World Raising the stakes: Why North Korea is talking up Guam

16:05  12 august  2017
16:05  12 august  2017 Source:   Associated Press

Japanese fighters conducted air drills with U.S. B-1B bombers on Tuesday

  Japanese fighters conducted air drills with U.S. B-1B bombers on Tuesday Japan said it had conducted joint air drills with U.S. supersonic bombers in Japanese skies close to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday as tension in the region escalates amid North Korea's continued ballistic missile tests. The exercise around Japan's southern Kyushu island involved two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers and two Japanese F-2 jet fighters, Japan's Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said in a news release.North Korea said on Wednesday it is considering a strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, hours after President Donald trump said any threat from Pyongyang would be met with "fire and fury.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea 's announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has touched off a series of fiery threats from President Donald Trump and upped tensions between Pyongyang and Washington to a whole new level.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea 's announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has touched off a series of fiery threats from President Donald Trump and upped tensions between Pyongyang and Washington to a whole new

This image made from video of a news bulletin aired by North Korea's KRT on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, shows what was said to be North Korea leader Kim Jung Un, center, applauding after the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea's northwest. North Korea’s announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has touched off a series of fiery threats from President Donald Trump and upped tensions between Pyongyang and Washington to a whole new level. (KRT via AP Video)© The Associated Press This image made from video of a news bulletin aired by North Korea's KRT on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, shows what was said to be North Korea leader Kim Jung Un, center, applauding after the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea's northwest. North Korea’s announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has touched off a series of fiery threats from President Donald Trump and upped tensions between Pyongyang and Washington to a whole new level. (KRT via AP Video)

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea's announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has touched off a series of fiery threats from President Donald Trump and upped tensions between Pyongyang and Washington to a whole new level.

Olympics: IOC monitoring North Korea crisis, 2018 Games 'on track'

  Olympics: IOC monitoring North Korea crisis, 2018 Games 'on track' The International Olympic Committee said on Thursday it was "closely monitoring" rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, less than 200 days before the 2018 Winter Olympics are set to begin in South Korea's Pyeongchang.The Games return to the country next year for the first time since the 1988 summer Olympics in Seoul. But what would be the first winter Games in Asia outside Japan and the first of three consecutive Olympics on the continent risk being overshadowed by the mounting crisis involving North Korea.

North Korea ’s announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has touched off a series of fiery threats from President Donald Trump and upped tensions between Pyongyang and Washington to a whole new level.

North Korea ’s announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has touched off a series of fiery threats from President Donald Trump and upped tensions between Pyongyang and Washington to a whole new level.

So are we all headed toward war?

If past precedent is any guide, the answer is no. Though it has been mostly lost as the current round of tough talk keeps escalating, North Korea just a few months ago conducted a similar rehearsal strike on a U.S. military base in Japan. And that missile test led to nary a tweet from Trump.

For sure, if Pyongyang were to go through with its planned launch of missiles toward Guam, it would be an extremely provocative move. But it is also one that the U.S. military has been watching develop for years, with fairly well-defined steps that have led to an ever more complicated and potentially dangerous situation — but not the outbreak of a nuclear war.

A look at what Pyongyang is up to, and how we got here:

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SETTING THE STAGE

Trump warns N. Korea that U.S. is 'locked and loaded'

  Trump warns N. Korea that U.S. is 'locked and loaded' President Donald Trump is warning of military action "should North Korea act unwisely." WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is warning of military action, saying the U.S. is "locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea 's announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has touched off a series of fiery threats from - 8/12/2017 7:14:14 AM | Newser.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea ’s announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has touched off a series of fiery threats from President Donald Trump and upped tensions between Pyongyang and Washington to a whole new level.

In March, at around the time of the biggest annual maneuvers between the U.S. and South Korea, the North fired four extended-range Scud missiles into waters off the Japanese coast in what was intended to be a mock attack on Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni.

Iwakuni is one of the main U.S. bases in Japan and was the staging point for F-35 stealth fighters believed to be training for precision strikes on North Korea against Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants.

The March missile launch was not as bold as the plan for Guam — the North didn't tell the world beforehand and deliberately sent the missiles much farther north than the base itself, an easy tweak. But the move sent a strong message that such an attack would be possible.

The public response from Trump then was muted. Nearly two weeks after the launch, he tweeted, without mentioning the missile test: "North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been 'playing' the United States for years. China has done little to help!"

