The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) are underway alongside ships from the Republic of Korea (ROK) navy in waters east of Korean Peninsula, October 18, 2017. U.S. Navy Photo
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea and the United States began week-long joint Navy drills in the waters around the Korean peninsula on Monday, amid high tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme.
About 40 Navy ships from both countries, including the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, are taking part in the exercises on the east and west coasts of the peninsula from Oct. 16 to Oct. 20, a spokesman for the South’s defence ministry said on Monday.
North Korea has called joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea as a “rehearsal for war”.
On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that President Donald Trump had instructed him to continue diplomatic efforts to calm rising tensions with North Korea, saying “those diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops”.
U.S. Navy Photo
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen sharply in recent weeks following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang, including its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 and two missile launches over Japan, and a war of words between the United States and North Korea.
North Korea is preparing to test a long-range missile which it believes can reach the west coast of the United States, said a Russian lawmaker who returned from a visit to Pyongyang earlier this month.
South Korean intelligence officials and analysts have said that North Korea might time its next provocation to coincide with China’s all-important Communist Party Congress which begins on Wednesday.
Speaking at a military conference in Seoul on Monday, General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. Pacific Air Force, said North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development programme was “truly a threat to us all” and the United States remains poised to defend allies.
“Although countries like North Korea threaten regional peace and security, our allied air power must be ready to respond with rapid, lethal and overwhelming force to respond to preserve our interests,” O’Shaughnessy said. (Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Christine Kim; Editing by Michael Perry)
Clinton denounces Trump’s ‘cavalier’ stance toward N. Korea RT America
Published on Oct 18, 2017
North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador has warned that a new Korean war might break out any moment. Meanwhile, Speaking in Seoul, Hillary Clinton denounced the Trump administration’s “bellicose and aggressive” stance toward North Korea, also calling on China to “tighten and enforce sanctions” against the Hermit Kingdom. RT America’s Manila Chan reports on the latest in the unfolding crisis.
WHY NORTH KOREA HACKED INTO JOINT U.S-SOUTH KOREA WAR PLANS? Defense Updates
Published on Oct 18, 2017
Straight out of the text book of asymmetric warfare, North Korea's thousand-plus hackers have allegedly succeeded in breaching the South Korean defense ministry's data center, stealing 235 gigabytes of military secrets.
It is equivalent to some 15 million pages of documents and includes classified plans jointly drawn by the United States and South Korea. These contingencies include a surprise attack to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other important figures, according to South Korean lawmaker Rhee Cheol-hee of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea.
Rhee, a member of parliament’s defense committee, could not be reached for comment, but his office said he had been quoted correctly.
In this video, Defense Updates analyses the event and the implications.
Lets get started.
When North Korean hackers tried to steal $1 billion from the New York Federal Reserve last year, only a spelling error stopped them. They were digitally looting an account of the Bangladesh Central Bank, when bankers grew suspicious about a withdrawal request that had misspelled “foundation” as “fandation.”
Even so, Kim Jong-un’s minions still got away with $81 million in that heist.
Then only sheer luck enabled a 22-year-old British hacker to defuse the biggest North Korean cyberattack to date, a ransomware attack last May that failed to generate much cash but brought down hundreds of thousands of computers across dozens of countries — and briefly crippled Britain’s National Health Service.
Their track record is mixed, but North Korea’s army of more than 6,000 hackers is undeniably persistent, and undeniably improving, according to American and British security officials who have traced these attacks and others back to the North.
For decades Iran and North Korea have shared missile technology, and American intelligence agencies have long sought evidence of secret cooperation in the nuclear arena. In cyber domain, the Iranians taught the North Koreans basic of cyber espionage.
It was a copycat operation.
South Korea's military follows a rule that mandates separating its computers connected to the Internet and the military intranet. Yet, a "ridiculous mistake" of keeping one computer plugged into both for more than a year allowed the North Koreans to break in, according to the Wall Street Journal.
There is evidence Pyongyang has planted so-called digital sleeper cells in the South’s critical infrastructure, and its Defense Ministry, that could be activated to paralyze power supplies and military command and control networks.
