North Korea moves missile launchers, issues safety warning to foreign embassiesPublished April 05, 2013FoxNews.comQuestions surround North Koreas missile moveUS officials: North Korean missiles on the moveCurrent crisis with North Korea different than years…
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South Korean authorities were investigating a hacking attack that brought down the servers of three broadcasters and two major banks on Wednesday, and the army raised its alert level due to concerns of North Korean involvement.
Servers at television networks YTN, MBC and KBS were affected as well as Shinhan Bank and NongHyup Bank, two major banks, the police and government officials said. At least some of the computers affected by the attacks had some files deleted, according to the authorities.
“We sent down teams to all affected sites. We are now assessing the situation. This incident is pretty massive and will take a few days to collect evidence,” a police official said.
North Korea on Sunday warned the top U.S. military commander stationed in South Korea that his forces would “meet a miserable destruction” if they go ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korean troops, North Korean state media said. (more…)
The second global conference ever on nuclear material that has escaped state control is drawing President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Nuclear violators Iran and North Korea won’t be there.The legacy of the Soviet Union’s breakup, inadequate atomic stockpile controls and the proliferation of nuclear-fuel technology mean the world may be awash with unaccounted-for weapons ingredients, ripe to be picked up by terrorists.
Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during an informal question and answer session with troops in Iraq that \the danger from North Korea is rising and must be curbed because North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is “a very unpredictable guy”. “It’s changed out there, and it’s dangerous. Increasingly dangerous,” Mullen was quoted as saying.
North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near their disputed border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident raises several questions, not the least of which is whether Pyongyang is attempting to move the real “red line” for conventional weapons engagements, just as it has managed to move the limit of “acceptable” behavior regarding its nuclear program.
North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery fire near the Northern Limit Line (NLL), their disputed western border in the Yellow Sea/West Sea on Nov. 23. The incident damaged as many as 100 homes and thus far has killed two South Korean soldiers with several others, including some civilians, wounded. The South Korean government convened an emergency Cabinet meeting soon after the incident and called for the prevention of escalation. It later warned of “stern retaliation” if North Korea launches additional attacks. Pyongyang responded by threatening to launch additional strikes, and accused South Korea and the United States of planning to invade North Korea, in reference to the joint Hoguk military exercises currently under way in different locations across South Korea.
The incident is the latest in a series of provocations by Pyongyang near the NLL this year following the sinking of the South Korean warship ChonAn in March. Over the past several years, the NLL has been a major hotspot. While most border incidents have been low-level skirmishes, such as the November 2009 naval episode, a steady escalation of hostilities culminated in the sinking of the ChonAn. The Nov. 23 attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeongdo represents another escalation; similar shellings in the past were for show and often merely involved shooting into the sea, but this attack targeted a military base. It also comes amid an atmosphere of higher tensions surrounding the revelation of active North Korean uranium enrichment facilities, South Korea’s disavowal of its Sunshine Policy of warming ties with the North and an ongoing power succession in Pyongyang.
Over the years, North Korea has slowly moved the “red line” regarding its missile program and nuclear development. It was always said that North Korea would never test a nuclear weapon because it would cross a line that the United States had set. Yet North Korea did test a nuclear weapon in October 2006, and then another in May 2009, without facing any dire consequences. This indicates that the red line for the nuclear program was either moved, or was rhetorical. The main question after the Nov. 23 attack is whether Pyongyang is attempting to move the red line for conventional attacks. If North Korea is attempting to raise the threshold for a response to such action, it could be playing a very dangerous game.
However, the threat North Korea’s nuclear program poses is more theoretical than the threat posed by conventional weapons engagements. Just as it seems that a North Korean nuclear test would not result in military action, the ChonAn sinking and the Nov. 23 attack seem to show that an “unprovoked” North Korean attack also will not lead to military retaliation. If this pattern holds, it means North Korea could decide to move from sea-based to land-based clashes, shell border positions across the Demilitarized Zone or take any number of other actions that certainly are not theoretical.
The questions STRATFOR is focusing on after the Nov. 23 attack are as follows:
Is North Korea attempting to test or push back against limits on conventional attacks? If so, are these attacks meant to test South Korea and its allies ahead of an all-out military action, or is the North seeking a political response as it has with its nuclear program? If the former, we must reassess North Korea’s behavior and ascertain whether the North Koreans are preparing to try a military action against South Korea — perhaps trying to seize one or more of the five South Korean islands along the NLL. If the latter, then at what point will they actually cross a red line that will trigger a response?
Is South Korea content to constantly redefine “acceptable” North Korean actions? Does South Korea see something in the North that we do not? The South Koreans have good awareness of what is going on in North Korea, and vice versa. The two sides are having a conversation about something and using limited conventional force to get a point across. We should focus on what the underlying issue is.
What is it that South Korea is afraid of in the North? North Korea gives an American a guided tour of a uranium enrichment facility, then fires across the NLL a couple of days after the news breaks. The South does not respond. It seems that South Korea is afraid of either real power or real weakness in the North, but we do not know which.
Published with permission from www.stratfor.com
In Moscow’s bleakest assessment of the situation on the Korean peninsula yet, Russian deputy foreign minister Alexei Borodavkin said tensions between the two countries were running at their highest and most dangerous level in a decade.
