North Korea Warns of a Hydrogen Bomb Test amid US Threats

A senior North Korean officials warned of “the most powerful detonation” of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific if the country felt hostility from the United States.

A senior North Korean diplomat warned that the United States could witness a hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean unless discussion of military intervention ceased.

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This latest development comes amid joint U.S.-South Korea war games and a heavy navy presence in the Pacific ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the region. Trump’s visit is expected to solidify regional commitments to security against North Korea, which the U.S. sees as a threat.

During a session of the United Nations General Assembly last month, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said that Pyongyang would conduct “the most powerful detonation” of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific if the country felt hostility.

“The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally,” said Ri Yong Pil, a senior diplomat in North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, to CNN, warning that North Korea “has always brought its words into action.”

Members of the international community, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, have accused the U.S. of stoking nuclear tensions through decertifying the Iran nuclear deal, despite no evidence of noncompliance, and aggression against North Korea.

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed the ‘The Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act’ that would level the “harshest sanctions ever” against North Korea. The sanctions would also target international business partners of North Korea, most importantly China, if signed into law.

President Trump has also coupled sanctions with threatening words.

“You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be,” Trump said in a FOX News interview. “Would it be nice not to do that (military intervention)? The answer is yes.”

Trump, in a conference with top military officials, called present tensions “the calm before the storm.”

“The U.S. is talking about a military option and even practicing military moves. They’re pressuring us on all fronts with sanctions. If you think this will lead to diplomacy, you’re deeply mistaken,” Ri said.

The U.S. has bolstered its military presence around the Korean peninsula since the war of words began. The U.S. military has also put nuclear-capable B-52 bombers on a 24-hour alert, which has not happened since the end of the Cold War.

RELATED:  Russia 'Opposes' Latest Massive US-Led War Games in Waters off Korea, Japan

“The joint military exercises conducted by the U.S. one after another all the year round on the Korean peninsula are clearly aggressive war exercises in their nature and scale,” Ja Song-nam, North Korea's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said in a letter to Francois Delattre, the current President of the United Nations Security Council.

“No other country in the world than the DPRK (North Korea) has ever been subjected to such an extreme and direct nuclear threat from the U.S. for such a long time and witnessed on its door such nuclear war exercises which are the most vicious and ferocious in their scale, style, aim and essence,” the letter continued.

With building tensions, the international community has encouraged dialogue between both sides. China introduced a “double freeze” tactic, identical to previous North Korean proposals, that would see North Korea end its nuclear program in exchange for promises by the U.S. to end hostility. The U.S. denied this plan as it has done in the past.

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Threat to the world

Trump is testing all kinds of experimental actions in an attempt to destroy the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, not to mention the likely catastrophic consequences of this.

In an unspoken argument, nonagenarian and brilliant US expert Noam Chomsky affirmed, a few months before the presidential elections of his country, that if Donald Trump were elected, the world would be more than ever led to a Third World War.

The chauvinistic interests of great power that sponsored the assumption of the controversial personage have been willing to play until the last card to take U.S. to the top of the world dominion, even to the detriment of its allies, no matter the consequences that derive from this.

Thus, in a double standard policy, he says he hopes to foster a dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, but torpedoes any action that would lead to a detente in the peninsula.

The policy of sanctions and perennial threat of aggression have failed with a small nation, but with a great scientific development that has allowed it to have the nuclear weapon and the continuation of a program that, although it is not broadly known, will try to take North Korean spaceships to space, even to the Moon.

Both Russia and China have opposed the continuous punishment of Pyongyang from an international policy aggravated by the stubbornness of an empire that does not want to acknowledge that a small country be willing to face its power.

Thus, United States, I mean Trump, is testing all kinds of experimental actions trying to destroy that socialist nation, no matter the likely catastrophic consequences that could derive from this, even the damage to China and Russia, which have stated they won’t stand idly by and do nothing before such aggressive US action.

In this context, a few hours ago, the president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Council of the Russian Federation, Konstantín Kosachev, denounced Washington’s war rhetoric against Pyongyang, stressed that Moscow would not allow U.S. to carry out experiments near its borders, and warned that Democratic Korea would not stand idly by before a possible military aggression from United States and its allies, which would be “very bad” for the entire world.

“The North Korean leaders will do everything possible to protect themselves from a foreign interference”. Should Pyongyang makes use of “the possibilities it has”, all this would end very badly, not only for the region, but for the entire world as well, including U.S., he reiterated.

