On Saturday, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), in an editorial published in the state-owned newspaper Rodong Sinmun, suggested that the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch by the country was "not too far away," according to Yonhap.
"The series of recent strategic weapons tests show that we are not too far away from test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile," according to a Rodong Sinmun editorial, cited by Yonhap.
In an annual January 1 address, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un claimed that Pyongyang would accelerate its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development as a means of self-defense.
Following Pyongyang's Saturday ICBM announcement, all eyes are now upon the increasingly isolated nation as they strive to reach their stated goal of having the ability to strike the US mainland with an atom bomb.
Heavily sanctioned by the United Nations and the West for its continued ballistic missile testing, the ongoing DPRK weapons program has seen five tests since May 10, including an unknown number of 125-mile short-range anti-ship cruise missiles fired from launchpads on its eastern coast several days ago, according to reports from South Korean military sources.
"The great success of test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile, which we are sure to achieve, will mark a historic watershed moment in the failure of the US hostile policy against us," stated the DPRK newspaper on Saturday.
A flotilla of Iranian warships departs for the Gulf of Oman amid an ongoing diplomatic crisis on the Arabian Peninsula.
"An Iranian naval flotilla will depart to Oman on Sunday and then will go to the north of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden," the public relations of the naval forces of the army said in a statement published on the Iranian Tasnim news agency.
The 47th flotilla, comprised of one destroyer and one logistics warship, began its mission Sunday, after a ceremony attended by naval commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
"Today, there is some controlled insecurity in the Gulf of Aden and we have been able to escort over 4,000 oil tankers and cargo ships to the safe regions without any disruption in our plans for oil and non-oil exports and imports," Admiral Sayyari told Fars News Agency on Sunday.
The move comes amid a crisis in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar for allegedly supporting "extremism."
Doha has denied all allegations, insisting it has been leading the region in attacking what it called the roots of "terrorism." Qatar says it has given young people hope through jobs, educated hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and funded community programs to challenge the agendas of armed groups, the news agency reports.
In the meantime, violence continues in the Gulf of Aden as Saudis fight Houthi rebels in Yemen and pirates from Somalia try to profit from the ongoing chaos.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s party topped the first round of voting in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, putting him on course for an overwhelming majority to implement his program of ambitious reforms.
Estimates based on partial results showed Macron’s year-old Republique en Marche (Republic on the Move, REM) and its ally MoDem on 32.2-32.9 percent, ahead of the right-wing Republicans on 20.9-21.5%. The far-right National Front (FN) was seen third with 13.1-14%.
Seat projections showed Macron’s camp going on to win between 390 and 445 seats in the 577-member National Assembly after next Sunday’s second round — continuing his centrist revolution which has left France’s traditional parties in tatters.
The results showed Macron continuing to impress the French, a month after being elected France’s youngest-ever president on May 7.
Since then he has won praise for appointing a balanced cabinet that straddles the left-right divide and taking a leading role in Europe’s fight-back against US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a global climate accord.
If the seat projections are confirmed next week he will have a strong mandate to push through the ambitious labor, economic and social reforms he promised on the campaign trail.
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