North Korea’s Kim has third child: reports

Soldiers from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force set up PAC-3 surface-to-air missile launch systems during a temporary deployment drill at US Yokota Air Bace in Tokyo on August 29, 2017. Photo by AFP/Toru Yamamanaka Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday in a major escalation by Pyongyang amid tensions over its weapons ambitions. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it was an "unprecedented, serious and grave threat" and called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting. The last time a North Korean rocket overflew Japan was in 2009, when Pyongyang said it was satellite launch. Washington, Seoul and Tokyo believed it was a clandestine test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Pyongyang last month carried out two overt ICBM tests that appeared to bring much of the US mainland within reach for the first time and heightened strains in the region. At the time, US President Donald Trump issued an apocalyptic warning of raining "fire and fury" on the North, saying Washington's weapons were "locked and loaded", while Pyongyang threatened to fire a salvo of missiles over Japan towards the US territory of Guam. The latest missile was launched at around 2057 GMT Monday from Sunan, near Pyongyang, travelling "over Japan", the South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. It flew around 2,700 kilometres (1,700 miles) at a maximum altitude of around 550 kilometres. Guam is about 3,500 kilometres from North Korea -- although the missile was fired in an…... [read more]

North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles Saturday, the U.S. military said, following weeks of heightened tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. The missile launches come as tens of thousands of South Korean and U.S. troops take part in joint military drills in the South, which Pyongyang views as a highly provocative rehearsal for an invasion of its own territory. Two of the missiles failed in flight and the third blew up "almost immediately", said a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command. None of the missiles, which were launched near Kittaeryong, had posed a threat to either North America or the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, the spokesman said. "The first and third missiles... failed in flight. The second missile launch... appears to have blown up almost immediately," said the spokesman, Commander Dave Benham, adding that the launches happened over a span of 30 minutes. Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese government's top spokesman, told reporters in Tokyo Saturday morning: "We confirmed that no ballistic missiles have fallen onto our country's territory or EEZ (exclusive economic zone)." "We confirmed there was no direct impact on our country's security. Our prime minister told us to remain on high alert and do our best to respond to any situations in order to protect our people's lives and property." The launches came as North Korea state media reported that leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw a military exercise simulating a special forces assault on South Korean border islands involving aircraft, "multiple-missile launchers" and howitzers. Shells hit islands standing…... [read more]

The United States and Japan will step up their defense cooperation to deal with the threat from nuclear-armed North Korea as tensions in East Asia remain high, officials from the two allies said on Thursday. "For this threat of North Korea, at this meeting we agreed to increase the pressure and to strengthen the alliance capability," Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said after talks with senior U.S. officials in Washington. U.S. fears about North Korea's missile and nuclear bomb programs have grown in recent weeks. Pyongyang has said it was considering plans to fire missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, although North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have delayed the decision. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and their Japanese counterparts agreed at a meeting in Washington on Thursday to work more closely on North Korea. "In light of the threat of North Korea, the four of us confirmed the importance of the unwavering U.S. commitment to extended deterrence," Onodera said. Tillerson said the United States wanted dialogue with Pyongyang, but only if it were meaningful. "Our effort is to cause them to want to engage in talks but engage in talks with an understanding that these talks will lead to a different conclusion than talks of the past," he said. In 2005, North Korea reached an agreement with six countries to suspend its nuclear program in return for diplomatic rewards and energy assistance but the deal later collapsed. U.S. President…... [read more]

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a "wise" decision not to fire missiles towards the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which has eased escalating tension between the two countries. Reclusive North Korea has made no secret of its plan to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States to counter what it perceives as constant U.S. threats of invasion. Trump warned North Korea last week it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, prompting North Korea to say it was considering plans to fire missiles toward Guam. But North Korean media reported on Tuesday that Kim had delayed the decision while he waited to see what the United States did next. "Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision," Trump wrote on Twitter. "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!" North Korea's threat to fire into the sea near Guam had prompted Trump to say earlier that the U.S. military was "locked and loaded" if North Korea acted unwisely. North Korea has long ignored warnings from the West and from its lone major ally, China, to halt its nuclear and missile tests which it conducts in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday it was time to "dial down rhetoric and dial up diplomacy" on North Korea and that he had told Russia, Japan, the United States, China and North and…... [read more]

The dollar held on to big gains on Wednesday before minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest meeting, while European shares followed Asian stocks higher. Dollar banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken June 13, 2017. Relative calm in the standoff between the United States and North Korea also lifted investors' appetite for riskier assets. Metals markets were buoyant, with the price of zinc, used to galvanize steel, hitting its highest in a decade on Chinese infrastructure demand. European shares rose half a percent in early trade. The Fed releases the minutes of its July policy meeting at 1800 GMT, after European markets have closed, and will be pored through for clues to how the debate over the policy outlook is developing. The U.S. central bank kept interest rates unchanged last month and said it expected to start winding down its massive holdings of bonds, bought in an effort to boost the economy, "relatively soon". The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.8 percent, led by basis resources companies .SXPP and energy companies as metals and oil prices rose. Germany's DAX index .GDAXI rose 0.7 percent and Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE gained 0.7 percent. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS gained 0.3 percent. South Korea's KOSPI index .KS11, reopening after a holiday on Tuesday, ended the day 0.6 percent higher. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards Guam while he waits to see what the United States does, the…... [read more]