The Russian official considers that Washington feels “somewhat more comfortable” in the crisis on the Korean peninsula, because it is at a “significant geographical distance”, so it can “afford to conduct experiments”, but Russia, which shares borders with the Korean peninsula, cannot allow U.S. and other countries that occupy radical positions here, experiment with North Korea in this way”.

In his opinion, Washington and its allies are largely responsible for the rise in the Korean crisis, which solution is definitely not military, and added that as long as U.S. and other countries remain “openly talking about the possibility of an intervention and overthrow of the regime that exists” in North Korea, Pyongyang “will continue developing its nuclear program”.

USELESS SANCTIONS

The crisis on the Korean peninsula was approached last week at UN Security Council, where Russia remarked again its opposition to new sanctions against Democratic Korea and that a military option was inadmissible, in response to the United States, which had announced it would present a resolution in that extent.

China joined Russian statements, claiming that military means are not an option before the DPRK, and “it has always firmly opposed chaos and conflict on the Korean peninsula. From that point of view, military response should not be an option”.

Pyongyang, for its part, has dismissed Washington’s threats, as well as the international pressures and sanctions against it, claiming that the more blockades it receives from the United States and its allies, the faster it will advance in its nuclear program.

Likewise, Moscow-based news agency Sputnik reported that Russia showed U.S. the red line regarding Democratic Korea, at the same time that another Moscow outlet, Nerzavisimaya Gazeta, considered that the military might of its country would not allow Donald Trump “to cross the nuclear threshold and begin a war against North Korea”.

In that context, in a comment from US news agency AP, it is inferred the imminence of an attack against Pyongyang, and it recalls that one of the main questions in the global political scenario is whether Donald Trump will repeat in North Korea the actions of former American President Harry Truman, who made the infamous decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945.

On the other hand, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Armed Forces, pointed out during the Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, that many people have termed the use of military options (against North Korea) “unimaginable”.

"I would probably change that statement a bit and say it would be horrible and it would cause (a large number) of deaths we have never seen in our lives. What I mean is that anyone born after World War II has never seen a loss of lives as big as the one that could happen, if a conflict on the Korean peninsula starts”, he assured.

But despite admitting how horrible a war is, the top officer stated the possibility that there are very few options to avoid the beginning of a nuclear conflict.

THE MOST VALID OPTION

Sputnik also brings up the road map presented by Moscow to de-escalate the conflict, plan that foresees the reduction of mutual and gradual threats and acts of provocations between both parties to strengthen peace in the region.

According to Igor Morgulov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, the initiative has been developed “in coordination with China, a nation concerned about the events on the Korean peninsula”. In addition, the peaceful solution of tensions is also backed up by Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea, since a nuclear conflict in the Korean peninsula would affect the South Korean population too.

This denies those claims from American military that Russia was not going to interfere in an aggression against North Korea, because the zone of radioactive contamination would not reach U.S., but both Koreas, Japan, and large areas of China and Russia’s Far East.

And if Washington thinks that Beijing and Moscow will swallow a nuclear cloud in silence, that’s probably a big mistake for Trump, as it has been confirmed by Russian analysts, who consider that “If Washington were certain that Beijing and especially Moscow would remain neutral” in case of an attack of the American country against North Korea, then the country of Kim Jong-un would have ceased to exist for a long time".

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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‘It is up to US to avert catastrophe of 'declared war' on North Korea’

It is unprecedented at the UN that the president of the US threatened to murder 25 million people in the small country of North Korea; now it is up to the US to prevent a catastrophe, says Korea Peace Network member Dr. Simone Chun.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho claimed Donald Trump “declared war on Pyongyang” after making inflammatory comments on Twitter.

“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to take countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country,” he told reporters in New York on Monday.

READ MORE: ‘US declared war first’: N. Korea says it has right to shoot down strategic bombers

RT: Do you think North Korea genuinely believes President Trump has declared war on their country or is it some kind of a deliberate overstatement?

 
Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump. © Carlos Barria

Dr. Simone Chun: This is the first time that a president of the US, the most powerful leader in the free world, declared a war and basically threatened to murder 25 million people in a small country such as North Korea. It is unprecedented, especially at the UN… When any leader or country is threatened, they have two options – to surrender or to resist. The North Korean response is standard and understandable: they said they are going to defend their country. There is nothing unusual. But I think the most important thing that we have to remember is that American public opinion, close to 70 percent, both Republicans and Democrats oppose any preemptive strike against North Korea. This is very strong condemnation and criticism of Donald Trump’s persistent threat to North Korea. We should really emphasize this. North Korea [gave] a standard and legitimate response.

