Donald ‘the fraud’ Trump’s political base is uneducated white males of which I am considered one of. Because I am very technology challenged I guess I am one of ‘those people’, you know whom I mean, the deplorable’s. The political talking heads say Trump’s base are white males with only a high school education or less. I have an Associate Degree in Sociology and Anthropology but I had to work my behind off to obtain a 2.72 GPA. What I am saying is that I am not a genius, I am just an average person. I do try my best to be a good Christian person, I know that I fail at my efforts constantly though. I do say these things to you so that you know that I do not consider myself as being better than you, or anyone else, well, except for the IDIOT in Our White House. It is a bit difficult to believe that anyone on the planet is more clueless than ‘the Donald.’
Now let us get down to the reason for this article today. Our glorious ‘habitual Liar in Chief’ is on a 12-day trip to Asia. Yesterday he made a speech to the South Korea Congress and today he is in China with his “good friend” President Xi Jinping. Before he went to South Korea he spent time in Japan with their leader Mr. Abe and I hear that they spent time on a golf course together. You know the only place that you normally hear more lies told than on a fishing boat, is on a golf course. This is especially true when Donald Trump enters the course. I read a lot of newspapers from all over the world almost every day and one of the things that is very clear is that no one anywhere believes anything that comes out of this mans mouth. It does seem that the only place you may find anyone here in the States who actually believes anything he says is on the Fox News Network.
If you are an ally of the United States these days, Mr. Trump has very plainly made it clear that he doesn’t give a flip about such things as longstanding treaties or friendships. Remember the fiasco/lies about the US Aircraft Carrier battle group that was “speeding toward Korea” as a sign of strength to our friends in South Korea and as a warning to North Korea? The same battle group that was actually heading in the opposite direction headed toward Australia to take part in ‘war games’ off of Australia’s northeast coast! This ‘bluff’! Do you remember the anger of the South Korean people and government officials when they found out that Mr. Trump had basically set them up as bait? Mr. Trump lies so often and changes his mind so often people with any sense at all have trouble remembering the last time he ever told the truth about anything. Just as our Ally’s have learned they cannot trust his word on anything, government leaders have also learned this same truth. President Putin and President Jinping both must be giddy as all heck realizing that there is an ignorant fool in the White House, it is obvious that both of these men are a whole lot wiser, smarter, and intelligent than Mr. Trump. You know what else, even the ‘Little Rocket Man’ knows all of these things about him also. The only question is, will the Republicans in the Senate grow a set and impeach this Fool before he starts a nuclear war with North Korea and their friends in China? I used the word ‘Fraud’ in the headline because to me, if you cannot believe a single thing that comes out of a persons mouth not only are they a habitual liar, they are a FRAUD and to me, these terms fit Mr. Trump perfectly!
For those of you who do not like it that I am calling out Mr. Trump for the person that he is please take a moment and get your Bible out. Now in the index look up the words Fraud and Fool. I was going to use a couple of passages that describe what the Bible says about these two kinds of people so that you could match them up with Mr. Trump’s actions. As you can see I didn’t waste the writing space because there were so many that describe Mr. Trump so perfectly that I decided to simply request that you see/read them all for yourself.
BEIJING — For more than a year, China has railed against South Korea, calling for boycotts of its products over Seoul’s decision to let the United States deploy an anti-missile system, which Beijing fears threaten its own security.
On Tuesday, however, China abruptly changed course, essentially saying “never mind,” as the two countries agreed to end their dispute even though South Korea is keeping the system in place.
China’s unexpected move to settle the rancorous dispute could scramble President Trump’s calculations about how to deal with allies and North Korea on the eve of his first trip to Asia.
The decision, by the newly empowered Chinese president, Xi Jinping, appeared to reflect a judgment that China’s continued opposition to the deployment of the American missile defense system was not succeeding in fraying the South Korean government’s alliance with Washington.
