North Korea Quietly Testing Submarine Nuclear Missile System In ‘Highly Unusual’ Activity

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North Korea Quietly Testing Submarine Nuclear Missile System In ‘Highly Unusual’ Activity

North Korea is testing a submarine missile system in what one defense official called “highly unusual and unprecedented levels” of activity.

Four tests of a cold-ejection launch system for submarine-based ballistic missiles have been carried out at the Sinpo Naval Shipyard this year, with the latest one taking place in recent days, officials told CNN.

A cold-launch system prevents the missile’s engine from burning the submarine. With such a system, the missile is propelled away from the submarine before the engine starts.

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“Achieving a successful cold-launch ejection test, even from land-based tubes, is a critical step forward in making an operational missile,” defense analyst Michael Gatling told The Telegraph. “The whole point of putting missiles into a stealthy platform like a submarine is to achieve tactical surprise, and this moves closer to that.”

Just last week, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that experts say likely could have reached Denver or Chicago if it had been fired in that direction.

Strangely enough, North Korea has the world’s largest submarine fleet with 76 ships, according to Global Firepower. Most of those vessels are small diesel-powered submarines not capable of hauling missiles, but all it would take is one nuclear submarine to cross the Pacific to kill several million Americans.

Meanwhile, a North Korean submarine equipped with 14 torpedoes and up to 20 mines conducted tests for a week in July off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Officials with the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University told The Telegraph that the latest cold-launch test “most likely is preparations for a test in the near future of an updated Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile or a potentially newer system.”

North Korean launched its first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in August 2016.

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N. Korea Fires Its First ICBM; Can Reach Alaska; U.S. & S. Korea Respond With Missile Tests; China Warns

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N. Korea Fires Its First ICBM; Can Reach Alaska; U.S. & S. Korea Respond With Missile Tests; China Warns

North Korea test fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Tuesday and claimed it was now able to “strike any place in the world” in what could be a major turning point in the back-and-forth between it and the United States.

Experts in the U.S. conceded that the rogue nation likely had fired its first ICBM but downplayed the missile’s abilities, although they also suspected it could reach the entire state of Alaska, The Washington Post reported. It likely was a two-stage rocket, they said.

“Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

The U.S. and South Korea responded by jointly conducting missile tests into South Korean waters.

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North Korean TV described the missile as “a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world,” The Guardian reported. The same report said the missile traveled for 1,741 miles and flew 580 miles high. If true, the missile test would be the longest and highest conducted by the country.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the test of the Hwasong-14 missile, North Korean TV reported. It was the country’s 11th missile test this year.

The Hwasong-14 might have a maximum range of 4,160 miles, David Wright, the co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote in a blog post.

“That range would not be enough to reach the lower 48 states or the large islands of Hawaii, but would allow it to reach all of Alaska,” Wright wrote.

Observers think the missile test is designed to coincide with the Fourth of July holiday and the upcoming G20 summit meeting in Hamburg.

“If tension only goes up … then sooner or later it will get out of control and the consequences would be disastrous,” said Liu Jieyi, China’s ambassador to the United States.

President Trump responded to the launch on Twitter by urging China to act and “end this nonsense once and for all.”

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North Korea Tests 9th Missile Of Year; Pledges ‘Gift Package’ To U.S.; Mattis Warns Of ‘Catastrophic’ War

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North Korea Tests 9th Missile Of Year; Pledges ‘Gift Package’ To U.S.; Mattis Warns Of ‘Catastrophic’ War

A war with North Korea would be “catastrophic,” Defense Secretary and retired General James “Mad Dog” Mattis told CBS, as the reclusive country tested yet another missile.

“A conflict in North Korea, John, would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes,” Mattis told host John Dickerson on CBS’s Face the Nation. “Why do I say this? The North Korean regime has hundreds of artillery cannons and rocket launchers within range of one of the most densely populated cities on earth, which is the capital of South Korea.”

Still, Mattis regards North Korea as a menace to America. Mattis called North Korea a threat to its neighbors, including close U.S. allies Japan and South Korea.

“It is a direct threat to the United States,” Mattis said of North Korea. “They have been very clear in their rhetoric — we don’t have to wait until they have an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon on it to say that now it’s manifested completely.”