RT: North Korea says their largest ever hydrogen bomb could be tested over the Pacific as a response to the US. Do you think that could actually happen?

SC: I don’t think it will happen if the US agreed or accepted the proposal that is on the table; the “double freeze” supported by China and Russia. I think there is still room for diplomatic solutions. I think North Korea will be willing to accept that…The US has been very… resistant to accept the proposal. Donald Trump, when he was running for president said he was willing to implement a new policy, he criticized Obama’s hard-line policy and even proposed “hamburger diplomacy” with North Korea. Tomorrow, if President Trump agrees and supports the proposal that China, Russia, and many other leaders support, I think we could avoid this catastrophic, disastrous outcome. It is up to the US to prevent and avert catastrophic consequences.

‘People try to move money away from risky assets in case of unfortunate escalation’

RT: How serious, do you think, is this latest statement from North Korea?

 
© Yuriko Nakao 
Craig Erlam: It just shows the tensions are escalating. We go a few days without hearing any comments on the issue. We hope that it is starting to fade away; we hope that tensions are starting to de-escalate. But inevitably we just keep getting fresh comments either from North Korea or from Donald Trump himself. We could see from the market’s reaction today that they are still far from immune to this commentary because of what it could potentially lead to. Thankfully, it hasn’t yet gone any further. So far, we have missile tests and military drills from the US and South Korea, for example. But fortunately, it hasn’t escalated any further. The concern today is the use of the rhetoric “declared war” is worrying people a lot. Hopefully, it will start to get defused. The problem is when you look at both sides, who is going to back down first in this war of words and I don’t see either side showing any willingness to do so.

RT: People seem to think this is just rhetoric at the moment. There is always a risk of miscalculation, isn’t there?

CE: Absolutely. And this is one of the things with the market. The markets are always going to respond carefully, but they are also going to respond early because if you got your money in the market, the longer it takes you to respond to the threat, the more money you stand to potentially lose. People do tend toward caution. That is what we’ve seen [hours after the announcement by North Korea]. We saw money moving away from the risky assets or pulling out of equities. Not on a huge level but on a minor level, moving into typically safe haven assets... Again, people are just moving their money toward safety because if anything does unfortunately and surprisingly escalate, then you would expect to see these safer haven assets, such as gold, benefit in the short term.

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Putin, Macron: N. Korea threatening peace & safety, direct talks needed

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have agreed on the importance of defusing the Korean peninsula stand-off through diplomacy, urging all parties to engage in direct talks.

 
FILE PHOTO © KCNA

The two leaders compared opinions on the Korean Peninsula crisis during telephone talks on Friday.

They are unanimous that further escalation on the Korean Peninsula cannot be allowed and that its consequences could be irremediable. They “agreed on the importance of untangling this extremely complicated issue solely through political and diplomatic means, through resuming direct talks,” the Kremlin’s press service said.

The two leaders condemned North Korea’s “provocative actions,” which blatantly violate the disarmament resolutions of the UN Security Council.

UN Security Council Resolution 2375, adopted on September 11, was an “adequate response of the international community to Pyongyang’s reckless actions,” both Putin and Macron stressed.

The Resolution tightened sanctions against North Korea following Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test, conducted earlier this month.

The new sanctions put a cap of 2 million barrels a year on sales of refined petroleum products to North Korea, crude oil export levels are capped at the average for the past 12 months, and the country’s textile exports are banned.

North Korea, however, has responded to the sanctions with aggressive rhetoric and a new ballistic missile test. The projectile flew over Japan and crashed into the Pacific Ocean some 2,000 km east of the island of Hokkaido.

 
FILE PHOTO  TV screen showing news about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo, Japan © Kim Kyung-Hoon

Following the new test, South Korea threatened to destroy the North “beyond recovery,” if it continues its “provocations,” according to President Moon Jae-in, who warned, however, of the new threats Pyongyang might pose.

“President Moon ordered officials to closely analyze and prepare for new possible North Korean threats like EMP [electro-magnetic pulse] and biochemical attacks,” presidential spokesperson Park Su-hyun told reporters.

The new test has elicited a stern reaction from the international community. UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the test, promising to discuss it with the UN General Assembly next week.

“The Secretary-General calls on the DPRK leadership to cease further testing, comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions, and allow space to explore the resumption of sincere dialogue on denuclearisation,” Guterres’ spokesperson said in a statement on Friday. 