The issue is not only that the surprise factor has been spoiled but also the ease with which Pyongyang managed to steal such vital information may very well limit the quantity and quality of intelligence Washington shares with Seoul.
War plans in general contain the number of troops to deploy, the types of weapons to be used and the areas to be targeted.
SOUTH VS NORTH CYBER SECURITY
The vulnerability is related to the extent that South Koreans are connected to the Internet. "As long as the whole society is dependent on the Internet, there will always be a vulnerability to cyberattacks," said professor Ken Kotani of Nihon University's college of risk management in Tokyo.
"You can raise the security level of the military and government all you want, but if private sector infrastructure is targeted they will not be able to withstand it."
North Korean society, on the other hand, remains largely unconnected and as such has an edge, Kotani said. "In the cyberworld, the attacker is always stronger."
Amid all the attention on Pyongyang’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon capable of striking the continental United States, the North Koreans have also quietly developed a cyberprogram that is stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and proving capable of unleashing global havoc.
Unlike its weapons tests, which have led to international sanctions, the North’s cyberstrikes have faced almost no pushback or punishment, even as the regime is already using its hacking capabilities for actual attacks against its adversaries in the West.
Intelligence officials now estimate that North Korea reaps hundreds of millions of dollars a year from ransomware, digital bank heists, online video game cracking, and more recently, hacks of South Korean Bitcoin exchanges.
One former British intelligence chief estimates the take from its cyberheists may bring the North as much as $1 billion a year, or a third of the value of the nation’s exports.
Inside the National Security Agency (NSA), just a few years after analysts had written off Pyongyang as a low grade threat, there was suddenly a new appreciation that the country was figuring out cyber just as it had figured out nuclear weapons: test by test.
War games on Korean Peninsula escalate US-DPRK tensions RT America
Published on Oct 23, 2017
The US is flexing its military muscle on the Korean Peninsula, sending the USS Ronald Reagan strike group to South Korea. On top of participating in yet another set of naval war games, the Air Force flew two B-1B strategic bombers over Seoul Air Base for eight minutes, in what North Korea likely viewed as a threat. RT America’s Alex Mihailovich reports.
5 WEAPONS, ABSENCE OF WHICH MAKES NORTH KOREA HANDICAPPED INCASE OF ANY CONFLICT WITH US. Defense Updates
Published on Oct 22, 2017
2 US bombers have flown close to North Korea today in a show of force to intimidate despot Kim Jong-un.
The supersonic US B-1B strategic bombers zoomed over South Korea as part of an air show prompting Kim to warn the Korean peninsula is on the “eve of explosion”.
They flew low over Seoul Air Base for 8 minutes as part of the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition 2017.
The first bomber was escorted by two South Korean F-15K fighter jets and flew as low as 450 m above the ground before exiting to the west.
The second flew even lower, just 150 m above the base.
The bombers took off from Guam’s Anderson Air Base earlier in the day before entering the skies of South Korea.
The flyover comes 11 days after two B-1B bombers carried out surprise night-time exercises over the waters off South Korea’s east and west coasts in a show of force against North Korea.
As the situation heats up, Defense Updates looks at 5 WEAPONS, ABSENCE OF WHICH MAKES NORTH KOREA HANDICAPPED INCASE OF ANY CONFLICT WITH US.
Lets get started.
An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) SYSTEM is an airborne radar system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battlespace in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes.
AEW&C units are also used to carry out surveillance, including over ground targets and frequently perform C2BM (command and control, battle management) functions.
MODERN AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM
North Korea has a mix of old Soviet era Surface-to-Air missiles (SAMs), which includes the S-75, S-125, S-200 and Kvadrat.
All these systems are outdated and represent technology that is 2 to 3 generation old.
Also, these may not be in good working condition. Even when working, are likely to be only nuisance instead of being a solid challenge because of their old radar technology and limited onboard computational power.
In addition to them, since early the 2010s North Korea has deployed an indigenous SAM system, which is called KN-06 by South Korea and the U.S.
