International

Report: N. Korea Readies Launch Ahead of US Navy Drill

South Korean government sources are reporting that North Korea is prepping a fresh round of missile tests ahead of a very public joint American-South Korean naval exercise in the West Pacific this week.

Sources are arguing that the launch may include a Hwasong-14 inter-continental ballistic missile which could have a long enough range to reach Alaska, perhaps even farther.

Previous tests without a nuclear payload reached a theoretical range that could hit as far as Chicago.

It’s just one more case for why the ongoing diplomatic feud with Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship may soon transcend any diplomatic remedy and force the Pentagon into a DEFCON 1 situation.

We’ll keep an eye on it.

Here’s more from France24…

North Korea is believed to be preparing to launch a ballistic missile ahead of an upcoming joint naval drill by the US and South Korea, a news report said Saturday, citing a government source.

The US navy said Friday that a US aircraft carrier will lead the drill in the coming week, a fresh show of force against North Korea as tensions soar over the hermit state’s weapons programme.

The move will likely rile Pyongyang which has previously responded angrily to joint exercises.

The Donga Ilbo daily, quoting a government source, said satellite pictures show ballistic missiles mounted on launchers being transported out of hangars near Pyongyang and in the North Phyongan Province.

US and South Korean military officials suspect the North might be preparing to launch missiles capable of reaching US territory, the newspaper said.

This could be the Hwasong-14 inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), whose range could extend to Alaska, or Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missiles which Pyongyang threatened to fire towards the US Pacific territory of Guam in August, the report said.

Another possibility is that the North might be preparing to test a new Hwasong-13 ICBM, it added, that has a longer maximum range than the other two missiles and could potentially reach the US West Coast.

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International

Trump Decertifies Iran Deal, Slaps Down New Sanctions

President Trump made good on his promise to decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal yesterday…sort of.

Rather than move with the stroke of his pen like he did on Obamacare, he took a similar strategy as on DACA and demanded members of Congress level massive sanctions on Iran within 60 days.

And if they don’t, he’ll kill the deal himself.

That’s a fairly solid shot across the bow in contrast to the previous administration marked more by appeasement of dictatorships than any other official policy.

What’s more, the move puts liberals in a difficult position either to go along or appear to be complicit in the further nuclearization of a regime hell-bent on destroying Israel.

Here’s more from Redstate…

President Trump announced on Friday that he’ll decertify the horrid Iran nuclear deal, put into place by former horrid President Barrack Obama.

No, he’s not ending the agreement, which would be so much better, but he’s giving Congress 60 days to crackdown on Tehran.

Said Trump:

“We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Mr. Trump said. “Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.”

Calling it a “long overdue step,” the president also said he would be instructing the Treasury Department to sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps over its support of terrorism in the Middle East.

“History has shown the longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes,” the president said.

Yeah, he’s not wrong.

“As we have seen in North Korea, the longer we ignore a threat, the worse that threat becomes,” he said.

His action will have no immediate impact on the six-nation agreement that calls for Iran to submit to international nuclear inspectors in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions.

“This is purely an internal domestic decision,” said Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson.

“He’s saying we’ll try,” Mr. Tillerson said.

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International

US to Withdraw from UNESCO Citing Its ‘Anti-Israel’ Agenda

From the “It’s About Time” Files, a State Department spokesperson announced today that the US will be withdrawing its membership from the United Nations Economic, Social, and Cultural Organization.

UNESCO is an arm of the UN that is responsible for a number of programs including aid to economically impoverished nations and similar efforts.

But the group has become increasingly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian in recent years — much like the UN at large — which represents a red line for the Trump administration.

That overt or thinly veiled anti-Semitism is being perpetuated by the organization without whom the state of Israel wouldn’t exist today is unacceptable.

The more important question is whether and when we should withdraw from the UN entirely.

Funding from the US (i.e. taxpayers) accounts for a disproportionately large percentage of the UN’s budget, yet we’re in near perpetual dogfights with socialist member nations from around the world who have no problem with appeasing dictators whilst peddling their socialism to the third world.