UK Prime Minister Theresa May was “outraged” by the new test, but said pressure must be put on China so that in turn it pressures Pyongyang.

“The prime minister is outraged by North Korea's continued reckless provocation and she strongly condemns the regime's illegal tests,” Reuters cited May’s spokesman as saying.

Our key focus now is continuing to press China to keep up the pressure on North Korea to change course.”

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China says it will never allow war or chaos on its doorstep as tensions escalate on Korean Peninsula

Beijing has said it will not allow war or chaos on the Korean Peninsula, as two US B-1B bombers conducted a new flight in the area, joined by South Korean and Japanese fighter jets in a show of force amid mounting tensions.

The statement was made by defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang at a monthly news briefing on Thursday, Sina reports.

Six American warplanes - two nuclear-capable B-1B strategic bombers and four Marine Corps F-35Bs - held a joint flight operation with Japanese F-15 fighter jets on Thursday, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) said in a statement. The squadron flew near the island of Kyushu, south of the Korean Peninsula.

Following that, the US warplanes, accompanied by South Korean F-15K fighter jets, conducted a joint operation over South Korea as well as bombing drills over the Pilseung range in the eastern province of Gangwon, according to Yonhap.

The maneuvers come just two days after North Korea’s launch of a missile over Japan.

Ren Guoqiang also reiterated China’s position that the North Korean crisis should be resolved through dialogue, and insisted on the denuclearization of the peninsula, according to Sina, citing the spokesman.

Russia also insists that there cannot be any military solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. At the latest UNSC meeting, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, reiterated Beijing and Moscow’s ‘double freeze’ initiative, recommending Pyongyang halt all nuclear and missile tests while the US and South Korea cease the military build-up in the region.

On Thursday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also expressed concern, saying that the Korean issue is serious and not a computer game, Reuters reports, citing the ministry’s spokeswoman, Hua Chunying.

During a previous news briefing, Hua responded to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s call on Beijing to exert more pressure on Pyongyang voiced during her trip to Japan on Wednesday. Hua also questioned whether other relevant parties implement the UN resolutions “without holding back anything.”

“They are the loudest when it comes to sanctions, but nowhere to be found when it comes to making efforts to promote peace talks. They want nothing to do with responsibility,” Hua told reporters on Wednesday. 

READ MORE: Tokyo & Seoul seek ‘maximum pressure’ after UNSC condemns Pyongyang’s ‘outrageous’ missile test

The flyover of the North Korean medium-range missile was unanimously condemned by the UN Security Council, which convened for an emergency meeting following the test. The UN called on Pyongyang to halt their activities, which are “not just a threat to the region, but to all UN member states.”

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that “all options are on the table” regarding North Korea, later tweeting that “talking is not the answer.” Trump also said that Washington has been paying Pyongyang “extortion money” while negotiating for over two decades.

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‘Trump’s stance toward North Korea goes from one extreme to another’

The US is trying to use its influence to make a problem that has been around for 60 years and to provoke a reaction from North Korea before the possible return to the 'Sunshine Policy', says Daniel McAdams, executive director at Ron Paul Institute.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has urged the US and North Korea to “remain calm and exercise restraint.” He also called the situation between the two countries "highly complex" and sensitive.

This comes as tension continues to flare between the two with seemingly empty threats and shows of strength being traded.

RT spoke with executive director at the Ron Paul Institute, Daniel McAdams who suggests the motives behind the posturing are hard to comprehend which is perhaps the desired effect. 

“The fact of the matter is that there have been a couple of tests in recent weeks that the US has made with intercontinental ballistic missiles. You can’t help but suspect that there is a message involved in these tests,” he told RT.

In his opinion, “President [Trump] has gone from one extreme to the other saying ‘something very bad may happen soon’ to ‘why not have Kim Jong-Un come over to the White House and have a talk’. Maybe the intent is to keep North Korea off guard. Maybe it is to have them think that Washington also has strange and unstable leader - it is hard to tell.”

McAdams continued saying that the US is trying “to use intimidation. It is also trying to get China do its bidding.”

He further claims “China has limited influence over North Korea. There is an enormous amount of downside to both China and Russia if the North Korean government implodes, if society implodes, if the economy further implodes.”

“But I do think the US government is trying to use its influence, is trying to for some reason to make a problem that has been in existence for some 60 years plus. All of a sudden now it is an urgent problem that needs to be immediately addressed. I think this is a created crisis in Washington DC and it makes very little sense,” he said.

