On the same day as Kim Jong Un threatens the US with “first-strike’ nuclear ICBM and unveils propaganda showing the destruction of American forces, AP reports U.S. military officials expect another North Korean missile launch in the next several days.
Earlier today a Pyongyang envoy stated that North Korea will pursue “acceleration” of its nuclear and missile programs. This includes developing a “pre-emptive first strike capability” and an inter-continental ballistic missile, according to Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the DPRK (North Korean) mission to the United Nations in Geneva.
The latest development follows a previous report also from Reuters, in which it said the Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions as part of a broad review of measures to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat. “I think this is stemming from the visit by the Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson) to Japan, South Korea and China…We of course are not afraid of any act like that,” Choe told Reuters.
“Even prohibition of the international transactions system, the global financial system, this kind of thing is part of their system that will not frighten us or make any difference.” He called existing sanctions “heinous and inhumane”.
On March 1, the WSJ reported that the options contemplated by the White House in response to recent North Korean acts, include “the possibility of both military force and regime change to counter the country’s nuclear-weapons threat.” The review came es amid recent events have strained regional stability including last month’s launch by North Korea of a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, and the assassination of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.
And, according to a report in Yonhap, said “regime change” may come far sooner than expected: the South Korean website writes that U.S. special operations forces, including the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, will take part in joint military drills in South Korea “to practice incapacitating North Korean leadership in the case of conflict”, a military official said Monday.
The U.S. Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group, better known as the SEAL Team 6, will arrive in South Korea for joint military drills and take part in an exercise simulating a precision North Korean incurion and “the removal of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un”, according to the Ministry of National Defense Monday.
The U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six will join the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises between the two allies for the first time, along with the Army’s Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets.
The counterterrorism unit is best known for its removal of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011, known as Operation Neptune Spear. It will be the team’s first time participating in the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises, which will run through late April.
Yesterday’s snap deployment of the US THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea has led to significant reverberations among the region, with not only North Korea, but also Russia and China slamming the move.
As reported last night, various equipment including 2 launch pads for U.S. missile defense system known as THAAD arrived in South Korea on Monday and will continue to be brought in, Yonhap News said.”Continued provocative actions by North Korea, to include yesterday’s launch of multiple missiles, only confirm the prudence of our alliance decision last year to deploy THAAD to South Korea,” Adm. Harry Harris, commander, US Pacific Command, said in a news release.
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and South Korean Defense Secretary Han Min-koo spoke over the phone last week and agreed that THAAD should be deployed “ASAP.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer signaled the deployment Monday when he told reporters that the United States is “taking steps to enhance our ability to defend against North Korea’s ballistic missiles, such as through the deployment of a THAAD battery to South Korea.” U.S. defense officials confirmed to NBC News on Monday night that that meant delivery was already under way — not that the United States was simply restating its previous promises to send the system to South Korea sometime in the future.
Update: North Korea warned Monday that U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which it called “the most undisguised nuclear war maneuvers,” are driving the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia toward “nuclear disaster.” The North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, Ja Song Nam, said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council that the U.S. is using nuclear-propelled aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, nuclear strategic bombers and stealth fighters in the joint exercises that began Wednesday. “It may go over to an actual war,” Ja warned of the military drills, “and, consequently, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is again inching to the brink of a nuclear war.”
“Involved in the drill were Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force tasked to strike the bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces in Japan in contingency,” the North’s official KCNA news agency said.
“In the hearts of artillerymen … there was burning desire to mercilessly retaliate against the warmongers going ahead with their joint war exercises,” KCNA said.
“He (Kim) ordered the KPA Strategic Force to keep highly alert as required by the grim situation in which an actual war may break out any time, and get fully ready to promptly move, take positions and strike so that it can open fire to annihilate the enemies.”
The letter was sent a few hours after North Korea fired four banned ballistic missiles. Ja said the main reason North Korea is equipping itself “with nuclear attack capabilities” and strengthening its nuclear deterrent forces is in self-defense against what he called the U.S. “extreme anti-DPRK hostile policy and nuclear threats and blackmails as well as maneuvers to enforce its nuclear weapons.”