But it could also pose a fresh challenge to Mr. Trump, as he attempts to build support in the region to put greater pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear and missile programs.
South Korea’s liberal president, Moon Jae-in, is more receptive to diplomacy with the North Koreans than either Mr. Trump or Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Drawing Mr. Moon closer to Beijing, analysts said, could create a new alignment on how to deal with the North, with China and South Korea facing off against Japan and the United States.
“It’s going to undermine the Trump administration’s effort to build solidarity among the U.S., Japan, and Korea to put pressure not only on North Korea but on China to do more on North Korea,” said Michael J. Green, an Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Much about the rapprochement is not known, Mr. Green cautioned, and the Chinese could be exaggerating the implications of the agreement. But it adds yet another volatile element to Mr. Trump’s 12-day, five-nation tour of Asia, which begins this weekend.
Formally, the Trump administration welcomed news of the thaw. The State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, told reporters on Tuesday, “We see that as providing better stability, greater stability for a region that desperately needs it because of North Korea.”
Ms. Nauert, however, said she did not know whether China’s move indicated it no longer had objections to the deployment of the antimissile system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad.
The White House has not publicly addressed the rapprochement. A senior administration official, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive diplomatic issue, acknowledged it could complicate matters, but said there should be no inherent conflict in South Korea restoring its relations with China while at the same time pushing to keep maximum pressure on North Korea.
In restoring better relations with South Korea, Mr. Xi appeared to have decided that he could afford to blink. But he also does not face a vigorous political opposition or press, which could accuse him of flip-flopping on the issue.
Even under Mr. Moon, whose outlook toward China had been more favorable than his predecessor’s and who has called for a more balanced diplomacy between Beijing and Washington, Mr. Xi made no headway in achieving his stated goal of stopping the deployment of the Thaad.
A second phase of the missile defense system, intended to defend South Korea from the escalating nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, was installed despite China’s protests in September, just four months after Mr. Moon took office. China had insisted it would not tolerate Thaad’s powerful radar so close to its own missile systems.
Mr. Xi’s tough stance against South Korea also included the informal, though punishing, economic boycott that helped reinforce the American relationship with Seoul, undermining China’s long-term goal of replacing the United States as the pre-eminent power in Asia.
“This is the reversal of an ineffective and costly policy on the part of China,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University of China.
In agreeing to restore cordial relations, South Korea pledged not to accept additional Thaad launchers and agreed not to join a regional missile defense system with the United States and Japan. The agreement not to accept any more Thaad deployments had been a longstanding policy stance of Mr. Moon anyway, a South Korean government official said on Wednesday.
South Korea also promised not to join a trilateral military alliance with the United States and Japan. Mr. Moon, like his predecessors, had shown no interest in expanding military relations with Japan, its former colonial master.
With the increased threat from North Korea, Mr. Moon had aligned himself more closely with Mr. Trump and Mr. Abe.
The three leaders met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Germany in July and agreed to enhance their defense capabilities against the North Korean threat.
In warming up to South Korea, Mr. Xi probably recognized that Mr. Moon would be more malleable to favoring dialogue with North Korea than was his conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye.
At the recent party congress in which he was elevated to a second five-year term as president, Mr. Xi showed himself determined to project China’s power in a “new era.” Resolving the North Korea crisis dovetails with that theme, and any move toward talking with the North would be easier with Mr. Moon by his side.
South Korea and China announced their decision to restore relations just before Mr. Trump’s visit.
The timing was interpreted in Beijing as a way to blunt some of the impacts of the American president’s stop in Seoul, where he is expected to deliver a speech to the National Assembly.
Indeed, the rapprochement between China and South Korea carries risks for the United States. How far Mr. Moon would now lean toward China is something that Washington needs to watch closely, said Evans J. R. Revere, a former State Department official who has dealt with the Korean Peninsula.
In agreeing not to join a regional missile defense system, South Korea is addressing China’s concerns about what it views as the United States’ aim to “contain” China.
