North Korea has launched several unidentified ground-based projectiles, assumed to be surface-to-ship missiles, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff announced.
“North Korea fired multiple unidentified projectiles, assumed to be surface-to-ship missiles, this morning from the vicinity of Wonsan, Gangwon Province,” the JCS statement said, according to the Yonhap news agency.
South Korea's military added that the missiles flew about 200 kilometers (124 miles).
The JCS is “maintaining full preparedness” and has “beefed up surveillance and vigilance against the possibility of additional provocations.” President Moon Jae-in was immediately notified of the launch, the statement added.
The last time North Korea conducted a missile launch was on May 29, when it fired at least one short-range ballistic missile. The projectile, believed to be a Scud-class missile, flew around 450 kilometers before landing in the Sea of Japan, some 300 km off the Japanese islands.
On Wednesday, the head of the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) told Congress that Pyongyang’s ballistic missile tests in the last six months have become cause for concern to the US and its allies in the region.
“It is incumbent on us to assume that North Korea today can range the United States with an ICBM carrying a nuclear warhead,” Vice-Admiral James Syring, director of the MDA, told the House Armed Services Committee.
Syring however assured US lawmakers that America has the ability to defend itself against the North Korean threat, citing the successful test of the GMD interceptor. He also stated that the US plans to conduct another GMD test towards the end of 2018.
The Vice-Admiral also told Congress that the MDA plans to deliver 36 more Standard Missile (SM-3) interceptors to the US Navy for use on Aegis cruisers and the land-based missile defense site in Romania. Another 52 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors will be delivered to the US Army.
In defiance of UN resolutions, North Korea has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the beginning of 2016. In response, the US has increased its military power in the region and introduced additional sanctions against Pyongyang. Washington has also been pressuring China to play a more constructive role in curbing Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs.
This development comes hours after US Missile Defense Agency head Vice Admiral James Syring told a House Armed Services Committee meeting that the progress Pyongyang is making in its missile capabilities is a cause for "great concern" and that the US should assume it is within range of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
This is North Korea's 10th missile test this year and its fifth since Moon, who has repeatedly expressed a desire to dial back tensions between the neighboring states, took office.
North Korea has continued its ballistic missile and nuclear weapon development program despite sanctions from the UN Security Council and international calls to cease its activities. Less than a week ago, the UN expanded its sanctions against the country after a unanimous vote by the Security Council.
The US, a frequent target of North Korean rhetoric, recently tested its ground-based missile defense system to hone its defense capabilities against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The system, which has a checkered record, was deemed successful by the Pentagon in its most recent tests.
In April, PJ Media warned of an imminent threat to the U.S. from North Korea – an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack from an orbiting satellite. We reported that North Korea already has two satellites orbiting the U.S. and that a nuclear weapon detonated over the U.S. from one could devastate our country, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions from the loss of critical infrastructure.
Shortly after our warning, the respected North Korea analysis site 38North published an article titled “A North Korean Nuclear EMP Attack? … Unlikely.” The author, relying on an incomplete and dated report, thought that North Korea would need a hydrogen bomb (thermonuclear weapon) in order to be a threat.
Now, 38North has a new piece on the topic -- “North Korea Nuclear EMP Attack: An Existential Threat.” The author is the former head of the congressional EMP Commission and is a foremost expert on EMP. This article adds to the PJ Media report by confirming that the yield of nuclear weapons already tested by North Korea is sufficient to be devastating. It refutes the prior article:
Thus, even if North Korea only has primitive, low-yield nuclear weapons, and if other states or terrorists acquire one or a few such weapons as well as the capability to detonate them at an altitude of 30 kilometers or higher over the United States. … the EMP Commission warned over a decade ago in its 2004 Report, “the damage level could be sufficient to be catastrophic to the Nation, and our current vulnerability invites attack."
The estimated 832 deaths and 912 injuries from the estimated 60 attacks that have taken place across about 19 countries during the first 12 days of this year’s holy Muslim month of Ramadan have already marked the bloodiest Ramadan in recent years for adherents of Islam.
Jihadists believe martyrdom is doubly rewarded in paradise during Ramadan. Jihadist groups encourage martyrdom among their sympathizers and followers, promoting the belief that they will be doubly rewarded if they fatally castigate infidels during Ramadan. The holy month this year is on track to surpass the deadliest and bloodiest Ramadan in the modern record: Ramadan 2016.
Ramadan 2016 featured 1,150 casualties — both death and injuries. This year, terrorists – namely the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), Taliban, and al-Qaeda, among other jihadists – have already killed or wounded more than 1,500 people across about 15 countries and there are still about 20 days left in the month.
If all of the deaths from the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan had been included, the total number would be much higher. The Religion of Peace website acknowledges their estimate is an undercount, so the number of Ramadan deaths and injuries could be higher.
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