Japan deploys missile defence over N. Korea threat to Guam

  Japan deploys missile defence over N. Korea threat to Guam Japan deployed its Patriot missile defence system on Saturday after North Korea threatened to fire ballistic missiles over the country towards the US Pacific territory of Guam, local officials and reports said. Regional tensions are mounting as Washington and Pyongyang ratchet up their war of words, with President Donald Trump warning Pyongyang would "truly regret" any hostile action against the US.Japan has in the past vowed to shoot down North Korean missiles or rockets that threaten to hit its territory.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea 's announcement that it is finalizing a plan to launch four ballistic missiles over Japan toward the island of Guam has Why are we asking this? We collect zip code so that we may deliver news, weather, special offers and other content related to your specific

Why are we asking this? We collect zip code so that we may deliver news, weather, special offers and other content related to your specific geographic area. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on the PGA Championship (all times local): 7:45 a.m. Chris Stroud is trying to catch up to co-leaders Hideki

Pyongyang, possibly emboldened by that and its two successful intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July, appears to be hoping to send an even stronger message for Trump to back off with its Guam plan, or maybe consider direct talks rather than military action.

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GIVING NOTICE

The biggest departure from North Korea's established pattern this time around was its decision to announce the details of the Guam plan.

Despite some frightened misinterpretations otherwise, it is not threatening to actually attack Guam. But if it does launch Hwasong-12 missiles to within 30-40 kilometers (18-24 miles) of the U.S. territory's shores, its stated goal, it would by any measure be an exceptionally provocative move.

That helps explain why it would decide to give prior notice. To keep the situation from getting too much out of control, it needed to explain itself on the record to defuse complaints from China and make sure Washington knew it wasn't the opening volley of a Korean War 2.0.

The concern over China's reaction is important.

China is the North's key trading partner and, although neither trusts the other very much, its biggest political buffer against pressure from Washington and its allies. Beijing, which is concerned about the implications for its own security that a nuclear North Korea poses, is almost certainly letting Pyongyang know of its concerns. Pointing to U.S. threats on Guam serves to rebut Chinese complaints, at least a bit.

South Korea Will Prevent War at All Costs, President Moon Says

  South Korea Will Prevent War at All Costs, President Moon Says South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that any military action against Kim Jong Un’s regime requires his nation’s approval, and vowed to prevent war at all costs. “There will be no war repeated on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said in a speech on Tuesday marking the anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation in the 1940s. Military action against North Korea should be decided by “ourselves and not by anyone else,” he said.While Moon said that South Korea would work with the U.S. to counter security threats, he emphasized the need to focus on diplomatic efforts.

So it’s not hard to see how firing missiles so close to Guam raises the stakes in the US- North Korean standoff in way the North ’s previous ballistic missile tests haven’t. So why Guam ? “I know we woke up to media reports of North Korea ’s talk of revenge on the United States,” he said.

Let’s talk about the North Korean air force, well according to the LTC, “There air force is not worth a shit!” Kim Jong might just be the smartest spoke in the ever spinning international wheel because he has raised the stakes enough to get a major payout. 5 Reasons Why NO WAR for North Korea .

But it could also use another familiar rationale.

North Korea sees annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises as a prelude for an invasion. The next big ones are set to start, on schedule, on Aug. 21. North Korean state media reports suggest Kim Jong Un could potentially sign off on the plan at about that same time.

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PULLING THE TRIGGER?

Pyongyang has explicitly and repeatedly stated its anger over U.S. B-1B bombers based in Guam conducting flyovers of the Korean Peninsula.

It could use the next one to justify sending its missiles toward Guam as something of a counter-display.

The B-1B bomber flights, though largely symbolic, are especially sensitive to Pyongyang because they represent a serious threat that North Korea's air defenses can't confidently protect against. Trump played that up on Friday by retweeting a U.S. Pacific Command tweet saying the bombers on Guam are ready to fulfill their "Fight Tonight" mission if called upon.

But there is also a lot of history here. The U.S. devastated most of North Korea's cities and infrastructure with a massive bombing campaign during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, in California, noted the link but cautioned that the North might want to conduct the launch with or without a B-1B flight to justify it.

"If we do stop flying bombers at them for a while, they can declare victory and go home, and then decide whether to do it at some later date in response to whatever," he said. "Whether they feel genuinely annoyed and threatened or simply see this as a way to justify more missile tests to the Chinese is a fair question."

"It certainly does make a statement," Pollack added. "Two can play at this game now."

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Eric Talmadge is the AP's Pyongyang bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter at EricTalmadge and Instagram @erictalmadge

North Korea: US cannot dodge ‘merciless strike’ .
North Korea on Sunday warned the U.S. it faces a "merciless strike" following "reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war. "North Korea declared it has the military capacity to target the mainland U.S. as well as the U.S. territory Guam in a strike the U.S. cannot "dodge," according to CNN.CNN reports the message was in the official government newspaper, Rodong Sinmun.The warning comes a day before the U.S. begins conducting annual military exercises with South Korea starting Monday.

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