• Same story, different day...........year ie more of the same fiat floods the world
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Holy Shades Of Dr Strangelove Batman / Trump vs Kim

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Trafigura Denies Involvement in North Korea Oil Transfer

January 2, 2018 by Bloomberg


The Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, is seen in the sea off Yeosu, South Korea December 29, 2017. Picture taken December 29, 2017. Yonhap via REUTERS

By Kanga Kong and Dan Murtaugh (Bloomberg) — Trafigura Group denied it was involved in the illicit transfer of fuel to North Korea after the South Korean government said the world’s third-biggest independent oil trader originally owned a cargo that was shipped in breach of United Nations sanctions in October.

The controversy nonetheless could spook international traders working in the region worried their oil and refined products could find their way to North Korea. In turn, that could increase the pressure on Pyongyang, making it more difficult and expensive for the rogue regime to buy fuel in the face of international sanctions.

President Donald Trump last week accused China of allowing ship-to-ship fuel sales to the isolated nation, which have been limited by UN Security Council resolutions in an effort to pressure Kim Jong Un to abandon nuclear weapons.

Trafigura said on Tuesday that it didn’t order the shipment of oil to North Korea and it neither owns nor chartered the vessel Lighthouse Winmore that was seized by South Korea last year. Hours earlier, the South Korean foreign ministry said the trading house owned the cargo and authorities were investigating whether it ordered the transaction.

To read an earlier story on oil shipments to North Korea, click here.

The trading house, which has big operations in Singapore, Geneva and Houston, originally sold the shipment to a little-known Hong Kong-based company called Global Commodities Consultants Ltd. The deal was done on a free-on-board basis from South Korea for delivery to Taiwan, it said. The contract prohibited the on-sale of the cargo in breach of sanctions and Trafigura had no involvement in its final destination, according to the company.

Global Commodities Consultants also sold the cargo onward after purchasing it from Trafigura and with the same contractual provisions on sanctions, according to a company official.

Oil shipments often change hands repeatedly in the trading industry, often while vessels are at sea, leaving the initial seller unaware of the final destination of the commodity. Still, large trading houses such as Trafigura often monitor through vessel tracking systems the end point of cargoes they sell.

Today’s controversy relates to a small cargo of fuel oil that changed hands in October last year in the Yellow Sea between China and the Korean peninsula.

Lighthouse Winmore
The Lighthouse Winmore tanker transferred the fuel in October in international waters, South Korean officials said last week, without naming Trafigura at the time. So-called ship-to-ship transfers are used in the petroleum industry to move liquids from one tanker to another without the use of on-shore infrastructure, a technique explicitly barred for supplies to North Korea by the UN Security Council because such sales are difficult to track.

South Korea, which said it seized and inspected the Lighthouse Winmore in November, identified the charterer as Taiwan-based Billions Bunker Group. The company is incorporated in the Marshall Islands, according to Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau.

The vessel loaded oil products from Japan on Oct. 11 in Yeosu, Yonhap News reported last week, citing South Korean government officials. It then transferred 600 tons — about 4,000 barrels or enough to power a shipping vessel — to a North Korean vessel, the Sam Jong 2, on Oct. 19. At current prices, the cargo would be worth less than $1.5 million. Considering that traders often make as little as one percent of the value of the deal, whoever sold it likely earned as little as $15,000 from the operation.

Vessel tracking data compiled by Bloomberg showed the ship making trips between Kaohsiung in Taiwan and Yeosu in South Korea during September and October. The vessel data, which are broadcast by ships voluntarily and cannot be independently verified, showed it south of Yeosu, with its destination listed as Tai Chung, Taiwan, on Oct. 15. The next transmission was Oct. 25, further to the south near Jeju island.

© 2018 Bloomberg L.P

Filed Under: News Tagged With: north korea

http://gcaptain.com/trafigura-denies-involvement-in-north-korea-oil-transfer/
 

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Nuclear button on my desk is 'much bigger' than yours: Trump warns Kim about the size of his arsenal and how it is vastly 'more powerful' than North Korea's after despot's New Year's threat
  • President Trump warned North Korea Tuesday that he has access to a 'bigger & more powerful' nuclear button than Kim Jong-Un's
  • The comment follows a previous taunt from Kim that 'the U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table' in his New Year's address
  • Also on Tuesday the UN warned of North Korea staging another missile test
  • US Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters that the US had heard North Korea might be planning another missile launch
  • North Korea has announced it will reopen a long-closed border hotline with South Korea on Wednesday


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5230353/Trump-threatens-blow-North-Korea-Kim-Jong-uns-warning.html#ixzz537OySvMk
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‘Mine is bigger’: Trump dares Kim Jong-un to compare nuclear buttons
RT


Published on Jan 3, 2018
President Donald Trump has fired off a tweet against North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, claiming to have a “more powerful” nuclear weapons launcher.

READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/8w40
 

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There is NO 'nuclear button' on Trump's desk: Here's what would actually happen if the president decides to launch a nuclear attack
  • Donald Trump has boasted he has a bigger 'nuclear button' than Kim Jong Un
  • Instead, Trump has access to 20kg (45lb) briefcase, known as the 'football'
  • Inside is an instructional guide for carrying out a nuclear strike, alongside a list of locations that can be targeted by the US arsenal of 900 nuclear weapons


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5231257/Trump-boasts-bigger-nuclear-button-doesn-t-really-one.html#ixzz538HIM0YI
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Peace in Korea: Just a phone call away
RT America


Published on Jan 3, 2018
North Korea and South Korea reopened a hotline after two years of silence. Sourabh Gupta, senior Asia-Pacific international relations policy specialist at the Institute for China-America Studies, tells RT America’s Manila Chan that “North Korea has done its requisite missile and nuclear testing that makes it feel comfortable and confident” enough to warm relations with the South and that the US is forced to reexamine its role as peace-broker in the region.
 

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North Korea Sneaking Oil With Secret Ship Transfers at Sea

January 5, 2018 by Bloomberg


The Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, is seen in the sea off Yeosu, South Korea December 29, 2017. Picture taken December 29, 2017. Yonhap via REUTERS

By Serene Cheong and Dan Murtaugh (Bloomberg) — Donald Trump’s desire to squeeze Kim Jong Un’s regime risks being undermined by the furtive maneuvers of oil tankers at sea.

The enforcement of international measures limiting sales to North Korea — part of an effort to force Kim to abandon nuclear weapons — is becoming near impossible because suppliers of illicit fuel are using an old oil-trading practice that helps obscure its origin and destination.

