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UPDATES ON THE NORTH KOREA SITUATION

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The US State Department has stated that the international campaign to pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear and ballistic missiles program is working, in spite of the rogue regime’s testing of a hydrogen bomb and the firing of a missile over Japan in recent days.

Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the State Department, has reassured reporters that the pressure on North Korea was having an effect. Nauert stated:

“Now when you see a test that took place on Sunday, you may think, ‘Goodness, that is not working.’ But that is not the case, and here’s why. It can take a long time for a pressure campaign to work. It is not an overnight thing, it’s not a big, sexy military option. This is handled very, very differently. “

Nauert continued:

“We will continue to push forward with this campaign. We are having success. This all will take time.”

President Trump has stressed that all options are on the table in dealing with North Korea.  However, the President has stated that a military strike on the rogue communist state would be a “very sad day for North Korea.” The President stated at a press conference with the emir of Kuwait:

“We would have to look at all of the details, all of the facts, but we’ve had presidents for 25 years now, they’ve been talking, talking, talking, and the day after an agreement is reached, new work begins in North Korea, continuation on nuclear. I’m not negotiating with you. Maybe we’ll have a  chance to negotiate with somebody else, but I don’t put my negotiations on the table, unlike past administrations. I don’t talk about them. But I can tell you that North Korea’s behaving badly, and  it’s got to stop.”

NORTH KOREA TESTS HYDROGEN BOMB

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South Korean officials have confirmed that a blast at a North Korean nuclear testing site was caused by the detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

According to the South Korean newswire service, Yonhap, officials observed a 5.7 magnitude seismic event near the Punngye-ri nuclear testing site at about 12.30pm, local time. Tremors could even be felt in north east China.

North Korean state television announced the test to be ‘a perfect success’ and even published photographs of Kim Jong Un directing the test.  North Korea’s state newspaper, Rodogon Sinmun, reported on Sunday:

“All components of the H-bomb were homemade and all the processes ranging from the production  of weapons-grade nuclear materials to precision processing of components and their assembling  were put on the Juche basis, thus enabling the country to produce powerful nuclear weapons as  many as it wants.”

The United Nations has issued a statement, passed by all fifteen members, condemned North Korea and has accused them of “deliberately undermining regional peace and stability and [having] caused grave security concerns around the world.”

Donald Turk, President of the European Council, released a statement condemning North Korea:

“The EU stands ready to sharpen its policy of sanctions and invites North Korea to restart dialogue on its programmes without condition. We call on the UN Security Council to adopt  further U.N. sanctions and show stronger resolve to achieve a peaceful denuclearization of  the Korean peninsula.”

British Prime Minister, Teresa May, stated:

“The international community has universally condemned this test and must come together to continue  to increase the pressure on North Korea’s leaders to stop their destabilizing actions.”

French President, Emmanuel Macron, stated:

“The international community needs to deal with this latest provocation with the greatest firmness,  so that North Korea will restart dialogue without conditions and proceed with the complete,  verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear and ballistic weapons programs.”

President Donald Trump tweeted:

“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”

President Trump continued:

“North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”

US Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis, has met with President Trump and Vice President, Mike Pence, to discuss the situation. Outside the White House, Mattis made a brief statement:

“We have many military options, and the President wanted to be briefed on each of them.”

Mattis continued:

“We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack, and our commitments among our allies are ironclad. Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response – a response both effective and overwhelming.”

Mattis continued:

“Kim Jong-un should take heed the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice. All members  unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses, and they remain unanimous in their commitment  to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, because we are not looking to the total  annihilation of a country, namely North Korea.”

Republican Senator from Missouri, Roy Blunt, told NBC’s Meet the Press that nearby countries should do everything in their power to force North Korea to ease tensions. According to Blunt, the rogue communist state has been a topic of discussion in Senate Intelligence Committee meetings. Blunt said:

“In the intel committee that I serve on, I think it doesn’t disclose anything to say in that in the last year this has probably been the number one topic month after month –  what was happening there, what are we going to do about it – and I hope the neighbourhood understands how critical this is.”

Blunt went on to refer to Kim Jong Un as “spoiled and reckless”:

“You’ve got a leader who is both spoiled and reckless. Spoiled and reckless is not a unique thing to find in the world today, but it is unique with somebody who has control of what may now be hydrogen weapons.”

The US is strongly considering issuing further trade sanctions to cut off North Korea. These sanctions may include Chinese banks and businesses doing trade with North Korea. US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, said in an interview on Fox News on Sunday:

“We are going to strongly consider everything at this point and, again, I will draft a package  for [President Trump’s’ strong consideration that would go as far as cutting off all trade and  other business.”

NORTH KOREA FIRES MISSILE OVER JAPAN

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South Korea has confirmed that North Korea has fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Hokkaido, the second largest and northernmost island of Japan.

Speaking at a briefing in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, commented that tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world were “now at a tipping point approaching a crisis.”

President Trump commented on the incident:

“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signalled  its contempt for its neighbours, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards  of acceptable international behaviour.”

President Trump has stated that all options are on the table in response to the incident. President Trump said:

“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signalled its contempt for its neighbours,  for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behaviour.”

President Trump continued:

“Threatening and destabilising actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table”.

Meanwhile, following a forty-minute phone call with President Trump, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, called on the United Nations to place more pressure on the rogue communist state:

“We must immediately hold an emergency meeting at the United Nations, and further strengthen  pressure against North Korea.”

Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of North Korea, has confirmed that the incident was a clear warning to the United States and her allies:

“The US should clearly understand its rival. Its threats may work on some countries, and some others have yielded to the bluffing of the US. The DPRK remains unshakeable in its stand not to put its nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table nor flinch even an inch from the road of bolstering the nuclear force.”

NORTH KOREA THREATENS US

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North Korea has vowed to strike the US with “thousand-fold” revenge in response to recent sanctions imposed upon them by the UN. These sanctions came as a result of the rogue nation’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, has described these sanctions as “crimes” and as a “violent violation of their sovereignty.”  Meanwhile, their foreign minister threatened at the ASEAN summit:

“There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the ocean.”

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has vowed not to back down in the face of North Korea’s threats, telling Fox News that “we are not going to run scared from them.” As with all bullies, North Korea will only remain strong as long as they feel others are intimidated by them.

TENSIONS RISE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND NORTH KOREA

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Tensions are rising between the United States and North Korea. Last week, the Pentagon confirmed that the rogue communist state had successfully tested its second intercontinental ballistic missile.

Democrat Senator for California, Diane Feinstein, has called North Korea a “clear and present danger” to the United States.  Similarly, Republican Senator for Ohio, Rob Portman, has questioned White House officials on why the rogue state has not been designated a state sponsor of terrorism – especially following the murder of Otto Warmbier by North Korean authorities.  The chair of the Senate subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity, the Republican Senator for Colorado, Cory Gardner, has stated:

“It is clear, whether it’s the murderous actions the regime has taken against its own people,  others, the imprisonments that they continue to be responsible for, whether it’s the missile launches that continue, whether it’s interaction with Iran, this decision needs to be a redesignation of that state sponsor of terror.”

North Korea’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism was removed in 2008 as a result of the Perry Initiative. The removal of the designation came with the proviso that North Korea disable its plutonium production and meet other standards. It has consistently failed to do so.