“Beijing was worried that Thaad would eventually be succeeded by ‘son of Thaad’ — a regional missile defense system involving the United States, South Korea and Japan and others that would be aimed at dealing with China’s offensive missile force, unlike the current Thaad, which it is not,” Mr. Revere said.
For Mr. Moon, the Chinese government’s efforts to discourage the purchase of popular South Korean goods as punishment for the Thaad deployment has taken a toll. China is by far the biggest trading partner of South Korea; two-way trade is bigger than South Korea’s trade with the United States and Japan combined.
The Hyundai Research Institute found that the Thaad dispute was likely to have cost South Korea $7.5 billion so far this year, a 0.5 percent hit to its gross domestic product. China lost $880 million, just a 0.01 percent drop of its G.D.P., the institute said.
South Korean car sales plummeted in China. Lotte, the retailer, recently put 112 of its stores in China on the market after customers abandoned it. South Korean movies and cosmetics also suffered.
The government-encouraged boycott — coupled with what was perceived as Beijing’s interference in South Korea’s internal affairs over Thaad — hardened the view of China as a bully among the South Korean people.
“We have seen anti-Chinese sentiments rising in South Korea,” said Seo Jeong-kyung, a professor at the Sungkyun Institute of China Studies in Seoul. “So did the approval ratings for the Thaad deployment, and calls mounted for strengthening the alliance with the Americans.”
Despite the apparent resolution of the standoff between the two countries, there was no guarantee that the accord would stick.
People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, issued a somewhat friendly, but mostly stern, editorial. “Only proper resolution of the Thaad issue can bring the Sino-Korean relationship back onto the right track,” it said.
It was possible that both sides agreed to resolve their differences so the two leaders, Mr. Xi and Mr. Moon, could meet in Vietnam next week during an Asian economic summit meeting. After that, there is the talk of Mr. Moon visiting China before the end of the year.
“This is a direct result of South Korea’s efforts to mend fences,” said Cheng Xiaohe, an associate professor of international relations at Renmin University. “China also realizes that Thaad should not hold hostage the whole relations between the two nations. But I think the Thaad issue is just shelved, not resolved.”
The minor opposition Bareun Party criticized the government Wednesday for reaching what it calls a “humiliating” deal with China to end the row over South Korea’s hosting of the US THAAD missile defense system.
South Korea and China announced the deal Tuesday, ending more than a year of tensions sparked by Seoul’s decision to host a THAAD battery to better defend against North Korea. China strongly protested the decision and took a series of economic retaliatory measures.
In Tuesday’s agreement, the two countries put the dispute behind them and moved forward.
But critics denounced the agreement, accusing the government of making unnecessary promises not to deploy any more THAAD unit or to join the broader US missile defense scheme, nor to form a three-way alliance with the US and Japan.
Joo Ho-young, leader of the Bareun Party, called the deal “humiliating diplomacy.”
The government “failed to say confidently that THAAD is an inevitable measure to safeguard our security. Rather, it acted as if making a promise of ‘3 Nos,'” Joo said during a party meeting, referring to South Korea’s assurance that there would be no additional THAAD, no joining the US MD and no Korea-US-Japan alliance. “It’s wrong,” he concluded.
Joo also criticized the government for failing to point out China’s unfair economic retaliation.
“I’d like the government to answer what the difference is between this and the Korea-Japan agreement on the comfort women issue, which the government and the ruling party strongly denounced and demanded be renegotiated,” he said.
He was referring to the 2015 deal between Seoul and Tokyo to end years of tensions over Japan’s wartime sexual slavery. The so-called “comfort women” agreement has been deeply unpopular in South Korea and the government of then-President Park Geun-hye was criticized for agreeing to never raise the issue again in exchange for compensation without consent from victims. (Yonhap)
(TOKYO) — Japanese police found nine dismembered bodies hidden in coolers in an apartment southwest of Tokyo, an apparent serial killing case that is transfixing and horrifying the nation.
