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North Korea Fires Two Short-Range Missiles
May 09, 2019
William Gallo
People watch a TV showing a news program reporting North Korea's missile launch, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, May 5, 2019.

People watch a TV showing a news program reporting North Korea's missile launch, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, May 5, 2019.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA —
North Korea has fired what appears to be two short-range ballistic missiles, South Korea’s military said Thursday. It was the second time Pyongyang fired missiles in less than a week.

One of the projectiles traveled 420 kilometers and the other traveled 270 kilometers, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The missiles were launched from North Pyongan province in the country’s northwest and flew eastward, the statement added.

The province is home to a missile base at Sino-ri that houses the Nodong medium-range ballistic missile, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Beyond Parallel program.

At the White House Thursday, President Donald Trump said “nobody’s happy” about the development, adding that he doesn’t believe North Korea is ready to negotiate.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea to refrain from firing missiles, which he said make diplomatic efforts for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula difficult.

In an interview with the South Korea’s KBS television network Thursday evening, Moon said that although firing short-range missiles does not constitute a violation of the inter-Korean military agreement, it definitely impedes ongoing talks and negotiations.

Earlier Thursday, Moon’s office expressed serious concerns about the North Korean missile launches, saying that such action was detrimental to efforts of improving inter-Korean relations and ease military tensions on the peninsula.

South Korean officials say Seoul has increased security preparations in case of additional launches.

Sino-ri missile base, North Korea

Sino-ri missile base, North Korea

Recent tests
North Korea on Saturday tested what analysts described as a short-range ballistic missile. Before that, Kim had not tested a ballistic missile since November 2017.

FILE - U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Feb. 3, 2019.

FILE - U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Feb. 3, 2019.

The latest launches come as Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, meets South Korean officials in Seoul.

The tests threaten to further upend nuclear talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump.

Last April, Kim announced he would suspend nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. The self-imposed moratorium was never formalized but has helped facilitate the two summits between Trump and Kim.

North Korean state media Wednesday characterized the Saturday launch as “self-defensive” and “nothing more than part of the regular military training.”

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un supervises a strike drill for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill, May 4, 2019

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un supervises a "strike drill" for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill, May 4, 2019

Testing US limits
After that launch, analysts said they expected North Korea to continue to test weapons as a show of frustration at the stalled nuclear talks.

“The North Koreans are testing the U.S. response. They’re trying to find out where the ceiling is, in terms of U.S. tolerance for provocations,” said Scott Snyder at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It would appear that following these tests that the North Koreans may decide that they haven’t hit the ceiling.”

For a year, Trump has said talks with Kim are progressing. As evidence, he has cited a lack of nuclear and missile tests.
Kim wants the U.S. to relax sanctions in exchange for steps to dismantle his nuclear program. Trump says he will not ease sanctions until Kim commits to abandoning his whole nuclear arsenal.

 

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Seoul: More analysis needed before confirming North Korea fired 'ballistic' missiles
MAY 10, 2019
ByYonhap News Agency

SEOUL, May 10 (UPI) -- South Korea's military insisted Friday that it is still unclear whether the short-range missiles North Korea fired a day earlier were ballistic missiles, despite Pentagon's announcement that they were.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff has said the communist nation was believed to have launched two short-range missiles but stopped short of determining whether they were ballistic missiles that the North is banned from launching under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In Washington, however, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn said in a statement that the North "flight-tested multiple ballistic missiles" and they flew to distances "in excess of 300 km before impacting in the ocean."

"Up until now, we evaluate them just as short-range missiles and more precise analysis is required to clearly determine their nature," a JCS officer told reporters.

While stressing that intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States were working together closely, the officer said the Pentagon's statement does not appear to be an official stance of the U.S. government.

He refused to reply to reporters' calls for clarification as to whether they were then cruise missiles or any other type.

If confirmed as ballistic missiles, it could chill ongoing diplomatic efforts to bring North Korea back to the table for dialogue on its nuclear programs, as U.N. Security Council resolutions ban the communist country from all kinds of ballistic missile firing.

The nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been effectively stalled since the breakdown of the Washington-Pyongyang summit in Hanoi in February.

The latest firings came just five days after the communist country fired a barrage of projectiles, including at least one tactical guided weapon and those from multiple launch rocket systems.

Asked if the two recent weapons tests involved the same type of projectiles, the official said "analysis is underway for details due to some differences in the projectiles," including the shape of transporter erector launchers employed for each test.

Based on photographs released by the North's media and analysis of their altitude and flight range, experts have said North Korea appeared to have test-fired its version of Russia's Iskander ballistic missile twice in a week.

The ground-to-ground, solid-fuel ballistic missile is known to be capable of flying as far as 300 miles, which puts a large part of the Korean Peninsula within their range.

