American and Russian Analysts Expect North Korea to Test ICBM Soon

I found it interesting in the below article how the North Koreans have pretty much told the Russians they plan to conduct a ICBM test in the near term.  If so it will be additionally interesting to see what trajectory they use to test its full capability because if it lands too close to Hawaii or Alaska it could give the Trump administration the excuse it needs to conduct an attack to destroy their nuclear and missile programs:

The next rocket launch by North Korea could be another Hwasong-12 (HS-12), which is a mobile, solid-fueled, nuclear-capable medium-range ballistic missile, or the Hwasong-14 (HS-14), first tested in July, which is believed to be a two-staged version of the HS-12, giving it a longer and intercontinental range.

“I think they are not done with testing the HS-12 into the Pacific. They also have yet to start testing the HS-14 at anything like its full range,” said Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

“Once they have done that a couple of times, I would be concerned about the potential for an atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific,” Pollack, also editor of the Nonproliferation Review, told VOA.

Russian media on Friday quoted a lawmaker in Moscow as saying North Korea is preparing to test a long-range missile able to reach the West Coast of the United States.

The comment was made by Anton Morozov, a member of the Russian Duma’s international affairs committee, who was among lawmakers who returned home Friday after a four-day visit to Pyongyang for “high-level meetings.”

“They are preparing for new tests of a long-range missile. They even gave us mathematical calculations that they believe prove that their missile can hit the West Coast of the United States,” Russian media quoted Morozov, a member of a right-wing populist party, as saying.

“As far as we understand, they intend to launch one more long-range missile in the near future,” Morozov explained. “And in general, their mood is rather belligerent.”  [VOA News]

You can read more at the link.

North Korea’s UN Ambassador is Warning of More “Gift Packages” for the US

This statement from North Korea’s ambassador is said in way in which the Kim regime wants to blame the US for them conducting an ICBM test:

North Korea has warned it is ready to send “more gift packages” to the US if it continues to put pressure on the regime.

Han Tae Song, ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the UN in Geneva, was addressing the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament two days after his country detonated its sixth and largest nuclear test.

“I am proud of saying that just two days ago on the 3rd of September, DPRK succcessfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test for intercontinental ballistic rocket under its plan for building a strategic nuclear force,” Mr Han said.

He told the Geneva forum: “The recent self-defence measures by my country, DPRK, are a gift package addressed to none other than the US.

“The US will receive more gift packages from my country as long as it relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK,” he added.

It came after South Korean media citing an unidentified intelligence source said North Korea had been observed moving what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) towards its west coast.  [The Independent]

You can read more at the link.

North Korea Reportedly Readying an ICBM to Be Fired Over Japan

The next logical thing for the Kim regime to test would be an ICBM over Japan to complete this current provocation period:

North Korea may fire an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on a standard trajectory toward the North Pacific around its key anniversary following its sixth nuclear test, South Korea’s spy agency said Monday.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) told lawmakers in a closed session that Pyongyang may lob the missile around the anniversary of the regime’s foundation slated for Saturday or the establishment of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Oct. 10.

North Korea fired ballistic missiles, including two ICBMs fired in July, at a lofted angle to prevent them from crossing over other countries including Japan. But Pyongyang lobbed a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan last week.

“There is a possibility that the North would fire an ICBM on a standard trajectory,” the NIS was quoted as saying by lawmakers.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: Kim Jong-un Visits ICBM Parts Factory

Kim Jong-un at missile parts factory

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un tours the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science, according to North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on Aug. 23, 2017, without saying when the visit was made. The institute develops and produces parts for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). (Yonhap)

China Increases Threats Against THAAD Deployment in South Korea While Coddling North Korea

It seems like people in South Korea may finally be seeing how two faced China is, it just took a change in the ROK Presidential administration to confirm it:

Residents of Seongju County, North Gyeongsang Province, protest President Moon Jae-in’s order to consult with the U.S. over the temporary deployment of four more launchers of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery to a golf course in the country where two launchers have already been installed, during a press conference in front of the Ministry of National Defense in Yongsan, Seoul, Monday. / Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

China is remaining low key over North Korea’s purported successful test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Friday, while criticizing South Korea for its decision to deploy additional U.S. anti-missile launchers to deter Pyongyang’s military threats.

This is part of China’s “two-faced” policy of embracing North Korea as a buffer zone against U.S. military power and bullying South Korea to bring discord to the Seoul-Washington alliance, analysts said Monday.

