Russia says North Korea to launch new ballistic missile…

“We have certain information on the type and characteristics of the rocket. However there is no precise information on the timing of its launch,” said a source in Russia’s General Staff. He added that Russia would monitor the launch.

He did not specify if it would be a long or short-range missile. In the past week, South Korean and American intelligence have identified a missile being moved to the Musudan launch pad, one of North Korea’s most commonly-used sites

Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, said a missile capable of hitting the West coast of the United States could be launched in mid-June.
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North Korea would use nuclear weapons in a ‘merciless offensive’…

North Korea today said it would use nuclear weapons in a “merciless offensive” if provoked — its latest bellicose rhetoric apparently aimed at deterring any international punishment for its recent atomic test blast.

The tensions emanating from Pyongyang are beginning to hit nascent business ties with the South: a Seoul-based fur manufacturer became the first South Korean company to announce Monday it was pulling out of an industrial complex in the North’s border town of Kaesong.

The complex, which opened in 2004, is a key symbol of rapprochement between the two Koreas but the goodwill is evaporating quickly in the wake of North Korea’s nuclear test on May 25 and subsequent missile tests.

Pyongyang raised tensions a notch by reviving its rhetoric in a commentary in the state-run Minju Joson newspaper today.
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NKorea violates SKorean waters amid high tension…

South Korea said a North Korean patrol boat entered its waters around their disputed maritime border Thursday but backed off after nearly an hour following repeated warnings. A senior American diplomat meanwhile cautioned Pyongyang that its bad behavior would no longer be rewarded.

The naval standoff came amid concerns that the North might try to provoke an armed clash in the area — the scene of deadly naval skirmishes in 1999 and 2002 — to stoke tensions that were already running high after Pyongyang’s nuclear test and a barrage of missile launches last week.

The regime has also conducted amphibious assault exercises near the sea boundary and appeared to be preparing for more missile tests.
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US issues threat to North Korea…

In what can only be interpreted as a direct threat, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told a regional security conference in Singapore on Saturday that the US would not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. “We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds its capability to wreak destruction on any target in Asia—or on us,” he warned.

The remarks followed North Korea’s second nuclear test on May 25 and its test firing of several short-range missiles. While the Obama administration is pressing for tough sanctions on Pyongyang by the UN Security Council, Gates used the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore for discussions with the Japanese and South Korean defence ministers for further measures against North Korea.

Gates played down any US military build up, saying Washington had no plans to reinforce some 28,000 American troops based in South Korea. However, according to a senior US defence official cited by the Wall Street Journal, Gates told his Japanese and South Korean counterparts that “we have to start planning and taking some actions on our own and with our allies to look at defences” if broader international efforts to pressure North Korea failed.
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Reports: North Korea prepares long-range missile launch…

North Korea has transported its most advanced missile, believed to be capable of reaching Alaska, to a launch site on its west coast near China, news reports said Monday.

The reclusive communist country was also reportedly bolstering it defenses and conducting amphibious assault exercises along its western shore, near disputed waters where deadly naval clashes with the South have occurred in the past.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the missile had been sent by train to the newly completed missile facility of Dongchang-ni, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) from the Chinese border.

Yonhap, quoting government sources, said the missile could be ready to launch in a week or two. South Korean media have speculated that the North wants to time the launch for around June 16, when South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has a summit in Washington with President Barack Obama.
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Ron Paul on North Korea…

North Korea test-fires missile, criticizes UN…

North Korea warned Friday it would act in “self-defense” if provoked by the U.N. Security Council, which is considering tough sanctions over the communist country’s nuclear test, and followed the threat with the test launch of another short-range missile.

The North fired the missile from its Musudan-ni launch site on the east coast, a South Korean government official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the matter. It is the sixth short-range missile North Korea has test-fired since Monday’s nuclear test.

The official did not provide further details. But the Yonhap news agency cited an unidentified South Korean government official as saying the missile is a new type of ground-to-air missile estimated to have a range of up to 160 miles (260 kilometers).
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US and Russian warships line up in dispute over Georgia…

US and Russian warships took up positions in the Black Sea today in a risky war of nerves on opposing sides of the Georgia conflict.

With the Russians effectively controlling Georgia’s main naval base of Poti, Moscow also dispatched the Moskva missile cruiser and two smaller craft on “peacekeeping” duties at the port of Sukhumi on the coast of Abkhazia, the breakaway region that the Kremlin recognised as independent yesterday.

The Americans, wary of escalating an already fraught situation, cancelled the scheduled docking in Poti of the US Coast Guard vessel, the Dallas, and instead sent it to the southern Georgian-controlled port of Batumi, 200km (124 miles) from the Russian ships, where it delivered humanitarian aid.

“Let’s hope we don’t see any direct confrontation,” said Dmitri Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, as the Russians challenged the US policy of using military aircraft and ships to deliver relief supplies.

“The decision to deliver aid using Nato battleships is something that hardly can be explained,” said Peskov. “It’s not a common practice.”
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South Korea and US troops raise alert level over North Korean threat…

North Korea threatened yesterday to attack any US and South Korean ships that try to intercept its vessels and tore up the truce that ended the Korean War in 1953.

