German spy agency said North Korean rockets can reach Europe – paper

Reuters – March 18, 2018

BERLIN (Reuters) – North Korean rockets can now be fitted with nuclear weapons and could reach Germany and central Europe, a top official with Germany’s foreign intelligence agency told lawmakers this week, according to a report in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

BND Deputy Director Ole Diehl told lawmakers during a closed-door meeting that the assessment was “certain,” the newspaper reported, citing participants in the briefing.

At the same time, Diehl said the agency viewed talks between North and South Korea as a positive sign.

No comment was immediately available from the BND.

A senior North Korean diplomat left for Finland on Sunday for talks with former U.S. and South Korean officials, Yonhap News Agency reported, amid a series of diplomatic encounters ahead of a possible U.S.-North Korean summit.

Mattis Says US-North Korea Diplomacy Is at Delicate Stage

Newsmax – March 11., 2018

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the diplomatic push to solve the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis was at such a delicate stage that he won’t publicly discuss the talks or related issues such as U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

Mattis was among advisers who were in the White House when President Donald Trump on Thursday decided to accept the offer by North Korean leader Jong Un Kim to meet by May. The offer was relayed to Trump by a South Korean government delegation that briefed the president on their meeting with Kim last week in the North Korean’s capital.

“I do not want to talk about Korea at all. It’s that delicate,” he said in an interview as he flew to the Mideast, landing in Oman on Sunday.”

When you get in a position like this, the potential for misunderstanding remains very high,” he said, explaining his unwillingness to talk about any aspect of the diplomatic efforts.

‘Dark clouds of a war’: North Korea will ‘counter US’ if it holds drills with Seoul

RT – March 3, 2018

North Korea has threatened to “counter the US” if Washington holds joint military exercises with Seoul while still enforcing sanctions against Pyongyang.

“If the US finally holds joint military exercises while keeping sanctions on the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], the DPRK will counter the US by its own mode of counteraction and the US will be made to own all responsibilities for the ensuing consequences,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said in a commentary on Saturday. “The US should clearly understand this and exercise prudence.”

The US is due to begin joint exercises with Seoul in early April, a South Korean presidential security adviser said earlier this week, as quoted by Yonhap news agency. The plan has angered North Korea, which has long seen joint drills as a threat.

The KCNA commentary referred to the scheduled drills as an intention by America “to bring dark clouds of a war to hang over the Korean Peninsula.” It also called for the US to be denounced by the international community, accusing Washington of aiming to “aggravate the situation on the Korean peninsula at any cost.”

MSC chief Ischinger warns of high global danger of war

DW – February 16, 2018

The chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, said Friday that the world was facing the most serious threat of military confrontation since 1991.

“I’m worried; I think the global security situation is more unstable today than it has been at any time since the demise of the Soviet Union,” he told DW in an interview.

He listed a number of threats that he considered key dangers to global security, including the risks of major conflict in the Middle East, the nuclear standoff with North Korea and tensions between the West and Russia, partly over the simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Ischinger said he was very concerned about the situation in Syria, where a number of powerful foreign players, including Russia, the US and Turkey, have been drawn into a long-running civil conflict.

North Korea ‘only months away’ from US nuclear strike, claims diplomat

 – February 6, 2018

The US and North Korea have once again swapped nuclear strike warnings as they accused each other of ratcheting up tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The two traded blows at the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva where US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said that North Korea might be able to hit the continental US with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile within months.

North Korean diplomat Ju Yong-chol accused the US of deploying nuclear assets in the region in preparation for a preemptive strike.

“In view of the nature and scale of US military reinforcements, they are designed to make a preemptive strike against the DPRK,” said Ju.

North Korea Lashes Out Over Reports Trump Is Planning A ‘Bloody Nose’ Attack

Ryan Pickrell – February 6, 2018

With all the talk of a “bloody nose” strike on North Korea, the rogue state is returning fire, threatening to break President Donald Trump’s back if he conducts a limited strike on North Korea.

