North Korea: Can now reduce US to ashes
North Korea said it had successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic rocket engine giving it the ability to stage nuclear strikes on the United States. The engine's ground test, if true, would be a big step forward for the North's nuclear weapons program. The KCNA agency quoted Kim as saying that the North can now target the US mainland and "reduce them to ashes."
In a show of military might, North Korea launched a long range rocket which allegedly put an object into orbit. The US and South Korea have assessed the launch to be a disguised ballistic missile test. The technology for ballistic missiles and commercial rockets are the same; hence, a successful launch could mean the North has developed advanced ballistic missile capabilities.
North Korea successfully detonated a miniaturized nuclear device at a northeastern test site, state media said. South Korea confirmed that the North had indeed carried out the test, and condemned it. The underground explosion could take North Korea a big step closer to its goal of building a nuclear warhead small enough to be mounted on a long-range missile that could target the US.
The United Nations Security Council ratified a new set of sanctions against North Korea for its underground nuclear test in an unanimous 15-0 vote. The vote came within hours of North Korea threatening to launch a "pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea." The tougher sanctions were imposed on its banks, travel and trade.
North Korea launched several short-range missiles into the sea making its defiance against UN ban more than visible. The weapons that flew about 310 miles before crashing into the ocean off the north-eastern coast were launched from a western North Korean province. Many believe that the test was in retaliation against military drills carried out by South Korea with the US.
North Korea successfully test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine on 9 May, making crucial progress in the state's military capabilities. USA reproached North Korea and asked it to refrain from raising international tensions. The test highlighted the fact that North Korea's missile capabilities were advancing despite the sanctions and trade embargoes enforced by the US and by the United Nations.
In January 2016, North Korea announced that it had successfully tested a Hydrogen Bomb, the fourth nuclear test conducted by the isolated nation. South Korean officials recorded a seismic event, but were unable to ascertain whether it was consistent with a nuclear explosion.
In Feb 2016, North Korea fired a long-range rocket, which a state TV announcer said was a successful attempt at placing a satellite in orbit. During this time, Kim Jong-un also claimed that they successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead for fitting on ballistic missiles. In March 2016, North Korea conducted several ballistic missile tests off its eastern coast, angering Japan and South Korea.
In response to the North's recent series of missile tests, the US imposed unilateral sanctions, freezing all North Korean assets in the US and threatening to isolate any country or individuals doing business with North Korea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing was opposed to any unilateral punishments against its ally in Pyongyang. Speaking to the press he said "the situation on the Korean Peninsula is complex and sensitive, we oppose any moves that may further worsen tensions there." China accounts for 90% of North Korea's trade and depends on North Korean coal exports for its industrial sector.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency said that North Korea has fired several short-range missiles into the waters off its east coast. The launches come three days after North Korea fired a medium-range missile off its eastern coast. Experts assess that the latest missile tests were in response to joint military drills being conducted by Washington and Seoul in South Korea.
North Korea released a new propaganda video showing a nuclear strike on Washington and then threatened South Korea with a "merciless military strike" for slandering leader Kim Jong-Un. The release comes 2 days after it carried out a live-fire drill simulating an attack on the South Korean president's official residence. Sources state the videos are in response to recent US-South Korea military drills.