George Friedman Believes War with North Korea is Imminent

Well respected geopolitical analyst George Friedman believes that the US military is currently posturing itself for war with North Korea:

The US is preparing to attack North Korea, according to Geopolitical Futures founder George Friedman — setting the stage for a difficult, messy war with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Speaking Monday to a rapt audience at the 2017 Strategic Investment Conference in Orlando, Friedman said that while it was unlikely the US would take action before President Donald Trump returns home at the weekend, North Korea’s actions appeared to have “offered the US no alternative” to a clash.

According to Geopolitical Futures analysis, evidence is mounting that the enmity between the two is escalating to a point where war is inevitable.

Friedman said that on May 20, the USS Carl Vinson supercarrier and USS Ronald Reagan were both within striking distance of North Korea.

Additionally, more than 100 F-16 aircraft are conducting daily exercises in the area, a tactic that foreshadowed the beginning of Desert Storm in 1991.

F-35 aircraft have also been deployed to the area, and US government representatives are expected to brief Guam on civil defense, terrorism, and Korea on May 31.

All of these strategic moves telegraph one outcome — conflict.  [Business Insider]

You can read more at the link, but I think posturing for war does not necessarily mean war is imminent.  The Trump administration may have the US military posturing for war to show the Kim regime they are serious about beginning negotiations to end their nuclear program.  If they don’t negotiate military force may be an option.  The problem is that the Kim regime likely does not believe that military force will be used because of the artillery threat to Seoul in response.

An imminent war with North Korea actually conflicts with Friedman’s prediction in his book “The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century”.  In the book he predicted no major war against North Korea and that the Kim regime would collapse leading to a unified Korean peninsula in the 2020’s.

ROK Troops Fire Shots at Possible Drone Flying Over the DMZ

It looks like the North Koreans have flown another drone over the DMZ:

South Korean troops fired warning shots at an “unidentified object” flying across the heavily fortified border from North Korea Tuesday afternoon, the South’s military announced.

The military detected the object traversing the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) southward in the Chorwon area in the eastern province of Gangwon at around 4 p.m., according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It added the South’s military fired warning shots along with dispatching a warning broadcast.

A defense source said the military fired more than 90 K-3 machine gun rounds, adding it may have been a drone.

The South’s military is analyzing the object and its route and has beefed up its air defense posture, said the JCS.  [Yonhap]

It looks like the ROK military needs to get themselves fielded with these systems to counter the drones North Korea is increasingly using.

Kim Jong-un Brags About Successful Missile Launch

As I expected Kim Jong-un seems pretty pleased with the recent successful ballistic missile launch:

North Korea said on Monday it has successfully tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile to confirm the reliability of the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead, indicating further advances in the ability to hit U.S. targets.

The North’s KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test which also verified the functioning of the solid-fuel engine for the Pukguksong-2 missile and ordered it for deployment in field action.

North Korea has defied all calls to rein in its nuclear and missile programs, even from China, its lone major ally, saying the weapons are needed for legitimate self-defense. The North last conducted a ballistic missile test a week ago.

“Saying with pride that the missile’s rate of hits is very accurate and Pukguksong-2 is a successful strategic weapon, he approved the deployment of this weapon system for action,” KCNA said, quoting leader Kim Jong Un.

The launch verified the reliability and accuracy of the solid-fuel engine’s operation and stage separation and the late-stage guidance of the nuclear warhead which was recorded by a device mounted on the warhead, KCNA said.

“Viewing the images of the Earth being sent real-time from the camera mounted on the ballistic missile, Supreme leader Kim Jong Un said it feels grand to look at the Earth from the rocket we launched and the entire world looks so beautiful,” KCNA said.

The missile flew about 500 kilometers (310.69 miles), reaching an altitude of 560 km, and landed in waters off the North’s east coast, South Korea’s military said on Sunday.  [Yahoo News]

You can read more at the link.

North Korea Test Fires Another Long-Range Ballistic Missile

It looks like the North Koreans may have pulled off another successful missile test pending further analysis:

North Korea fired a ballistic missile that flew about 500 kilometers, Sunday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

This marked the North’s second missile provocation since President Moon Jae-in was sworn in May 10. The first was launched May 14.

President Moon immediately ordered the new chief of the National Security Office, Chung Eui-yong, to preside over a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council (NSC) at Cheong Wa Dae. Chung was appointed to the post earlier in the day.

“North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile in the eastern direction at around 4:59 p.m. from the vicinity of Pukchang in South Pyongan Province,” the JCS said in a release. “Flight distance is about 500 kilometers.”

The JCS noted the characteristics of the missile were presumed to be similar to the “Pukguksong-2” intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) fired in February. At the time, the North’s state media said its IRBM used a high-thrust solid fuel-powered engine, marking the first time it tested a solid-fueled, surface-to-surface missile that has more than a medium range.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

How Long Does It Take for A North Korean Missile to Hit Seoul?

If you live in Seoul and you are wondering how long it would take for North Korea to nuke you, here you go:

The Associated Press(AP) reports that it takes zero to six minutes for a North Korean missile to hit Seoul, around ten minutes to hit Japan and 30 to 39 minutes to reach the capital of the United States.

The AP revealed the data on Wednesday, citing David Wright, scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and missile analyst Markus Schiller at ST Analytics, a space technology and rocketry consulting company in Germany.

The two experts said if North Korea launches a strike against South Korea using its conventional artillery north of the Demilitarized Zone, the first wave of shells could land with essentially no warning.  [KBS World Radio]

You can read more at the link.

President Moon Wants North Korea to Answer the Phone

I am sure if the South Koreans pay the North Koreans enough in “aid” someone will pick up the phone:

South Korea urged the North to pick up the phone, saying it’s time for the rivals to reopen communication channels that have been suspended for more than a year amid rising tensions.

The top U.S. commander in the Pacific, meanwhile, warned that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is “a recipe for disaster,” three days after the communist state test-fired what some said was its most successful missile.

The hotline at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula has been dormant since North Korea severed the channels after Seoul closed a joint industrial complex in the border city of Kaesong.

A unification ministry spokesman in Seoul said Wednesday that the lines haven’t technically been cut, but North Korean officials have not responded to near daily calls from their counterparts in the South.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Analysts Believe North Korea May Have Been Behind WannaCry Cyberattack

Via a reader link comes speculation that the recent massive global cyberattack may have been a North Korean operation:

The WannaCry ransomware that attacked computers in 150 countries has lines of code that are identical to work by hackers known as the Lazarus Group, according to security experts. The Lazarus hackers have been linked to North Korea, raising suspicions that the nation could be responsible for the attack.

The connection was made by Google security researcher Neel Mehta, who pointed out similarities between WannaCry and malware used by Lazarus, the group that’s been blamed for the Sony Pictures hack of 2014 and for stealing millions of dollars from a Bangladeshi bank in 2016.

After Mehta highlighted the elements in the code, other researchers confirmed similarities that early versions of WannaCry (also called WannaCrypt, Wana Decryptor or WCry) shared with malware tools used by Lazarus.  [NPR]

You can read more at the link, but I can easily see this cyberattack as something the Kim regime would do.  With that said when I read about the cyberattack the first thing I thought was I was glad I use an Apple computer.  😉