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

The United States is withdrawing from UNESCO because of what the Trump administration said is a “continuing anti-Israel bias” from the education and science organization.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Thursday the U.S. would be pulling out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization by the end of the year.

“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” Nauert said.

The State Department said it plans to “remain engaged” with the organization as a non-member.

This isn’t the first time the U.S. has pulled out of UNESCO.

Former President Ronald Reagan withdrew the U.S. from the organization in 1984, and former President George W. Bush rejoined the cultural group in 2002.

In 2011, the Obama administration cut funding to UNESCO after member states admitted Palestine as a member.

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International

Bigger than Brexit: Catalonia Could Split from Spain Next Week

News of the Las Vegas shooting over the weekend obscured the bombshell headlines across the Atlantic that will have far-reaching ripple effects.

Catalonia, a province within the dominion of Spain held a referendum on independence, in defiance of government orders to cease and desist.

Amid violent clashes with EU police who shut down more than 100 polling location, Catalans voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from Spain.

Now reports are surfacing that Catalan leaders will formally declare independence next week.

It’s a turn of events very similar to what happened in the lead-up to the American revolution.

What’s more, after the European Union was rocked by the Brexit vote, Europe’s already faltering economy will likely fall further as rumors of civil war abound.

Here’s more from Reuters…

Catalonia will move on Monday to declare independence from Spain, a regional government source said, as the European Union nation nears a rupture that threatens the foundations of its young democracy and has unnerved financial markets.

Pro-independence parties which control the regional parliament have asked for a debate and vote on Monday on declaring independence, the source said. A declaration should follow this vote, although it is unclear when.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont earlier told the BBC that his government would ask the region’s parliament to declare independence after tallying votes from last weekend’s referendum, which Madrid says was illegal.

“This will probably finish once we get all the votes in from abroad at the end of the week and therefore we shall probably act over the weekend or early next week,” he said in remarks published on Wednesday.

The constitutional crisis in Spain, the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy, has shaken the common currency and hit Spanish stocks and bonds, sharply raising Madrid’s borrowing costs.

On Wednesday, the Ibex stock index, fell below 10,000 points for the first time since March 2015 as bank stocks tumbled. In a sign of the nervous public mood, Catalonia’s biggest bank, Caixabank, and Spain’s economy minister had earlier sought to assure bank customers that their deposits were safe.

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International

South Korea: North Korea Seen Moving Missiles Into Position

On October 10th, North Korea will celebrate the anniversary of the founding of its communist party.

And a week later the nation’s Communist Congress will be in session.

That might explain reports from across the border in South Korea of missiles being moved out of the rocket development center.

That likely means Kim Jong Un’s military is preparing for another provocative launch as a part of the celebration.

After claims by North Korea’s foreign minister that President Trump had declared war, the regime is due for another test-launch which has now become routine practice.

South Korea is also reporting that the USS Reagan is due off the coast of the peninsula to conduct joint naval exercises in the area.

It’s possible the Pentagon is also preparing for the possibility of having to shoot down a North Korean test-launch.

We’ll keep you posted.

Here’s more from Reuters…

Several North Korean missiles were recently spotted moved from a rocket facility in the capital Pyongyang, South Korea’s Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) reported late Friday amid speculation that the North was preparing to take more provocative actions.

The report cited an unnamed intelligence source saying South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials detected missiles being transported away from North Korea’s Missile Research and Development Facility at Sanum-dong in the northern part of Pyongyang.

The report did not say when or where they had been moved.

The missiles could be either intermediate range Hwasong-12 or intercontinental ballistic Hwasong-14 missiles, according to the report, though the missile facility at Sanum-dong has been dedicated to the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

A source from South Korea’s defense ministry said he could not confirm details of the report or whether there has been any unusual activities in the area mentioned.

South Korean official have voiced concerns that North Korea could conduct more provocative acts near the anniversary of the founding of its communist party on Oct. 10, or possibly when China holds its Communist Party Congress on Oct. 18.

