US and South Korea plan simulated nuclear strike on North Korea

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US and South Korea plan simulated nuclear strike on North Korea
« on: January 20, 2016, 10:09:44 AM »


US and South Korea plan simulated nuclear strike on North Korea

Updated plans would help them prepare their defenses against a potential nuclear strike from Pyongyang

Amphibious assault vehicles of the South Korean Marine Corps fire smoke bombs as they prepare to land on shore 

South Korean Marine Corps carry out exercises, part of preparations in case of war with the North Photo: REUTERS

By Julian Ryall, Tokyo

1:07PM GMT 14 Jan 2016

South Korea and the US are considering a military exercise that would simulate a pre-emptive strike against North Korea's nuclear weapons capabilities.

In November, the two governments agreed upon an updated set of plans to defend South Korea from missile, nuclear, chemical and biological threats. Known as the 4D Operational Concept, the plans are designed to detect, disrupt, destroy and defend the South from threats posed by the North.

The additional capability would be on top of the military hardware that South Korea has asked its closest security partner to provide.

In the wake of Pyongyang's fourth underground nuclear test on January 6, however, Seoul and Washington are examining the possibility of conducting manoeuvers to extend the reach of the plan, the Chosun Ilbo reported on Thursday.

"The two countries are discussing ways to reflect parts of the 4D concept during the joint annual exercises in March and then to develop it as a full scale operational system", an official of the defence ministry in Seoul told the newspaper.

Analysts say the two governments - along with others in the region - will have drawn up contingency plans for a number of possible scenarios on the Korean peninsula, including indications of an imminent nuclear strike, an invasion of the South with conventional forces or the collapse of Kim Jong-un's regime.

One situation that military planners are particularly concerned about would be the current regime imploding but a number of factions - potentially armed with nuclear or other non-conventional weapons - jostling for power.

"North Korean assets that are capable of waging nuclear war will obviously be of the highest priority", Lance Gatling, a defence analyst and president of Nexial Research Inc., told the Telegraph.

"These will be the mobile launch tractors that the North has for its tactical medium-range ballistic missiles, which can reach targets in South Korea and Japan", he said.

"They will also be targeting the openings to underground facilities where weapons are stored in preparation for launch, although it can be very difficult to find all these sites".

The US has said it will "not accept North Korea as a nuclear armed state".

Pyongyang has in the past condemned joint US-South Korean military exercises as provocation and preparations for an invasion of the North. It is likely to react angrily to suggestions that its perceived enemies are preparing a first-strike capability.


North Korea offers to stop nuclear tests in exchange for peace treaty

Pyongyang also demands an end to annual US-South Korea military exercises.

A dapper Kim Jong-un, dressed in a winter coat and fedora hat, watches an underwater missile launch purportedly on December 21

Pyongyang offers to end nulcear tests in return for peace deal Photo: YONHAP/AFP/Getty Images



2:45AM GMT 16 Jan 2016

North Korea said it could stop its nuclear tests in exchange for signing a peace treaty with the U.S. and a stop to annual military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.

The North's statement carried by the state media late Friday was a repeat of past offers that have been rejected by the U.S., which wants Pyongyang to commit to a complete abandonment of nuclear weapons.

An unnamed spokesman of the North's Foreign Ministry called the purported hydrogen bomb test on Jan. 6 a justifiable move to ensure its survival against external threats.

"In response to the U.S. continuously invading our sovereignty and making threatening provocations, we will acquire ourselves with all possible nuclear attack and nuclear retaliation abilities, but will not thoughtlessly use our nuclear weapons," the official Korean Central News Agency quoted the spokesman as saying.

The spokesman also called the South's decision to restart anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts along their tense border an "odd" provocation.

The North is extremely sensitive to outside criticism of the authoritarian leadership of Kim Jong Un and has been retaliating to Seoul's loudspeaker campaigns by flying thousands of propaganda leaflets across the border. Earlier in the week, South Korean troops fired 20 machine gun warning shots after a North Korean drone briefly crossed the border.

The North's H-bomb claims have been met with widespread condemnation and suspicion, but also questions on how to stop the country's growing nuclear threat.

The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war because the 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Pyongyang has called the annual U.S.-South Korean military drills a rehearsal for an invasion, though the allies have repeatedly said that the war games are defensive in nature.



