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North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Launch Unsuccessful, says Pentagon

North Korea tried to launch an intermediate-range ballistic missile Saturday, but the effort failed

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People at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, watch a TV news report on a North Korea missile launch, Sept. 5, 2016. The Pentagon said a failed launch was detected early Saturday local time in northwestern North Korea. Share. VOA

October 16, 2016: South Korea has strongly condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch attempt. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement Sunday the launch was “a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions” and an “illegal act of provocation.”

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Earlier, the U.S. military reported that North Korea tried to launch an intermediate-range ballistic missile Saturday, but the effort failed.

The U.S. Strategic Command said its monitoring systems detected the launch attempt at midday Saturday in northwestern North Korea (at 0333 UTC Saturday / 2333 EDT Friday), and NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said analysts determined the missile did not pose any threat to North America.

Officials in Washington, however, stressed the United States’ continuing vigilance “in the face of North Korean provocations,” and the nation’s “iron-clad” commitment to working together with U.S. allies South Korea and Japan to maintain security in northeast Asia.

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U.S. military officials said the North Korean missile was presumed to be a Musadan intermediate-range rocket, and its launch point was near the city of Kusŏng.

“We strongly condemn this and North Korea’s other recent missile tests,” said U.S. Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman. “We intend to raise our concerns at the U.N. to bolster international resolve in holding the DPRK accountable for these actions.”

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In addition to already conducting an unprecedented two nuclear tests this year, Pyongyang has advanced its land-based and submarine-based ballistic missile capabilities with numerous launches in the last six months. (VOA)

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North Korea may soon be able to hit US with Nuclear Missiles ; Could a war break out soon?

Pyongyang's deputy envoy to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, warned Monday that war could break out at any moment.

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo speaks during the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) National Security Summit in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)(VOA)

Washington, October 20, 2017 : North Korea is likely just months away from being capable of striking the United States with a nuclear missile, according to two top U.S. officials.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo told a forum in Washington on Thursday he is “deeply worried” about the advancing threat from North Korea and the possibility it could spark a nuclear arms race across East Asia.

“We ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving that objective,” Pompeo said when asked about Pyongyang’s pursuit of missile technology that could launch a warhead to targets in the U.S.

“They are so far along in that it’s now a matter of thinking about how do you stop the final step?” he added.

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National security adviser H.R. McMaster speaks during the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) National Security Summit in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)(VOA)

McMaster: We’re running out of time

U.S. National Security Adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster said later on Thursday that Washington was racing to resolve the situation, short of using military force.

“We’re not out of time but we’re running out of time,” McMaster said, speaking at the same event. “Accept and deter is unacceptable.”

The comments by Pompeo and McMaster come as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been steadily rising following Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test last month, it’s sixth overall, and repeated tests of what intelligence officials have assessed to be both intermediate and long range ballistic missiles.

But despite warning that North Korea is just months away from being able to target the U.S., the CIA’s Pompeo cautioned there are still questions about just how “robust” the North Korea nuclear threat has become, and whether Pyongyang will be able to deliver multiple nuclear warheads to nuclear targets.

“There’s always a risk. Intelligence is imperfect,” Pompeo said, adding there is evidence Pyongyang may be getting help from Iran, citing “deep conventional weapons ties as between the two countries.”

He also warned that each North Korean test makes an arms race ever more likely.

“You watch as North Korea grows ever closer to having its capability perfected, you can imagine others in the region also thinking that they well may need that capability,” he said.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while answering questions at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia (VOA)

Putin suggests force won’t work against North Korea

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against the use of force to eliminate the North Korean nuclear threat, suggesting it would not work.

“Talks about a preventative, disarming strike — and we hear both hints and open threats — this is very dangerous,” Putin said during a speaking engagement in Sochi.

“Who knows what and where is hidden in North Korea? And whether all of it can be destroyed with one strike, I doubt it,” he said. “I’m almost sure it is impossible.”

North Korean officials have also repeatedly warned the U.S. against any provocations.

Pyongyang’s deputy envoy to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, warned Monday that war could break out at any moment.

Other North Korean officials have accused the U.S. of making preparations for war, citing the presence of the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, conducting exercises to the east of the Korean Peninsula.

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4 Ships Banned From All Ports For Violating North Korea Sanctions

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South Korea's naval ships take part in a military drill for possible attack from North Korea in the water of the East Sea, South Korea. voa

The U.N. Security Council has banned all nations from allowing four ships that transported prohibited goods to and from North Korea to enter any port in their country.