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International

Escalation: North Korea Claims President Trump Declared War

We know, of course, that an official declaration of war is a serious constitutional matter and not subject to the whim of any president.

But that appears to be the perception of North Korea today — or at least their rhetoric.

Kim Jong Un’s foreign minister Ri Yong-Ho claimed Monday to the press — outside the UN building in New York City no less — that President Trump has declared war on the communist rogue nation.

We expect he’s referring to either to Trump’s hardline, anti-North Korea speech at the UN last week or to Trump’s tweet in which he warned Ri, “If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

Either way, N. Korea is now arguing they’re justified in retaliation in any fashion including shooting down U.S. aircraft, inside or outside of their airspace.

This week’s going to be a wild ride, folks. Buckle up.

Here’s more from NY Daily News…

North Korea’s foreign minister said Monday that President Trump has “declared war” on the communist country, giving Kim Jong Un license to shoot down any U.S. warplanes near his nation.

“At last, he declared a war on our country,” Ri Yong-Ho told reporters in New York City, referring to Trump’s incendiary Union Nations speech about North Korea last week.

“Even the fact that this comes from someone who is currently holding the seat of the United States presidency, this is clearly a declaration of war,” Ri said.

Ri added that North Korea now has “every right to take countermeasures,” including shooting down U.S. bomber planes conducting flights by North Korean territory.

Ri’s remarks, in a rare briefing to UN reporters, once again skyrocketed the destructive threats North Korea and the United States have been trading for the past week.

Trump last Tuesday told the UN General Assembly he was ready to “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the United States or one of its allies. In a tweet on Saturday, Trump warned that North Korea “won’t be around much longer!” if it remained a menace.

Trump also signed an executive order sanctioning any person or organization who does business with North Korea, adding to a series of sanctions already placed on Kim’s rogue nation.

Trump never officially declared war on North Korea or issued a specific threat of military action, though he has repeatedly warned of mass destruction to come if Kim launches a strike.

Kim, who Trump now calls “Rocket Man,” has been escalating his country’s nuclear and long-range missile tests since Trump took office.

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International

Force: US Bombers Buzz North Korea Along the Border

Only days after President Trump’s fiery speech at the United Nations, American bombers buzzed the North Korean border in a show of force which was the farthest north any U.S. military aircraft has been this century.

It was a response to Kim Jong Un’s latest provocation in which he said after Trump’s speech, he will “tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”

The move came days after Kim’s foreign minister implied that the next test from N. Korea will be the above-ground detonation of a nuclear weapon.

That may very well be the final straw for the West.

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

U.S. bombers and fighter jets buzzed North Korea in what the Pentagon billed as one of the most significant shows of force this century.

“This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take [the North Korean regime’s] reckless behavior,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement Saturday.

The U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers deployed from Guam, a U.S. territory in the region that North Korean officials have threatened to attack in recent months. The bombers were escorted by F-15 fighters that took off from Okinawa. The bombers and their escort stayed in international airspace, according to the Defense Department.

“This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the president has many military options to defeat any threat,” White said.

President Trump’s team has negotiated with the United Nations Security Council to pass an array of new international sanctions in response to North Korean belligerence. The economic sanctions have been greeted by an unprecedented flurry of nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The regime launched an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time in July, detonated a hydrogen bomb, and launched two missiles over Japan.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said in an addressto the United Nations General Assembly. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un replied by insulting Trump and vowing to “tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.” The regime’s top diplomat hinted that another nuclear test could be imminent.

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International, Issues

Climate Flip-Flop? Leaks Say Trump Will NOT Axe Paris Accord

Just over a week ago President Trump was accused of flipping on immigration with his DACA decision, and now he’s now being accused of prepping a flip on the Paris Peace Accord.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is prepping an announcement that we’ll remain in the agreement.

But just as soon as they published the story, the White House rebuked it saying there’s “been no change in our position.”