Police were working Tuesday to identify the victims after the man who lived there, 27-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi, confessed to cutting them up and hiding them in cold-storage cases, some covered with cat litter, a police spokesman said.
The bodies, in varying stages of decomposition, were found Monday while police were investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman, the spokesman said. He did not give his name, in line with police policy. The woman’s brother reported her missing last week, he said.
The gruesome case captured attention in a country known for public safety, topping news with reports that showed the building where the suspect lived in a small studio apartment. It was cordoned off by yellow police tape, its balcony draped with blue plastic sheets to block the view as investigators went in and out.
The missing woman is thought to be one of the eight women and one man who were dismembered and hidden in the apartment from late August to late October.
A toolbox and saw found in Shiraishi’s apartment may have been used to dismember the bodies, the police official said.
Police were still investigating the suspect’s motives, said the spokesman. He refused to give further details.
It was unclear who the other eight victims might be, or why it is that neighbors who said they had noticed foul smells coming from the apartment had not raised any alarms.
Local media reported that police first found the severed heads of two victims in coolers in the apartment’s entryway, then found the bodies of the other seven while searching the apartment.
Shiraishi told police that he dismembered the bodies in his bathroom, which according to online descriptions of the apartment building where he lived was a plastic-sealed “unit bath.” He put out some of the body parts as garbage, Kyodo News agency reported.
Reports said the missing woman got in contact with Shiraishi via Twitter, seeking a partner for a suicide pact and saying she was afraid to die alone.
The two were recorded by security cameras walking together outside of train stations near her apartment and the suspect’s apartment, the reports said.
Local media ran junior high school photos of the suspect, beaming, his hair fluffy, braces on his teeth suggesting a relatively well-off family background.
But there was little other information about his education or where he comes from. Japan’s national broadcaster NHK said he was working as a “scout” in the sex industry, recruiting women in entertainment districts in Tokyo.
Although Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, it has seen some high-profile killings recently.
In July last year, a 27-year-old former employee at a care home for the disabled killed 19 and injured more than 20 in a knife attack in what is believed to be the deadliest mass killing in postwar Japan. The man’s murder trial has not started yet.
Earlier this month, a man was arrested for killing his wife and five children after setting fire to their house. In 2015, a man killed five people, including relatives and neighbors, in a knifing spree in western Japan, and was later sentenced to death.
President’s Of China-Russia Want North Korea To Nuke U.S.
I am aware that this title is a pretty brash statement yet if I did not believe that it is the truth I would not have used it. When I say that the governments of China and Russia and their current Presidents want the crazy mass murderer in North Korea, Kim Jong Un to nuke the U.S. I am referring to our military bases in the Pacific. It is no secret that the leaders of China and Russia do not want the U.S. military to be in the Pacific Ocean. We have bases in southern Japan, Hawaii and Guam as well as ports of call in South Korea and the Philippines and lets not forget the Naval Base at Long Beach California.
As most of you are aware, China under their Dictator President Xi Jinping has decided that all of the ‘South China Sea’ belongs to them. China is making an unprecedented push to take away all of the Sea, Air and Land rights of all of the other Nations in South East Asia. The only other nation with the ability to say no we will not allow this to happen is the U.S.. China is also making major land claims to their southwest, west and northwest. What China is trying to do is to create a situation where they control all chemical and mineral deposits in all of these regions. They also are trying to create a situation where no freight or air travel is allowed in ‘their’ region without their approval. I personally also believe that once China has secured this power that they will then insist on a ‘toll’ system where no freight or air travel is allowed without paying China’s ‘fee’s.’ If you think that what I am saying is a stretch, China’s debt to income ratio is currently at 328%. Economists have told us for years that once a country passes 100% debt to income ratio that the country is in danger of financial collapse.