North Korea claims its 'hydrogen bomb' can 'wipe out the whole US territory'

Bombastic claim made by state-run media a week after declaring a successful test detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

A resident watches a news report on DPRK's first hydrogen bomb test in Seoul, South Korea

A resident watches a news report on DPRK's first hydrogen bomb test in Seoul, South Korea Photo: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

By Julian Ryall, in Tokyo

1:00PM GMT 12 Jan 2016

North Korea has declared that its recent nuclear test has given it the capability to "wipe out the whole territory of the US all at once".

The bombastic claim was made in a commentary released by state-run media on Tuesday, six days after what North Korea claims was a successful test detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

The statement repeated the regime's insistence that the blast was of a miniaturised hydrogen bomb and that the nation's scientists had achieved a "new high state" in the development of defensive nuclear weapons.

"The test was neither to 'threaten' anyone, not to 'provoke' someone for a certain purpose", KCNA said in the article, adding that the purpose of the test was to provide a "sure guarantee" that hostile outside forces would not attack the North.

A photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency of leader Kim Jong-un signing a document for the recent hydrogen bomb test in PyongyangA photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency of leader Kim Jong-un signing a document for the recent hydrogen bomb test in Pyongyang  Photo: KCNA/AFP/Getty Images The US is traditionally painted as Pyongyang's biggest foe and state propaganda claims on a nearly daily basis that Washington is conniving with South Korea in preparation for an invasion of the North.

To prevent that, the North's nuclear scientists are "in high spirits to detonate H-bombs of hundreds of kilotons and megatons, capable of wiping out the whole territory of the US all at once", it added.

Experts are still gathering data and air samples that will permit them to determine precisely what happened at the Punggye-ri proving grounds on Jan. 6, but seismic evidence indicates the device had a yield of around 6 kilotons.

That would mean it fell well short of a thermonuclear device - which could be expected to have a yield around 100 times more powerful. The assumption among analysts is that it was a conventional nuclear bomb that was enhanced with fusion fuels, such as deuterium or lithium.

North Koreans celebrate the nuclear test in Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung square on Friday. Undeterred, Kim Jong-un has been pictured congratulating the nuclear scientists who carried out the test. The North Korean leader expressed anticipation they will go on to "achieve greater successes in scientific research for bolstering the nuclear deterrent for self-defence", the KCNA news agency reported.

Mr Kim is milking the public adulation for the test, with slogans and posters across Pyongyang acclaiming the young dictator for overseeing the success of the North's latest advance in nuclear weapons.

North Korea bomb test was "self defence" says Kim Jong-un


North Korean dictator defends nuclear test as a fair action which nobody could criticise

Kim Jong-un defends nculear test as self defence

Kim Jong-un signing a document for the recent hydrogen bomb test in Pyongyang Photo: KCNA/AFP/Getty Images


By Reuters

12:49AM GMT 10 Jan 2016

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country conducted a hydrogen bomb test as a self-defensive step against a U.S. threat of nuclear war and had a sovereign right to do so without being criticised, state news agency KCNA reported on Sunday.

North Korea's fourth nuclear test on Wednesday angered both the United States and China, which was not given prior notice, although the U.S. government and weapons experts doubt the North's claim that the device it set off was a hydrogen bomb.

This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 31, 2013 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting a ski resort on Masik Pass to be completed in Kangwon province. Kim Jong-Un visited the newly completed ski resort and ordered officials to open his pet project to the public as soon as possible, state media reported. Kim took a test ride on a ski lift at the Masik Pass Ski Resort, which he said during a visit two weeks ago was "at the centre of the world's attention", the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT AFP PHOTO / KCNA via KNS THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PHOTO IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP. ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSKNS   Photo: AFP/Getty Images

"The DPRK's H-bomb test ... is a self-defensive step for reliably defending the peace on the Korean Peninsula and the regional security from the danger of nuclear war caused by the U.S.-led imperialists," KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

"It is the legitimate right of a sovereign state and a fair action that nobody can criticise," he said.

Kim's comments were in line with the North's official rhetoric blaming the United States for deploying nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula to justify its nuclear programme but were the first by its leader since Wednesday's blast.

The United States has said it has no nuclear weapons stationed in South Korea. But it has been in discussion with the South about deploying strategic weapons on the Korean peninsula after the test. Media said these could include nuclear-capable B-2 and B-52 bombers, and a nuclear-powered submarine.