China will halt iron, iron ore and seafood imports from North Korea starting Tuesday, following through on new U.N. sanctions after U.S. pressure for Beijing to strongarm Pyongyang over its ally's nuclear program. The decision was announced on Monday after days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un's regime, which has raised international alarm about where the crisis is headed. Beijing had pledged to fully enforce the latest sanctions after the United States accused China of not doing enough to rein in its neighbor, which relies heavily on the Asian giant for its economic survival. The Chinese commerce ministry said on its website that all imports of coal, iron, iron ore and seafood will be "completely prohibited" from Tuesday. Beijing had already announced a suspension of coal imports in February. The United Nations Security Council, including permanent member Beijing, approved tough sanctions against Pyongyang on August 6 that could cost the hermetic country $1 billion a year. The sanctions were in response to the North's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, after which Kim boasted that he could now strike any part of the United States. But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi vowed after the UN sanctions were given the green light that his country "will for sure implement that new resolution 100 percent, fully and strictly". China urges dialogue Regional tensions have mushroomed in the past week as Trump warned North Korea it would face "fire and fury" if it attacked the…... [read more]

The top U.S. intelligence official said on Sunday he would not be surprised if North Korea tested another missile, given that it had two tests in July, amid rising tensions between the two nations. U.S. President Donald Trump has offered fiery warnings for North Korea, saying that the U.S. military was "locked and loaded." North Korean officials in turn have accused the U.S. leader of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war. “I am quite confident that he (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) will continue to try to develop his missile program, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was another missile test," U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said on "Fox News Sunday." North Korea said on Thursday that plans would be completed by mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land near the U.S. Pacific island of Guam, 3,500 km (2,175 miles) away. Guam, some 7,000 km from the U.S. mainland, is a target because it is home to U.S. Naval and Air Force bases, from which two B-1B supersonic bombers were deployed close to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday. Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday that U.S. "military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely." Referring to Kim, Trump added: "If he utters one threat ... or if he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that's an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and he…... [read more]

Guam's leader said Monday that "sometimes a bully can only be stopped with a punch in the nose", in a spirited defence of President Donald Trump's rhetoric against North Korea which has the island in its crosshairs. While Trump's critics accuse him of inflaming tensions with Pyongyang, Guam governor Eddie Calvo said he was grateful the U.S. leader was taking a strong stance against North Korean threats against his Pacific homeland. "Everyone who grew up in the schoolyard in elementary school, we understand a bully," Calvo told AFP. "(North Korean leader) Kim Jong-Un is a bully with some very strong weapons... a bully has to be countered very strongly." Calvo, a Republican, said Trump was being unfairly criticised over his handling of the North Korea crisis, which escalated when Pyongyang announced plans to launch missiles toward Guam in a "crucial warning". He said North Korea had threatened Guam -- a US territory which hosts two large military bases and is home to more than 6,000 military personnel -- at least three times since 2013. He said previous presidents had also used strong words to warn off Pyongyang, pointing out Barack Obama said last year that "we could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals". "One president (Obama) said it one way, cool and calmly with a period... the other said fire and fury with an exclamation point, but it still leads to the same message," Calvo said. He rejected suggestions that Trump and the North Korean dictator were as…... [read more]

After the phone conversation between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the White House said in a statement that the leaders agreed that "North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior."  "The presidents also reiterated their mutual commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," it added, stressing, "The relationship between the two presidents is an extremely close one, and will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of the North Korea problem."    China's state media also reported that Chinese President Xi urged Trump to avoid hawkish remarks that could exacerbate already highly running tension on the Korean Peninsula. The CCTV said Xi called for a peaceful resolution of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and stressed that peace on the Korean Peninsula is the common interest of China and the U.S. South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said it "acknowledged active efforts" by Washington and Beijing to resolve the tension caused by a series of North Korean provocations. "Our government will be in close coordination in regards to the two leaders' talk," presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun said in a statement. "We hope the phone conversation between the leaders will help resolve the heightened tension and lead to a breakthrough in solution of the problem." The phone conversation came a day after Trump ratcheted up tensions with North Korea, saying the military is "locked and loaded" to deal with the regime's provocations. The warning is the latest in an exchange of bellicose…... [read more]

Rex Tillerson has had to make several tricky diplomatic tours since becoming U.S. secretary of state. He wrapped up his latest, this time to Southeast Asia, on Wednesday. With stops in the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia, Tillerson’s goal was to assure regional leaders that the Trump administration cares about this strategically important area which - if massed collectively - has the sixth largest economy in the world. Yet far from bringing the parties closer together, the trip was overshadowed by developments in North Korea, and only underscored the fact that the agendas of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries - Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – are not completely aligned with those of the White House. While some officials of ASEAN members acknowledged concerns about North Korea, they also cited concerns about trade relations with the United States. “We haven’t really discussed that among ourselves,” said Philippine acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo of the U.S. call to minimize relations with Pyongyang. Before Trump’s election, the Obama administration supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to emphasize its regional commitment and also to push back on China’s growing power and presence, which is a concern for many ASEAN states. But Trump pulled out of that initiative shortly after taking office and has offered no alternatives. On the political front too, the administration has only limited affinity with ASEAN allies. The latter wanted to give priority to a broad range of issues such…... [read more]

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