Ship-to-ship transfers, when cargoes are pumped from one tanker to another in the ocean, are legal and typically used to break up large oil shipments into parcels on smaller vessels. But they can also be used as a trick that makes it difficult to track supplies, and have been barred by the United Nations for sales to North Korea.

And even if the tankers can be identified, seized and inspected, culprits are hidden under layers of ownership. A controversy that erupted last week over a shipment of fuel to the rogue nation has so far entangled the world’s third-biggest independent oil trader, a Hong Kong-based commodity company and mysterious shipping firms in Taiwan and the Marshall Islands. South Korean authorities have failed to identify the perpetrator and on Thursday said they are still investigating who owned the cargo.

“These STS transfers can happen 200 nautical miles or more out at sea, as long as conditions are calm, where no one’s looking,” said Rahul Kapoor, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence in Singapore. “It’s very easy to black out a ship and hide it.”

All ocean-going ships are equipped with a beacon that broadcasts their location around the world, so if a vessel tried to directly load or discharge oil in a sanctioned country, it could be identified. To get around that, two tankers can turn off their transmitters, known as the automatic identification system, rendezvous in secret and transfer the cargo, masking the true origin and destination of the shipment.

A vessel, the Lighthouse Winmore, is said to have transferred 600 tons — about 4,000 barrels — to a North Korean vessel, the Sam Jong 2, on Oct. 19.

Ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg showed Lighthouse Winmore making trips between Kaohsiung in Taiwan and Yeosu in South Korea during September and October.

The vessel data, which are broadcast by ships voluntarily and cannot be independently verified, showed it south of Yeosu, with its destination listed as Taichung, Taiwan, on Oct. 15. The ship stopped reporting its location for the next 10 days, virtually disappearing during the period of the alleged transfer. The next transmission was Oct. 25, further to the south near Jeju Island.

While STS transfers are an integral part of the oil and fuel-trading business, “when in the wrong hands, this every-day operation can be misused,” said Den Syahril, an analyst at industry consultant FGE in Singapore. “During past sanctions, there’s a possibility that ships with Iranian fuel turned off their trackers and conducted these operations in the Middle East gulf, only to have the cargo labeled as Middle East origin afterwards.”

Controversial Trades
Now that the practice is in the spotlight, it may become harder to get away with it. Reports that U.S. satellites have been capturing Chinese ships transferring fuel to North Korean vessels could deter perpetrators while major oil trading companies may take additional precautions not to be involved in the controversial transactions.

On Tuesday, South Korea’s foreign ministry said Trafigura Group owned the Lighthouse Winmore cargo and authorities were investigating whether it ordered the transfer to North Korea. Within a few hours, the trading house denied it was involved in the illicit transaction, saying it neither owns nor chartered the ship.

Trafigura added that it originally sold the cargo to Hong Kong-based Global Commodities Consultants Ltd., which in turn said it sold the shipment to another company called Oceanic Enterprise Ltd. Both Trafigura and GCC said their contracts stipulated that any resale of the supply must abide by international sanctions.

No contact information was immediately available for Oceanic Enterprise. South Korea identified Lighthouse Winmore’s charterer as Taiwan-based Billions Bunker Group. The company is incorporated in the Marshall Islands, according to Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau.

Risk Management
Taiwan is investigating if the head of Kao Yang Fishery Co. has any connection with the Lighthouse Winmore, according to a Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office statement on Jan. 3. Kao Yang allegedly sold oil products in international waters instead of Hong Kong, which was identified in export declaration as its destination, according to the statement.

“Trading houses have full teams that are involved in risk management,” said Bloomberg Intelligence’s Kapoor. “Ideally, these teams will screen through counterparties, and it’s unlikely that they’ll dabble in a one-off illegitimate dealing for a small profit as there’s so much risk to reputation involved.”

China refused to designate Lighthouse Winmore and Sam Jong 2, among other ships, as sanctions violators in a disagreement with the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported last week. While American officials shared with the UN declassified intelligence reports that they said supported Washington’s position that 10 vessels be formally declared as breaching measures, China successfully got the list whittled down to just four tankers, the newspaper said, citing unidentified diplomats.

U.S. President Trump last week tweeted: “Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!”

Spy Satellites
American spy satellites had observed Chinese vessels allegedly transferring oil to North Korean ships in the sea between the two countries about 30 times since October, Seoul-based newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported Dec. 26, citing unidentified South Korean government officials. China has denied the reports.

The vast majority of ship-to-ship transfers are legal. Most of them take place in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where the practice is also known as lightering. It’s cheaper to ship oil on larger vessels, so oil traders tend to book the biggest vessel they can find for long haul journeys such as from Saudi Arabia to Texas.

U.S. ports aren’t deep enough to handle the massive tankers, so they stop a few miles from shore and parcel out the oil to smaller ships that are able to dock. The transfers are common enough that most merchant seamen can do them, said Kapoor, who spent five years working on an oil tanker.

But “even with mounting international sanctions on countries such as North Korea, these operations are often attempted as a way to get around them,” FGE’s Den said.

© 2018 Bloomberg L.P

Filed Under: Maritime News Tagged With: lighthouse winmore, north korea, president trump

http://gcaptain.com/north-korea-sneaking-oil-secret-ship-transfers-sea/
 

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Koreans Agree To Talk To Koreans...Nikki Haley Furious!
RonPaulLibertyReport


Streamed live on Jan 3, 2018
The North and South Koreans have moved closer to starting direct negotiations aimed at defusing the high tension levels on the peninsula. Instead of cheering an opening to diplomacy, however, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has warned that the US will not support such talks unless North Korea gives up its nuclear program first...
 

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WHY U.S PUTTING B 52 IN 24 Hrs PATROL WITH NUKES IS A DIRECT MESSAGE TO NORTH KOREA & RUSSIA ?
Defense Updates


Published on Jan 5, 2018
INTRODUCTION

The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.

Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said in an interview during his six-day tour of Barksdale and other U.S. Air Force bases that support the nuclear mission, “This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared. I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.”

In this video, Defense Updates analyzes WHY U.S PUTTING B 52 IN 24 Hrs PATROL WITH NUKES IS A DIRECT MESSAGE TO NORTH KOREA & RUSSIA ?

NEED
Goldfein and other senior defense officials stressed that the alert order had not been given, but that preparations were under way in anticipation that it might come. That decision would be made by Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, or Gen. Lori Robinson, the head of U.S. Northern Command. STRATCOM is in charge of the military’s nuclear forces and NORTHCOM is in charge of defending North America.

