Satellite imagery shows “significant tunneling” at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, a report revealed Thursday.
In his New Year’s address, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un said the North is “open to dialogue” with the South, and the two sides met face-to-face for the first time in two years Tuesday. While the two Koreas noted the need for peace on the peninsula, the North expressed frustration when the South tried to address its illegal nuclear program.
North Korea supposedly extended an olive branch in the speech to its southern neighbor. The young North Korean despot also ordered the mass production and rapid deployment of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles to bolster the state nuclear force.
The North Korean leader claimed that he has a button on his desk to order a nuclear strike against the U.S., but for Kim to field a reliable nuclear deterrent against the U.S. and its allies, additional weapons testing will be undoubtedly be required.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declared his county a nuclear power in possession of technology capable of striking the US mainland should there be a need.
“The US mainland is in our nuclear strike zone,” Kim said in his New Year’s message which was broadcast on Chosun Central TV. “The United States will never start a war with me and our country,” and Pyongyang has “completed the creation of North Korea’s nuclear forces,” he added.
Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang reached unprecedented levels last year, as the North continued to pursue its missile and nuclear programs. Washington said all options, including a military solution, are on the table to tame North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. While the US is still on course to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Pyongyang has so far refused to negotiate its nuclear status.
In 2018, Kim promised to focus his country’s efforts on the “operational deployment” of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.
On Tuesday afternoon, after it was reported that North Korea has successfully created nuclear warheads small enough to fit inside its ballistic missiles, President Donald Trump warned that if Kim Jong Un’s government makes more threats towards the United States, they “will be met with fire and fury.”
“North Korea best not make anymore threats to the United States, they will be met with fire and fury, like the world has never seen,” the President said before a briefing on the opioid epidemic at his golf club in New Jersey.
“He has been very threatening, beyond a normal statement. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly, power – the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
The Defense Intelligence Agency has provided the first official US assessment of North Korea’s latest missile test, telling a Senate committee that the reclusive nation is on a clear trajectory to obtaining a nuclear-armed missile that could hit the US.
DIA Director Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about worldwide threats on Tuesday, just two days after North Korea test-launched its Pukguksong-2 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM).
Although the US confirmed Sunday’s launch, American experts doubted the reliability of the new solid-fuel type for the IRBM after so few tests, Reuters reported. Solid fuel is harder to produce than liquid, but is more stable and can be transported in the missile tank to allow for a swift launch.
Pyongyang also conducted a medium-range ballistic missile test the previous Sunday, and said the rocket used has the “tactical specifications and technical characteristics” of being capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Recently-elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in has stated that there is a “high possibility” of military conflict with North Korea. The statement follows Pyongyang’s new missile test, which has been strongly condemned by the UN.
“The reality is that there is a high possibility of a military conflict at the NLL [Northern Limit Line] and military demarcation line,” Moon was quoted as saying by Reuters, adding that Seoul is capable of striking back in case of attack.
The disputed NLL lies in the Yellow Sea the between South and North Korea and is considered the de facto maritime boundary between them. The 1953 military demarcation line serves as the land border.
While North Korea claims the latest test launch of missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads was conducted “in consideration of the safety of neighboring countries,” Moon criticized Pyongyang’s actions as a “serious challenge to global peace and stability.”
Hizballah’s latest round of threats against Israel reached a new peak Thursday, March 2, with the release of a videotape claiming to expose nine locations allegedly tied to the production and assembly of Israel’s nuclear weapons, debkafile reports. The Lebanese Shiite terror organization said it possessed precise missiles for wiping out Israel’s nuclear infrastructure and attached addresses to all its targets.
Five locations topped the list, starting with the nuclear reactors at Dimona in southern Israel and Nahal Soreq on the Mediterranean coast. “Revealed” next are three secret locations for the production, assembly and storage of nuclear missiles and warheads. Kfar Zacharia near Beit Shemesh in the Jerusalem Hills, defined as the main depot for the Jericho Series I, II and III, of three-stage ballistic missiles, which can reach ranges of up to 6,000km.
Two others were a factory in Beer Yaakov near the central Israeli town of Ramleh, the alleged production site for nuclear warheads; and the “Galilee Wing-20” plant at the Tefen Industrial Park, 17km from the town of Carmiel, a facility where the Rafael Advanced Defense System Authority was said to mount nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles and prepare them for launching.
The video stresses that Hizballah now possesses precise missiles able to pinpoint and destroy every single facility.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have launched sophisticated rockets during military exercises, according to Tasnim news agency. It comes just weeks after the US put Iran “on notice” after it test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile.
The “smart and advanced” rockets were launched during three-day military drills which began on Monday in Iran’s central desert, AP cited the semi-official Iranian news agency as saying.
Tasnim did not elaborate on the model of the rockets, but said they successfully hit their targets.
The news follows less than three weeks after US President Donald Trump tweeted that Iran had been formally put “on notice” for test-firing a ballistic missile.
The ‘notice’ came after Iran warned Washington against “creating new tensions” over the missile launch, stating that its missiles are not in violation of United Nations resolutions because they are for defensive purposes, and are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
Russia has called on Turkey to provide access to NATO’s Incirlik Air Base, the critical launch pad for US and coalition airstrikes in Syria, in a bid to expand the country’s influence in the Middle East and to further the goal of combatting radical jihadist groups, primarily Daesh and al-Nusra, that threaten peace and stability in Syria.
The base is home to at least 50 US B-61 nuclear warheads each carrying the potential destructive capacity of 100 times the Hiroshima bomb, a reality that led to heightened concern among American officials during, and in the wake of, the failed coup attempt of the Erdogan regime.