The military, meanwhile, confirmed that North Korea fired a barrage of projectiles that appeared to have come from 152-mm self-propelled guns and 240-mm MLRSs on Thursday, sometime after the launch of the short-range missiles.

"We spotted North Korea's artillery firings at a location some distance away from the missile launch site," a JCS officer said without further elaboration.

 

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Trump says North Korea's recent missile launches not breach of trust: Politico
May 11, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he does not consider North Korea’s recent launch of short-range ballistic missiles “a breach of trust.”
In an interview with Politico, Trump downplayed the missile tests by North Korea, calling them “very standard stuff.”
“They’re short-range and I don’t consider that a breach of trust at all. And, you know, at some point I may. But at this point no,” Trump told Politico.

North Korea fired two short-range missiles on Thursday, its second such test in less than a week.
Trump said he might eventually lose faith in his friendly relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which he has previously described as “very strong.”
“I mean it’s possible that at some point I will, but right now not at all,” Trump said.

On Thursday, Trump appeared to hold the door open for more talks with North Korea.
“The relationship continues ... I know they want to negotiate, they’re talking about negotiating. But I don’t think they’re ready to negotiate,” he told reporters.
The Pentagon said Thursday’s launches consisted of multiple ballistic missiles that flew in excess of 300 km (185 miles) and landed in the ocean.


 

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Experts: North Korean missiles look very similar to Russian Iskanders
May 11, 2019



The three new missiles recently tested by the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un look very similar to the Russian missiles that have been used in Syria, and which Russia has been trying to sell over the years, wrote the Associated Press.

After a pause with the ballistic missiles launches, which began in late 2017, the head of the DPRK personally supervised the launch of the first missile on Saturday and two more on Thursday.

According to experts, these missiles are very similar to the Iskander short-range ballistic missile, which has been used by Russia for more than ten years.

"There are Russian technology fingerprints all over it," said North Korean expert Markus Schiller about North Korean missiles.

In his opinion, if the assumption that North Korea has directly purchased these missiles from Russia is not true then North Korea could have received the components from a third party. He noted that DPRK showed a mock version of “Iskander” at a military parade in 2018.

According to the director of the Nonproliferation and Nuclear Policy Program of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Michael Elleman, further analysis of the characteristics of the launched missiles will make it possible to understand whether they were made in Russia.

In the second half of April, Kim Jong-un met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok. Among other things, they discussed "a peaceful solution of the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula"



 

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Bolton says N. Korea missile tests violated UN resolutions
By MARI YAMAGUCHI
an hour ago
25 May 2019



In this Friday, May 24, 2019, photo, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is surrounded by reporters at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo. Bolton called a series of short-range missiles launched by North Korea last month were violations to U.N. Security Council resolutions, stressing the need to keep sanctions in place. Bolton said Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo the U.S. position on the North’s denuclearization is consistent and that a repeated pattern of failures should be stopped. (Yohei Kanasashi/Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. national security adviser John Bolton on Saturday called a series of short-range missile tests by North Korea earlier this month a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and said sanctions must be kept in place.

Washington’s position on the North’s denuclearization is consistent and a repeated pattern of failures to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons should be stopped, Bolton said, defending the recent U.S. seizure of a North Korean cargo ship. The U.S., however, is willing to resume talks with North Korea at any time, Bolton said.

Bolton was speaking to reporters in Tokyo ahead of President Donald Trump’s arrival for a four-day visit to Japan.

North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and 9, ending a pause in launches that began in late 2017. The tests are seen as a way of
pressuring Washington to compromise without actually causing the negotiations to collapse.
“U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from firing any ballistic missiles,” Bolton said. “In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that.”

Trump and other officials have played down the significance of the missile tests.

During his visit, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will “talk about making sure the integrity of the Security Council resolutions are maintained,” Bolton said. The two leaders are also expected to discuss Iran, as well as trade and the bilateral security alliance, after playing golf and watching sumo wrestling Sunday.

Bolton’s comments came a day after North Korea’s official media said nuclear negotiations with Washington won’t resume unless the US. abandons what Pyongyang describes as unilateral disarmament demands.

In a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, a North Korean spokesman accused the U.S. of deliberately causing February’s collapse of talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by making unilateral and impossible demands. The North has also strongly protested the recent U.S. seizure of a North Korean cargo ship that was involved in banned coal exports and demanded its immediate return.

Washington says the talks broke down because North Korea demanded sanctions relief in exchange for partially surrendering its nuclear capabilities.
Bolton brushed off the North Korean rhetoric, saying, “I take much of what they say with a grain of salt.” Calling the U.S. seizure of the North Korean ship “appropriate,” Bolton said it may be a good time to discuss the return of the USS Pueblo, a naval intelligence ship held by the North since 1968.
Bolton acknowledged the U.S. has not been “hearing much from North Korea” since February’s Hanoi summit. The U.S. special envoy to North Korea, Stephen Biegun, “can’t wait to talk to his North Korean counterpart, but they haven’t responded,” he said, adding that Biegun was “ready at any point to get on a plane and go anywhere.”