China and Russia’s President Putin would love nothing more than for the U.S. to leave the Pacific. They both complain about the military drills each year that the U.S. and South Korea hold off of the east coast of South Korea yet China and Russia hold their own combined drills off the coast of North Korea. Yesterday in Beijing the Communist Ruling elite gave President Xi Jinping unprecedented authority making it to where if a person says any thing against their President that in doing so you have committed a crime against the Communist Party which in almost all cases will get you life in prison with hard labor or simply hung or shot. The main thing that seems to hold the alliance of Russia with China is Russia’s President Putin’s hate of Democracy and that right now Russia is selling China a lot of Russian oil. Economics and power folks, economics and power.
China with the help of billions of dollars from Wal-Mart each year has been spending a huge part of their GDP each year under Xi Jinping on their military buildup. Russia and North Korea have been doing the same thing, minus Wal-Mart’s help. Russia and North Korea have been starving their own people for many years in order to use that money for their leaders personal gains (the Pentagon says that Putin has salted away about $200 billion dollars for himself), I haven’t heard or read any comments on how much wealth Kim Jong Un as stolen from the North Korean people, as he starves them.
The Pentagon says that they believe North Korea has about 8-10 Nukes at this present time. We have the ability to shoot down many missiles in all of the regions where we have Pacific military groupings yet reality is that a missile here or there could possibly get through our defenses. Even if we are successful at shooting down every missile in doing so would cause and EMP which will knockout all electronics for many miles around in every direction. My question to our government/military is, if North Korea fires a nuke at a location, lets say Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and we shoot it down thus causing an EMP, if another missile is following 5 or 10 minutes later, will we be able to shoot it down? Will the EMP kill our defense systems leaving us wide open for a second or third missile?
President Trump keeps saying that he wants China to do more to pressure North Korea to stop and to dismantle their nuclear program and yes, I do believe that President Xi Jinping could easily do this if it was in his interest to do so, but it is not! If you think that President Xi Jinping or Russia’s President Putin care at all about the people of North Korea you are being delusional. China has made it very clear to the United States government that they will never allow a non-Communist government to be in place in North Korea. They have also made it very clear that if the U.S. or any of our allies do a preemptive strike again North Korea that China will come to their defense. One would think that all parties involved know that if North Korea fires a Nuke at us or our allies that we would then totally destroy North Korea. Yet if this event happened at the same time the U.S. military bases in their area of the globe were destroyed, China’s government as well as Russia’s would be more that willing to except those results.
Typhoon Lan churns toward Japan, bringing ferocious winds
By Holly Yan, CNN
Updated 1:53 PM ET, Sun October 22, 2017
Lan is expected to make landfall overnight Sunday into Monday in Japan
Tokyo will likely get hit with severe winds and torrential rain
(CNN)A mammoth typhoon is closing in on Japan, hurling dangerous winds and threatening to cause major flooding and mudslides.
Typhoon Lan is expected to make landfall overnight Sunday into Monday along Japan’s southern coast near Minamiizu, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.
As of Sunday evening, Lan was whipping winds of 215 kilometers per hour (134 mph). Although the typhoon is weakening, Tokyo is expected to get hit with possibly damaging winds and heavy rains, Brink said.
The storm has already caused massive waves in South Korea.
Enormous waves crash onto the coast of Busan, South Korea, on Sunday. Fishing boats were forbidden from going out to sea.
Typhoon Lan is so enormous that its cloud field is larger than Japan, Brink said.
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Activists chant anti-China slogans during a rally in Hanoi on March 14, 2016, to mark the anniversary of a 1988 battle in the Spratly Islands, a rare act of protest over an issue that has come to dog relations between Hanoi and Beijing. (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)
China has stoked many of Asia’s maritime sovereignty disputes by reclaiming land to build artificial islands and, in some cases, adding military infrastructure to those islands. To rub in the message that it has the more power than anyone else in the widely disputed, 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea, the Beijing government glibly sails coast guard ships around the exclusive ocean economic zones of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Off its east coast, China routinely passes boats through a tract of sea disputed with, and controlled by Japan.