But even this system is equipped with a Flap Lid type phased array radar, which will find it difficult to have a lock on B1B and has no chance against B2 Spirit.
WELL-EQUIPPED MODERN FIGHTER
Air superiority is a major factor in any conflict.
The North Korean Air Force has a fleet of more than 1,300 aircraft that are primarily legacy Soviet models and are predominantly responsible for defending North Korean air space.
The overwhelming majority of Pyongyang’s arsenal is made up of 1950s and 1960s vintage machines, which even includes Chinese derivatives of very old fighters like Mig 17 and Mig 19.
The MiG-29 is the Korean People's Army Air Force’s (KPAF) most modern fighter and it operates approximately 40 of these.
Though the Mig 29 is a capable fighter but North Korea has been isolated for long with very little access to spare parts and other maintenance infrastructure.
Aircraft carriers can used to project power far from the nations coastlines as they provide a base for the fighter aircrafts.
The United States Navy has 11 large nuclear-powered fleet carriers known as supercarriers, carrying up to around 80 fighter jets each.
These largest carriers in the world; the total combined deckspace is over twice that of all other nations combined.
In addition, US has 9 amphibious assault ships used primarily for helicopters, although these also carry up to 20 vertical or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) fighter jets and are similar in size to medium-sized fleet carriers.
The aircraft carriers provide the strategic depth and operational flexibility. North Korea has none, and its fighter will have to fly from fixed airfields which make them susceptible.
North Korea is dependent on land-based missiles for nuke delivery, as it has no aircraft capable of carrying nuclear bombs and has no ballistic missile submarines.
North Korea’s is under constant surveillance by radars and satellites of U.S, South Korean & Japan.
Land based missile site are vulnerable to preemptive attacks.
US has multitude of options that can target these site at moments notice like stealth bombers or Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Nuclear powered Ballistic Missile Submarines are considered to the most survival nuke delivery option.
There ability to stay underwater is restrained only by human endurance to stay underwater.
This makes them virtually undetectable as they can loiter in the vast oceans indefinitely away from the preying eyes of enemy aircrafts or satellites.
North Korea will surely miss this and this would have been its greatest deterrence.
USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) patrol alongside each other, Oct. 20, 2017 in the Persian Gulf. US Navy Photo
Three U.S. carrier strike groups are now operating in U.S. 7th Fleet, after the strike group previously tasked with conducting air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq has left the Persian Gulf en route to the Western Pacific, according to a statement from the Navy.
Carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and its escorts left U.S. 5th Fleet on Wednesday and are homeward bound for Naval Station Bremerton, Wash. The carrier left for its deployment on June 1, and the strike group began anti-ISIS operations on Aug. 1.
Meanwhile, the San Diego-based Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group entered 7th Fleet on Monday. The strike group left its homeport earlier this month.
“Entering 7th Fleet is an exciting opportunity to integrate with other U.S. Navy units in the [area of operations], as well as operate with our partners and allies in the region,” Rear Adm. Steve Koehler, commander of Carrier Strike Group 9 embarked on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), said in a Navy statement.
The forward-deployed carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and its escorts are operating near South Korea and could conduct operations with the Roosevelt strike group in the near future, according to reports in the Korean press.
The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG-63) joins Republic of Korea Navy ships for a photo exercise with the aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on Oct. 18, 2017. US Navy Photo
Many troops in the Pacific don’t think war with North Korea is imminent
By: Andrea Scott 21 hours ago
Military police Marines with Bravo Company, 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force, break formation to detain the remaining Republic of Korea Marine during riot control training, at Pohang, South Korea, June 22, 2017. ( Lance Cpl. Andy Martinez/Marine Corps)
In the United States, citizens are hanging to the edge of their seats for updates on a tense and closely-followed situation with North Korea.
But life is still moving as usual in the Pacific. Local students and military dependents are boarding busses for school every morning. Service members are taking leave and travelling with their families around the region. And many troops stationed there say the panic level is considerably higher in the U.S. than it is across the Pacific.
“If you walk around the streets of Seoul you wouldn’t think for a second anyone is nervous of war,” Capt. Phil Hilaire, a U.S. Army operations officer stationed in Seoul, told Military Times on Wednesday.