Experts believe the test, which produced a seismic tremor of 5.1, too small to be a proper hydrogen bomb test, was designed to set the stage for a rare general meeting of its ruling Workers' Party, the first since 1980.

Kim noted the significance of the timing of the test as being held in the year of the party congress, "which will be a historic turning point in accomplishing the revolutionary cause of Juche," according to KCNA.

People take part in mass rallies held across the country vowing to carry out tasks set forth by North Korean leader Kim Jong UnPeople take part in mass rallies held across the country vowing to carry out tasks set forth by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un  Photo: REUTERS

Juche is the North's home-grown state ideology that combines Marxism and extreme nationalism established by the state founder and the current leader's grandfather, Kim Il Sung.

KCNA said Kim made the comments on a visit to the country's Ministry of the People's Armed Forces.


North Korea faked submarine missile launch, say analysts

Weapon that malfunctioned in December test was actually fired from submerged barge, not a submarine, experts claim

Pyongyang declared the December 21 launch to have been a complete success

Pyongyang declared the December 21 launch to have been a complete success Photo: AFP/Getty Images

By Julian Ryall, Tokyo

6:19AM GMT 13 Jan 2016

North Korea faked what it claimed was a successful launch in December of a ballistic missile from a submarine, according to American analysts.

Pyongyang declared the December 21 launch to have been a complete success and a leap forward in its plans to equip its submarine fleet with long-range ballistic missiles.

Footage of the latest test launch - the third - was shown on North Korean television on Friday, two days after the regime carried out its fourth underground nuclear test. Despite Pyongyang's claims, analysts do not believe that blast was a thermonuclear device.

Similarly, experts have taken issue with the submarine missile launch, suggesting that Pyongyang is still some years away from deploying a viable sub-surface missile capability.

Kim Jong Un during a visit to the submarineKim Jong Un during a visit to the submarine  Photo: Rodong Sinmun

Experts had already suggested that the missile "failed catastrophically" shortly after launch and that the footage shown on television had been heavily modified and spliced together with earlier images.

Now, analysts have cast doubt on the claim that the missile was launched from a submarine.

"While parts of the video footage of the launch are believed to have been faked, examining the initial stages of this launch, along with satellite imagery of the submarine and support vessels in port two days later, suggests that this test was probably conducted from a submerged barge rather than an actual submarine", a report on the 38 North web site claimed.

A few frames of the footage that were apparently overlooked by the North Korean editor also appear to show the stern of a support ship for the submerged barge, writes John Schilling, an analyst for the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Satellite photos taken after the test show a submarine in port alongside a submersible test barge. A crane required to remove the launch canister the missile is, tellingly, alongside the barge.

Regardless of the success or failure of the test, Mr Schilling points out, "The North Koreans will presumably get it right eventually".

"They know how to build missiles that work, they know how to build submarines that work and Kim Jong-un seems particularly enthusiastic about both," he said. "We anticipate that they will keep trying".

North Korea published photographs of Kim Jong-un watching as missiles were apparently fired from a submarine beneath the ocean surfaceGerman aerospace experts said the reflection of the missile on water, circled, did not line up  Photo: KCNA/EPA

Analysts estimate that North Korea may have overcome the technical difficulties for a submarine launched ballistic missile by 2020.

Last year, a photograph of another submarine launch was revealed as a fake.


South Korea asks US for military assets after North's nuclear test

One day after Pyongyang claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb, Washington vows to stand by its ally and could provide anti-missile defences as well as stepping up naval and aerial presence in the region

By Julian Ryall, Tokyo

5:21AM GMT 07 Jan 2016

Seoul and Washington are discussing the deployment of US strategic military assets to the Korean peninsula, according to a South Korean military official, one day after North Korea detonated what it claims was a hydrogen bomb.

The two governments have declined to provide details of what those assets might be, but analysts suggest they could include the deployment of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea and an increased presence by the US 7th Fleet in waters off the east coast of the peninsula.

North Koreans celebrate as they watch a news broadcast on a video screen outside Pyongyang Railway Station

An official confirmed the talks to Reuters.