Trump’s visit will largely highlight close ties with Abe, who is now willing to hold a summit with Kim without preconditions — a recent change from his long-held hawkish stance. Abe had said previously he won’t meet Kim unless the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization and resolves a decades-long dispute involving Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.

Bolton said he fully supports a possible Abe-Kim summit as an additional push toward resolving North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.
“Given Abe’s willingness to hold this meeting with Kim Jong Un ... it would be certainly in North Korea’s interest to accommodate the prime minister,” he said.

 

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North Korea calls Bolton ‘war monger’ over missile comment
By KIM TONG-HYUNG
27 May 2019

FILE - In this Friday, May 24, 2019, file photo, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is surrounded by reporters at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan. North Korea on Monday, May 27, 2019, has called U.S. National Security Adviser Bolton a "war monger" and "defective human product" after he called the North's recent tests of short-range missile a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. (Yohei Kanasashi/Kyodo News via AP, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Monday called U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton a “war monger” and “human defect” after he described its recent tests of short-range missiles as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The statement by an unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson came as President Donald Trump visited Japan for meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at which the nuclear standoff with North Korea was expected to be high on the agenda.

Bolton told reporters in Tokyo on Saturday that there was “no doubt” that North Korea’s recent missile launches violated U.N. resolutions, and that sanctions against the North must be kept in place. Trump later downplayed the missile tests, tweeting, “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me.”

North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and 9, ending a pause in launches that began in late 2017. The tests were seen as a way for North Korea to pressure Washington to soften its stance on easing sanctions against it without actually causing negotiations to collapse.

In the statement carried by the North’s Korean Central News Agency, the North Korean spokesperson said the North was exercising its right of self-defense with the launches. North Korea has never recognized the U.N. Security Council resolutions, which it views as denying its “rights to existence and development of a sovereign state,” the statement said.

“If any object is launched, it is bound to fly in trajectory,” the statement said. It said a demand that North Korea ban all launches that use ballistic technology regardless of the range is the same as asking it to relinquish its right to self-defense.

The spokesperson said Bolton was an “ignorant” hard-liner who throughout different U.S. administrations pushed provocative policies against North Korea including endorsements of pre-emptive strikes and regime change.

The spokesperson also said that Bolton’s “hammer act” was responsible for the collapse of a major nuclear deal between the countries reached in 1994, when North Korea agreed to halt its nuclear program in exchange for U.S. fuel aid. The deal broke down in 2002 after U.S. intelligence agencies said North Korea was continuing its pursuit of bombs with a secret uranium enrichment program.

“It will be fit to call Bolton not a security adviser striving for security but a security-destroying adviser who is wrecking peace and security,” the spokesperson said. “It is not at all strange that perverse words always come out from the mouth of a structurally defective guy, and such a human defect deserves an earlier vanishing.”

Experts say the weapons North Korea tested this month are new solid-fuel missiles that are potentially nuclear capable and would strengthen the North’s ability to strike targets throughout South Korea.

South Korea has expressed concern that the launches may run against the spirit of an inter-Korean military agreement reached last year to reduce tensions, but has been eager to downplay the significance of the tests as it tries to keep a positive atmosphere for dialogue alive. South Korea’s presidential office and military have refused to call the launches outright provocations, and have yet to confirm that the missiles were ballistic weapons, although most experts say they clearly were.

“There’s no way for us to know why National Security Adviser Bolton made such comments,” said a South Korean presidential official, who asked not to be named during a background briefing of reporters on Monday. “There’s no change in our official stance that the South Korean and U.S. militaries under coordination are continuing to analyze the missiles.”

Negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea have been at a standstill since February, when a summit between Trump and leader Kim Jong Un broke down over what the United States described as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for only a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities. Kim since then has said the United States has until the end of the year to come up with mutually acceptable terms for a deal to salvage the negotiations.

Bolton acknowledged that the United States has not been “hearing much from North Korea” since the summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. The U.S. special envoy to North Korea, Stephen Biegun, “can’t wait to talk to his North Korean counterpart, but they haven’t responded,” Bolton said, adding that Biegun was “ready at any point to get on a plane and go anywhere.”

The North Korean comments on Bolton came as South Korea began annual summertime defense drills involving thousands of civilians and troops.

Although the drills have been modified to exclude large-scale military exercises with the United States that were suspended to create space for diplomacy with the North, KCNA described them as “provocative” in a separate statement Monday.

The four-day Ulchi Taeguk exercises will include massive civilian evacuation drills and a South Korea-only military drill aimed at preparing for war situations and disasters.