Putting the B-52s back on alert is just one of many decisions facing the Air Force as the U.S. military responds to a changing geopolitical environment that includes increasing North Korea & Russian threats.

North Korean regime was successfully tested 100 kilotons nuke as well long range inter continental ballistic missiles Hwasong 14 & Hwasong 15. Apart from taking many hostile steps, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has put 13 more submarines into active service since 2014. Russia’s submarine activity is now at its highest level since the Cold War.


OVERVIEW

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an American long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s.
Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of more advanced aircrafts, including the variable-geometry B-1 Lancer, and the stealthy B-2 Spirit.
After being upgraded between 2013 and 2015, it is supposed to serve into the 2040s. The B-52s are expected to reach the end of their service lives by 2045, and be replaced by B-21 Raiders.



ARMAMENT

The B 52 is capable of carrying both conventional as well as nuclear weapons.
The ability to carry upto 20 AGM-69 SRAM nuclear missiles was added to G and H models, starting in 1971. To further improve its offensive ability, air-launched cruise missiles were fitted.
After testing of both the Air Force-backed Boeing AGM-86 and the Navy-backed General Dynamics AGM-109 Tomahawk, the AGM-86B was selected for operation for the B-52.

AGM-86 MISSILE

The AGM-86 is a subsonic air-launched cruise missile built by Boeing. This missile was developed to increase the effectiveness and survivability of the Boeing B-52 bomber as the missile can be fired from standoff ranges. In combination, the missile dilutes an enemy’s forces and complicates air defense of its territory.
All variants of the AGM-86 missile are powered by a Williams F107 turbofan jet engine that propels it at sustained subsonic speeds and can be launched from aircraft at both high and low altitudes. The missile deploys its folded wings, tail surfaces and engine inlet after launch. Sophisticated guidance makes the missile very accurate.
The missile deploys W80 thermonuclear warhead.
It has a range of 1,100 to 2,400 km depending on variant. This enables the B 52 to launch it far off from the target.
As stated earlier a single B 52 can launch upto 20 of these missiles. Hence, an enemy force could have to counterattack more than one missile at a time, making defense against them costly and complicated. The enemy’s defenses are further hampered by the missiles' small size and low-altitude flight capability, which makes them difficult to detect on radar.

W80 THERMONUCLEAR WARHEAD

The W80 is a thermonuclear warhead in the U.S. nuke stockpile with a variable yield of between 5 and 150 kt of TNT. It is specifically designed to be used by AGM-86 as well as the BGM-109 Tomahawk. It is essentially a modification of the widely deployed B61 weapon, which forms the basis of most of the current US stockpile.

Depending on variant G or H , B 52 will be able to launch 12 or 20 of these W80 warheads carried by AGM-86 missile . This means a single aircraft has a destructive capacity of 12 * 150 that is 1800 or 20 * 150 that is 3000 kt tons of TNT.

This is enough to obliterate major military assets of any country.
 

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China announces new restrictions on trade with North Korea
RT America


Published on Jan 5, 2018
Beijing’s new trade restrictions on Pyongyang comes as North and South Korea agreed to a groundbreaking meeting ahead of the Winter Olympics. In a move to facilitate talks, the US and South Korea have also halted military drills before the games. RT America’s Anya Parampil discusses the moves with investigative journalist Gareth Porter.
 

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US is weighing up the likelihood of a 'limited' strike on North Korea to give it a ‘bloody nose’
  • The Trump administration is weighing the pros and cons of a possible strike on North Korea
  • The intent is meant to be a retaliation for future weapon tests, a new report says
  • Some officials believe the 'bloody nose' attack could do more harm and good
  • President Trump's National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster is pushing for the strike
  • He said in an interview that that leader Kim Jong un's weapons programs development 'has been quicker than most people believed'
  • The US intelligence community had told the Trump administration there would be at least four years to stop or slow a missile attack
  • In November 2017, North Korea launched a new missile called Hwasong-15
  • Officials said the missile is able to fly over 8,000 miles and reach Washington


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5248943/US-officials-debating-limited-strike-North-Korea.html#ixzz53gRcqbre
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North Korea agrees to send high-level delegation to the Winter Olympics in the South including athletes and cheerleaders as two countries hold first direct talks in two years
  • South Korean officials said North Korea agreed during their talks in Panmunjon
  • North Korea's delegation to include officials, athletes, cheerleaders, journalists
  • Seoul said it is willing to lift sanctions temporarily to allow North's attendance
  • South Korea proposed the two countries could conduct joint march at games


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5248935/North-Korea-send-delegation-Winter-Olympics.html#ixzz53gS6Lbmc
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TRUMP AND KIM talk about who has the biggest Nuclear Button
ArmedForcesUpdate


Published on Jan 8, 2018
North Korea and Trump compare nuclear buttons in a war of words. (About this sound listen), officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK About this sound listen), is a country in East Asia, in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang is both the nation's capital as well as its largest city. To the north and northwest the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok (known as the Yalu in China) and Tumen rivers.[10] The country is bordered to the south by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two.

Following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones along the 38th parallel by the United States and the Soviet Union, with the north occupied by the Soviets and the south by the Americans. Negotiations on reunification failed, and in 1948 two separate governments were formed: the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south. An invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War (1950–1953). The Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire, and no actual peace treaty was ever signed.[11]

North Korea officially describes itself as a self-reliant socialist state[12] and formally holds elections. Critics regard it as a totalitarian dictatorship. Various outlets have called it Stalinist,[21][22][23] particularly noting the elaborate cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and his family. International organizations have assessed human rights violations in North Korea as belonging to a category of their own, with no parallel in the contemporary world.[24][25][26] The Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), led by a member of the ruling family,[23] holds power in the state and leads the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland of which all political officers are required to be members.[27]

Over time North Korea has gradually distanced itself from the world communist movement. Juche, an ideology of national self-reliance, was introduced into the constitution as a "creative application of Marxism–Leninism"[28] in 1972.[29][30] The means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises and collectivized farms. Most services such as healthcare, education, housing and food production are subsidized or state-funded.[31] From 1994 to 1998, North Korea suffered from a famine that resulted in the deaths of between 0.24 and 3.5 million people, and the country continues to struggle with food production.[32] North Korea follows Songun, or "military-first" policy.[33] It is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world, after China, the U.S., and India.[34] It possesses nuclear weapons.[35][36] North Korea is an atheist state with no official religion and where public religion is discouraged.[37]
 