In early 2013, another period of escalated tensions in the region, the US sent a nuclear submarine to the region and carried out sorties of nuclear-capable B-2 and B-52 bombers in South Korean airspace. A similar show of force is very possible, the experts suggest.

Pyongyang's latest act of belligerence may even prompt new discussions on the reintroduction of US tactical nuclear weapons into the South. The last such weapons were withdrawn in the early 1990s, although South Korea remains firmly under Washington's nuclear umbrella.

• North Korea nuclear test: what we know so far

Both governments remain reluctant to push ahead with the reintroduction of US nuclear weapons to the peninsula, but there are some in the South who insist they should remain an option.

Satellite photo of North Korea's nuclear test site  Photo: AP

"The US and South Korea are being intentionally vague on their possible reactions, but it is likely that they are considering exo-atmospheric interceptors such as THAAD," Lance Gatling, a defence analyst and president of Nexial Research Inc, told The Telegraph.

"They are involved in a strategic and diplomatic tit-for-tat at the moment, with the North's nuclear test raising the technical and threat levels, meaning the South and the US have to respond by raising their defence levels.

North Korea took the world by surprise when it announced on Wednesday that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. Although most analysts doubt the claim, and seismic data suggests it was more likely to have been a less powerful atomic bomb of the sort it has detonated three times before, the test provoked a wave of international condemnation.

Han Min-koo, the South Korean defence minister, said the military was exploring possible responses to the latest North Korean provocation, including resuming propaganda broadcasts through loudspeakers across the Demilitarised Zone that divides the two nations.

Similar broadcasts triggered a brief exchange of artillery fire in August of last year.

Washington has reiterated its "ironclad defence commitment" to South Korea during a telephone discussion between Mr Han and Ashton Carter, the US defence secretary, with Yonhap News reporting that the agreement "includes all kinds of extended deterrence assets".

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, confirmed Washington's position that Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test is "highly provocative act" and an unacceptable challenge to the international community, as well as a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions already imposed on North Korea for its nuclear and missile programmes.

Mr Kerry added that the US will deal "sternly" with the North's actions, working closely with the United Nations and other members of the international community.

President Barack Obama also held talks with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, in which he reaffirmed the US commitment to Japan's security. The two leaders agreed to "work together to forge a united and strong international response to North Korea's reckless behaviour", the White House said in a statement.


Seoul fires warning shots at North Korean drone over DMZ

South Korean troops fired 20 warning shots at the aircraft before it returned to the North

Two unmanned vehicles which had crashed in the South in 2014 (pictured) were found to have taken hundreds of aeriel photos of military installations

Two unmanned vehicles which had crashed in the South in 2014 (pictured) were found to have taken hundreds of aeriel photos of military installations Photo: South Korean Defence Ministry

By Julian Ryall, in Tokyo

11:09AM GMT 13 Jan 2016

South Korean troops fired at a North Korean drone that briefly penetrated the South's airspace on Wednesday afternoon.

The aircraft was spotted above a South Korean observation post along the heavily fortified Demilitarised Zone that divides the two nations. South Korean troops fired around 20 warning shots in the direction of the aircraft before it returned to the North, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a release to local media.

The North has flown drones into South Korea in several occasions in the past, testing the South's defences and gathering information about troop deployments.

Two unmanned vehicles that crashed in the South in 2014 were found to have taken hundreds of aeriel photos of military installations, as well as of the official residence of Park Guen-hye, the South Korean president.

Officials believe Wednesday's intrusion was an attempt to determine South Korea's state of military readiness as tensions remain high on the peninsula after North Korea carried out its fourth underground nuclear test on January 6.

The North has also been sending leaflets over the border beneath balloons since late on Tuesday, demanding that the South halt propaganda broadcasts across the DMZ.

The leaflets have been found close to the towns of Paju and Uijeongbu, north of Seoul, Yonhap News reported.

Some of the leaflets carried messages critical of Mrs Park, with one bearing the message, "Knock out the gang of Park Geun-hye, who aggravated North-South relations by resuming anti-North psychological warfare broadcasts".

Another read, "Stop the psychological warfare broadcasts that light the fuse of war".

The South Korean military is closely monitoring movement to the north of the border, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs said, and "stands ready to conduct its own leaflet operations at any time".

Pyongyang is particularly sensitive about propaganda broadcasts and leaflets floated into its territory that are critical of the regime and the ruling Kim family. In the past, North Korea said such campaigns are tantamount to a declaration of war.