 

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On North Korea, Trump seems to undermine a senior adviser
By JILL COLVIN
26 May 2019

Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un
FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2019, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take a walk after their first meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam. North Korea says nuclear negotiations with the United States will never resume unless Washington changes its negotiating tactics. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Seemingly contradicting his national security adviser , President Donald Trump on Sunday played down North Korea’s recent missile tests and said they were not a concern for him.

The comments tweeted during his trip to Japan were sure to unnerve leaders of the U.S. ally that is directly threatened by short-range weapons from its Asian neighbor. While America is not, there are tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Japan and South Korea.

Trump also said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s criticism of Joe Biden , the former vice president who is among the Democrats running for the White House in 2020, made him smile.

The remarks were the latest example of Trump’s willingness to publicly undermine his senior advisers, flout democratic norms and side with totalitarian leaders.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Trump tweeted in one of his early morning messages.

“Some” of his “people” appear to include national security adviser John Bolton, who told reporters at a briefing Saturday before Trump arrived in Tokyo that a series of short-range missile tests by North Korea this month violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.

“There is no doubt about that,” said Bolton, citing the May 4 and May 9 tests that ended a pause in launches that began in late 2017. Trump ignored a shouted question Sunday about whether he agreed with Bolton’s assessment and his press secretary did not seem to back up Bolton.

Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we know that the activities at no point that took place over the last several weeks have been a threat to the United States or our allies.” She said Trump “still feels comfortable and confident in the relationship that he has with Chairman Kim.”

Trump and other administration officials have tried to play down the significance of the tests, insisting they do not violate an agreement Trump reached with Kim for a moratorium on launches.

“The moratorium was focused, very focused, on intercontinental missile systems, the ones that threaten the United States,” U.S. Secretary of State

Mike Pompeo said in a recent television interview. That raised alarm bells in Japan, where short-range missiles pose a serious threat because of the country’s proximity to North Korea.

Also within range of such missiles are the roughly 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and the 54,000 American forces in Japan, in addition
to family members and civilian Department of Defense employees.

“I find them very disturbing and certainly wouldn’t trust Kim Jong-un,” said U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. She told CNN’s “State of the Union” that

“Japan does have reason to be concerned. And I am concerned as well. We need to see North Korea back off of those activities. And we need to take a very strong stance on that.”

Ernst said the U.S. needs to ensure that North Korea follows U.N. guidelines. “We can’t continue to let them further develop any type of weapon systems.”

Unlike several other leaders in the region, Abe has yet to meet with Kim, leaving Japan to rely on the U.S. as an intermediary and advocate with North Korea. Abe recently offered to meet Kim without preconditions in an effort to restore diplomatic ties.

Trump in his tweet said he had “confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,” while at the same time embracing Kim’s recent attacks on Biden, whose name he misspelled.

Trump said he “smiled” when Kim “called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse.”
“Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” Trump asked.

Trump later offered a new tweet with the correct “Biden” spelling.

North Korea this week past called Biden a “fool of low IQ” and an “imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being” after Biden accused Trump of cozying up to “dictators and tyrants” such as Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin during his campaign launch speech.

Biden’s campaign would not comment on the record Sunday, but a spokesman for his campaign, Andrew Bates said this past Wednesday that given

Biden’s “record of standing up for American values and interests, it’s no surprise that North Korea would prefer that Donald Trump remain in the White House.”
___
Associated Press writers Darlene Superville and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.


 

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Experts: North Korea peace talks can move forward but Bolton is in the way
MAY 28, 2019
By Thomas Maresca


This image released on May 5 by the North Korean Official News Service (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervising a military "strike drill" at an undisclosed location near the East Sea. Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo


SEOUL, May 28 (UPI) -- Stalled North Korean denuclearization talks have the potential to move forward, but U.S. President Trump will need to overrule hard-line voices in his administration, such as national security adviser John Bolton, to make it happen, South Korean and U.S. experts said at a press briefing in Seoul on Tuesday.

"You have a conflict between a group in the State Department that wants to move forward with negotiations and a national security adviser that never saw a negotiation that he wanted to move forward with," said Morton Halperin, former director of policy planning Staff at the State Department.

"We're going to succeed only if President Trump overrules his national security adviser."

During his just-concluded state visit to Japan, Trump parted ways with Bolton and other advisers on how he viewed recent missile launches by North Korea, downplaying their threat.

Trump directly contradicted Bolton, as well as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on Monday, saying that Pyongyang didn't launch ballistic missiles or violate United Nations Security Council resolutions.

"My people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently," Trump said of the May 4 and May 9 short-range missile launches.
On Saturday, Bolton said that there was "no doubt" that the North violated the resolutions by firing ballistic missiles.

North Korea responded by calling Bolton a "warmonger" on Monday in a statement carried by its state-run Korean Central News Agency.
Moon Chung-in, a special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, also minimized the North Korean missiles at Tuesday's press briefing.
"I would say that we do not know if they were ballistic or cruise missiles," he said, echoing the vague line that Seoul has taken on the launches.

