BREAKING NEWS: NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR THREAT

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to military officials, North Korea has successfully tested a nuclear weapon that has the ability to be loaded on to a long-range missile that is capable of reaching the United States.

The rogue nation tested the weapon overnight, causing a 5.6 magnitude tremor. South Korean officials said the latest test took place in Kilju County, where the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site is located.

China, North Korea’s only major ally, has publicly condemned the test.

North Korea “has ignored the international community’s widespread opposition, again carrying out a nuclear test. China’s government expresses resolute opposition and strong condemnation toward this,” a Chinese foreign ministry official said in a statement.

I will, of course, be watching for developments on this breaking story and will report the latest updates as they come available.

 

…STORY DEVELOPING

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KIM TARGETS TRUMP: North Korea vows ‘ruthless’ retaliation toward America as tensions mount

Washington, D.C. — North Korea released a propaganda video on Tuesday showing President Donald Trump looking out over a graveyard full of crosses (http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/844271/World-War-3-North-Korea-v-USA-Guam-warning-video-propaganda-Kim-Jong-Un).

The video, which was paired with an ominous warning from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, criticized the president for “spouting rubbish” and parodied his frequent use of Twitter and other social media platforms.

The video also showed a figure resembling Vice President Pence consumed by flames and mocked South Korea’s “puppy-like” Defense Minister Song Young-moo for “pinning hope on that mad guy.”

“Trump spouted rubbish that if a war breaks out, it would be on the Korean Peninsula, and if thousands of people die, they would be only Koreans and Americans may sleep a sound sleep,” a statement from KCNA, North Korea’s official news agency, read on Tuesday.

In a separate statement issued by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2017/08/22/0200000000AEN20170822002752315.html), the KCNA vowed to wage “ruthless” retaliation against South Korea and the U.S. in response to their participation in a series of ongoing joint military exercises.

“The U.S. will be wholly held accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by such reckless aggressive war maneuvers, as it chose a military confrontation [with North Korea],” a North Korean military spokesman told the KCNA.

In related news, the US Treasury Department announced on Tuesday new sanctions which target Chinese and Russian entities that help fund and facilitate North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“As a result of today’s action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of US persons or within the United States must be blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them,” the Treasury Department said in a released statement (https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0148.aspx).

“Treasury will continue to increase pressure on North Korea by targeting those who support the advancement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs and isolating them from the American financial system,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said. “It is unacceptable for individuals and companies in China, Russia and elsewhere to enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction and destabilize the region. We are taking actions consistent with UN sanctions to show that there are consequences for defying sanctions and providing support to North Korea and to deter this activity in the future.”

North Korea’s latest round of threats come on the heals of Monday’s Reuters report which revealed that two North Korean shipments bound for a Syrian chemical arms facility were recently “intercepted.”

“The panel is investigating reported prohibited chemical, ballistic missile and conventional arms cooperation between Syria and the [North Korea],” the report read (http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-northkorea-syria-un-idUKKCN1B12G8?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=599b6e2604d301797510cb1b&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter).

North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. The Security Council has stepped up efforts in recent weeks to shut those programs down since North Korea’s recent tests of nuclear weapons and four long-range missile launches.

President Trump has heavily called on China to put more pressure on North Korea but thus far China has done little to curb the threats of it’s neighbor and ally.

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NORTH KOREA THREATENS US WITH NUCLEAR STRIKE IN WAKE OF TOUGHER SANCTIONS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Korea said on Monday that it’s ready to give the United States a “severe lesson” in the wake of stricter sanctions imposed upon the rogue state by the United Nations.

The statement came after the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to approve tough new U.S.-drafted sanctions last Saturday, which included a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion.

Speaking at the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho blamed the Trump administration for the UN crackdown and said it’s ready to give the United States a “severe lesson” if met with military force to surrender it’s nuclear weapons.

“We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table,” North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday.

Yong Ho’s comments coincided with a statement released by North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency in which North Korean officials accused the United States of “trying to drive the situation of the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war, running amuck to conduct missile drill against the DPRK and deploying massive strategic equipment to the peninsula.”

“(North Korea) will make the US pay dearly for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country,” KCNA said.

In response, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the new UN measures were necessary to send a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the international community is united in its efforts to disarm North Korea of it’s nuclear weapons.

“We hope again that this ultimately will result in North Korea coming to a conclusion to choose a different pathway, and when the conditions are right that we can sit and have a dialogue around the future of North Korea so that they feel secure and prosper economically,” Tillerson said.