“Tensions on the Korean Peninsula could not be any higher. The only next step is a conflict,” he told foreign policy experts at a round table on the subject in Moscow.
Several news agencies and wire services are reporting that North Korea has threatened to use what it calls “nuclear deterrence” against the United States and South Korea, if the two nations go ahead with scheduled naval maneuvers beginning Sunday in the Sea of Japan.
North Korea’s official news agency said the nation’s army and people will start a “retaliatory sacred war” if the maneuvers are carried out.
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Newsmax reports the U.S. is considering dispatching the massive aircraft carrier USS George Washington to the waters where North Korea allegedly sank a South Korean warship, defense officials said Wednesday.
The deployment of the nuclear-powered carrier, one of the world's largest warships, would represent a major show of force by the U.S., which has vowed to protect South Korea and is seeking to blunt aggression from North Korea.
An international investigation last month blamed North Korea for torpedoing a South Korean navy vessel, the Cheonan, in March, killing 46 sailors.
Two U.S. defense officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been made, said that a decision on deployment was likely by week's end.
Last week, the Pentagon announced that it was planning two major military exercises with South Korea to take place in the “near future.” The exercises were to focus in part on anti-submarine operations.
The officials said the George Washington's deployment would be separate from the upcoming exercises.
South Korea’s military was tracking four North Korean submarines which disappeared from their east coast base after conducting naval training in the East Sea earlier this week, a military official in Seoul said Wednesday.
Locations of the North’s four 300-ton-class submarines have been unknown for two days, the military official said, noting, “We are tracking the four submarines by mobilizing all naval capabilities in the East Sea.”
The submarines left the Chaho base located near the Musudan-ri missile launch pad site in North Hamgyong province in North Korea’s northeast coast, according to the official.
Four 300-ton North Korean submarines disappeared in the East Sea on Monday, the government said Tuesday, and the military is trying to track them down. “Four shark-class submarines left Chaho Base in South Hamgyong Province on Monday” when President Lee Myung-bak delivered a nationally televised speech about sanctions against North Korea, “and their whereabouts are unknown,” a government official said. “It is rare for four North Korean subs to disappear at once.”
President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. military to coordinate with South Korea to “ensure readiness” and deter future aggression from North Korea, the White House said on Monday.
The United States gave strong backing to plans by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to punish North Korea for sinking one of its naval ships, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
The White House urged North Korea to apologize and change its behavior, he said.
“We endorse President Lee's demand that North Korea immediately apologize and punish those responsible for the attack, and, most importantly, stop its belligerent and threatening behavior,” Gibbs said.
“U.S. support for South Korea's defense is unequivocal, and the president has directed his military commanders to coordinate closely with their Republic of Korea counterparts to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression,” he said.
UPDATE: South Korea and the United States are considering upgrading the alert status on North Korea to the next level as tensions build up on findings the North sank one of the South’s naval ships, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.
Tensions deepened Thursday on the Korean peninsula as South Korea accused North Korea of firing a torpedo that sank a naval warship, killing 46 sailors in the country’s worst military disaster since the Korean War.
The UK’s Telegraph reports that a South Korean warship was destroyed by an elite North Korean suicide squad of ‘human torpedoes’ on the express orders of the regime’s leader, Kim Jong-il.
The story says the the attack on the 1,220-ton Cheonan, which sank on March 26 was in retaliation for a skirmish between warships of the two nations’ navies in November of last year.
The South Korean government has refused to comment officially on the reports but Defense Minister Kim Tae Young told a parliamentary session that the military believed that the sinking was a deliberate act by North Korea, according top the report.
Officials in military intelligence say they warned the government earlier this year that North Korea was preparing a suicide-squad submarine attack on a South Korean ship.
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A South Korean naval ship with 104 on board was sinking today after a suspected torpedo attack by North Korea.
The 1,500-ton vessel is going down near Baengnyeong island, with rescue crews fearing many sailors have died.
In apparent retaliation, the South Korean navy shot at an unidentified ship in the direction of North Korea.
The incident is viewed as a potential flashpoint which could plunge the two countries into all-out conflict.
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This is a breaking story and details may change.
South Korea has returned fire after North Korea shot several artillery rounds into waters near a disputed sea border with the South on Wednesday, Yonhap news agency reported an unnamed military source as saying.
North Korea on Tuesday declared a no-sail zone in the waters off its west coast, according to media reports in the South.
As if the nuclear threat from North Korea is not bad enough for it’s neighbors, The Straits Times is reporting that North Korea is thought to have up to 13 types of viruses and germs in their weapons arsenal which can be used in biological weapons, as well as up to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons. This according to South Korea’s defense ministry, says the report.
From The Straits Times
The chemical weapons could be deliverable by artillery or missile to cause massive civilian casualties in South Korea, the Brussels-based think-tank said.
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A Republican congressman has urged the US to unleash a retaliatory cyber-attack against North Korea over DDoS attacks supposedly launched against US and South Korean websites.
Congressman Peter Hoekstra of Michagan, the lead Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, urged President Obama to mount a “show of force” against North Korea over its alleged role in cyberattacks last week.