Tweet of the Day: North Korean Missile Launch Burned Soldier to Death?

North Korea Says Naval Blockade Will Be An Act of War

It looks like the Kim regime knows a naval blockade would greatly affect them and thus are letting people know early on they will respond militarily if one is implemented:

North Korea lashed out at the United States on Sunday over the possible use of a naval blockade in the wake of its recent missile provocation, warning that it would consider such a move as a “declaration of war.”

The condemnation came after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently mentioned the “right to interdict maritime traffic transporting goods” to and from the North after its Nov. 29 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

“We will regard the naval blockade of the United States and its followers as an act of violence against the sacred sovereignty and dignity of the Republic of Korea and as another public declaration of war,” the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s ruling communist party newspaper, said in a commentary.

The paper added, “If we see a small movement to put the maritime containment into practice, we must be prepared to follow our immediate and ruthless self-defensive response.”

The Korean Central News Agency, the North’s official newswire service, filed a similar report in English on Friday saying, “The U.S. moves for sea blockade can never be tolerated as they constitute a wanton violation of the sovereignty and dignity of an independent state.”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

North Korean White Paper Claims Kim Regime is Defender of Human Rights

This claim is about as accurate as Kim Jong-un claiming he climbed Mt. Paektu:

North Korea claimed itself to be a bastion of human rights in a white paper released Saturday, defying international criticism of its long-standing abuses.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), monitored in Seoul, reported that the Human Rights Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences issued a white paper Saturday that attempts to “clarify who has defended human rights and who has violated them.” DPRK is short for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

According to the KCNA’s English-language report, the white paper states: “The DPRK is a country where genuine human rights are firmly protected and successfully put into practice as the working masses’ democratic freedom and rights are most thoroughly defended and most brilliantly realized.”

The report said the white paper also slammed the United States for “styling itself a human rights judge” while finding fault with human rights records in other nations and accused Washington of trying to justify its own human rights violations.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Kim Jong-un Claims to Have Climbed Mt. Baekdu

Let me guess he probably ran all the way up the mountain in record time and then swam completely around its icy cold lake before skiing back down the mountain and shooting targets depicting evil Yankee imperialists all at the same time:

This photo released by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Dec. 9, 2017, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at Mount Paektu.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has scaled the country’s highest mountain to emphasize his military vision, Pyongyang’s state media reported Saturday.

Kim climbed Mount Paektu with ranking military officials, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, adding that he recalled “the emotion-charged days when he realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force,” after reaching the peak.

North Korea last month claimed that it has successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-15, that is capable of hitting anywhere in the U.S., and declared that the launch marks the completion of its nuclear armament.

North Korea considers Mt. Paektu a sacred site. The KCNA explained that it is associated with the “revolutionary careers of the great leaders and serves as the mental mainstay of the invincible DPRK.” DPRK is the abbreviation for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  [Yonhap]

You can read the rest at the link.

Activist Groups Want to Pay Off Kim Jong-un with Humanitarian Aid

It is amazing to me that people continue to think humanitarian aid will be distributed in North Korea transparently and to the people who really need it:

Kenneth Bae, the president of Nehemia Global Initiative, speaks during a session of the International Forum for One Korea in Seoul Dragon City, Thursday. From left are Ahn Chan-il, head of the World North Korea Research Center; Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea; Kang Young-sik, the secretary-general of humanitarian aid group Korean Sharing Movement (KSM); Lee Young-jong, the director at Unification Research Center of JoongAng Daily; Bae; Kim Hun-il, the secretary-general of Unitas; and Joo Hyun-lip, head of projects at the North Korea Service for Peace Foundation. / Courtesy of Global Peace Foundation

Humanitarian aid for North Korea should continue to better connect the people in the country with the outside world despite heightened missile threats by its regime, civic activists said Thursday.

“North Koreans should be informed that the outside world actually cares about them,” said Kenneth Bae, president of the Nehemia Global Initiative who was once detained in a North Korean labor camp. “Helping North Koreans open their minds to the outside world is critical to prepare for a unified Korea.”

Kang Young-sik, secretary-general of the humanitarian aid group the Korean Sharing Movement (KSM), added, “Humanitarian assistance still does the role of enhancing North Koreans’ human rights. As long as transparency of the distribution process is secured, it should be further facilitated.”

These views were shared during the International Forum for One Korea sponsored by the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) and the U.S.-based think tank the EastWest Institute.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but any aid to North Korea will be considered tribute to Kim Jong-un.  Additionally every dollar of aid to North Korea is one more dollar they can invest in their military.

Article Claims that F-35 May Help With Intercepting North Korea’s ICBMs

Here is yet another good idea fairy in regards to defeating North Korea’s ICBMs:

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., raised more than a few eyebrows (and drew a few rolled eyes) when he suggested in November that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could intercept North Korean missiles headed for the United States. Hunter cited analysis from Los Alamos National Labs and other sources, according to Inside Defense.

Turns out the F-35 may be an ICBM buster after all, or at least be helpful toward that end. On Tuesday, Northrop Grumman called a small group of journalists to its offices in Linthicum, Maryland, to show the results of a 2014 experiment conducted with the Missile Defense Agency, or MDA.

The U.S. has no foolproof way to down a North Korean ICBM. Physics says the best opportunity comes during “boost phase,” as the rocket is leaving the launch pad. But DPRK anti-aircraft defenses make it difficult for the U.S. to get a weapon close enough to do any good. That’s why the Pentagon is looking at elaborate, futuristic concepts like arming drones with missile-killing lasers.

But the F-35 is studded with sensors like no other aircraft, including the Distributed Aperture System, or DAS, a half-dozen 17-pound electro-optical and infrared sensors. These feed a helmet-mounted display that allows the pilot to effectively “see through the plane” and spot incoming aircraft and missiles.

In October 2014, Northrop and MDA launched FTX-20, an experiment to see, among other things, whether the DAS could track an enemy ICBM. They took data from the sensors, ran it through algorithms developed by Northrop and MDA’s Enterprise Sensor Lab, generated a 3D-moving picture of the missile’s trajectory, and conveyed it over the Link 16 tactical data exchange. This kind of targeting data can help cue the U.S.Navy’s anti-ballistic missile destroyers or short- and intermediate-range missile defenses like the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile battery deployed in South Korea.  [Defense One]

You can read the rest at the link, but feeding data to Patriot, Aegis, and THAAD systems will not defeat North Korea’s ICBMs.  These systems are not designed to intercept ICBMs, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system is.  That is why people who understand missile defense would have rolled their eyes at Rep. Hunter’s claim.

Additionally even the feeding of data to these systems to help with cueing the sensors to North Korean launches is of little value considering the US already has two AN/TPY-2 radar sites in Japan that provide much better cueing data.  This all adds up to limited value of the capability the F-35 provides in regards to North Korea launches.