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Mattis continued, “This regime is a threat to the region, to Japan, to South Korea. And in the event of war, they would bring danger to China and to Russia, as well. But the bottom line is it would be a catastrophic war if this turns into a combat if we’re not able to resolve this situation through diplomatic means.”

North Koreans on Monday tested its ninth missile of the year. The SCUD or R-11, is a short-range ballistic missile developed in Russia during the Cold War. North Korea has around four variations of the SCUD.

The country’s official news service, KCNA, reported that after the test, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said the missile tests would continue, with the goal of destroying the U.S.

“He expressed the conviction that it would make a greater leap forward in this spirit to send a bigger ‘gift package’ to the Yankees,” the KCNA story said.

The missile tested Monday traveled for around 280 miles before falling into the ocean.

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Top General Warns: ‘Inevitable’ That North Korea Will Be Able To Nuke U.S.

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Top General Warns: ‘Inevitable’ That North Korea Will Be Able To Nuke U.S.

One of America’s top generals says he has no doubts that North Korea will develop the ability to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear weapon if not stopped.

“If left on its current trajectory, the regime will ultimately succeed in fielding a nuclear-armed missile capable of threatening the United States homeland,” Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), told the U.S. Senate’s Armed Service Committee this week.

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Stewart’s statement was based on a new intelligence assessment, CNN reported.

“While nearly impossible to predict when this capability will be operational, the North Korean regime is committed and is on a pathway where this capability is inevitable,” Stewart said.

It is only a matter of time, Stewart believes, before North Korea develops a working intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

“They understand the physics, so it’s just a matter of design,” Stewart said.

An ICBM is a rocket that exits the Earth’s atmosphere and comes down at another point on the globe.

“They’ve certainly demonstrated a range of missiles, a range of fuel types, a range of boosters,” Stewart said.

The North Koreans were able to fire a medium-range missile and have it reenter the atmosphere without burning up earlier this month, U.S. intelligence analysts believe. That missile could hit Guam, a U.S. territory.

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Kim Jong Un Orders Nuclear-Capable Missile ‘Rapidly Mass-Produced’

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Kim Jong Un Orders Nuclear-Capable Missile ‘Rapidly Mass-Produced’

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the mass production of a new medium-range ballistic missile following another apparent successful test over the weekend.

The Pukguksong-2 is capable of hitting major Japanese, Chinese and South Korean cities, as well as U.S. military bases in Japan, the Associated Press reported.

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un approved deployment and manufacturing of the missile after watching a test of it over the week, a state news agency reported. The Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed the Pukguksong-2 is adaptable under various battlefield conditions.

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The missile is solid fueled, which means it can be based on a submarine.

“Saying with pride that the missile’s rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, he [Kim] approved the deployment of this weapon system for action,” KCNA reported. “Now that its tactical and technical data met the requirements of the Party, this type of missile should be rapidly mass-produced in a serial way … he said.”

North Korean media say that the Pukguksong-2 can carry nuclear weapons, the Associated Press reported. It isn’t known how many nuclear weapons North Korea has, but estimates range from 10 to 20.

“Many more [North Korean] weapons capable of striking the U.S. will be launched,” an editorial in the Sunday edition of the North Korean Minju Joson newspaper stated. “This is the [nation’s] answer to the Trump administration.’”

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Japanese Holding Air Raid Drills, Building Bomb Shelters; Gov’t Warns They’d Have 10 Minutes To Take Cover

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Japanese Holding Air Raid Drills, Building Bomb Shelters; Gov't Warns They’d Have 10 Minutes To Take Cover

Japanese citizens are being told they may have less than 10 minutes to prepare for a North Korean missile attack.

“When a missile is launched from North Korea, it will not take long to reach Japan,” an official communique from the Japanese government reads. It was released this week. “For example, the ballistic missile launched from [North Korea] on February 7 last year took 10 minutes to fly over Okinawa.”

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Officials in some parts of Japan are preparing to hold air raid drills for the first time since World War II, and they’re telling citizens to practice taking shelter, The Washington Post reported. A post on the government website urges people to “evacuate to a substantial building or underground shopping area” if they are outside, and to lie down under cover and away from windows if inside.

There is an official warning system for a missile attack called “J-Alert,” but even many politicians have little faith in it.

“A missile may not be detected as soon as it leaves the launch pad … and that could take several minutes,” Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura told The Japan Times. “Depending on the case, the warnings and alarms might only sound four or five minutes before a missile arrives.”