"But one thing is very clear. It did not go beyond national territorial boundaries, so as President Trump says, I don't think it was provocative enough to involve the U.N. Security Council."

The experts agreed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un still wants to continue with denuclearization talks.

"I don't think Kim Jong Un has come this far ... to simply walk away and say that's it," said Joseph Detrani, former special envoy to the Six Party Talks, an effort that begin in 2003 to end North Korea's nuclear program through negotiations involving China, the United States, North and South Korea, Japan and Russia.

However, sticking points in negotiations have remained firmly in place since the first Trump-Kim summit meeting in Singapore last June.
That summit produced a declaration that North Korea would work toward a "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," but details and a timeline for carrying out the agreement are still unclear.

Pyongyang is looking for relief of punishing international sanctions in exchange for steps it has already taken, such as dismantling a nuclear testing site, while Washington has held out for complete denuclearization first.

A second Trump-Kim summit, held in February in Hanoi, Vietnam, concluded abruptly without an agreement.

Bolton said last week that the United States has not had much contact with North Korea since then but that U.S. special envoy to North Korea Stephen Biegun "can't wait to talk to his North Korean counterpart."

The panel discussed a phased approach that would allow for concessions from both sides in a step-by-step process, as well as a move toward normalizing relations, which would be key in building trust and making it more difficult to roll back any progress.

"Historically, the best security assurance is a normal diplomatic relationship with the United States with embassies in our respective capitals," said Detrani, a process he said could first begin with opening liaison offices in both countries.

"And we would move forward with full diplomatic recognition and then access to international financial institutions and foreign direct investment. That would show the lack of a hostile policy," he said.

Halperin added that the definition of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula may also have to allow a greater level of reciprocity than has been previously discussed.

"it's going to have to be reciprocal, and I think we haven't fully faced up to that," he said. "If we want visits with limited notice on North Korean military bases, we're going to have to agree to inspections with limited notice on South Korean and American military bases in South Korea. For our side, that's a new element, which we need to debate internally and then be ready to accept."

Moon said that it's important to start making tangible progress with steps such as revisiting Kim Jong Un's offer to dismantle the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, the North's main nuclear complex, which he made at the Hanoi summit in February.

"We need success stories with concrete progress," Moon said, to help rebuild momentum and public support for the peace process. "The problem is that they're talking too much. Now is the time to make real and concrete progress."

Halperin said that the State Department is willing to go back to the negotiating table, but that ultimately the decision will have to come from Trump.

"The State Department is pressing for permission to basically accept the framework that the North Koreans put on the table, Yongbyon for sanctions relief," he told UPI. "Not total sanctions relief, but some relief depending on how far they go, how much certification there is, how much the dismantling is not just taking it down but actually blowing it up.

"And I think that's where we should go," he said. "I think the State Department people agree with that. And one day when Mr. Bolton is out, causing trouble someplace else, the president may go ahead and do that."

 

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North Korea warns the United States that its patience is wearing thin
05 June 2019
By Thomas Maresca
View attachment 7531
President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea meet for a social dinner, on Feb. 27, at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi, for their second summit meeting. White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian/UPI | License Photo


SEOUL, June 4 (UPI) -- Nearly one year after a historic Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Asian nation advised the United States to change its approach in nuclear negotiations and warned that its patience has limits.

"The U.S. would be well-advised to change its current method of calculation," an unnamed spokesman for North Korea's ministry of foreign affairs said Tuesday night in a statement carried by state-run Korean Central News Agency.

"There is a limit to our patience," he added.

Calling the June 12, 2018, summit between Trump and Kim a "momentous occasion of great significance in promoting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," the spokesman said that North Korea has "exerted ceaseless efforts over the past year" to fulfill the joint statement produced there.

The Singapore joint declaration called for establishing new relations between the two countries and building a "peace regime" on the Korean Peninsula. It also said that North Korea would work toward a "complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," but did not produce a timeline or details on implementation.

The North Korean spokesman accused the United States of not playing its part in carrying out the agreement, saying that it is "regrettable to see that the United States has become ever more undisguised during the past year in its scheme to annihilate us by force."

He claimed that that the United States has insisted "on our unilateral surrender of nuclear weapons."

Pyongyang has been looking for a gradual approach in negotiations, seeking relief of international sanctions in exchange for steps it has already taken, such as dismantling a nuclear testing site, while Washington has continued to hold out for complete denuclearization before any concessions are made.

A second Trump-Kim summit, held in February in Hanoi, concluded abruptly without an agreement and in recent weeks North Korea has sought to increase pressure on the United States to change its stance.

In an April speech, Kim set a time limit, saying Washington should come up "with a proper method of calculation before the end of this year."