But let’s linger on another country for a second – Vietnam.
A fisherman and his son try to fix the roof of their boat on Thuan Phuoc port in prior to the next fishing trip on August 30, 2016 in Danang, Vietnam. (AFP/Getty image)
The country with a 3,444 kilometer-long coastline shows every sign of being Asia’s second most expansion-minded maritime power after China.
Here’s the evidence:
Last year the American Center for Strategic & International Studies said Vietnam had landfilled more South China Sea islets than China itself, though China’s method was probably more destructive. It holds 21 tiny islets in the Spratly archipelago, more than any of its regional rivals.
This year Vietnam renewed a deal with the overseas subsidiary of state-owned Indian oil firm ONGC to explore for fossil fuels under the ocean floor. Beijing will likely bristle at this move because it too claims waters off the Vietnamese east coast as part of its position that 95% of the whole sea is Chinese, but Vietnam has not backed down. In any case, India is Vietnam’s new best friend — to wit its call in July to step up a year-old partnership.
Vietnamese fishing boats, a large share of the 1.72 million that trawl the South China Sea, have been sent off by other coastal states and as far off as Indonesia and Thailand, scholars who follow the maritime dispute say. Two Vietnamese fishermen turned up dead 34 kilometers from the Philippines last month in what’s believed to be an incident involving an official vessel from Manila. Fish were 10% of Vietnam’s export revenues as of a decade ago, the University of British Columbia says in this study. “Fish stocks in Vietnam have been depleted, so they have to venture further away to continue their business,” says Le Hong Hiep, a fellow at the ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. “As they venture further away it’s easier for them to get into other countries’ waters and they commit illegal fishing.”
Vietnam protests when Taiwan makes its presence felt on Taiping Island. Although Taiping is the largest feature in the South China Sea’s Spratly archipelago, Taiwan has little clout in the bigger sovereignty dispute and has even used its Taiping facilities to help Vietnamese fishermen in distress. But the Vietnamese foreign ministry formally protested at least once in 2016 and again in March this year when Taiwan had a live-fire military drill. “They said Taiwan’s activities violated its sovereignty,” said Huang Kwei-bo, vice dean of the College of International Affairs at National Chengchi University in Taipei. “Whenever Taiwan makes a move, Vietnam always protests. It’s been like that all along. Vietnam is pretty assertive.”
China has to watch it, too. China is using economic incentives to get along with other South China Sea states but things keep going wrong with Vietnam. In June, a senior Chinese military official cut short his visit to Vietnam as the host was looking for oil in disputed waters, and in August foreign ministers from the two countries cancelled a meeting – presumably over their maritime disputes — on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations event.
Vietnam’s maritime muscle makes a lot of sense. The country of 93 million people is on the move economically, dependent on the sea. Nationalism is growing, too, and citizens believe the government should gun hard for its claims.
I read a lot of newspapers, news articles and blogs from all over the world everyday. I am just like most everyone in that I take this presumed knowledge, add it to my own moral and spiritual knowledge and come up with what I believe. I then write it down here in this Blog for you to consider. As most of you know the newspapers in China and in North Korea are highly controlled by their governments. When you read these ‘State’ newspapers and you come across articles where State policy concerning their economy, military or security is concerned you can believe that the article is sanctioned by the government itself. When you read opinions of the country’s leaders you know darn well that the one doing the typing didn’t dare to just make things up.
In the past couple of months China has made it very plain to the U.S. and our Allies that if we strike North Korea first that they will back North Korea with their own military. Yet what is the ‘free world’ suppose to do, sit on their hands until the “little rocket boy” decides to nuke us? Kim Jong Un has made it very plain that his intentions is to create one Korea, with himself as the Supreme Ruler. He has also been threatening to nuke Japan out of existence as well as to nuke the U.S.. No sane person would ever let those words ever slip from their lips, then again is China or the world dealing with someone who is sane in North Korea or for that matter, in the Oval Office? The people of the United States do not have any issue with the citizens of North Korea nor with the citizens of China.