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Trump deserves big credit for helping spark talks with North Korea, says South Korean President
  • South Korean President Moon Jae-In thanked President Donald Trump for his efforts on Wednesday
  • This weekend, Trump himself declared that, without his own help, such talks might never have occurred
  • North Korea slammed Trump and called the idea a 'ridiculous sophism'
  • Pyongyang and Seoul have been holding the first inter-Korean talks in more than two years at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju, South Korea
  • North Korea agreed to send athletes to the Winter Olympics next month in Pyeongchang
  • Moon said he was willing to hold a summit 'at any time' as long as it was 'under the right conditions'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5253307/SKs-president-says-Trump-helped-talks-North.html#ixzz53mPZkfoo
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A NEW KOREAN WAR WOULD KILL MORE U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL THAN YOU MIGHT THINK || WARTHOG 2018
Warthog Defense


Published on Jan 10, 2018
Is the United States on the brink of war with North Korea? Many observers are worried that the answer is yes — but for a conventional war rather than a nuclear war. And that would put the tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea in harm’s way, with much higher human costs — and many more fatalities — than the United States has seen in its recent military conflicts.

By Tanisha M. Fazal

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/m...
 

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Has Trump been talking to North Korea's reclusive dictator? 'I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un,' he boasts claiming 'people are surprised'
  • President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that he's been in contact with North Korea's reclusive dictator
  • Trump would not say in an Oval Office interview that he had actually talked to Kim: 'I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t'
  • Yet he claimed, 'I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised'
  • Trump has derided Kim as 'Little Rocket Man,' threatened him with the 'might' of the U.S. military and 'fire and fury' and called him 'short and fat'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5260505/Trump-probably-good-relationship-Kim.html#ixzz53vH1ey3P
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North Korea set to send its elite 'army of beauties' cheerleading squad to pep up its team at Winter Olympics
  • Hermit nation's squad will attend Winter Olympics in South Korea on February 9
  • North Korea's First Lady Ri Sol-Juis among famous former members
  • The two countries agreed to 'resolve problems' with 'dialogue and negotiations' earlier this week during pivotal talks in the Demilitarised Zone


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5257051/North-Koreas-army-beauties-set-invade-South.html#ixzz54C3GkGTG
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US scientist who inspected North Korea’s nuclear facility warns they have up to 60 bombs as fellow expert says Trump is underestimating Kim Jong-un
  • Sig Hecker was in charge of designing nuclear weapons for America for 11 years
  • He was invited to look around North Korea's secret nuclear complex in Yongbyon
  • Here, Hecker handled plutonium which had been extracted at the weapons base
  • It is now estimated the Yongbyon plant has developed up to 60 nuclear weapons


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5270693/US-scientist-whos-seen-North-Koreas-nuclear-secrets.html#ixzz54GoObVF2
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Kim Jong-un says Trump's tweet about having a bigger nuclear button is the 'spasm of a lunatic' and the 'bark of a rabid dog'
  • State newspaper Rodong Sinmun called Trump's tweet the 'spasm of a lunatic'
  • It also described the President as having the mental capacity 'of a preschooler', suggested he has 'the symptoms of dementia' and called him a 'psychopath'
  • Trump compared the size of his nuclear button to Kim's after the North Korean leader warned he had one placed on his desk
  • President recently suggested he would be open to talks with North Korea


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5273853/North-Korea-scoffs-Trumps-nuclear-button-tweet.html#ixzz54MTVqLnW
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COULD NORTH KOREA SINK A U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIER || WARTHOG 2018
Warthog Defense


Published on Jan 17, 2018
Could North Korea’s armed forces sink an American aircraft carrier? Yes—depending on what type of carrier they confront, how skillfully U.S. Navy commanders employ the flattop and its consorts, how well North Korean warriors know the tactical surroundings and, most crucially, whom fortune favors in combat. Fortune is a fickle ally, prone to switch sides and back again in battle. It’s doubtful an American carrier would fall prey to undersea or aerial attack—but only the foolish say never or always in martial competition, a topsy-turvy affair in which the weak sometimes best the strong.

It could happen, and that warrants forethought.

By: James Holmes

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-...
 

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Trump says 'very likely' Korean crisis can't be solved peacefully
RT


Published on Jan 17, 2018
Donald Trump says there's a possibility that the North Korean crisis won't be resolved peacefully.
The U.S. President claims that's because having dialogue with Pyongyang is next to impossible.
Read more: https://on.rt.com/8x5m
 

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Military option’ would totally destroy both Koreas, may cause WWIII – fmr CIA officer
RT America


Published on Jan 17, 2018
As North and South Korea create unprecedented Olympic partnership, the US continues its military buildup in the region. Are North Korea’s overtures to the South evidence of successful sanctions, or a“charm offensive” disguising something sinister? Former CIA officer and counterterrorism specialist Philip Giraldi joins “News with Ed” to offer his insight.
 

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U.S. Slaps New Sanctions on Entities, People and Ships Connected to North Korea

January 24, 2018 by Reuters


The UL JI BONG 6, pictures here, is among six ships hit by new sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Wednesday. Photo: MarineTraffic.com


By David Brunnstrom and David Alexander WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – The United States announced new sanctions aimed at stopping North Korea’s nuclear weapons development on Wednesday and urged China and Russia to expel North Koreans raising funds for the programs.

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on nine entities, 16 people and six North Korean ships it accused of helping the weapons programs. It said two China-based trading firms were involved in exporting millions of dollars worth of metals and other goods used in weapons production.

The individuals included members of North Korea’s Workers Party operating in China, Russia and Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region. Among them were North Korea’s vice consul in Nakhodka, Russia and an individual reportedly involved in sending North Korean laborers to Abkhazia.

“Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

“The U.S. government is targeting illicit actors in China, Russia, and elsewhere who are working on behalf of North Korean financial networks, and calling for their expulsion from the territories where they reside.”

The entities sanctioned included North Korea’s Ministry of Crude Oil Industry.

The action enables the United States to block assets held by the individuals or firms in the United States and prohibits U.S. citizens from dealing with them.

The United States has led an international campaign to tighten sanctions on North Korea to force it to give up development of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of hitting the United States.

The U.N. Security Council in December unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea for a recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to further limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil.

CIA director Mike Pompeo has said North Korea is “a handful of months” away from being able to make a nuclear attack on the United States.

On Tuesday, he said U.S. President Donald Trump’s focus was on a diplomatic solution to the crisis backed by tighter sanctions, but the CIA was working to provide a range of other options should that fail.