“Dolt-like Trump should know that his backbone would be broken, to say nothing of ‘bloody nose,’ and the empire of America would go to the hell and the short history of the U.S. would end forever, the moment he destroys even a single blade of grass on this land,” North Korea’s state-run media wrote Tuesday.

The so-called “bloody nose strategy,” which has never been formally acknowledged by any member of the Trump administration, has been widely reported in recent weeks. There is speculation that the president is seriously considering a limited strike on North Korea in response to a nuclear or ballistic provocation.

Report: China Moves 300,000 Troops Closer to North Korean Border

Frances Martel –  February 5, 2018

China is reportedly moving missile defense batteries and troops closer to its border with North Korea, a potential sign that Beijing anticipates either a large refugee wave north or a military disturbance triggered by the belligerence of communist dictator Kim Jong-un.

The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo cited Radio Free Asia (RFA) in a report Monday, stating that RFA had compiled evidence that China had “late last year deployed another missile defense battery at an armored division in Helong, west of Longjing in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.”

The “North Korean source in China” speaking to RFA also noted that Pyongyang had observed the movement of 300,000 troops closer to the North Korean border and “missile defense batteries near North Korean reservoirs by the Apnok and Duman rivers.” The batteries would prevent the violent outpouring of those reservoirs into China in the event of an airstrike.

US ready to use nukes in case of conventional attack – Nuclear Posture Review

RT – February 2, 2018

The US is more likely to use nuclear weapons, according to the new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) just released by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Washington’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) recommends a hawkish approach to cooperation with Russia over nuclear proliferation, and further calls for the US to tackle “an unprecedented range and mix of threats” posed by foreign powers including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

A key shift from existing nuclear weapons policy is the expansion of scenarios in which a nuclear threats would be considered. The document lists non-nuclear attacks that could constitute grounds for US nuclear retaliation. Under the new NPR, a conventional attack which results in mass casualties or targets key infrastructure could trigger a nuclear response.

The review suggests a hawkish approach to cooperation with Russia over nuclear proliferation.  It warns that Russia is “developing and deploying new nuclear warheads and launchers” and will “continue to increase its warhead delivery capacity” in the future.

US stealth bombers in Guam appear to be readying for a tactical nuclear strike on North Korea

– January 24, 2018

The US has been quietly amassing firepower in the Pacific during a lull in tensions with North Korea, but recent developments on an under-the-radar nuclear weapon suggest preparation for a potential tactical nuclear strike.

The US recently sent B-2 stealth bombers to Guam, where they joined B-1 and B-52s, the other bombers in the US’s fleet.

While the B-2 and B-52 are known as the air leg of the US’s nuclear triad, as they carry nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missiles, a smaller nuclear weapon that has undergone some upgrades may lend itself to a strike on North Korea.

The B-61, a tactical nuclear gravity bomb that the B-2 can carry 16 of, has been modified in recent years to increase its accuracy and ability to hit underground targets, though that version has not yet been deployed.

CIA Boss Gives Latest Indication Trump Is Considering Preemptive Strike on North Korea

– January 23, 2018

The Central Intelligence Agency is briefing President Donald Trump on the risks and opportunities of a limited attack on North Korea, its director suggested on Tuesday.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo would not discuss the “wisdom of a preemptive strike” on Pyongyang or its nuclear weapons program, he told an audience at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. But in rare public remarks, Pompeo portrayed North Korea as an urgent priority for the agency, and disclosed aspects of its role in setting back Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program during his first year at Langley.

Kim is a rational man, Pompeo said the CIA had assessed. But it’s less clear that Kim takes seriously the prospect of a U.S. attack, something that could blunder the world into a devastating nuclear conflict.

Pompeo would not answer if options exist for Trump to attack North Korea short of a nuclear war. Analysts warn a limited strike would lead to such a war should North Korea retaliate and prompt escalation.