San Diego. Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis issued an statement on the launch from the Defense Department. “The U.S. Department of Defense detected and tracked a single North Korea missile launch today at about 10:41 a.m. [Eastern Daylight Time],” said Davis, reading the official statement. “We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, as had been expected.” Davis said the missile was launched from Mupyong-ni, and said it traveled “about 1,000 kilometers before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.” Mupyong-ni “is an arms plant up in the far north of North Korea, north of Pyongyang,” Davis said. The missile “splashed down inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, about 88 nautical miles from Hokkaido,” Davis told reporters at the Pentagon. “We’re working with our interagency partners for a more detailed assessment,” he said. North American Aerospace Defense Command assessed the launch and “determined it was not a threat to North America,” Davis said.

Not this time..   But, then again, that wasn’t the target.  What we can take away from this is that the DPRK is moving closer and closer toward an ICBM capability that could hit CONUS (the continental United States).  And, that is simply not acceptable.  Talking and talking, and imposing so-called “economic sanctions” have done nothing, so far, to deter Kim Jong Ding Dong from pursuing an ICBM and nuclear capability.  So, our leaders need to start not just planning “military options,”…but, actually preparing to make the decision to execute those military options.  Up til now, it really hasn’t been seriously considered.  Sure we have the 2nd Infantry Division on the DMZ, and we have military assets in that theater.   But, seriously considering taking unilateral military action against North Korea hasn’t seriously been considered to date.  It’s been a can that each presidential administration has just kicked down the road.  We’ll see if President Trump follows that foolish precedent, or takes another course of action.  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Iran poised to launch rocket into space, as North Korea readies another missile test, US officials say

Two enemies of America are poised for upcoming rocket launches, two senior U.S. officials told Fox News, with another North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile launch expected as soon as Wednesday night and Iran on the verge of sending its own vehicle into space. Iran’s Simorgh space-launch vehicle is believed to be carrying a satellite, marking the second time in more than a year that Tehran has attempted to put an operational satellite into orbit — something the Islamic Republic has never done successfully, according to one of the officials who has not authorized to discuss a confidential assessment. Iran’s last space launch in April 2016 failed to place a satellite into orbit, the official said. The intelligence community is currently monitoring Iran’s Semnan launch center, located about 140 miles east of Tehran, where officials say the “first and second stage airframes” have been assembled on a launch pad and a space launch is expected “at any time,” according to the official. Just days after President Trump took office, Iran conducted its first ballistic missile test under the new administration, prompting the White House to put Tehran “on notice.” Since then there have been other ballistic missile and cruise missile tests, including one from a midget submarine in early May — a type of submarine used by both Iran and North Korea. North Korea and Iran have long been accused of sharing missile technology. “The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. “Over the years, we’ve seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other’s countries, and we’ve seen all kinds of common hardware.”

 

Kim Jong Un sends North Korean slaves to Russia to earn cash for regime

Brutal North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is shipping tens of thousands of impoverished citizens to Russia for the hard currency his cash-strapped regime desperately needs, Fox News has found. Alarmed human rights groups say the North Korea workers in Russia are little more than slaves, subjected to everything from cruel and violent acts to ruthless exploitation at the hands of corrupt officials, while being forced to turn over large chunks of their pay to the North Korean government. A report issued earlier this year by the Seoul-based Data Base Center for North Korean Human Rights estimates that about 50,000 North Korean laborers are working low-paying jobs in Russia. They send at least $120 million every year to the regime in Pyongyang. “The North Korean government maintains strict controls over their workers’ profits, in some cases probably taking 90 percent of their wages,” Scott Synder, director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy at the Council of Foreign Relations, said..

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Pentagon intensifies focus on missile defense reliability after North Korea’s long-range advances

North Korea’s ballistic missile test is shining an intense spotlight on the Pentagon’s missile defenses, systems installed to protect South Korea and now the U.S. mainland. Recent results have been promising, but U.S. officials acknowledge that Pyongyang’s stunning advances this month are providing a real-world test much sooner than they had expected. The Pentagon has been touting the viability of the country’s ballistic missile systems following the apparent successful test by the regime of Kim Jong-un of a long-range missile on July 4, saying the constellation of missile interceptors and weapons now in place are fully capable of blocking any threat to American shores from Pyongyang or elsewhere. The need for reliability of the missile defense systems, including the new Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense battery installed in South Korea, soared amid calculations that the North has tested what could be its first intercontinental ballistic missile. In what Pentagon officials insisted was a previously planned exercise, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency revealed Tuesday that a THAAD system based in Alaska successfully tracked and shot down a simulated intermediate-range ballistic missile that closely resembles the ones Pyongyang is developing. The test was the first of its kind for the system against an incoming intermediate-range missile, which analysts say is harder to hit than shorter-range missiles. “This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats,” Lt. Gen. Samuel A. Greaves, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said in a statement. Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican whose state suddenly finds itself potentially in range of Pyongyang’s deadliest weapons, praised the test. He said it “provided further confirmation that we have the capability to defend our bases, our troops and our allies in places like Japan, South Korea and Guam against rogue nations like North Korea.” But any test falls far short of real-world conditions, when the enemy doesn’t reveal in advance where and when the missile will be launched or its intended target. “Missile defense, even if it worked perfectly, is not a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Laura Grego, a senior scientist for the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Bloomberg news service. Missile defense systems, critics note, can’t afford to have a single failure against powerful payloads likely to be loaded onto an ICBM. “The homeland missile defense system doesn’t work perfectly and hasn’t demonstrated a real-world capability,” Ms. Grego said. Even before the July 4 test, the Pentagon was poised to invest billions of dollars to boost its anti-missile technology as part of President Trump’s first defense budget. Aside from additional funding, Defense Department officials are spearheading an overhaul of missile defense strategies and tactics. In one of his first acts as Pentagon chief, Defense Secretary James Mattis initiated a departmentwide review of missile defense operations in May. The review, led by Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul J. Selva, will “identify ways to strengthen missile defense capabilities, rebalance homeland and theater defense priorities, and provide the necessary policy and strategy framework for the nation’s missile defense systems,” Pentagon press secretary Dana White said. The administration’s newfound focus on the network of land- and sea-based interceptor weapons and associated sensors comes on the heels of the first successful test of the Pentagon’s premier missile interceptor system in May. The game-changer in the debate was the successful July 4 test of the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew higher and farther than any previous North Korean long-range missile shots, theoretically placing the entire state of Alaska within range of Pyongyang’s new class of ballistic missiles.