China has also made it very clear that they will never tolerate a U.S. friendly government to be put into place where North Korea is now located. So, what are the options for China right now? If the U.S. and it’s Allies strike at North Korea I hope that the strike is surgical in that it takes out North Korea’s missiles, especially their nukes, and that the strike kills the ‘crazy little fat boy’. I personally do not want to see another Iraq where the citizens end up suffering from our actions. I do not want to see a U.S. ‘occupation force’ ever put in place there either. Yet some of these things are going to happen and they are going to happen soon, unless China steps in and removes this little crazy boy with the bad haircut, very soon. If China does not want a non-communist government located on their eastern doorstep then President Xi Jinping is going to have to grow some balls and do what has to be done and that is to replace Kim Jong Un by any means they feel is necessary. Once the North Korean idiot live fires at the U.S. or any of our Allies, China’s chance to not have a war on their doorstep is over, their window of opportunity will be closed forever.
Pedestrians walk in front of a large video screen in Tokyo broadcasting a news report about North Korea’s missile test that passed over Japan on September 15, 2017. (AFP Photo/Toru Yamanaka)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Will North Korea’s next nuclear test involve a thermonuclear missile screaming over Japan? That’s a question being asked after North Korea’s foreign minister said his country may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
The world hasn’t seen an above-ground, atmospheric nuclear test since an inland detonation by China in 1980, and North Korea upending that could push the region dangerously close to war. The room for error would be minimal, and any mistake could be disastrous. Even if successful, such a test could endanger air and sea traffic in the region.
Because of that, many experts don’t think North Korea would take such a risk. But they’re also not ruling it out given the North’s increasing number of nuclear and missile tests.
The main reason for North Korea to take that risk would be to quiet outside doubts about whether it really has a thermonuclear weapon small enough to fit on a missile, said Jeffrey Lewis, a US arms control expert at the Middlebury Center of International Studies at Monterey. So far, North Korea has been separately testing nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles built to deliver them, rather than testing them together.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho wouldn’t have spoken without approval from Pyongyang’s top leadership when he suggested to reporters in New York on Friday that the country could conduct an atmospheric hydrogen bomb test to fulfill the vows of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
Kim, in an unusual direct statement to the world, pledged hours earlier to take “highest-level” action against the United States over US President Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” the North if provoked. Ri didn’t elaborate and said no one knew what decision Kim would make.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L) and US President Donald Trump. (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb and Ed Jones)
If North Korea attempts an atmospheric nuclear test at sea, it would likely involve its most powerful ballistic missiles, such as the intermediate-range Hwasong-12 or the intercontinental-range Hwasong-14, experts say. The country lacks assets to air-drop a nuclear device, and sending a vessel out to sea to detonate a device raises the chances of getting detected and stopped by the US military.
For the nuclear missile to reach a remote part of the Pacific, it would have to fly over Japan, as the North did with two Hwasong-12 test launches in recent weeks.
There have only been a handful of times when atmospheric nuclear tests involved ballistic missiles, including China’s fourth nuclear test in 1966. That involved a midrange Dongfeng-2 missile being launched from a deep inland rocket facility to the Lop Nur nuclear test site in the country’s far west.
Lewis finds similarities between the current situation surrounding North Korea and the events that led to China’s 1966 test, which was driven by US doubts of Chinese capabilities to place nuclear weapons on ballistic missiles.
“The United States is still taking an attitude of skepticism toward North Korea’s nuclear capabilities,” Lewis said. “The difference, of course, is that China fired its nuclear-armed missile over its own territory, not another country.”
A July 4, 2017 file photo, distributed by the North Korean government, shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)
A nuclear launch by North Korea would come dangerously close to an act of war, said Lee Choon Geun, a missile expert from South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute. Missile tests can easily go wrong and the consequences of failure could be terrifying if the missile is armed with a nuclear weapon.
