Thursday, 27 April 2017

Trump meets the Senate: US chooses non-miliary options

N. Korea may get terrorism designation, White House briefs Senate


N. Korea may get terrorism designation, White House briefs Senate

RT,
27 Apri, 2017


US President Donald Trump's strategy on North Korea aims to pressure Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missile programs by tightening sanctions, and Washington is open to negotiations, the Trump administration said Wednesday.

The US stance, which appeared to signal a willingness to exhaust non-military options, was put forward in a statement following an unusual White House-hosted briefing for the entire Senate.

"The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal," a joint statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said.

The joint statement described North Korea as "an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford also attended the meeting, the statement says.

The statement also stresses a US alliance with Japan and South Korea in its strategy for North Korea.

Among the options was placing North Korea on a list of state sponsors of terrorism, according to reports.

Although the statement emphasized diplomacy, Democratic Senator Christopher Coons told reporters after the White House briefing that military options were discussed.

"It was a sobering briefing in which it was clear just how much thought and planning was going into preparing military options, if called for, and a diplomatic strategy that strikes me as clear-eyed and well proportioned," Coons said.
The classified meeting lasted around 14 minutes, according to reports.

A White House official said putting North Korea on a list of state sponsors of terrorism was "one of the things" being considered, Bloomberg News reported.
Commenting on the recent North Korean military parade, a White House official said at the briefing, "Even the tires are not made in North Korea," according to Bloomberg.

"We were not presented with any specific military options and I wouldn't talk about them if we were," Sen. Coons told White House reporters, according to Bloomberg.

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) told CNN the meeting covered many topics already reported in the media.

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) told CNN there was "no revelation" in the briefing, and that it was more of a"chance to convey they're serious."

Earlier Wednesday, US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harristold the House Armed Services Committee that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense system to defend South Korea from a North Korean threat would be"operational in the coming days." 

THAAD is believed to be capable of intercepting intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Its placement on a South Korean golf course Tuesday led to clashes between locals and police, a reflection of the issue's divisiveness in South Korea. China has adamantly opposed the use of THAAD, regarding it as a threat to its own defense.

On Monday, Trump castigated the UN Security Council during a meeting with UNSC ambassadors at the White House. He called on the international body to “impose additional and stronger sanctions” on North Korea.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Trump during a call on Monday that resolving the nuclear issue in North Korea can only be done quickly if all relevant countries act together. Tensions had risen between the US and North Korea, as the latter warned of "catastrophic consquences" over the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson, the US Navy's aircraft supercarrier, to the Korean Peninsula.





Senators Told North Korea "Urgent National Security Threat", US Military Prepared To Act


US, S. Korea stage powerful military drills amid rising tensions with Pyongyang

US, S. Korea stage powerful military drills amid rising tensions with Pyongyang (VIDEO)


RT,
26 April, 2017

The US and South Korean militaries have taken part in a combined firing drill as part of joint exercises amid increased tensions with Pyongyang. It comes just one day after the North launched its own artillery drill.

More than 2,000 South Korean and American troops were involved in the Wednesday drills in Pocheon, South Korea, according to Yonhap news agency.

The war games took place at Seungjin Fire Training Field, some 30km south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas.





The exercises, which lasted 45 minutes, included some 100 artillery pieces, 90 armored vehicles and 50 aircraft, according to South Korea's Ministry of Defense.
Footage from the scene shows trails of color streaked across the sky as fighter jets showcase their force, as well as firing tanks, huge clouds of smoke, and soldiers dropping out of helicopters.

The exercises also included two AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters from the South Korean Army, which fired aerial rockets and ammunitions from chain guns at mock targets, according to Yonhap.

Four M1A2 Bradley fighting vehicles from the US military also fired artillery rounds while speeding down mountain road.

Around 90 battle tanks and armored vehicles were involved, according to South Korea's Ministry of National Defense.

The drills were followed by firing the US M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).

The Wednesday event was one of the largest integrated live-fire drills between the two allies in recent years.

It came just one day after North Korea staged its own military drill in Wonsan, to mark the founding of the country's army. The exercise consisted of between 300 and 400 long-range artillery pieces, Yonhap reported, citing a government source.

A military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA) April 26, 2017. KCNA/

North Korea called the drills the largest ever to be hosted by the country, while state media reported that leader Kim Jong-un personally observed the exercises.
The drills reportedly included submarine torpedo-attacks on mock enemy warships.

There is no limit to the strike power of the People's Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment, including various precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a front-page editorial.

A military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA) April 26, 2017. KCNA / Reuters

Meanwhile, tensions continue to escalate between Pyongyang and Washington, with US President Donald Trump continuing to take a hardline stance against North Korea and sending an aircraft carrier strike group to the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean state media has responded to Washington's moves by stating that Pyongyang is ready to sink the carrier, claiming its deployment was a “foolish military provocative act.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has called on all sides to show restraint and maintain stability and security in the region.

"The most urgent task at the moment is the resumption of negotiations and all sides in the conflict must take part in this,"Reuters reported Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as saying from Berlin.

"Security and stability is quite fragile and there is a great danger that a new conflict, or incidents could happen at any time. Therefore we call all sides to be restrained and to avoid actions or words that could lead to new provocations.”


In Warning To North Korea, US Releases Video Of Overnight Minuteman III ICBM Launch


26 April, 2017


As reported on Tuesday evening, overnight the US Air Force conducted a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM from Vanderberg Air Force base near Lompoc in California, in what was a clear signal of nuclear deterrence aimed squarely at North Korea.

Col John Moss, 30th Space Wing commander, who oversaw the launch of the long range missile, said that "Team V is once again ready to work with Air Force Global Strike Command to successfully launch another Minuteman III missile. 

These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities. We are proud of our long history in partnering with the men and women of the 576th Flight Test Squadron to execute these missions for the nation."


As Vanderberg confirmed overnight, the missile launch was conducted as planned, and was successful, with the ICBM travelling approximately four thousand two hundred miles to a test range near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.


his is the statement Vanderberg released shortly after the launch:







On April 26 airmen from F.E. Warren, Offutt And Vandenberg Air Force Bases conducted an operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman Three missile. Today’s test launch used an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile pulled randomly from a silo on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, which was then transported and reassembled at Vandenberg, and launched by crew members of the 625Th strategic operations squadron aboard the U.S. Strategic Command Airborne Command Post Navy E6B Aircraft.
The ICBM was equipped with a test reentry vehicle, and traveled approximately four thousand two hundred miles to a test range near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
These ICBM test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

It also released the following video of the ICBM launch, which we are confident will be closely watched by everyone in the Kim Jong-Un administration.




Was Trump briefing to Senate on N. Korea a cynical power play?

US presidents are supposed to notify Congress when intending to use force against a foreign country. Is that why President Trump’s White House briefed the entire US Senate on Wednesday? Retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson worries it is and joins ‘News With Ed’ to discuss



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