The Trump administration has said all options are on the table including military ones, and officials say the president and his advisers have discussed the possibility of a limited strike. But debate on military options has lost some momentum in recent weeks after North and South Korea resumed talks ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics in the South.

Sanctions expert Anthony Ruggiero of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank said the Treasury move showed Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy would continue even with the focus on the inter-Korea talks.

“The action against Chinese firms is important as it increases the pressure on Beijing to stop Chinese nationals from facilitating North Korea’s sanctions evasion,” he said.

Treasury named the firms as Beijing Chengxing Trading Co. Ltd. and Dandong Jinxiang Trade Co., Ltd.

A senior U.S. official said this week that despite the Trump administration’s recent public focus on Russia, China remained the main culprit in North Korea sanctions busting. He pointed to involvement of Chinese organized crime groups, banks, and government officials in the peddling of amphetamines, counterfeit currency and fake luxury goods.

While China has backed successive rounds of U.N. sanctions on North Korea it worries that excessive pressure could cause the collapse of a country it has long considered a strategic ally. (Reporting by David Alexander and David Brunnstrom; Editing by James Dalgleish and Andrea Ricci)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

http://gcaptain.com/us-slaps-new-sanctions-on-entities-people-and-ships-connected-to-north-korea/
 

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VP Pence At Olympics To Prevent North Korea Peace Overtures
RonPaulLibertyReport


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US Vice President Mike Pence has announced that he would be attending the Olympic games in South Korea next month with an eye on preventing North Korea from reaping any PR advantage from numerous North and South Korean joint activities. Why is Washington so afraid of peace breaking out on the Korean peninsula?
 

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North Korea calls for unification with South Korea and vows to 'smash' all challenges to achieving the 'breakthrough'
  • Pyongyang made rare announcement to 'all Koreans at home and abroad' today
  • Address called for 'contact, travel, cooperation between North and South Korea'
  • North Korea will 'smash' all challenges against reunification, statement added


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5309433/N-Korea-sends-rare-announcement-Koreans-calls-unification.html#ixzz55DHeXJEC
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Despite Sanctions, North Korea Exported Coal to South and Japan via Russia -Intelligence Sources

January 26, 2018 by Reuters


Credit: By danielo / Shutterstock


By Guy Faulconbridge, Jonathan Saul and Polina Nikolskaya PARIS/LONDON/MOSCOW, Jan 26 (Reuters) – North Korea shipped coal to Russia last year which was then delivered to South Korea and Japan in a likely violation of U.N. sanctions, three Western European intelligence sources said.

The U.N. Security Council banned North Korean exports of coal last Aug. 5 under sanctions intended to cut off an important source of the foreign currency Pyongyang needs to fund its nuclear weapon and long-range missile programs.

But the secretive Communist state has at least three times since then shipped coal to the Russian ports of Nakhodka and Kholmsk, where it was unloaded at docks and reloaded onto ships that took it to South Korea or Japan, the sources said.

A Western shipping source said separately that some of the cargoes reached Japan and South Korea in October last year. A U.S. security source also confirmed the coal trade via Russia and said it was continuing.

“Russia’s port of Nakhodka is becoming a transhipping hub for North Korean coal,” said one of the European security sources, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of international diplomacy around North Korea.

Asked to respond to the report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Russia abided by international law.

“Russia is a responsible member of the international community,” he told reporters on a conference call.

Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified official at Russia’s embassy to North Korea on Friday as saying Russia did not buy coal from North Korea and was “not a transit point for coal deliveries to third countries.”

Russia’s mission to the United Nations told the Security Council sanctions committee on Nov. 3 that Moscow was complying with the sanctions.

Two lawyers who specialize in sanctions law told Reuters it appeared the transactions violated U.N. sanctions.

Reuters could not independently verify whether the coal unloaded at the Russian docks was the same coal that was then shipped to South Korea and Japan. Reuters also was unable to ascertain whether the owners of the vessels that sailed from Russia to South Korea and Japan knew the origin of the coal.

The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday put the owner of one of the ships, the UAL Ji Bong 6, under sanctions for delivering North Korean coal to Kholmsk on Sept. 5.

It was unclear which companies profited from the coal shipments.

RUSSIA URGED “DO MORE” ON SANCTIONS
North Korean coal exports were initially capped under a 2016 Security Council resolution that required countries to report monthly imports of coal from North Korea to the council’s sanctions committee within 30 days of the end of each month.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russia had not reported any imports of North Korea coal to the committee last year.

The sanctions committee told U.N. member states in November that a violation occurs when “activities or transactions proscribed by Security Council resolutions are undertaken or attempts are made to engage in proscribed transactions, whether or not the transaction has been completed.”

Asked about the shipments identified by Reuters, Matthew Oresman, a partner with law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman who advises companies on sanctions, said: “Based on these facts, there appears to be a violation of the U.N. Security Council resolution by the parties involved.”

“Also those involved in arranging, financing, and carrying out the shipments could likely face U.S. sanctions,” he said.

Asked about the shipments, a U.S. State Department spokesman said: “It’s clear that Russia needs to do more. All U.N. member states, including Russia, are required to implement sanctions resolutions in good faith and we expect them all to do so.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The independent panel of experts that reports to the Security Council on violations of sanctions was not immediately available for comment.

North Korea has refused to give up the development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States. It has said the sanctions infringe its sovereignty and accused the United States of wanting to isolate and stifle North Korea.

An independent panel of experts reported to the Security Council on Sept. 5 that North Korea had been “deliberately using indirect channels to export prohibited commodities, evading sanctions.”

Reuters reported last month that Russian tankers had supplied fuel to North Korea at sea and U.S. President Donald Trump told Reuters in an interview on Jan. 17 that Russia was helping Pyongyang get supplies in violation of the sanctions.

The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday imposed sanctions on nine entities, 16 people and six North Korean ships it accused of helping the weapons programs.

TWO ROUTES
Two separate routes for the coal were identified by the Western security sources.

The first used vessels from North Korea via Nakhodka, about 85 km (53 miles) east of the Russian city of Vladivostok.

One vessel that used this route was the Palau-flagged Jian Fu which Russian port control documents show delivered 17,415 tonnes of coal after sailing from Nampo in North Korea on Aug. 3 and docking at berth no. 4 run by LLC Port Livadiya in Nakhodka. It left the port on Aug. 18.

The vessel had turned off its tracking transmitter from July 24 to Aug. 2, when it was in open seas, according to publicly available ship tracking data. Under maritime conventions, this is acceptable practice at the discretion of the ship’s captain, but means the vessel could not be tracked publicly.