A failed flight or an accidental detonation over Japan would likely trigger retaliation from Washington and Tokyo that might result in a nuclear war, Lee said.
“It’s reasonable to think that Ri was bluffing,” Lee said. “Would they be sure that the United States and Japan will just sit there and watch?”
But Lewis said that’s exactly what the United States and Japan would do.
In this Sept. 19, 2017, photo, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho gets into a car at Beijing Capital International Airport (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
“Although I am sure such a launch would be very alarming to people in Japan, there is little the United States or Japan could do,” he said. “Would we really start a war over such an act? I don’t think so.”
An atmospheric nuclear test would be far more dangerous than detonations in controlled underground environments, both because of the force of the blast and unrestrained release of radioactive materials that could spread out over large areas. Such a launch would potentially endanger aircraft and ships because it’s highly unlikely the North would give prior warnings or send naval vessels to the area to control sea traffic.
An atmospheric thermonuclear blast would also raise the risks of damage caused by an electromagnetic pulse, an intense wave of electrical energy generated by the explosion that could destroy electronic devices and equipment over a vast area, Lee said.
The United States and the former Soviet Union combined to conduct more than 400 atmospheric nuclear tests before they joined Britain in a 1963 treaty banning tests in the atmosphere, outer space and underwater. The treaty was later signed by more than 100 other countries. China conducted 22 atmospheric nuclear tests, which frequently involved bombers dropping nuclear devices on test sites, before its last one in 1980.
While the impact of previous tests hasn’t been fully understood, damage from radioactive fallout could be serious.
When the United States detonated its most powerful nuclear device in a 1954 test code-named Castle Bravo, the radioactive fallout spread far beyond the test site in the Marshall Islands.
Twenty-three crew members of a Japanese fishing vessel that was 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of the detonation site were contaminated and suffered from radiation sickness. One of the fishermen, Matashichi Oishi, once told The Associated Press that he saw a flash before tiny white flakes fell on the crew members like snow.
North Korea in past months has been stepping up the aggressiveness of its nuclear and missile tests.
The North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 in what it said was the detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental Hwasong-14 ICBMs. In two July flight tests, those missiles displayed the potential ability to reach deep into the continental United States.
With its two Hwasong-12 launches over Japan in August and September, the North also broke from its previous test regime of firing missiles at highly lofted angles to reduce range and avoid other countries. The launches were seen as North Korea’s attempts to win more military space in a region dominated by its enemies and evaluate the performance and reliability of its missiles under operational conditions.
An undated image distributed by the North Korean government on September 3, 2017, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location. North Korea’s state media said Kim inspected a hydrogen bomb. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
The North has also threatened to launch a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam, the US Pacific military hub.
Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said it’s more likely that the North’s next significant launch would be a full-range test of an unarmed Hwasong-14 ICBM. The North could launch the missile at around 7,000 kilometers (4,349 miles) to display a capability to reach Hawaii or Alaska, he said.
Still, the past months have taught him not to underestimate what the North could do.
“North Korea has repeatedly exceeded my expectations and Kim Jong Un in the statement has vowed to go beyond any expectation,” said Kim, the analyst.
A magnitude 6.1 hit off the coast of Japan east of Fukushima and Kamaishi on Wednesday.
The U.S. Geological Survey, or the USGS, recorded the earthquake near Japan at 11:37 a.m. EST. The agency’s website also showed that 41 people responded saying they felt the earthquake along Japan’s eastern coast.
No further details have been released on the earthquake. However, USGS estimates few economic losses and little to no fatalities will come of the earthquake. No tsunami warning has been issued so far.
The earthquake off Japan’s coast comes as Mexico is still recovering from two deadly earthquakes less than two weeks apart. The latest earthquake causes buildings to collapse and killed over 200 people.