Tensions have also flared recently as North Korea launched what the Pentagon said were short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and May 9 and the United States announced it had seized a North Korean cargo ship on suspicion it violated sanctions.

North Korea called the act a "robbery" and demanded the ship's immediate return.

Trump has said that he is open to meeting with Kim again and tweeted last month that he believed a deal would still go forward.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview on Monday that Washington was still working to find a solution to the impasse with North Korea.

"We're working to find a negotiated solution so that Kim Jong Un will honor the commitment that he made, the commitment he made to his own people and the commitment he made to President Trump in Singapore, to denuclearize his country," Pompeo said.

However, the North Korean spokesman said that it remains to be seen whether the June 12 joint statement "will remain effective or turn out to be a mere blank sheet of paper."

"The U.S. should duly look back on the past one year and cogitate about which will be a correct strategic choice before it is too late," he said.

 

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North Korea warns the United States that its patience is wearing thin
05 June 2019
By Thomas Maresca
View attachment 7531
President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea meet for a social dinner, on Feb. 27, at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi, for their second summit meeting. White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian/UPI | License Photo


SEOUL, June 4 (UPI) -- Nearly one year after a historic Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Asian nation advised the United States to change its approach in nuclear negotiations and warned that its patience has limits.

"The U.S. would be well-advised to change its current method of calculation," an unnamed spokesman for North Korea's ministry of foreign affairs said Tuesday night in a statement carried by state-run Korean Central News Agency.

"There is a limit to our patience," he added.

Calling the June 12, 2018, summit between Trump and Kim a "momentous occasion of great significance in promoting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," the spokesman said that North Korea has "exerted ceaseless efforts over the past year" to fulfill the joint statement produced there.

The Singapore joint declaration called for establishing new relations between the two countries and building a "peace regime" on the Korean Peninsula. It also said that North Korea would work toward a "complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," but did not produce a timeline or details on implementation.

The North Korean spokesman accused the United States of not playing its part in carrying out the agreement, saying that it is "regrettable to see that the United States has become ever more undisguised during the past year in its scheme to annihilate us by force."

He claimed that that the United States has insisted "on our unilateral surrender of nuclear weapons."

Pyongyang has been looking for a gradual approach in negotiations, seeking relief of international sanctions in exchange for steps it has already taken, such as dismantling a nuclear testing site, while Washington has continued to hold out for complete denuclearization before any concessions are made.

A second Trump-Kim summit, held in February in Hanoi, concluded abruptly without an agreement and in recent weeks North Korea has sought to increase pressure on the United States to change its stance.

In an April speech, Kim set a time limit, saying Washington should come up "with a proper method of calculation before the end of this year."

Tensions have also flared recently as North Korea launched what the Pentagon said were short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and May 9 and the United States announced it had seized a North Korean cargo ship on suspicion it violated sanctions.

North Korea called the act a "robbery" and demanded the ship's immediate return.

Trump has said that he is open to meeting with Kim again and tweeted last month that he believed a deal would still go forward.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview on Monday that Washington was still working to find a solution to the impasse with North Korea.

"We're working to find a negotiated solution so that Kim Jong Un will honor the commitment that he made, the commitment he made to his own people and the commitment he made to President Trump in Singapore, to denuclearize his country," Pompeo said.

However, the North Korean spokesman said that it remains to be seen whether the June 12 joint statement "will remain effective or turn out to be a mere blank sheet of paper."

"The U.S. should duly look back on the past one year and cogitate about which will be a correct strategic choice before it is too late," he said.

 

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U.S. Seventh Fleet deploys Coast Guard ship near North Korea
By Elizabeth Shim
June 5, 2019
1559839236600.png


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The U.S. Seventh Fleet posted this photograph of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf in the Yellow Sea on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of United State Navy/Seventh Fleet

June 5 (UPI) -- The United States Seventh Fleet has deployed a U.S. Coast Guard ship in the Yellow Sea in waters near North Korea.

The Seventh Fleet stated on its Facebook page on Wednesday the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, WMSL 750, is on duty in the Yellow Sea.

"U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf [WMSL 750] operates in the Yellow Sea. The ship is engaged in a Western Pacific deployment in support of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet," the Seventh Fleet said in a post that included several photographs of the 4,500-ton vessel.

No other statements or explanations accompanied the text and photographs.

The presence of the Bertholf in the Yellow Sea is raising speculation the ship's "Western Pacific" deployment is related to U.S. efforts to step up monitoring and enforcement of sanctions against illicit North Korean transshipments, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

In a statement issued by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on March 19, the military said the Bertholf would contribute to international cooperation against North Korean sanctions evasion.

But the Seventh Fleet is also disclosing the deployment of the Bertholf only a few days after reports stated China tested submarine-launched ballistic missiles in Bohai Bay, near the Yellow Sea.

