North Korea

North Korea Missile Tensions Rise

7/5/17
from The Wall Street Journal,
7/5/17:

Pyongyang claims a further breakthrough toward a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach American cities.

The U.S. warned North Korea that it is ready to fight if provoked, as Pyongyang claimed another weapons-development breakthrough following its launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile a day earlier. The regime, having demonstrated its capacity to reach the U.S. with a missile, on Wednesday touted another achievement of the test launch: It claimed that its missile warhead—the forward section, which carries the explosive—can withstand the extreme heat and pressure of re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. If true—the claim couldn’t be independently verified—that would clear another hurdle in developing a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach American cities.

As tensions between Washington and Pyongyang rose, Gen. Vincent Brooks, the top American military commander in South Korea, said in a statement Wednesday that the U.S. and South Korea are prepared to go to war with the North if given the order. “Self restraint, which is a choice, is all that separates armistice and war,” Gen. Brooks said. “We are able to change our choice when so ordered.…It would be a grave mistake for anyone to believe anything to the contrary.”

Earlier in the day, allied armies conducted a rare live-fire drill, launching tactical surface-to-surface missiles off the east coast of Korea—an action they said was aimed directly at “countering North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions on July 4.” The drill and tough language appeared meant to reassure Seoul after North Korea’s successful ICBM test, a significant advance. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the development as an escalation of the threat to the U.S. It came despite years of sanctions and warnings aimed at preventing Kim Jong Un’s regime from reaching the milestone.

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