China apparently toned down its rhetoric, turning a deaf ear to the international community’s condemnation of Pyongyang’s missile launch late Friday night.

It only asked North Korea to “observe the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and suspend activities that can heighten tension on the Korean Peninsula.”  (……..)

On the contrary, Beijing has intensified its protest against the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea, after Seoul decided to install four additional launchers of the system temporarily in addition to the two that are in operation.

On Saturday, the Chinese foreign ministry expressed “grave concerns” over the Moon Jae-in administration’s decision to deploy the additional THAAD launchers.

Saying it “firmly opposes” THAAD, the ministry said the U.S. missile shield “seriously” damages the balance of power in the region while violating China’s national interest. It has urged both Seoul and Washington to suspend the THAAD deployment and withdraw related equipment.  (…..)

“China’s long-term goal is to weaken the U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region, and North Korea’s progress in ICBM technology serves its purpose,” said Yang Uk, a senior research fellow at the Korea Defense and Security Forum. “This is because Washington, jointly with Seoul and Tokyo, will have to spend extra time and money against Pyongyang’s ICBMs while Beijing can go ahead with its plan to flex its muscles in the region. It’s no wonder China did not criticize Pyongyang as harshly as it did Seoul.”

“Under these circumstances, I must say China is colluding with North Korea and is being negligent in its duty as a permanent member of the UNSC,” a researcher at the Sejong Institute said on condition of anonymity.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but you have to love the claim from China that THAAD harms their national interests.  North Korean ICBMs do much more to harm the ROK and the United States’ national interests which China clearly does not care about.

US and South Korea Respond with Live-Fire Exercise After North Korea Tests 2nd ICBM

I will wait to hear what the US military releases publicly about how successful the warhead for this ICBM was before I believe anything the Kim regime puts out:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Saturday the second flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrated his country can hit the U.S. mainland, hours after the launch left analysts concluding that a wide swath of the United States, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of North Korean weapons.

The Korean Central News Agency said that Kim expressed “great satisfaction” after the Hwasong-14 missile reached a maximum height of 3,725 kilometers (2,314 miles) and traveled 998 kilometers (620 miles) before accurately landing in waters off Japan. The agency said that the test was aimed at confirming the maximum range and other technical aspects of the missile it says was capable of delivering a “large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead.”

Analysts had estimated that the North’s first ICBM on July 4 could have reached Alaska, and said that the latest missile appeared to extend that range significantly.

Immediately after the launch, U.S. and South Korean forces conducted live-fire exercises. South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo called for the deployment of strategic U.S. military assets — which usually means stealth bombers and aircraft carriers — as well as additional launchers of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system.

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the missile, launched late Friday night, flew for about 45 minutes — about five minutes longer than the first. The missile was launched on very high trajectory, which limited the distance it traveled, and landed west of Japan’s island of Hokkaido.

The KCNA quoted Kim as saying that the launch reaffirmed the reliability of the country’s ICBM system and an ability to fire at “random regions and locations at random times” with the “entire” U.S. mainland now within range. The agency said that the test confirmed important features of the missile system, such as the proper separation of the warhead and controlling its movement and detonation after atmospheric re-entry.  [Associated Press]

You can read more at the link, but if the Moon administration is now asking for the deployment of the four additional THAAD launchers doesn’t this mean that the current delay is entirely political?  The supposed environmental concerns delaying the emplacement of the four launchers doesn’t just go away after North Korea tests an ICBM unless there was never any serious environmental concerns in the first place.

North Korea Believed to Be Readying Next Missile Test for Anniversary of Korean War Armistice

It looks like the next missile test for North Korea could occur on July 27th the anniversary for the signing of the Armistice Agreement ending the Korean War:

“North Korea seems to be boasting of its plan to develop Pukguksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missiles that have become shorter but have higher engine output.”

Concerns of another ballistic missile test are looming as CNN recently reported satellite imagery and satellite-based radar emissions indicate Pyongyang may be testing components and missile control facilities for an intercontinental ballistic missile or intermediate range missile launch within the next two weeks.

There are forecasts Pyongyang could forge ahead with another provocation sometime around July 27th, the day of the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement that brought a ceasefire in the Korean War, and which is also the day when South Korea’s military said they will wait until for a response on proposed inter-Korean military talks.  [Arirang]

You can read more at the link.