June 16, 2009
NKorea Warns of Nuclear War Amid Rising Tensions
SEOUL, South Korea
North Korea's communist regime has warned of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula while vowing to step up its atomic bomb-making program in defiance of new U.N. sanctions.
The North's defiance presents a growing diplomatic headache for President Barack Obama as he prepares for talks Tuesday with his South Korean counterpart on the North's missile and nuclear programs.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told security-related ministers during an unscheduled meeting Sunday to "resolutely and squarely" cope with the North's latest threat, his office said. Lee is to leave for the U.S. on Monday morning.
A commentary Sunday in the North's main state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, claimed the U.S. has 1,000 nuclear weapons in South Korea. Another commentary published Saturday in the state-run Tongil Sinbo weekly claimed the U.S. has been deploying a vast amount of nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan.
North Korea "is completely within the range of U.S. nuclear attack and the Korean peninsula is becoming an area where the chances of a nuclear war are the highest in the world," the Tongil Sinbo commentary said.
Kim Yong-kyu, a spokesman at the U.S. military command in Seoul, called the latest accusation "baseless," saying Washington has no nuclear bombs in South Korea. U.S. tactical nuclear weapons were removed from South Korea in 1991 as part of arms reductions following the Cold War.
South Korea's Unification Ministry issued a statement Sunday demanding the North stop stoking tension, abandon its nuclear weapons and return to dialogue with the South.
On Saturday, North Korea's Foreign Ministry threatened war on any country that dared to stop its ships on the high seas under the new sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council on Friday as punishment for the North's latest nuclear test.
It is not clear if the statements are simply rhetorical. Still, they are a huge setback for international attempts to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions following its second nuclear test on May 25. It first tested a nuclear device in 2006.
In Saturday's statement, North Korea said it has been enriching uranium to provide fuel for its light-water reactor. It was the first public acknowledgment the North is running a uranium enrichment program in addition to its known plutonium-based program. The two radioactive materials are key ingredients in making atomic bombs.
On Sunday, Yonhap news agency reported South Korea and the U.S. have mobilized spy satellites, reconnaissance aircraft and human intelligence networks to obtain evidence that the North has been running a uranium enrichment program.
South Korea's Defense Ministry said it could not confirm the report. The National Intelligence Service - South Korea's main spy agency - was not available for comment.
North Korea said more than one-third of 8,000 spent fuel rods in its possession has been reprocessed and all the plutonium extracted would be used to make atomic bombs. The country could harvest 13-18 pounds (6-8 kilograms) of plutonium - enough to make at least one nuclear bomb - if all the rods are reprocessed.
In addition, North Korea is believed to have enough plutonium for at least half a dozen atomic bombs.
North Korea says its nuclear program is a deterrent against the U.S., which it routinely accuses of plotting to topple its regime. Washington, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, has repeatedly said it has no such intention.
The new U.N. sanctions are aimed at depriving the North of the financing used to build its rogue nuclear program. The resolution also authorized searches of North Korean ships suspected of transporting illicit ballistic missile and nuclear materials.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the new U.N. penalties provide the necessary tools to help check North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The sanctions show that "North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver those weapons through missiles is not going to be accepted by the neighbors as well as the greater international community," Clinton said Saturday at a news conference in Canada.
Moscow believes that North Korea is planning to launch a new ballistic missile, according to a report from Interfax, the Russian news agency.
"We have certain information on the type and characteristics of the rocket. However there is no precise information on the timing of its launch," said a source in Russia's General Staff. He added that Russia would monitor the launch.
He did not specify if it would be a long or short-range missile. In the past week, South Korean and American intelligence have identified a missile being moved to the Musudan launch pad, one of North Korea's most commonly-used sites.
Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, said a missile capable of hitting the West coast of the United States could be launched in mid-June.
A second source, this time at the Russian Foreign ministry, told ITAR-TASS that "judging by everything, a launch will take place. There are signs that preparations for this are under way."
Wild Thing's comment........
It looks like Kim Jong Il wants to go out in a blaze of glory! And in the meantime Obama talks about disarming
....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.
3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
Posted by Wild Thing at June 16, 2009 04:46 AM
Kim knows a weenie when he sees one!!! Oso Osama Obama will appoint a Czar and the problem will vanish...uh.. eh..uh...won't it?
Posted by: Jack at June 16, 2009 09:47 AM
Right on Jack. This Islama Obama character is the biggest danger facing our nation today.
Posted by: Bob A at June 16, 2009 10:48 AM
I thought Hillary had everything under control.
Posted by: TomR at June 16, 2009 12:08 PM
Yeah we're ganging up on the NORKs now, boy, more financial sanctions. As if North Korea is a booming economy. The people are already starving, Electricity is shut off at 9 PM, for those lucky enough to have electric. Now we are really going to punish them.
Hey, dumbasses in Washington, if the people are already starving, and they are still able to put together a couple of nuclear bombs, what do you think your NEW sanctions are going to do ?
Posted by: Mark at June 16, 2009 03:02 PM
Thank you all so much for your comments and
Posted by: Wild Thing at June 16, 2009 11:28 PM