WASHINGTON — North Korea poses a mounting threat to the United States due to its pursuit of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons, the Pentagon said Tuesday in its latest strategy document.
Describing the regime in Pyongyang as “closed and authoritarian,” the Defense Department said the US military would maintain a major presence in the region and keep up investments in missile defense. Continue reading →
China will likely never give up being North Korea’s puppet master so long as it gives legitimacy and recognition on the world stage as a third-party negotiator or go-to for the northern Communist regime.
Of course, the North Korean leadership is worried that China will use its dominance over North Korea’s economy to involve itself in internal North Korean affairs. The execution of Jang Song Thaek may have been a result of such concerns.
At the same time, China cannot help but direct more discontent and annoyance at North Korea. North Korea is staying afloat on Chinese assistance, but the country has implemented a political stance that is causing much difficulty for the Chinese.
Moreover, China’s leaders remember little about the Korean War and have little reason to continue helping North Korea. Continue reading →
In public, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government lists a more assertive China and a volatile North Korea as its top security concerns.
Behind the scenes, though, another concern is growing: that the United States may one day be unable or unwilling to defend Japan, interviews with Abe advisers, politicians and security experts show. The worries are adding momentum to Abe’s drive to beef up Japan’s air and naval forces while loosening constitutional limits on action its military can take abroad. Continue reading →
The Defense Department has acknowledged that the intelligence community failed to develop the tools or coordination to monitor nuclear efforts in Iran and other countries with suspected weapons programs.
In a report, the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board asserted that the intelligence community, uncertain of priorities, has ignored advanced technology that could track nuclear proliferation. Continue reading →
SEOUL — South Korea declined to comment Wednesday on revelations that the United States talked it down from launching a retaliatory airstrike on North Korea in 2010.
The claims were made in the newly published memoir of former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in which he also describes former South Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun as “probably a little bit crazy.” Continue reading →
Beijing proved masterful at enabling Pyongyang to expand its program, and did the same for Pakistan. Now it’s Tehran’s turn.
Chinese leaders say their nation “has always adopted a serious and responsible attitude toward preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons”—but that is far from the truth. Beijing has proven masterful at procuring time for nuclearizing rogues, having protected North Korea during negotiations about its atomic program, known as the Six-Party Talks, which China has sponsored since August 2003. During those fruitless negotiations, the Kim regime first stalled, then lied, and finally crowed—when it detonated its first atomic device, in October 2006. Since then, there have been two subsequent tests, in May 2009 and, more recently, this past February. Continue reading →
China will open a high-speed rail line to the North Korean border next year, state media said on Thursday, in a sign that China remains committed to boosting trade and economic ties with the isolated, nuclear-armed state.
The line, under construction since 2010, will run 207 km (127 miles) from Shenyang to the border city of Dandong, which faces North Korea across the Yalu River, and will shorten the train journey from 3 1/2 hours to one hour, the official Xinhua news agency said. Continue reading →
WASHINGTON — The hundreds of nuclear missiles that have stood war-ready for decades in underground silos along remote stretches of America, silent and unseen, packed with almost unimaginable destructive power, are a force in distress, if not in decline.
They are still a fearsome superpower symbol, primed to unleash nuclear hell on a moment’s notice at any hour of any day, capable of obliterating people and places halfway around the globe if a president so orders.
But the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, is dwindling, their future defense role is in doubt, and missteps and leadership lapses documented by The Associated Press this year have raised questions about how the force is managed. Continue reading →
The US is planning to station anti-ballistic-missile systems on the Pacific island of Guam, a move ostensibly to defend against unpredictable North Korea, but which analysts say may be intended to counter China.
Within Washington’s defence plans for next year are provisions for siting terminal high-altitude area defence (Thaad) systems on the island territory, combined with the broader realignment of US forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Continue reading →
Iran and North Korea working on 80-ton rocket booster
Iranian collaboration with North Korea on a new rocket booster for long-range missiles undermines the deal with Tehran on its nuclear program, key Senate and House Republicans said on Tuesday.
“While the president was undertaking his secret negotiations—which Congress wasn’t informed of—he had to know Iran and North Korea were testing new engines for ballistic missiles to target the United States,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.) chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces. Continue reading →
Russia’s president pursues dream of new ‘Silk Road’ passing through North Korea into the South en route to Europe during Seoul visit
Russian President Vladimir Putin was in South Korea on Wednesday to push a pet project for a new major trading route linking Asia and Europe by rail that requires prying open North Korea.
Putin hopes his brief visit will include the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the ambitious project, which envisages an ‘Iron Silk Road’ uniting the rail networks of South and North Korea and connecting them to Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railway. Continue reading →