Secretary of Defense Gen. Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford joined military leaders in Seoul for two days of talks, and on Friday visited the Demilitarized Zone.
One Okinawa-based Marine who has lived on the island before said he doesn’t feel more of a threat now than he did on his past rotations. It’s an ebb and flow of tension, he says. But he isn’t scared to let his children travel around the region or send his son to play sports games in Seoul, he said.
Hilaire, who has been stationed in Seoul since February said, “People are a lot more worried in the States than they are here.”
“I’ve had several friends reach out to me while I’ve been out here inquiring how I’m doing and whether I’m safe,” he said in a message to Military Times. “Meanwhile nobody out here is as nervous of a war breaking out.”
Military leaders in Okinawa insist even with increasing rhetoric, mission and orders have not changed.
“From our perspective in the MEU it has not changed,” Col. Tye Wallace, commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in a late-September interview at III MEF headquarters at Camp Courtney, Okinawa.
“Our job is to be a crisis response force at all times — whatever that crisis might be. We always train for the most dangerous, and we have the flexibility to change.”
If North Korea were to invade South Korea, the Marine Corps’ 31st MEU would likely be among the first American units called in.
“We will go where they ask us to go,” Wallace said. “We are one of the fastest elements that could embark and move and be where they need us to go.”
Col. David E. Jones, deputy commander of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, said in a late September interview on Okinawa: “I would say there‘s always anxiousness. Do I feel nervous? No, I don’t. People go on with their daily lives. All of our allies in the region and leadership have stated this is a diplomatic solution we’re looking for.”
President Donald Trump has previously said the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary to protect itself and its allies from Pyongyang’s nuclear threats.
On Oct. 7, Trump said “only one thing will work” in dealing with North Korea after previous administrations‘ diplomatic efforts failed. Trump did clarify his comments, but many people believed he was suggesting that military action under consideration.
The North Korean nuclear threat is not new, Kang In-sun, Washington bureau chief for South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, told a group of reporters and analysts at a D.C.-based Korea Economic Institute panel on Oct. 16.
She said when asked by an American friend if her family in Seoul had plans to move south to avoid potential military threats: “No, I have never thought about it.”
Kang feels more alarm and worry when reading U.S. news and living in Washington, D.C., she said, than in South Korea.
But President Donald Trump’s July “fire and fury” comments in August are something South Koreans are taking very seriously, she said. The rhetoric is something the South Koreans haven’t seen from a U.S. president before, and it is giving fuel to North Korea, she said.
Before Trump’s July comments, Kang asked friends in South Korea if they were prepared for a military strike.
“At the time, they just laughed,” she said. “Are you kidding? We are OK. We have experienced these kind of things hundreds of times.”
“But this time they are worried,” she said, noting that she still doesn’t think war is imminent. “If something happens, where do we hide ourselves? …. If that’s a nuclear attack, then what should we do?”
U.S. troops understand the seriousness of a North Korean threat, and say they are watchful and ready. On Okinawa, III Marine Expeditionary Force’s motto is “fight tonight,” and it has been and will continue to be prepared for anything, Marines there say.
Mattis has hammered to Marines that Korea is a top priority.
But so far, a North Korean threat is not stopping most troops in the Pacific from taking leave, traveling or enjoying life.
Navy Yeoman Second Class (YN2) Samantha Rosemond is attached to Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa in Japan.
“Alert and prepared. Those are the words that will always stand strong here,” she said in an email Oct. 13. “We are aware of the situation that is currently at hand but nonetheless we still enjoy Okinawa to the fullest.”
Andrea Scott is managing editor of Marine Corps Times. On Twitter: @_andreascott.
The DSME shipyard on Geoje Island in Okpo,South koreaPhoto: Panwasin seemala / Shutterstock.com
By Haejin Choi SEOUL, Oct 31 (Reuters) – North Korea probably stole South Korean warship blueprints after hacking into Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd’s database in April last year, a South Korean opposition lawmaker said on Tuesday.