Another ship arrived at the same berth — No. 4 — on Aug. 16, loaded 20,500 tonnes of coal and headed to the South Korean port of Ulsan in Aug. 24, according to Russian port control documents.

Reuters was unable to reach the operator of the Jian Fu, which was listed in shipping directories as the China-based Sunrise Ship Management. The Nakhodka-based transport agent of the Jian Fu did not respond to written and telephone requests for comment. LLC Port Livadiya did not respond to a written request for comment.

The second route took coal via Kholmsk on the Russian Pacific island of Sakhalin, north of Japan.

At least two North Korean vessels unloaded coal at a dock in Kholmsk port in August and September after arriving from the ports of Wonsan and Taean in North Korea, Russian port control data and ship tracking data showed.

The Rung Ra 2 docked in Kholmsk three times between Aug 1 and Sept. 12, unloading a total of 15,542 tonnes of coal, while the Ul Ji Bong 6 unloaded a total of 10,068 tonnes of coal on two separate port calls — on Aug. 3 and between Sept. 1 and Sept. 8, according to the official Russian Information System for State Port Control.

The coal did not pass Russian customs because of the UN sanctions taking effect, but was then loaded at the same dock onto Chinese-operated vessels. Those vessels stated their destination in Russian port control documents as North Korea, according to a source in Sakhalin port administration who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Reuters has seen the port control documents which state the destination of the coal as North Korea. But the vessels that loaded the North Korean coal sailed instead for the ports of Pohang and Incheon in South Korea, ship tracking data showed.

In Beijing on Friday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters she did not know anything about the situation but China was clear in its hope that the UN resolutions are followed fully.

China will not allow any Chinese company or individual to do anything that goes against the resolutions and if there is cast-iron proof this is happening, China will handle it seriously and in accordance with the law, she added.

The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday included the owner of the Ul Ji Bong 6 under sanctions for delivering North Korean coal to Kholmsk after the sanctions took effect.

It was unclear which companies profited from the coal shipments.

Asked about the shipments, a South Korean foreign ministry official said: “Our government is monitoring any sanctions-evading activities by North Korea. We’re working closely with the international community for the implementation of the sanctions.”

The official declined to say whether the ministry was aware of the shipments reported by Reuters.

The Japanese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The European security sources said the route via Russia had developed as China, North Korea’s neighbor and lone major ally, cracked down on exports from the secretive Communist state.

“The Chinese have cracked down on coal exports from North Korea so the smuggling route has developed and Russia is the transit point for coal,” one of the European security sources said.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Jonathan Saul; Additional reporting by Michele Nichols in New York, Oksana Kobzeva and Gleb Stolyarov in Moscow, Hyonhee Shin in Seoul, William James in London, Muyu Xu, Ben Blanchard and Josephine Mason in Beijing, Aaron Sheldrick and Linda Sieg in Tokyo, and Mark Hosenball and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Timothy Heritage, Clarence Fernandez and Sonya Hepinstall)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

http://gcaptain.com/despite-sanctio...-south-japan-via-russia-intelligence-sources/
 

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‘Military solution’ to North Korea doesn’t exist, or Trump would have used it already – professor
RT America


Published on Jan 26, 2018
A military solution to a nuclearized North Korea is not as feasible as President Donald Trump would like to think, Peter Kuznick, director of Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, tells RT America’s Anya Parampil. He says the US is “egging on” anti-Northern elements in South Korea and confounding the search for a diplomatic solution.
 

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A nuclear first strike of North Korea is 'tempting', says legendary U.S. diplomat Henry Kissinger as Kim Jong-un warns Trump is pushing towards war
  • Kissinger, 94, warned that North Korean denuclearization was vital
  • He said that relations with Kim Jong-un's country have reached a key juncture
  • The U.S. mist now choose between pre-emptive military action or increasingly tighter sanctions, he said
  • His warning came before North Korea warned that the U.S. is pushing the whole world towards a 'nuclear war'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5344473/Kissinger-Nuclear-strike-North-Korea-tempting.html#ixzz55xS6G4Gl
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North Korea Made $200m Flouting Maritime Sanctions

February 4, 2018 by Bloomberg


The Lighthouse Winmore, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil to North Korea in defiance of international sanctions, is seen in the sea off Yeosu, South Korea December 29, 2017. Picture taken December 29, 2017. Yonhap via REUTERS


by Kambiz Foroohar (Bloomberg) North Korea received almost $200 million between January and September 2017 from exports of coal, iron, steel and other commodities banned under UN Security Council resolutions meant to crack down on Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, according to a confidential report.

Coal shipments were delivered to China, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam by ships using combination of “deceptive navigation patterns, signals manipulation, transshipment,” independent United Nations monitors said in the report, which was seen by Bloomberg News.

The report noted that increased sanctions have created lucrative markets for North Korean traders to procure petroleum products and export natural resources, and that more action is needed by countries to stop such oil and coal transfers.

The panel of experts’ report also warned of continuing cooperation on ballistic missile development between North Korea and Myanmar and Syria, which have been providing logistical support, military technicians and intelligence operations and using front companies.

The UN Security Council on Dec. 23 approved new steps tightening the screws on North Korea’s economy following the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile in November, which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime said shows it can now target the entire continental U.S. The latest restrictions were meant to slash imports of refined petroleum products, restrict shipping, and impose a deadline for expatriate North Korean workers to be sent home.

In January, the Trump administration announced a new round of sanctions targeting North Korea’s oil industry and shipping companies, as well as individuals or entities in China and Russia, two countries the U.S. says needs to do more to rein in Kim’s nuclear weapons program.

Filed Under: News Tagged With: north korea

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If the market continues to slide then I would expect Trump to start this conversation up again. He and his totalitarian friends in Asia make a really good distraction topic.
 

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North Korea criticizes Trump's State of the Union speech and warns his way of thinking could 'endanger the security and future of the United States'
  • North Korea slammed President Trump's Sate of the Union address on Sunday
  • The official said the country's nuclear capabilities would deter Trump from 'showing off on the Korean peninsula'
  • The official also said his anachronistic and dogmatic way of thinking could endanger the United States
  • Trump sought to increase pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear program
  • Trump hosted about a half-dozen North Korean defectors in the Oval Office


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5349847/North-Korea-slams-Trumps-State-Union-address.html#ixzz56E5dyfcD
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Report: China Moves 300,000 Troops Closer to North Korean Border

by Frances Martel
5 Feb 2018


China is reportedly moving missile defense batteries and troops closer to its border with North Korea, a potential sign that Beijing anticipates either a large refugee wave north or a military disturbance triggered by the belligerence of communist dictator Kim Jong-un.

