(Washington, DC) – U.S. intelligence officials reportedly have evidence that North Korea is looking for ways to conceal its nuclear weapons stockpile. “The Washington Post” reports that Pyongyang is preparing to deceive the U.S. about how many nukes it has while maintaining secret weapons production facilities.
The report says the new information was obtained following the historic June 12th Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In that meeting, Kim re-iterated earlier promises to work towards denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
(SL) – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says North Korea is not dismantling its nuclear weapons program.
The Pentagon chief told reporters yesterday he isn’t aware of any steps North Korea is taking to begin taking apart its nuclear weapons or missiles and he doesn’t expect it in the near future.
President Trump said, after his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week, that the isolated Stalinist state either had or would soon begin destroying a missile engine testing site. Mattis said yesterday that isn’t happening.
(SW) – Former NBA star and friend to Kim Jong Un will reportedly be in Singapore next week while President Trump holds a summit with the North Korean leader.
He’ll apparently arrive a day before the June 12th meeting but it’s not clear what he’s planning on doing. Rodman has visited the isolated North Korea five times over the years, on different occasions singing “Happy Birthday” to Kim and presenting a copy of Trump’s “Art of the Deal.”
Rodman told TMZ he doesn’t want to take the credit for the current move toward dialogue between the two countries.
(Pyongyang) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is planning a trip to Pyongyang to meet with North Korean lead Kim Jong Un. North Korean state media Sunday reported the planned meeting, which comes after Assad received the credentials of the North Korean ambassador to Syria.
The U.N. has accused North Korea of working with Syria on chemical weapons, something both nations deny. Depending on when the meeting takes place, it could be the first time Kim publicly meets with a foreign head of state in Pyongyang since taking power in 2011. A planned summit between Kim and President Trump is set for June 12th in Singapore.
In related news, the White House is in the early stages of organizing a summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The Wall Street Journal” reported that the effort aims at resolving differences about nuclear weapons, Syria and Ukraine.
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has reportedly been working for months to make the meeting happen. The two leaders have met twice before during other international gatherings.
(Washington, DC) – Rudy Giuliani is walking back claims he made Thursday that the release of three Americans being held in North Korea was imminent. Giuliani, a member of President Trump’s legal team and the former mayor of New York City, on Thursday told “Fox and Friends” that the release was happening that day.
He told reporters Saturday that he doesn’t know the status of the men and the less said about it, the better. He said that it’s being worked on and that he’s reading the newspapers like everyone else.
The White House said that a release would be a sign of goodwill ahead of a planned meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
(Pyongyang) — North Korea is warning the U.S. and other nations that support a new round of UN sanctions they will pay a heavy price. A statement from North Korea’s foreign ministry on Sunday criticized the actions and claimed the U.S. is intimidated by North Korea’s nuclear power.
In the statement issued through the country’s official news agency, it warns the U.S. that if it wishes to live safely, “it must abandon its hostile policy” toward North Korea and called the sanctions an act of war.
The UN Security Council last week unanimously approved the sanctions prompted by North Korea’s continued testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the sanctions will choke North Korea’s energy supplies and result in tighter restrictions on smuggling.
In Baltimore, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin says slapping new UN sanctions on the outlaw North Koreans marks a major accomplishment for the United States. The Democrat tells “Fox News Sunday” that “They’re pretty strong additional sanctions to be imposed against North Korea because of their continued testing of ballistic missiles.” The ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says it “was absolutely a strong move forward and it was great to see China and Russia join us.” Cardin says the next step is diplomacy — finding a way to ease tensions and get North Korea to change directions.
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley says the UN sanctions cut exports of gasoline, diesel and other refined oil products by 89-percent. It also bans exports of machinery, transportation vehicles and industrial metals to North Korea.
(SL) – It was all good 10 months ago. Donald Trump hasn’t been in office a year but has managed to tweet the United States to the brink of Nuclear War with North Korea.
How likely is WW III? A general consensus is that Trump’s statements are just bluster, although many emphasize the fact that bluster has an unfortunate history of leading to war.
The new escalation is the latest in an ongoing ratcheting up of tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, and came after a report that claimed North Korea had developed nuclear weapons small enough that they could be flown all the way to the US mainland and detonated there.
Trump threatened Fire and Fury like no other if North Korea stepped to the U.S. or any of its allies, but then he refreshed his threat on twitter writing that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded”and ready to take action against the isolated country if it continues to “act unwisely.”
“Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!” Trump said in provocative comments directed at the leader of a nation that, in open defiance of the United Nations, has been developing nuclear weapons capable of reaching the United States.
The Washington Post went on to report, as Trump continued his bellicose rhetoric — a tactic criticized by some U.S. leaders and allies — North Korea kept up its verbal salvos, as well. A commentary in a state-run newspaper said that the “U.S. military warmongers are running amok” and warned that “the U.S. and its vassal forces will dearly pay for the harshest sanctions and pressure and reckless military provocations.”
Trump claims that he is backed by everybody but that’s not true. The Washington Post reports, German Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned that “verbal escalation” may be the wrong response to the crisis.
As for Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says, “We don’t accept a nuclear-powered North Korea,” in response to questions at a youth forum, but he added that the United States should take the first step away from conflict.
“I believe when it actually comes to a fight, the one that is stronger and smarter should take the first step away from the dangerous line,” Lavrov said.
An editorial in China’s state-run Global Times said that Beijing should “prevent” the United States and South Korea from carrying out an attack designed to overthrow the North Korean government but that China should “stay neutral” in the event of a North Korean attack and U.S. retaliation
The threats by Trump come as North Korea has stepped up its threats against the United States, including warning of a potential missile launch landing near the U.S. territory of Guam.
Later Friday morning, Trump retweeted images from the U.S. Pacific Command that showed two Air Force B-1B bombers that it said had joined counterparts from the South Korean and Japanese air forces in the region.
The command’s tweet included the hashtag #FightTonight, more of a signal of its readiness to fight if needed than a sign it is spoiling for a battle within days. The Air Force has kept bombers on Guam for years, and the Pentagon and U.S. Forces Korea have long used the “fight tonight” motto in South Korea to reflect the seriousness of their mission.
Why Guam? The Independent sums it up best saying, It has been a significant military outpost for America since he Second World War and reportedly holds around 6,000 troops, the Anderson Air Force Base and the Naval Base Guam. The island is referred to by military commanders as their “permanent aircraft carrier”.
The military bases have rotations of B-1, B-2 and B-52 strategic bombers, as seen in the above graphic, created for The Independent by statistics agency Statista, and include a submarine squadron.
It is also armed with a defense system that can intercept missiles, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
(SL) – New warnings out of Korea as Pyongyang is adamant about launching a retaliatory nuclear strikes against the United States if it determines that Washington is planning a pre-emptive strike against North Korea.
The North’s latest threat comes after South Korea and the US carried out naval drills in the East Sea (also called Sea of Japan) in a show of force following Pyongyang’s fifth and largest ever nuclear test on 9 September.
The Rodong Sinmun referred to the joint naval exercise as “advance preparations for mounting a pre-emptive attack”.
‘If the aggressors and provocateurs dare mount a preemptive attack on the DPRK, they will not be able to escape a merciless, nuclear retaliatory strike of justice,’ an article published today said.
In a previous article, published yesterday, Pyongyang said ‘the Korean peninsula has reached the brink of a war’, and branded President Obama ‘the chieftain of war’.