North Korea has often been implicated in cyber attacks in South Korea and elsewhere but Pyongyang has either ignored or denied accusations of hacking.
“We are almost 100 percent certain that North Korean hackers were behind the hacking and stole the company’s sensitive documents,” Kyung Dae-soo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party told Reuters by telephone.
Daewoo Shipbuilding has built several South Korean warships, including an Aegis-class vessel and submarines. It was most likely North Korea had obtained blueprints for these, he said.
The hacking was discovered by a division under South Korea’s Ministry of Defence in charge of investigating cases of cybercrime, said Kyung, who received a briefing on the investigation.
How sensitive and classified the seized documents were was not known as that was not disclosed by the investigative team, he added.
A spokeswoman for Daewoo Shipbuilding said she was unaware of the issue until early Tuesday and the company was in the process of confirming the details of Kyung’s remarks.
The investigative team came to the conclusion North Korea had hacked Daewoo Shipbuilding because the hacking method was very similar to other attacks that North Korea was thought to be behind, Kyung said.
Hackers in North Korea are believed to have been responsible for a recent cyber heist in Taiwan – the latest in a string of hacks targeting the global SWIFT messaging system.
Earlier this month, another South Korean lawmaker had said North Korean hackers had stolen a large number of classified military documents, including South Korea-U.S. wartime operational plans.
And British authorities said last week they believed North Korea was behind the “WannaCry” ransomware attack in May that disrupted businesses and government services worldwide, including the National Health Service in England. (Reporting by Haejin Choi; Writing by Christine Kim; Editing by)
COULD NORTH KOREA'S 4,300 TANKS CRUSH AMERICA IN A WAR? || WARTHOG 2017 Warthog Defense
Published on Nov 6, 2017
Though technologically backwards for the most part—in the event of war—the North Koreans could inflict severe damage to South Korea and the U.S. forces stationed on the peninsula.
As Washington ratchets up the pressure on North Korea—or potentially launches a preemptive strike—the Kim regime in Pyongyang has options to strike back hard at the United States and South Korea using purely conventional means.
NORTH KOREA'S AIR FORCE IS TOTAL JUNK (BUT IT CAN STILL KILL) || WARTHOG 2017 Warthog Defense
Published on Nov 4, 2017
North Korea’s Korean People's Army Air Force (KPAAF)—referred to as the Air and Anti-Air Force Command in South Korean documents—is not in the top ranks of the world’s air forces.
However, the North Korean forces are fanatically devoted to Kim Jong-Un and the Kim regime—which more resembles a Confucian monarchy with Stalinist stylings than Soviet-style communism. The regime’s survival is their survival, and thus the so-called Korean People’s Army is a dedicated to their supreme leader and is likely to put up a fanatical defense in the event of a renewed war.
North Korean Defectors Have Message for Trump Ahead of Asian Visit VOA News
Published on Nov 2, 2017
President Donald Trump is heading to Asia for a 12-day, five-nation tour as tension builds on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea’s continuing development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. North Korean defectors told VOA Korean what they wanted to see come of Trump’s first official visit to South Korea on November 7.
Originally published at - https://www.voanews.com/a/north-korea...
We 'hope to God' we never have to use our weapons on North Korea says Trump in Seoul as he previews military build-up along the Korean Peninsula
President Trump is in Seoul, spending just half as much time in South Korea as he did in Japan
'I think we're going to have lots of good answers for you over a period of time, and ultimately it will all work out,' Trump said of the nuclear standoff brewing with North Korea; 'It always works out. It has to work out.'
Trump is the hard-line opposite to the patient liberal South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who has tried to negotiate directly with North Korea's Kim Jong-un
In contrast with Trump's bromance with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he called Moon a 'fine gentleman' in a lukewarm tweet
Trump wants to tighten the screws on a five-year-old trade pact that has seen America's trade deficit with Seoul double
South Korea wants operational control over the troops it has stationed on joint U.S. bases; they would be under U.S. command if Kim were to launch an attack
Trump complicated things over the weekend by suggesting to a TV interviewer that he would be open to conducting direct talks with Kim
USS Nimitz View Of Carriers Closing In On North Korea Gung Ho Vids
Published on Nov 13, 2017
Three U.S. Aircraft Carrier Strike Groups are operating in the Sea of Japan and East China Sea (with ships from Japan) as a warning to North Korea. The three carrier strike groups are: USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), and USS Nimitz (CVN-68). Filmed on November 11, 2017.