The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo cited Radio Free Asia (RFA) in a report Monday, stating that RFA had compiled evidence that China had “late last year deployed another missile defense battery at an armored division in Helong, west of Longjing in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.”

The “North Korean source in China” speaking to RFA also noted that Pyongyang had observed the movement of 300,000 troops closer to the North Korean border and “missile defense batteries near North Korean reservoirs by the Apnok and Duman rivers.” The batteries would prevent the violent outpouring of those reservoirs into China in the event of an airstrike.

On Friday, China’s state-run People’s Daily newspaper reported that Beijing was also investing in establishing nuclear monitoring stations throughout the world, but especially near North Korea, to more rapidly gather information about a potential airstrike. While carefully noting that “detection is not targeted at any particular country,” the newspaper noted that the planned 11 nuclear monitoring stations “are responsible for detecting nuclear activities in neighboring countries, including North Korea.”

The People’s Daily claims the monitor plan “shows China’s commitment to global nonproliferation.” Taken in tandem with reports of military movements near North Korea, however, this development indicates concern that a major military or political event in North Korea will impact China significantly.

Another state newspaper, the Global Times, remarked on U.S. President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address last week that “risks of US military action are growing.” Trump singled North Korea out as the world’s most egregious human rights abuser, celebrating the plight of North Korean refugees who risked their lives to escape.

In December, Chosun Ilbo reported that China is not only using its military assets to prepare for a potential catastrophe in North Korea; the newspaper cited Japanese media that had revealed evidence of China’s building massive refugee camps near the North Korean border, some that could welcome up to half-a-million refugees. Officials reportedly ordered the construction of such camps in Jilin, the same city where state media published a citizens’ guide to surviving a nuclear war triggered by North Korea.

The state-run Jilin Daily published an article in December suggesting citizens “close their windows and doors during an emergency and immediately take a shower and wash out their mouths and ears after being exposed to radiation.” It mentioned potential regional tensions without blaming North Korea directly.

While state media remained subtle about government fears regarding North Korea, communist academics made clear in December that they believed Kim Jong-un’s regime could not be trusted to keep China out of a major regional war.

“North Korea is a time bomb,” remarked Professor Shi Yinhong. “We can only delay the explosion, hoping that by delaying it, a time will come to remove the detonator.”

China, North Korea’s largest trade partner, almost single-handedly keeps Kim’s economy afloat. Through a tense year for Kim and President Trump, who has not shied away from challenging the autocrat, China stuck by North Korea, increasing trade to the fellow communist country. Beijing has abided by some United Nations sanctions, however, and forced businesses on North Korea’s border to limit their contact with the regime.

According to Radio Free Asia, businesses along the border “are now being severely hurt as wider customs controls are established along the border, sources working in the area say.” Many of these businesses traffic in goods that are not obvious candidates for sanctions, such as cosmetics and paper. RFA suggests that those impacted on the ground have soured on North Korea’s government, as its belligerence has triggered the sanctions.

Dictator Kim Jong-un has rejected all attempts by the global community to convince the country to abandon its illegal nuclear weapons program and has continued testing ballistic missiles and suggesting that their ultimate destination will be the United States.

On the other side of the border, RFA reported that Pyongyang is “stirring up anti-China sentiment among ordinary citizens through conferences and lecture sessions as the closed, authoritarian country’s economy bears the brunt of tough new economic sanctions supported by its longtime ally.” North Korea rarely confronts China on international platforms, but even this line was crossed in 2017, when the Korean Central News Agency accused China, without naming the country, of “dancing to the tune of the U.S.” by agreeing to abide by U.N. sanctions.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-s...ves-300000-troops-closer-north-korean-border/
 

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North Korea slams anti-Pyongyang Olympic protest as the 'spasm of psychopaths' and 'human scum'
  • Protest held as ship from North Korea carrying performers arrived in the South
  • Some carried pictures of dictator Kim Jong-Un with a huge X across his face
  • North Korea called it 'spasm of psychopaths' and labelled them 'human scum'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5360851/North-Korea-slams-Olympic-protest-spasm-psychopaths.html#ixzz56QeHu1Jo
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Pence promises the 'toughest and most aggressive' new sanctions on North Korea during visit to Japan - ahead of trip to the Winter Olympics with the father of dead student Otto Warmbier
  • The U.S Vice President - who is in Japan - said more pressure was needed to get the North to abandon its nuclear weapon program
  • He described the North as the planet's 'most tyrannical and oppressive regime'
  • He said the U.S. would not stop until North Korea completes its denuclearization
  • U.S. officials have refused to give details of the nature of any new sanctions


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5362073/Pence-promises-tough-new-sanctions-North-Korea.html#ixzz56QeS0dHw
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North Korean Olympics Ferry Sails Past Sanctions with Karaoke, Ice Cream

February 6, 2018 by Reuters


North Korean ship Mangyongbong-92 carrying the Samjiyon art troupe arrives at Mukjo port in Donghae, South Korea, February 6, 2018 REUTERS/Song Kyung-Seok/Pool

By Hyonhee Shin and Elaine Lies SEOUL/MUKHO PORT, Feb 6 (Reuters) – A North Korean ferry arrived in South Korea on Tuesday carrying a 140-strong orchestra to perform during the Winter Olympics, taking advantage of a rare sanctions exemption from Seoul 16 years after its previous visit but greeted by angry protests.

The 9,700-tonne ferry, the Mangyongbong 92, was escorted into the eastern South Korean port of Mukho, where throngs of demonstrators were waiting. Some held large photos of the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, with black crosses drawn through them.

The ministry said it had decided to temporarily lift a ban on North Korean ships to “support a successful hosting of the Olympics,” which begin on Friday. It is also a fresh sign of a thaw in inter-Korean relations after months of tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Seoul banned all North Korean ships entering its ports and cut off most inter-Korean exchanges, including tourism, trade and aid, in 2010 in the wake of a torpedo attack on a South Korean navy warship that killed 46 sailors. North Korea denied involvement.

Dozens of riot police with shields kept order as the ferry berthed. Protesters also waved South Korean and U.S. flags while singing the South Korean national anthem. No unified Korea flags could be spotted in the crowd.

South and North Korea will march under a unified Korea flag at the opening of the Games while the two Koreas will also field a united women’s ice hockey team.