Hugh Griffiths, head of the panel of experts investigating the implementation of U.N. sanctions against North Korea, announced the port bans at a briefing to U.N. member states on Monday. A North Korean diplomat attended the hour-long session.

Griffiths later told several reporters that “this is the first time in U.N. history” that the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Pyongyang has prohibited ships from entering all ports.

He identified the four cargo ships as the Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2 and Jie Shun.

According to MarineTraffic, a maritime database that monitors vessels and their moments, Petrel 8 is registered in Comoros, Hao Fan 6 in St. Kitts and Nevis, and Tong San 2 in North Korea. It does not list the flag of Tong San 2 but said that on Oct. 3 it was in the Bohai Sea off north China.

Griffiths said the four ships were officially listed on Oct. 5 “for transporting prohibited goods,” stressing that this was “swift action” by the sanctions committee following the Aug. 6 Security Council resolution that authorized port bans.

That resolution, which followed North Korea’s first successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, also banned the country from exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood products. Those goods are estimated to be worth over $1 billion – about one-third of the country’s estimated $3 billion in exports in 2016.

The Security Council unanimously approved more sanctions on Sept. 11, responding to North Korea’s sixth and strongest nuclear test explosion on Sept. 3.

These latest sanctions ban North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, and cap its crude oil imports. They also prohibit all textile exports, ban all joint ventures and cooperative operations, and bars any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers-key sources of hard currency for the northeast Asian nation.

Both resolutions are aimed at increasing economic pressure on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the country’s official name – to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs.

Griffiths told U.N. diplomats that the panel of experts is getting reports that the DPRK “is continuing its attempts to export coal” in violation of U.N. sanctions.

“We have as yet no evidence whatsoever of state complicity, but given the large quantities of money involved and the excess capacity of coal in the DPRK it probably comes as no surprise to you all that they’re seeking to make some money here,” he said.

Griffiths said the panel is “doing our very best to monitor the situation and to follow up with member states who maybe have been taken advantage of by the tactics deployed by DPRK coal export entities.”

As for joint ventures and cooperative arrangements, Griffiths said the resolution gives them 120 days from Sept. 11 to close down.

But “in a number of cases, the indications are that these joint ventures aren’t shutting down at all but are on the contrary expanding _ and therefore joint ventures is a major feature of the panel’s current investigations,” he said.

Griffiths also asked all countries to pay “special attention” to North Korea’s Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies, also known as the Mansudae Art Studio, which is on the sanctions blacklist and subject to an asset freeze and travel ban.

According to the sanctions listing, Mansudae exports North Korea workers to other countries “for construction-related activities including for statues and monuments to generate revenue for the government of the DPRK or the (ruling) Workers’ Party of Korea.”

Griffiths said Mansudae “has representatives, branches and affiliates in the Asia-Pacific region, all over Africa and all over Europe.” Without elaborating, he added that “they’re doing an awful lot more than producing statues in Africa.” (voa)

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North Korea Threatens Japan of Nuclear Destruction, Calls its Actions ‘Suicidal’

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have escalated to its highest levels over Pyongyang's ongoing nuclear weapons programme

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un , VOA

Pyongyang, October 3, 2017 : North Korea on Tuesday threatened Japan with nuclear destruction in response to Tokyo’s attempts to convince the international community to reject dialogue in favor of applying more pressure on Pyongyang.

In an article released by Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang responded to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech at the UN General Assembly last month, in which he called for “pressure, not dialogue” to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Kim Jong-un’s regime accused Abe of “using the ‘theory of crisis on the Korean peninsula'” for political purposes, and in particular to “facilitate Japan’s militarisation and at the same time strengthen inside unity and save the present rulers driven into a tight corner with corruption and irregularities”, reports Efe news.

The article added that Abe had already shown his “sinister political goal” with measures such as increasing defence costs and calling snap elections.

“Japan’s rackets inciting the tension of the Korean peninsula is a suicidal deed that will bring nuclear clouds to the Japanese archipelago.

“No one knows when the touch-and-go situation will lead to a nuclear war, but if so, the Japanese archipelago will be engulfed in flames in a moment,” the article said, stressing that if the Japanese people, “the first victim of nuclear disaster in the world, are offered in sacrifice owing to handful militarist reactionaries’ political aim, it will be a tragedy of the century”.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have escalated to its highest levels over Pyongyang’s ongoing nuclear weapons programme.

After a series of missile launches this year, North Korea detonated a hydrogen bomb at a nuclear testing facility on September 3, which prompted another round of UN sanctions and international condemnation. (IANS)