Not surprisingly, sales of bomb shelters have skyrocketed in Japan.

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Tensions Rise: China On ‘High Alert’; North Korea Warns Of Preemptive Strike On U.S.

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Tensions Rise: China On ‘High Alert’; North Korea Warns Of Preemptive Strike On U.S.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula continued to escalates this week, as North Korea warned it was considering striking the United States even if the U.S. doesn’t attack first.

“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes,” The Rodong Sinmun, an official state paper, warned.

The statement came merely hours after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said that an “era of strategic patience” with North Korea was over and the same week that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States would not continue the same strategy from the past.

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“We’re reviewing all the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pressure on the regime in Pyongyang to re-engage with us, but re-engage with us on a different footing than past talks have been held,” Tillerson said.

Meanwhile, China’s military has placed its bombers “on high alert” and is prepared to respond to any military activity in North Korea, a U.S. defense official told CNN. The goal likely is to “reduce the time to react to a North Korea contingency,” the official said

China has two concerns: 1) refugees from North Korea fleeing across the border to China, and, 2) North Korea collapsing and reunifying with South Korea.

In 2015, 83 percent of North Korea’s exports and 85 percent of its imports involved China.

It isn’t known how many nuclear weapons North Korea, a very reclusive nation, has. The U.S.-Korea Institute said in a 2016 report that North Korea possesses “enough fissile material to build anywhere from six to about 30 nuclear weapons.” China in 2015 said North Korea has 20 nuclear weapons, and a U.S. Congressional report said between six and 10.

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Iranian Attack Boats Block U.S. Ship, Come Within 600 Yards

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Iranian Attack Boats Block U.S. Ship, Brush Within 600 Yards

Image source: Wikimedia

WASHINGTON — The Iranian government continues to take provocative actions aimed at the United States and its allies.

The Iranian military tested ballistic missiles and sent four fast attack boats close to American and British warships over the weekend.

Four attack boats from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps intentionally blocked the path of the U.S. and British ships, coming within 600 words of them and forcing them to change their course, Fox News and CBS reported. The American ship was the USNS Invincible, a tracking ship which uses sonar to monitor submarines and missile tests. The incident took place in the Strait of Hormuz.

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The U.S. military labeled it “unsafe” and “unprofessional.”

This was the second time Iranian ships approached the Invincible; two days earlier a frigate from the Iranian Navy came within 150 yards of the surveillance vessel, CBS News reported. The Invincible was in the Gulf of Oman, south of Iran, when that incident occurred.

Missile Test

The Iranians also test fired two Fateh-110 Mod 3 short-range ballistic missiles, U.S. officials told Fox News. One the missiles destroyed a barge moored at sea 155 miles away.

“Between North Korea’s saber-rattling and Iran’s willful defiance, we certainly don’t lack for evidence of these rogue regime’s intentions,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, said in a statement. “This is why we need to develop a strong missile-defense system and to take a harder line toward these regimes. No amount of words, however clear or forceful, will prevent this kind of aggression; only firm action to defend America and our allies will stop them in their tracks.”

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The Military’s $40B Missile Defense Program ‘Unable To Protect The U.S. Public’

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The Military’s $40B Missile Defense Program Is ‘Unable To Protect The U.S. Public.’

The Pentagon’s $40 billion anti-missile defense system is incapable of protecting American cities from an attack, according to a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“The story of this system is a cautionary tale about how the lack of appropriate oversight of a politically charged missile defense program has led to a system in tatters,” the report, written by physicists Laura Grego, David Wright and George N. Lewis alleged. It was first reported by the Los Angeles Times. “Despite more than a decade of development and a bill of $40 billion, the GMD [Ground-based Midcourse Defense] system is simply unable to protect the U.S. public.

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The GMD consists of rockets that are designed to be able to hit and knock out incoming nuclear missiles. Its purpose is to protect America cities from smaller nuclear-armed powers, such as North Korea.

In theory, missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, California, and Ft. Greely, Alaska would launch and intercept a missile from North Korea or elsewhere. But in the seven most recent tests, there were only three successes, the Times reported. And those tests were “heavily scripted” and “set up for success.”

“Repeatedly,” the report said, “the Pentagon has sacrificed quality, shortened engineering cycles and sidestepped acquisitions best practices to meet a deadline imposed by political rationales rather than technical realities.”

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