U.S. aircraft carrier joins South Korea drills

North Korea warns the United States of “merciless” attacks if the carrier infringes on its sovereignty or dignity during U.S.-South Korean drills. With the USS Carl Vinson ploughing through seas off South Korea, rival North Korea has warned the United States of “merciless” attacks if the carrier infringes on its sovereignty or dignity during US-South Korean drills. F-18 fighter jets took off from the flight deck of the nuclear-powered carrier in a dramatic display of US firepower amid rising tension with the North, which has alarmed its neighbours with two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since last year. “While this is a routine deployment for the Carl Vinson strike group, really the centrepiece for us… is this exercise we’re doing with the ROK navy called ‘Foal Eagle’,” Rear Admiral James W. Kilby, commander of the Carrier Strike Group 1, said, referring to South Korea as the Republic of Korea.
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The strange death of Kim Jong Nam

Security footage of the events leading up to the death of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Kim Jong-nam was the eldest son of Kim Jong-il, leader of North Korea. From roughly 1994 to 2001, he was considered the heir apparent to his father. In May 2001, following a failed attempt to visit Tokyo Disneyland by entering Japan with a fake passport, he was thought to have fallen out of favour with his father. Kim was exiled from North Korea around 2003, becoming an occasional critic of his family’s regime and an advocate for reform. His younger paternal half-brother, Kim Jong-un, was named heir apparent in September 2010. Kim’s death in Malaysia in February 2017 is alleged to have been a result of poisoning by 2 women, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

North Korea hosts first air show ever

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North Korea’s first air show got off the ground at Kalma Airport in Wonsan. The two-day event features North Korean Air Force planes and helicopters as well as the civilian fleet of North Korean flag carrier Air Koryo. Approximately two hundred aviation enthusiasts from around the world have flown in for the event. A crowd of thousands of North Koreans watched the air show.
A British tour company, Juche Travel Services, started organising trips years ago for plane spotters to fly around North Korea on its fleet of Russian planes.

North Korea’s largest nuclear test

North Korea conducted its fifth and biggest nuclear test on its 68th anniversary, with a blast more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to some estimates.

Could North Korea missile strike the United States?

North Korea is believed to have more than 1,000 missiles of varying capabilities, including long-range missiles which could one day strike the US. Pyongyang’s programme has progressed over the last few decades from tactical artillery rockets in the 1960s and 70s to short­-range and medium-range ballistic missiles in the 1980s and 90s. Systems capable of greater ranges are understood to be under research and development. The country’s missile programme has mainly been developed from the Scud, itself a development from the German V2 rockets of World War II.
It first obtained tactical missiles from the Soviet Union as early as 1969, but its first Scuds reportedly came via Egypt in 1976. Egypt is believed to have supplied North Korea with missiles and designs in return for its support against Israel in the Yom Kippur War. By 1984, North Korea was building its own Scuds, the Hwasong-5. The larger, longer range Hwasong-6 followed, and eventually the Nodong – essentially a 50% larger Hwasong-6. Following these came the multiple-stage Taepodong missiles, which can potentially be configured as satellite launchers or missiles.
In 2006, it test-fired a Taepodong-2 missile, which experts say could have a range of many thousands of miles, and rockets with related technology in 2009 and 2012. All three launches ended in failure. However, North Korea made another, apparently successful, launch of a three-stage rocket on 12 December 2012. It was condemned by many in the international community as cover for a missile test. In June 2014, a North Korean propaganda film briefly showed what some experts said might be a newly developed cruise missile, believed to be similar to the Russian KH-35 anti-ship missile. It is unclear whether North Korea previously owned any cruise missiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. sanctions North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

The United States sanctioned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the first time, citing “notorious abuses of human rights,” in a move that diplomats say will incense the nuclear-armed country.