Adjacent to the waters, in the East China Sea and other areas, the United States, Britain, Japan, Australia, Canada and France are monitoring shipping routes for illegal North Korea transshipments. The deployments could be irritating China, which recently accused Washington of destabilizing the Pacific.

U.S. analysts say they are worried the U.S.-China trade dispute could also hurt efforts in sanctions enforcement, Voice of America reported Wednesday.

"The main impact of trade tensions between the U.S. and China is [lowering] the priority of North Korea as an issue on the agenda of U.S.-China relations," said Scott Snyder, director of the U.S.-Korea policy program at the Council of Foreign Relations. "It's going to be harder to get China to cooperate as much as the United States would like because they're focused on other issues in the relationship."

 
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Analysts: Uranium enrichment ongoing at North Korean nuclear facility
By Thomas Maresca
JUNE 7, 2019

View attachment 7703
This image released on April 17, 2019, by the North Korean Official News Service (KCNA), shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un overseeing defensive maneuvers by pilots of Unit 1017 of the Korean People's Army Air and Anti-Air Force. Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo


SEOUL, June 7 (UPI) -- Operations are continuing at a North Korean uranium enrichment site, said analysts for website 38 North, a project of Washington, D.C.-based think tank The Stimson Center.

According to an examination of recent commercial satellite imagery of North Korea's Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, "operations at the Uranium Enrichment Plant (UEP) remain ongoing," the report published Wednesday stated.

The report noted that activity at the site includes vehicles, equipment and personnel arriving and departing, including a tanker trailer leaving a large cylinder or shipping container near the facility's gas centrifuge hall.

The images appear consistent with a liquid nitrogen tanker trailer, the analysts wrote, which is a necessary component in the uranium enrichment process.

"Our observation, that periodic material transport (e.g., possibly to deliver liquid nitrogen) has continued at the Uranium Enrichment Complex over time, provides a new indicator that the complex is operational, and therefore that it is also most likely producing enriched uranium," the report states.

The analysis, based on imagery from the months leading up to May 28, could not determine the actual levels of enrichment or the total production throughput of the facility's roughly 4,000 centrifuges.

North Korea has built nuclear weapons using both plutonium and uranium as fissile materials.

The report comes as negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang over the North's nuclear program remain at a stalemate.

North Korea has been looking for relief of some international sanctions during a gradual process of winding down its nuclear program, but the United States has continued to hold out for complete denuclearization first.

At a second U.S.-North Korea summit held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un offered to dismantle the Yongbyon complex in exchange for the easing of sanctions, but the summit ended abruptly without any deal.

Earlier this week, North Korea indicated that its patience was wearing thinover the stalled negotiations.
"The U.S. would be well-advised to change its current method of calculation," an unnamed spokesman for North Korea's ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement carried by state-run Korean Central News Agency.
"There is a limit to our patience," he added.

Tensions between North Korea and the United States have risen since the February summit, as North Korea launched what the Pentagon said were short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and May 9, the first such launches since late 2017.

Last month, Washington announced that it had seized a North Korean cargo ship on suspicion that it violated sanctions. Earlier this week, the U.S. Seventh Fleet deployed a Coast Guard ship in the Yellow Sea in waters near North Korea, a move seen by some as an effort to step up monitoring and enforcement of sanctions.
However, President Donald Trump on Wednesday maintained an optimistic take on the U.S.-North Korea relationship.

"It's been going pretty well because there hasn't been testing of anything major, and, frankly, there's been no nuclear testing in a long period of time," he told reporters during his visit to Ireland.
"I think that Chairman Kim would like to make a deal, and I'd like to make a deal with him. I look forward to seeing him in the appropriate time," the president added.

 

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North Korean leader’s slain half-brother was a CIA informant — Wall Street Journal
11 June 2019

View attachment 7817
Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, waves after his first-ever interview with South Korean media in Macau in this June 4, 2010, file photo. (Shin In-seop/JoongAng Ilbo via AP, File)

  • Kim Jong Nam was killed with a banned chemical weapon in Malaysia in 2017
  • South Korean and US officials accused North Korean authorities of ordering the assassination

WASHINGTON: Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was killed in Malaysia in 2017, had been an informant for the US Central Intelligence Agency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The Journal cited an unnamed “person knowledgeable about the matter” for the report, and said many details of Kim Jong Nam’s relationship with the CIA remained unclear.

Reuters could not independently confirm the story. The CIA declined to comment.

The Journal quoted the person as saying “There was a nexus” between the CIA and Kim Jong Nam.
“Several former US officials said the half brother, who had lived outside of North Korea for many years and had no known power base in Pyongyang, was unlikely to be able to provide details of the secretive country’s inner workings,” the Journal said.

The former officials also said Kim Jong Nam had been almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries, particularly China’s, the Journal said.