 Why Is North Korea Our Problem?

By Patrick J. Buchanan
Share Pat's Columns:

Friday - January 8, 2016

For Xi Jinping, it has been a rough week.

Panicked flight from China's currency twice caused a plunge of 7 percent in her stock market, forcing a suspension of trading.

Kim Jong Un, the megalomaniac who runs North Korea, ignored Xi's warning and set off a fourth nuclear bomb. While probably not a hydrogen bomb as claimed, it was the largest blast ever in Korea.

And if Pyongyang continues building and testing nuclear bombs, Beijing is going to wake up one day and find that its neighbors, South Korea and Japan, have also acquired nuclear weapons as deterrents to North Korea.

And should Japan and South Korea do so, Taiwan, Vietnam and Manila, all bullied by Beijing, may also be in the market for nukes.

Hence, if Beijing refuses to cooperate to de-nuclearize North Korea, she could find herself, a decade hence, surrounded by nuclear weapons states, from Russia to India and from Pakistan to Japan.

Still, this testing of a bomb by North Korea, coupled with the bellicosity of Kim Jong Un, should cause us to take a hard look at our own war guarantees to Asia that date back to John Foster Dulles.

At the end of the Korean War in July 1953, South Korea was devastated, unable to defend herself without the U.S. Navy and Air Force and scores of thousands of U.S. troops.

So, America negotiated a mutual security treaty.

But today, South Korea has 50 million people, twice that of the North, the world's 13th largest economy, 40 times the size of North Korea's, and access to the most modern U.S. weapons.

In 2015, Seoul ran a trade surplus of almost $30 billion with the United States, a sum almost equal to North Korea's entire GDP.

Why, then, are 25,000 U.S. troops still in South Korea?

Why are they in the DMZ, ensuring that Americans are among the first to die in any Second Korean War?

Given the proximity of the huge North Korean Army, with its thousands of missiles and artillery pieces, only 35 miles from Seoul, any invasion would have to be met almost immediately with U.S.-fired atomic weapons.

But with North Korea possessing a nuclear arsenal estimated at 8 to 12 weapons and growing, a question arises: Why should the U.S. engage in a nuclear exchange with North Korea, over South Korea?

Why should a treaty that dates back 60 years commit us, in perpetuity, to back South Korea in a war from the first shot with Pyongyang, when that war could swiftly escalate to nuclear?

How does this comport with U.S. national interests?

In 1877, Lord Salisbury, commenting on Great Britain's stance on the Eastern Question, noted that "the commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies."

Is this not true today of America's Asian alliances?

North Korea's tests of atomic weapons and development of land-based and submarine-launched missiles should cause us to reconsider strategic commitments that date back to the 1950s.

President Nixon, ahead of his time, understood this.

As he began the drawdown of U.S. forces in Vietnam in 1969, he declared in Guam that while America would meet her treaty obligations, henceforth, Asian nations should provide the ground troops to defend themselves. Gen. MacArthur had told President Kennedy, before Vietnam, not to put U.S. foot soldiers onto the Asian mainland.

Now that we have entered a post-post Cold War era, where many Asian nations possess the actual or potential military power to defend themselves, something like a new Nixon Doctrine is worth considering.

Take all of the major territorial quarrels between China and its neighbors — the dispute with India over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, the dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands, with Vietnam over the Paracels, with the Philippines over the Spratlys.

In none of these quarrels and conflicts does there seem to be any vital U.S. national interest so imperiled that we should risk a clash with a nuclear power like Beijing.

Once, there was a time when Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Tojo ruled almost all of Eurasia. And another time when a monolithic Sino-Soviet Communist bloc ruled from the Elbe to the Pacific.

As those times are long gone, is it not time for an exhaustive review of the alliances we have entered into and the war guarantees we have issued, to fight for nations and interests other than our own?

Under NATO, we are committed to go to war against a nuclear-armed Russia on behalf of 27 nations, including tiny Estonia.

One understood the necessity to defend West Germany and keep the Red Army on the other side of the Elbe, but when did Estonia's independence become so critical to U.S. security that we would fight a nuclear-armed Russia rather than lose it?

Indeed, how many of the dozens of U.S. war guarantees we have outstanding would we honor by going to war if they were called?

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