Film Credits: U.S. Navy Video by PO3 Deanna Gonzales, SN Cody Deccio, CPO Porter Anderson
SINGAPORE - While officials in Washington and Pyongyang exchange threats against one another, the People's Republic of China has remained remarkably silent on the matter. It is a common misconception that Beijing has full control over Pyongyang.
Thus, when President Trump turns to President Xi to solve the Korean issue, which shows a lack of options for the Americans, it raises the question of what determines China’s policy on North Korea.
U.S. Navy aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) along with their strike groups transit the Western Pacific, November 12, 2017. U.S. Navy Photo
The United States Navy has conducted a rare three-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific over the weekend – the first such meeting in more than a decade.
The exercise involved the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) strike groups, along with ships from the Republic of Korea Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.
The exercise meant to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort. It included conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishment at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers and other training.
This is the first time that three carrier strike groups have operated together in the Western Pacific since exercises Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 off the coast of Guam.
“It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Adm. Scott Swift. “Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region.”
Here are some more photos of the exercise:
Three F/A-18E Super Hornets, assigned to the Eagles of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 115, fly in formation over the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and their strike groups, November 12, 2017. U.S. Navy Photo
Google says the GDP of North Korea is a whopping 12.38 billion US...while the US' made up GDP is supposedly 18.57 trillion.
Someone has got to be kidding me with all this fear mongering crap. Sure, it could lead to a larger conflict...like the last time the US stupidly mucked around in Korea and got its ass kicked by China, but the threats are China and Russia and even they wouldn't be much of a threat if DC would just mind its own damn business for a change.
Singapore Suspends Trade Relations with North Korea
November 16, 2017 by Reuters
Photo: By NRC190 / Shutterstock
SINGAPORE, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Singapore has suspended trade relations with North Korea, the latest of Pyongyang’s major trade partners to cut commercial ties under toughening U.N. sanctions over its weapons program, a customs notice obtained on Thursday showed.
The move comes about two months after the United States imposed North Korea-related sanctions on a number of firms and individuals, including two entities based in Singapore.
“Singapore will prohibit all commercially traded goods from, or to, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” the city-state’s customs said in the notice sent to traders and declaring agents last Tuesday, referring to the country by its official name.
The suspension would take effect from Nov. 8, Fauziah A. Sani, head of trade strategy and security for the director-general of customs, said in the notice.
Repeated breach of the new prohibitions is punishable by a fine of up to S$200,000 ($147,340.50) or four times the value of the goods traded, imprisonment of up to three years, or both, it added.
Singapore is North Korea’s seventh largest trading partner. The Philippines, Pyongyang’s fifth biggest trading partner, suspended trade with North Korea in September to comply with a U.N. resolution.
Tension on the Korean peninsula has escalated as North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, has stepped up the development of weapons in defiance of U.N. sanctions.
North Korea has tested a series of missiles this year, including one that flew over Japan, and conducted its sixth and biggest nuclear test in September.
Pyongyang maintains a diplomatic presence in Singapore, with an embassy in its financial district.
In September, Singapore issued a travel advisory urging citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to North Korea, where it does not have diplomatic representation.
In an interview with National Public Radio in May, Singapore’s minister of foreign affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan, had said the country was not ready to cut all diplomatic ties with North Korea.
In January last year, Singapore-based Chinpo Shipping Company (Private) Ltd was fined S$180,000 for facilitating a shipment of arms to North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions. (http://reut.rs/2ARbm14) ($1 = 1.3574 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by John Geddie and Clarence Fernandez)
Steps the US needs to take to defeat North Korea(this time) and not get its ass kicked again:
1) Prevent China from backing North Korea
2) Well, there is no step two...North Korea is no match for the US.