Kim Jong Nam’s role as a CIA informant is mentioned in a new book about Kim Jong Un, “The Great Successor,” by Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield that is due to be published on Tuesday. Fifield says Kim Jong Nam usually met his handlers in Singapore and Malaysia, citing a source with knowledge of the intelligence.

The book says that security camera footage from Kim Jong Nam’s last trip to Malaysia showed him in a hotel elevator with an Asian-looking man who was reported to be a US intelligence agent. It said Kim’s backpack contained $120,000 in cash, which could have been payment for intelligence-related activities, or earnings from his casino businesses.

South Korean and US officials have said the North Korean authorities had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family’s dynastic rule. Pyongyang has denied the allegation.

Two women were charged with poisoning Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. Malaysia released Doan Thi Huong, who is Vietnamese, in May, and Indonesian Siti Aisyah in March.

According to the Journal, the person said Kim Jong Nam had traveled to Malaysia in February 2017 to meet his CIA contact, although that may not have been the sole purpose of the trip.

US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have met twice, in Hanoi in February and Singapore last June, seeming to build personal goodwill but failing to agree on a deal to lift US sanctions in exchange for North Korea abandoning its nuclear and missile programs.

 

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North Korean leader’s slain half-brother was a CIA informant — Wall Street Journal
11 June 2019

View attachment 7817
Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, waves after his first-ever interview with South Korean media in Macau in this June 4, 2010, file photo. (Shin In-seop/JoongAng Ilbo via AP, File)

  • Kim Jong Nam was killed with a banned chemical weapon in Malaysia in 2017
  • South Korean and US officials accused North Korean authorities of ordering the assassination

WASHINGTON: Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was killed in Malaysia in 2017, had been an informant for the US Central Intelligence Agency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The Journal cited an unnamed “person knowledgeable about the matter” for the report, and said many details of Kim Jong Nam’s relationship with the CIA remained unclear.

Reuters could not independently confirm the story. The CIA declined to comment.

The Journal quoted the person as saying “There was a nexus” between the CIA and Kim Jong Nam.
“Several former US officials said the half brother, who had lived outside of North Korea for many years and had no known power base in Pyongyang, was unlikely to be able to provide details of the secretive country’s inner workings,” the Journal said.

The former officials also said Kim Jong Nam had been almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries, particularly China’s, the Journal said.

Kim Jong Nam’s role as a CIA informant is mentioned in a new book about Kim Jong Un, “The Great Successor,” by Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield that is due to be published on Tuesday. Fifield says Kim Jong Nam usually met his handlers in Singapore and Malaysia, citing a source with knowledge of the intelligence.

The book says that security camera footage from Kim Jong Nam’s last trip to Malaysia showed him in a hotel elevator with an Asian-looking man who was reported to be a US intelligence agent. It said Kim’s backpack contained $120,000 in cash, which could have been payment for intelligence-related activities, or earnings from his casino businesses.

South Korean and US officials have said the North Korean authorities had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family’s dynastic rule. Pyongyang has denied the allegation.

Two women were charged with poisoning Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. Malaysia released Doan Thi Huong, who is Vietnamese, in May, and Indonesian Siti Aisyah in March.

According to the Journal, the person said Kim Jong Nam had traveled to Malaysia in February 2017 to meet his CIA contact, although that may not have been the sole purpose of the trip.

US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have met twice, in Hanoi in February and Singapore last June, seeming to build personal goodwill but failing to agree on a deal to lift US sanctions in exchange for North Korea abandoning its nuclear and missile programs.

 

Khafee

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US concerned about North Korean activities in Nepal
IANS/Kathmandu
June 16, 2019
View attachment 8175
UN has imposed a number of sanctions on North Korea after the country started developing nuclear weapons.

Amidst reports of growing activities of North Koreans in Nepal, Mark Lambert, the special US envoy for Pyongyang, has asked the Himalayan nation's government and politicians not to entertain North Koreans in the country.

Lambert, who is on a three-day visit to Nepal, made this appeal to lawmakers, senior government officials and ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal here on Friday, reports The Himalayan Times.

The envoy expressed concerns about growing business activities of North Koreans in Nepal.
"He also expressed fear that North Koreans might have been using Nepal as a base to commit cyber crimes," a lawmaker, who met Lambert, said.

Lambert's message during these meetings was clear - the UN Security Council has placed sanctions on North Korea, and Nepal, as a member country, should respect this decision.

The UN has imposed a number of sanctions on North Korea after the country started developing nuclear weapons, in violation of the UN charter. These sanctions, among others, bar UN member countries from hosting citizens of North Korea.
"Nepal is a member of the UN and it has the obligation to follow resolutions passed by the UN Security Council," said US Embassy Spokesperson Andie De Arment, who confirmed that Lambert was in Nepal to discuss growing activities of North Koreans in the country.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pampeo had also raised the North Korean issue during Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali's visit to the US last December.

 

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