North Korea must review its policies

Despite the tough new UN sanctions, North Korea has been conducting several long- and short-range missile tests. North Korea seems to have antagonised even its close allies like China through its actions. China, it may be noted, has not used its veto power in the UN Security Council to block the new sanctions against Pyongyang. The missile tests are not going to benefit North Korea in any way at all despite its tall claims. They will result only in more sanctions and sterner policy towards it from the international community. Although the global community is tightening sanctions to punish North Korea for its continuing nuclear and missile development, Pyongyang appears to be defiant. The North has ramped up its threats against South Korea and the US and continues to fire more missiles following the UN’s adoption of a fresh resolution expanding sanctions against it.

Last Friday, North Korea issued new threats against South Korea, further escalating tensions between the two sides. North Korea’s state media said Kim Jong-un ordered the country’s military to be on high alert and ready for an attack against South Korean leaders. Due to aggressive polices of the Kim regime, the country remains isolated among the world community and the people of the country are suffering badly. Families in the communist state, according to reports, struggle to secure everyday essentials. Despite the widespread poverty, the country’s military spending is quite high. The powerful military seems to control the country’s entire resources. The freedom of speech is restricted. Full Internet access is not allowed and political activities are very rare. The country is facing tough challenges on economic, political and foreign-policy fronts. It is high time for North Korea to rethink its policies towards the rest of the world and join the international community as a full-fledged and responsible member. Isolation is not the answer to today’s problems.

Khawaja Umer Farooq

A US B-52 flying with South Korean F-15K fighter jets

A US B-52 Stratofortress (bottom R) flying with South Korean F-15K fighter jets (top) and US F-16 fighter jets (bottom L) over South Korea. The US sent a heavy bomber over South Korea on January 10 in a show of force as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un insisted his country’s latest nuclear test was carried out in self-defence. 

North And South Korea – The World’s Most Dangerous Border

The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is the buffer zone between North and South Korea, running across the peninsula roughly following the 38th parallel. It was created by agreement between North Korea, China and the United Nations in 1953. The DMZ is 250 kilometres (160 miles) long, and about 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) wide.
Within the DMZ is a meeting-point between the two nations in the small Joint Security Area (JSA) near the western end of the zone, where negotiations take place. There have been various incidents in and around the DMZ, with military and civilian casualties on both sides. Several tunnels are claimed to have been built as an invasion route for the North Koreans.

 Location 

The Korean Demilitarized Zone  is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula. It was established at the end of the Korean War to serve as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ is a de facto border barrier that divides the Korean Peninsula roughly in half. The DMZ roughly flows the 38th parallel north on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and the east end lying north of it. It was created as part of the Korean Armistice Agreement between North Korea, the People’s Republic of China, and the United Nations Command forces in 1953. The DMZ is 250 kilometres (160 miles) long,  approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) wide and, despite its name, is the most heavily militarized border in the world.   The Northern Limit Line, or NLL, is the disputed maritime demarcation line between North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea, not agreed in the armistice. The coastline and islands on both sides of the NLL are also heavily militarized.

 History 

The 38th parallel north—which divides the Korean Peninsula roughly in half—was the original boundary between the United States and Soviet Union’s brief administration areas of Korea at the end of World War II. Upon the creation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, informally North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK, informally South Korea) in 1948, it became a de facto international border and one of the most tense fronts in the Cold War.
Both the North and the South remained dependent on their sponsor states from 1948 to the outbreak of the Korean War. That conflict, which claimed over three million lives and divided the Korean Peninsula along ideological lines, commenced on June 25, 1950, with a full-front DPRK invasion across the 38th parallel, and ended in 1953 after international intervention pushed the front of the war back to near the 38th parallel.

 Joint Security Area

Inside the DMZ, near the western coast of the peninsula, Panmunjom is the home of the Joint Security Area (JSA). Originally, it was the only connection between North and South Korea[9] but that changed in 2007 when a Korail train crossed the DMZ to the North on the new Donghae Bukbu Line built on the east coast of Korea.
There are several buildings on both the north and the south side of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), and there have been some built on top of it. The JSA is the location where all negotiations since 1953 have been held, including statements of Korean solidarity, which have generally amounted to little except a slight decline of tensions. The MDL goes through the conference rooms and down the middle of the conference tables where the North Koreans and the United Nations Command (primarily South Koreans and Americans) meet face to face.