When asked about a time frame while speaking at the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila, Tillerson said America’s patience is wearing thin but that the Trump administration is doing everything it can to avoid bloodshed by first taking the strategic route.

“We’re not going to give someone a specific number of days or weeks,” Tillerson said. “This is not a ‘give me 30 days and we are ready to talk.’ It’s not quite that simple. So it is all about how we see their attitude toward approaching a dialogue with us.”

“The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” Tillerson added.

However, according to a White House statement, during a phone call between President Trump and South Korean president Moon Jae-in on Sunday, the leaders “affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, South Korea and Japan, as well as to most countries around the world.”

Chinese state media on Monday said it agreed that North Korea must be punished for its missile tests, but criticized the U.S. for its “arrogance”. China, the second largest foreign creditor of the United States behind Japan, is North Korea’s most important ally.

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NORTH KOREA ACCUSES CIA OF ASSASSINATION PLOT TO TAKE OUT KIM JONG UN AS THREATS OF NUCLEAR STRIKE CONTINUE

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — North Korean officials on Friday accused the United States of staging a CIA plot to assassinate dictator Kim Jong Un.

Accusing U.S. officials with working with South Korea to take out the North Korean leader with a “biochemical substance,” the rogue state vowed to “mercilessly destroy” those behind the plot.

According to a propaganda piece published by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency, “a hideous terrorists’ group” directed by the Central Intelligence Agency and South Korean cohorts “ideologically corrupted” a North Korean dissident and paid the man, who was identified only only as “Kim”, over $20,000 to carry out the hit.

“The Central Intelligence Agency of the U.S. and the Intelligence Service (IS) of south Korea, hotbed of evils in the world, hatched a vicious plot to hurt the supreme leadership of the DPRK and those acts have been put into the extremely serious phase of implementation after crossing the threshold of the DPRK,” the KCNA said (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-idUSKBN18113D?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social). “A hideous terrorists’ group, which the CIA and the IS infiltrated into the DPRK on the basis of covert and meticulous preparations to commit state-sponsored terrorism against the supreme leadership of the DPRK by use of bio-chemical substance, has been recently detected.”

“They hatched a plot of letting human scum Kim commit bomb terrorism targeting the supreme leadership during events at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun and at military parade and public procession after his return home,” the statement continued. “They told him that assassination by use of biochemical substances including radioactive substance and nano poisonous substance is the best method that does not require access to the target, their lethal results will appear after six or twelve months.”

The North’s Ministry of State Security released a statement referring to the plot as “the last-ditch effort” of U.S. “imperialists” and a “pipe-dream” that could never succeed. “Criminals going hell-bent to realize such a pipe dream cannot survive on this land even a moment,” the statement read.

The National Intelligence Service has dismissed North Korea’s accusations as “groundless”.

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TRUMP ORDERS ADDITIONAL AIRCRAFT CARRIERS SENT TO KOREAN PENINSULA AS KIM JUNG-UN REMAINS DEFIANT

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Monday ordered two additional aircraft carriers deployed to the Korean peninsula as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea continue to mount.

South Korea’s primary news outlet, Yonhap, reports that in addition to the already deployed U.S.S. Carl Vinson, which is expected to arrive off the South Korean coast on April 25, the CVN. Ronald Reagan and the CVN-68 Nimitz will enter the Sea of Japan next week.

A source close to the Trump administration says the move is meant to show North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un, who attempted a missile launch early Sunday local time that failed “almost immediately”, that America’s new leader does not draw imaginary red lines in the sand.

“We expect it to be completely different from the previous administration,” said the source.

Trump, who was briefed on the launch while visiting his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, this weekend, has said that his administration has no qualms about using military action against the rogue leader, if necessary.

“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in a statement Saturday night.

Shin In-kyun, President of Korea Defense Network, a civic group specializing in military affairs, said that submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that was likely launched by the North Koreans, told NBC News (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/north-korean-missile-launch-fails-almost-immediately-u-s-military-n747006) that although this most recent test launch was a failure, the idea that Jung-un has developed this type of capability to begin with should be a matter of grave concern.

“SLBMs are more threatening than any other type of missile of the same range because it can evade radar detection, including the THAAD,” Shin said of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system provided to South Korea by the U.S. “If North Korea [can] complete building 3,000-ton submarine, they can then attack Guam, Hawaii and even Alaska with an SLBM.”

Vice President Mike Pence, in a rare trip to South Korea, put North Korea on notice saying that recent US military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed that Trump’s patience should not be tested.

“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” Pence said in a joint press conference with South Korean acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn on Sunday.
“North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.”

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