North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Sunday in defiance of calls to rein in its weapons program, days after a new leader in its old rival South Korea came to power pledging to engage it in dialogue. The missile flew 700 kilometers and reached an altitude of more than 2,000 kilometers, according to officials in South Korea and Japan, further and higher than an intermediate-range missile North Korea successfully tested in February from the same region of Kusong, northwest of Pyongyang. North Korea is widely believed to be developing an intercontinental missile tipped with a nuclear weapon that is capable of reaching the United States.
The Donald Trump administration is seeking to step up sanctions and pressure as its key drivers to tackle North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, while engaging the regime through diplomacy, top US officials said Wednesday. Following a two-month review, the administration is said to have recently settled on its North Korea policy, dubbed “maximum pressure and engagement”. Trump hosted a rare closed-door briefing for all 100 senators at the White House, after which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a joint statement, vowing efforts to boost pressure on Pyongyang.
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan warned the US not to be after warmongering in the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East, stressing that any such resort to the military action by Washington would only harm the US. “He (the US defense secretary) and the US leaders would be better off if they go after resolving their country’s domestic problems and avoid creating a new crisis and igniting the flames of war in Korea and the Middle-East”, General Dehqan said in reaction to US Defense Secretary James Mattis’s recent remarks against Iran. He advised Mattis to study the history of the US wars and crimes in the world in the past decades and find the root causes of Washington allegations against others. General Dehqan reminded Mattis that the era of gun crimes and allegations against others has ended, adding that such remarks are only an attempt in vain to reverse the stands of the accused with the plaintiff in the eyes of the public. On a visit to South Korea this week, the US vice-president, Mike Pence, warned Pyongyang against testing Trump’s “resolve”, and declared an end to Obama’s “strategic patience” policy. But North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, Han Song-Ryol, said that Pyongyang would continue to test missiles “on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis”. All-out war would ensue if the US took military action, he said.
Visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reiterated the United States’ intentions to not rule out military measures against North Korea, which is pushing ahead with its nuclear and missile development, in his speech in Yokosuka on Wednesday morning. Pence made the speech aboard the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which is stationed at the navy’s Yokosuka base in the city. Speaking to about 2,600 U.S. service members and Self-Defense Forces personnel, Pence called North Korea “the most urgent and dangerous threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region” and added that all options are on the table in dealing with Pyongyang, indicating the United States will not exclude military action against North Korea.
As North Korea gears up to celebrate its biggest national day so far, the ‘Day of the Sun’ when it will mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il Sung on Saturday – tensions in the region are at an all-time high. On April 25, it will also mark the 85th anniversary of the creation of the Korean People’s Army. In 2012, North Korea had tried to launch a long-range rocket carrying a satellite to mark the date, but failed. Then, last year, Pyongyang tested a newly developed intermediate-range missile. Since the start of 2016, the reclusive nation has been intensifying its nuclear capabilities and has tested several ballistic missiles.
North Korea appears to have completed preparation for another nuclear test and is ready to carry it out, South Korea’s military said Friday, as the United Nations adopted a statement condemning Pyongyang’s latest military provocations. “Our assessment is that North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear test if they get the go ahead from Kim Jong-un”, said an official from Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff in a meeting with reporters. “We believe they have been preparing for a long period of time”. Fox News and AFP reported Thursday that the North would conduct a sixth nuclear test within the coming days, citing US officials with knowledge of the matter.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared an end to the Barack Obama administration’s policy of strategic patience in dealing with North Korea, Friday, vowing to explore all options including harsher sanctions and military action. The U.S. top diplomat also stressed the importance of China’s role in forcing Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, urging Beijing to stop taking retaliatory actions against South Korea over the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery here.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) — Four North Korean suspects in the murder of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fled Malaysia on the day he was attacked at Kuala Lumpur airport and apparently killed by a fast-acting poison, police said on Sunday. A North Korean man, a Vietnamese woman and an Indonesian women have been arrested already in connection with the assassination of Kim Jong Nam last Monday, which has triggered a diplomatic spat between Malaysia and Pyongyang.
In the early morning of yesterday, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has launched a ballistic missile, another violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, including Resolution 2321 adopted in November 2016.
“The DPRK’s repeated disregard of its international obligations is provocative and unacceptable. The DPRK must halt all launches using ballistic missile technology and abandon once and for all its ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, as required by the UN Security Council. We call on the DPRK not to raise tensions further and to re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community, in particular the Six-Party Talks“. That’s what the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) Spokeperson said, from Brussels.
The High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini will speak in the coming days to the Foreign Ministers of international partners to further discuss the international response.
DKPR’s behaviour continues to worry all the international community. Of course, Brussels seems to be so far from Pyongyang, but is a common opinion thet the nuclear tests and, generally speaking, the nuclear proliferation in the northern part of the Korean peninsula constitues a real danger for all countries.
Of course, the game hides some differents and complicated balances: first of all, the role of China, which in facts is the only trade partner for the DKPR. Also Putin’s Russia aims to keep the remote control of the region and – despite of the Trump’s russia – fliendly policy – does not like very much the american “temporary” presence in South Korea… and also american missiles and army in the area. Anyway, the Kim’s last launch makes some doubts rise. It is not a secret that one of the Trump’s ideas for the region was to reduce the american military contingent in the peninsula. So, this launch could seriously put in danger all the plans and political efforts to reduce Uncle Sam’s troops.
According to some geopolitical studies, North Korea and South Korea will never fight – directly – one each other. This, because the goals for each contendant in a new war, beetween the two enemies, could cancel each other. The common opinion – extremely summing – is that the DKPR has a strong defensive asset and a very well-motivated army, that could easily face attacks from south also using old planes, cold-war subarines and very obsolete boats. The South Korean Army is well trained and equipped, with new systems, boats and submarines, but her weakness is in the leadership (some units are entirely directed by american officers in charge), in the ideological motivation and, of course, in the potential feeling of loneliness without a clear american guidance and support. And we all know the political scandal that recently hit the Southkorean political leadership. That’s why this missile launch, in an moment while academics started to speculate about a progressive and slow american withdrawal, change the scene of play. Of course, the launch is a muscles demonstrations, but its meaning seems to be changed.
From an european point of view, we can only wait the next days. For sure, since now, the EU has been supporting international efforts to promote peace, stability, denuclearisation and an improvement in the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Since 1998, the EU has been conducting regular political dialogue with the DPRK. The European Community established diplomatic relations in May 2001 and some EU countries have diplomatic relations with the DPRK. As far as we can read on the official EU institutions’ websites and portals, the EU has been involved in providing assistance to some of the most vulnerable communities in the DPRK since 1195. Current activities are mainly oriented towards support for the agricultural sector and are financed under the Food Security Thematic Programme of the Development Cooperation Instrument.
SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) — An incentive-oriented approach won’t help the world reach its goal of getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, a high-profile defector who served Pyongyang said Thursday. “We should not think that giving incentives to North Korea will help resolve Pyongyang’s nuclear issue,” Thae Yong-ho, a former diplomat who arrived in South Korea last year, told a forum in Seoul. He was at the gathering as a panelist, a first for him since his defection. Thae said that no matter how appealing incentives are, North Korea will not accept them if Pyongyang judges they do not benefit the one-man rule of its leader Kim Jong-un.