“They come to South Korea to make fools of us by advertising our Pyeongchang Olympics as their Pyongyang Olympics,” said one protester, a 67-year-old man waving a Korean flag who gave only his last name of Shin.

The art troupe from the North is led by star singer Hyun Song Wol and is scheduled to perform at Gangneung, near the Games venue of Pyeongchang, on Thursday and in Seoul on Sunday.

It will use the vessel for transportation and lodging, the Unification Ministry said. No one from the ferry could be seen leaving the vessel late on Tuesday as dark fell, while earlier, some were spotted on the deck waving at the crowds.

The Mangyongbong 92 last crossed into South Korean waters when it carried a North Korean cheer squad for the 2002 Asian Games in the port city of Busan.

KARAOKE, ICE CREAM

North Korean ship Mangyongbong-92 carrying the Samjiyon art troupe arrives at Mukjo port in Donghae, South Korea, February 6, 2018 REUTERS/Song Kyung-Seok/Pool

Named after a mountain peak, the Mangyongbong 92 was given by a group of pro-Pyongyang Korean residents in Japan in 1992 to Kim Il Sung, the North’s national founder and grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un, to celebrate his 80th birthday, according to the Unification Ministry. It features dozens of cabins of different classes, including special rooms where Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather stayed, as well as a restaurant, a bar equipped with a karaoke machine, and a shop where guests can buy souvenirs and snacks, such as ice cream, video footage and images from the 2002 show.

It can carry 350 passengers, Seoul officials said.

The ethnic Koreans who donated the ferry had used it to travel between Japan and North Korea, sending money and other resources back to North.

However, Japan barred the ship from its waters in 2006 in response to a long-range missile test by the North, resulting in a sharp fall in trade, remittances and other exchanges.

The ferry had also been suspected by Japan and others of being used to smuggle parts for Pyongyang’s illicit nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea’s state media has rejected the smuggling accusations as a plot to “justify the hostile policy” of the United States and its allies.

“The conservative media and persons claimed that the use of ‘Mangyongbong-92’ … during the Olympic period falls foul of the ‘independent sanctions’ by the U.S. and South Korea,” the official KCNA news agency said last month, when the two Koreas were holding talks on the North’s participation in the Games.

“This represents the unpleasant and uneasy mind of the U.S. and the South Korean conservative forces displeased with the trend for the improvement of the north-south relations created after entering the new year,” it said.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Christine Kim in SEOUL, Elaine Lies in MUKHO PORT; Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in GANGNEUNG; Editing by Paul Tait and Nick Macfie)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

Filed Under: Interesting, Maritime News Tagged With: north korea, Olympics

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US & South Korea have growing disconnect in Pyongyang policy
RT


Published on Feb 12, 2018
South Korea has announced its plans to improve ties with North Korea by reducing military tensions, and by arranging reunions for Korean families who have been divided since the Korean war.
The U.S. on the other hand, is still committed to a policy of "maximum pressure" on North Korea.
 

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EXCLUSIVE: Exposed – the sinister masked guards watching every step of the North Korean cheerleaders as they try to turn Winter Olympics into propaganda victory for Kim Jong-Un
  • North Korean cheerleaders at the Winter Olympics are shuttled from venue to venue and kept under the watchful eyes of a group of guards wearing black masks in an apparent attempt to keep their identities hidden
  • An older man who has been spotted sitting next to the squad during the Olympic games is believed to be the team's supervisor for each of their outings
  • DailyMail.com approached the leader of the troupe at the all-Korean female ice-hockey match against historic rival Japan at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Pyeongchang on Wednesday, but was turned away
  • The group of women are based at an obscure and guarded resort at the Inje Speedium, located up to an hour and a half away from the main hub of the Winter Games
  • The resort base makes it possible for them to be carefully watched – a necessary measure for the oppressive regime that once had a cheerleader defect to South Korea


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5392857/North-Korean-cheerleaders-watched-sinister-guards.html#ixzz57BsLSQub
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NORTH KOREA’S NEW RUSSIAN ISKANDER LIKE MISSILE
Defense Updates


Published on Feb 16, 2018
On February 8, North Korea staged a military exercise in its capital, Pyongyang. The parade encompassed the usual array of units of the Korean People’s Army and, notably, included a crescendo to North Korea’s strategic rocket forces. While the parade fell considerably short of the 2017 “Day of the Sun” parade, which celebrated the country’s founder Kim Il-sung’s 105th birth anniversary, it did provide a useful set of new data and it even introduced an as-yet unknown missile to North Korea’s inventory.

As the ballistic missile portion of the parade began, North Korea introduced its first — and only — surprise for the parade. It is a set of 6 transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) carrying two units each of what appeared, at least externally, to resemble a North Korean recreation of the Russian Iskander missile.

In this video, Defense Updates examines NORTH KOREA’S NEW RUSSIAN ISKANDER LIKE MISSILE

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'Trump’s threats of pre-emptive strike give N.Korea motivation to strike first' - ex-US Defense Sec
RT


Published on Feb 17, 2018
As new powers rise in the world, a new multipolar global balance is shaping up - but is it stable enough to prevent a great power conflict in the nuclear age? RT's Sophie Shevardnadze asks former US Secretary of Defense William Perry.

FULL TRANSCRIPT of the interview: https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/418...
 

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Ivanka to get lavish Olympic welcome in the hopes she'll persuade President Trump to agree to a visit to North Korea by South Korean leader
  • The South Koreans plan to roll out the red carpet for first daughter Ivanka Trump when she heads to Pyeongchang
  • Ivanka Trump is to attend the Winter Olympic Games' closing ceremony as part of the American delegation
  • The South Koreans want the Americans on board the idea of having an 'inter-Korean summit' with North Korea in its capital of Pyongyang
  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in may greet Ivanka in Pyeongchang and also accompany her to a skiing competition while she's at the games


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5409945/Ivanka-lavish-Olympic-welcome-South-Korea.html#ixzz57eCfAVEh
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REVEALED: Mike Pence agreed to meet with the North Koreans at the Olympics, but they pulled out at the last minute after the VP threatened aggressive sanctions
  • Pence was supposed to have a secret meeting with Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong on February 10
  • Less than two hours before the meeting the North Koreans cancelled
  • Decision came after Pence denounced North Korea's nuclear ambitions and announced new 'aggressive' sanctions


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5415365/North-Korea-cancelled-secret-meeting-Pence.html#ixzz57jjWmFeW
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