According to McAdams, “the US military exercises along with Japan and South Korea are meant to send a signal to North Korea as well.”

In his opinion, America’s joint military exercises with Japan and South Korea are meant to send a signal to Pyongyang.

“They have a very strong effect, as the US would feel if hostile neighbors would conduct military exercises in our backyard, we would feel intimidated. I think there is also an element of South Korean politics involved as well,” McAdams said, adding that South Korea is in a sort of a lame duck period ahead of the presidential election on May 9.

“The next presidential election is set to favor Moon Jae-in who has taken a much more nuanced approach to US foreign policy. He has explicitly warned the US not to get involved South Korea’s democracy and elections. He may be a tougher nut for Washington to crack,” he added.

McAdams suggested that “may explain why Washington in this interim is putting in the THAAD missiles, is accelerating the military presence, is moving ships closer to North Korea trying to perhaps provoke a reaction before things may have to cool down and back down, perhaps even return to the Sunshine Policy which wasn’t all that bad.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

 

‘Vicious plot’: Pyongyang claims CIA planning biochem attack against Kim Jong-un

A terrorist cell supported by the CIA and South Korea’s National Intelligence Service is plotting to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a “biochemical” attack, Pyongyang has claimed.

The cell has “infiltrated” North Korea but the Ministry of State Security will “ferret out and mercilessly destroy to the last one the terrorists of the US CIA,” the ministry said, as cited by the state’s KCNA news agency.

Pyongyang identified one of the people involved in the “vicious plot” as “Kim,” a timber worker who was allegedly bribed by the CIA while working in Russia in June 2014.

 
A man chants slogans during an anti-North Korea rally in central Seoul, South Korea, February 11, 2016. © Kim Hong-Ji

Kim was said to have received over $20,000 from South Korean agents on two occasions and reportedly planned to attack the North Korean leadership during a public event in Pyongyang. The cell allegedly planned to use an unspecified poison.

“[The intelligence agents] 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 report said.

“[A North] Korean-style anti-terrorist attack will be commenced from this moment to sweep away the intelligence and plot-breeding organizations of the US imperialists and the puppet clique,” the ministry statement warned.

The report did not provide any evidence of the alleged plot.

An assassination of Kim Jong-un and other senior government officials in Pyongyang is reportedly part of Seoul’s contingency plans for a possible major military confrontation between the two Koreas. The US is said to be lending its expertise to the plan.

READ MORE: Pyongyang angers Seoul with simulated raid on S. Korea’s presidential palace

The North Korean military has trained for a commando raid on the South Korean presidential palace, the Blue House. Such an attack would be the second, after the infamous 1968 siege of the residence.

The accusations from Pyongyang come amid a period of high tension in the region, as the Trump administration appears to be stepping up the pressure in response to the latest missile tests by North Korea.

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US successfully launches second Minuteman III ballistic missile in 7 days (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has been launched from a US Air Force base in California just seven days after the first launch.

The three-stage ICBM blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 07:02GMT Wednesday. It travelled around 4,200 miles to a test range near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

GT-222GM Minuteman III Launch

The test of the Minuteman III missile follows a similar launch on April 26 from North Vandenberg Air Force Base. The move comes amid rapidly growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, although the mission was planned “over the past 10 months,” according to the 30th Space Wing, which conducted the test.

The Minuteman III tests are aimed “to validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system” according to Air Force Global Strike Command.

“These ICBM test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent,” the 30th Space Wing stated.

READ MORE: US launches Minuteman III ICBM to show ‘nuclear capabilities’ amid N. Korea tensions

The US military denied that the previous operational test had anything to do with tensions with North Korea. A spokeswoman for the Air Force Global Strike Command stated that the missions are carried out regularly and are planned in advance, according to the Washington Examiner. 

One of the tests of the same ICBM was previously described as a signal for the US enemies.

“The Simulated Electronic Launch of a Minuteman III ICBM is a signal to the American people, our allies, and our adversaries that our ICBM capability is safe, secure, lethal and ready,” the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron commander, Lt. Col. Deane Konowicz, said in a statement following a successful simulated electronic firing on April 11.

The Minuteman III nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile is one of the pillars of the US air-land-sea triad, which also includes the Ohio-class submarine and the B-52 strategic bomber.

The ICBM was initially deployed in 1970 and its useful lifespan ends in 13 years. Over the next 30 years Washington is planning to spend $1 trillion on a massive modernization program for the weapons.

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