And then SecState Rex Tillerson chimed in on Sunday morning to add that we might stay in ‘if’ things improve in the agreement.

So it’s basically a game of climate accord hokey pokey.

If Trump does pull out, the question is whether his original announcement was just a ploy to get China, France, and others to play his game.

We’ll soon see.

Here’s more from Redstate…

Patterico had a whiplash moment on Saturday, when he brought you a Wall Street Journal report that suggested that the Trump administration would not pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He then posted an update, based on a statement of denial from the White House.

So which is closest to the truth?

I’d pay close attention to the wording of the statement from the White House, especially the use of that word, “unless.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did the Sunday morning talk show thing today, and he’s adding a bit of perspective.

So what is he saying?

Tillerson said on “Face The Nation” Sunday that President Trump feels the U.S. commitments to the agreement — in which each country sets its own commitments and there’s no punishment for not following through with them — are too strict.

“We are willing to work with partners in the Paris climate accord, if we can construct a set of terms that we believe is fair and balanced from the American people and recognizes our economy and our economic interest,” he said.

There’s another qualifier in there – “if.”

Yeah, that’s a loaded word.

Tillerson suggested that the disparity between the United States and China in the Agreement was troublesome.

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International

‘Wipe Kim Out’: South Korea Test Fires Missile Defense System

A day after Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned of a ‘massive military response’ if attacked by North Korea, the chess pieces are already in motion to that end.

South Korea conducted a large air missile defense test today both to ensure it is prepared for an attack and to telegraph to Kim Jong Un that his ICBMs will be knocked out of the air before they hit their intended targets.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is moving military assets in place to respond.

And finally, the UN Security Council is meeting today to plan a coordinated response, both diplomatic and military, in preparation for what could be an attack from North Korea this week.

This situation is easily at its most intense level since President Trump took office.

Stay tuned…

Here’s more from CNN…

South Korea strengthened the deployment of a controversial US-made missile defense system and launched a huge show of military might on Monday in response to North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test.

Seoul said the North appeared to be preparing to launch more missiles after Sunday’s test rocked the region. South Korea conducted a series of live-fire drills and said the US was preparing to bolster its military presence in the region.

Russia warned that it would consider ramping up its military assets in response, and China warned that the deployment of the missile defense system, THAAD, risked escalating the already tense situation.

The deepening crisis has caused frayed relations on both sides. North Korea’s continued belligerence was a blow to China, which has failed to keep its ally in check despite persistent warnings. China said Monday it had made a “stern representation” to North Korea over the test.

Meanwhile Donald Trump, the US president, opened up a rift with South Korea, saying it risked “appeasement” of Pyongyang.

 

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International

Breaking: SecDef Mattis Makes Bold Statement On N. Korea

Secretary of Defense James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis dropped his characteristically laconic comments yesterday following news from North Korea’s state-controlled media organ that Kim Jong Un’s military has successfully test-detonated an underground nuclear weapon which triggered a 6.5 earthquake.

N. Korea continued by proclaiming its ability to load the nuclear weapons on a number of ICBMs.

This development is both a violation of the UN Security Council’s commitment to prevent nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and is the boldest threat to the U.S. and our allies to-date.

Mattis basically made it clear that, although our intention is not to wipe N. Korea off the map, we easily can do so.

And further, if we perceive an active threat (e.g. the launch of a nuclear tipped ICBM), we will act swiftly with a ‘massive military response’.

By this time next week we may be in all-out war with North Korea or they’ll have backed down after Mattis called their bluff. Stay tuned, folks.

Here’s more from Redstate…

Secretary of Defense James Mattis made a statement on the latest provocation by North Korea:

A small group national security meeting today with the president and the vice president about the latest provocation on the Korean Peninsula.

We have many military options and [the] president wanted to be briefed on each one of them.

We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies South Korea and Japan from any attack and our commitments among the Allies are ironclad.

Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response. A response both effective and overwhelming. Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice. All members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses and they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but, as I said we have many options to do so.

Thank you, very much ladies and gentlemen.

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