I think the relationship will also be very-much a benefit to Japan
It was a long talk
Promises to honor ‘one china’ policy
Abe hinted of a greater US presence around the disputed Senkaku islands. Trump said the US will defend all areas under Japanese ‘administrative control’.
What this looks like is that Trump backed off on supporting Taiwan in exchange for China backing off on the disputed islands and perhaps something regarding North Korea. In the early days of Trump’s win, he promised to review Taiwan’s status but he’s quickly backed down.
Less than two weeks after stepping down as U.N. Secretary-General, a move many interpreted as an indication of his intention to run for the Presidency of South Korea, two of Ban Ki-Moon’s relatives have been indicted in the U.S. on charges of bribery. According to the Daily Mail, Ban Ki-Moon’s brother, Ban Ki-sang, and nephew, Joo Hyun “Dennis” Bahn who is a New York real estate broker, have been indicted for an alleged scheme to bribe a Middle Eastern official to use his country’s sovereign wealth fund to purchase a struggling $800 million real estate complex in Vietnam. Joo Hyun Bahn has been arrested in New York City and is expected to appear in court later today according to the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Two relatives of former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have been indicted on U.S. charges that they engaged in a scheme to bribe a Middle Eastern official in connection with the attempted $800 million sale of a building complex in Vietnam.
Joo Hyun “Dennis” Bahn, a New York real estate broker who is Ban Ki-Moon’s nephew, and his father Ban Ki-sang, Ban Ki-moon’s brother who was a senior executive at South Korean construction firm Keangnam Enterprises Co Ltd, were charged in an indictment unsealed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.
Bahn is in custody and expected to appear in court later on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. Defense lawyers could not immediately be identified.
According to the Yonhap news agency, the F-16 fighter jets will be equipped with the US GBU-31JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) air-to-ground guided bombs capable of hitting underground facilities, and AIM-120 mid-range air-to-air missiles capable of downing aircraft at a range of 50 to 180 kilometers.
The F-16 Peace Bridge Upgrade (PBU) project was established in November 2009, when South Korea authorities signed a deal with the US aerospace defense company Lockheed Martin on upgrading its frontline jets. A total of 30 jets have been reportedly improved since October 2013.
On December 12, North Korea threatened to launch an airstrike on Seoul, after South Korea and the United States conducted their annual aerial exercise, which lasted until December 5 amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea’s armed forces are waiting for a signal to carry out a final attack, according to the official newspaper of the Central Committee of North Korea’s Workers’ Party Rodong Sinmun.
On November 30, South Korea and the United States launched their annual aerial exercise, which lasted until December 5. The exercise focused on simulating strikes on radar systems, mobile missile launchers and other key military facilities of North Korea, according to media reports. Also on November 30, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted the draft resolution condemning “in the strongest terms” the nuclear test conducted by North Korea on September 9.
Prices for NAND flash memory used in smartphones and memory cards continue to climb, recently rising above $3 per chip for the first time in two years.
Bellwether 64-gigabit multi-level cell (MLC) chips are currently selling for around $3.30 apiece, 6% more than in September. The price last topped the $3 benchmark when it reached $3.10 in November 2014. The price of 128-gigabit memory is up 1% from September to around $4.10.
Memory prices typically fall with the passage of time accompanying advances in manufacturing technology. It is extremely unusual for prices to climb as far as the same level as two years earlier.
Driving the increase is a surge in demand. One major factor is the decision by South Korea’s Samsung Electronics to halt sales of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, which was plagued by exploding batteries.
NAND flash memory was already headed toward a shortage, since it is used to increase memory capacity as smartphone functionality expands. Now, Samsung’s rivals are seizing the offensive, taking the South Korean company’s woes as an opportunity to expand market share. In particular, the Chinese manufacturers behind the Oppo and Vivo brands are competing to secure NAND flash memory.
In the U.S., companies engaged in finance and e-commerce are increasing investment in servers. This has contributed to the rise in NAND prices by driving up demand for solid-state memory, a type of memory that incorporates NAND and helps speed data throughput while reducing operating costs.