A statement through the state newswire warned Seoul that North Korea “will no longer be bound by the armistice accord” and that “the Korean peninsula will go back to a state of war”.

Pyongyang’s anger was sparked by a decision by South Korea to join a US-led initiative to stop and search any ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction.

“We will deal a merciless retaliatory blow at any attempt to stop, check and inspect our vessels, regarding it as a violation of our inviolable sovereignty,” North Korea declared, through its official news agency.
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Defiant North Korea fires rockets, blames U.S….

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea defied international condemnation of its latest nuclear test by firing three short-range missiles off its coast on Tuesday and major powers considered tougher action against the isolated communist state.

With tension in the region high, South Korea said it would join a U.S.-led initiative to intercept ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction, something Pyongyang has warned it would consider a declaration of war.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a government source in Seoul as saying the North had test-fired one surface-to-air and one surface-to-ship missile off its east coast. The missiles had a range of about 130 km (80 miles).

Yonhap later reported that Pyongyang had fired a third short-range rocket on Tuesday.

North Korea also fired three short-range missiles on Monday and South Korean media quoted government sources as saying further missile tests were possible.
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North Korea tests nuclear weapon ‘as powerful as Hiroshima bomb’…

North Korea today risked further international isolation after it claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear weapon as powerful as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

The test comes less than two months after the North enraged the US and its allies by test firing a long-range ballistic missile.

The KNCA news agency, the regime’s official mouthpiece, said: “We have successfully conducted another nuclear test on 25 May as part of the republic’s measures to strengthen its nuclear deterrent.”

Officials in South Korea said they had detected a tremor consistent with those caused by an underground nuclear explosion. The country’s Yonhap news agency reported that the North had test-fired three short-range missiles from a base on the east coast immediately after the nuclear test.

The underground atomic explosion, at 9.54am local time (0154 BST), created an earthquake measuring magnitude 4.5 in Kilju county in the country’s north-east, reports said.
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Obama calls for action after North Korea nuclear test…

US President Barack Obama said the international community must act after North Korea’s “reckless” nuclear and missile tests on Monday, as calls grew for tougher action against Pyongyang.

“North Korea’s nuclear ballistic missile programs pose a great threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action,” Obama said ahead of a Memorial Day ceremony to honor war dead.

“The United States and the international community must take action in response.”

North Korea faced a swirl of condemnation from world capitals after it said it had detonated a nuclear bomb early Monday.

The test, the second following a October 2006 experiment, came despite international pressure on Pyongyang to rein in its nuclear program after years of stuttering disarmament talks.

United Nations Security Council members are expected to meet in an emergency session later Monday as countries ponder how to respond.
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North Korea conducts nuclear weapons test…

North Korea has announced that it tested a nuclear weapon this morning, triggering an artificial earthquake with a magnitude of 4.7….

“We successfully conducted another underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of measures aimed at strengthening our self-defence nuclear deterrent in every way,” said the state-run North Korean news wire.

“The latest nuclear test was safely conducted on a higher level in terms of explosive power and technology of its control and the results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology,” the report continued.

The test will “contribute to safeguarding our sovereignty and socialism and guaranteeing peace and safety on the Korean peninsula and the surrounding region,” it added.

The tremors from an earthquake were detected just before ten o’clock, around 230 miles north east of Pyongyang at a depth of just over six miles, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Lee Myung-bak, the South Korean president, called an emergency National Security Council meeting to discuss the situation. “Both South Korea and US intelligence agencies are analysing and closely monitoring the situation,” said a spokesman for his office.

He added that the South Korean government had been warned beforehand that a nuclear test was possible. At the end of last week, an unnamed South Korean Defence official was quoted saying that “brisk activity” had been detected along North Korea’s northern coast and that “trucks mounted with mobile rocket launchers are on the move”.

Taro Aso, the Japanese prime minister, said he would set up a task force in response to the test.

The Chinese Foreign ministry said it was investigating the situation and could not comment immediately. Diplomatic sources said they had been expecting a North Korean nuclear test, and said the rogue state was trying to increase pressure on the United States in a high-stakes negotiation.

“The reported test appears to be aimed at securing ultimate endorsement of its nuclear power status from the United States and bringing Washington to the negotiation table,” said Kim Sung-han, a professor at Korea University.

North Korea has repeatedly warned in the past month that it intends to restart its nuclear programme and build up its arsenal of nuclear weapons. Pyongyang was furious in April after the United Nations Security Council issued a rebuke against it for testing a long-range missile. The United States believed the missile was a weapon capable of striking continental America.
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Russia could deploy missiles near Poland: Officer…

MOSCOW – Russia could deploy its latest Iskander missiles close to Poland if plans to install U.S. Patriots on Polish soil go ahead, Interfax quoted a senior Russian officer as saying on Thursday.

Polish Deputy Defence Minister Stanislaw Komorowski told Reuters on Monday Warsaw wanted U.S. Patriot air defence missiles to be deployed this year regardless of whether President Barack Obama decided to press ahead with missile defence plans in Europe.

Moscow strongly opposes the missile shield proposed by Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, which aims to place a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. Russia says the shield is a threat to its security.

“Patriot systems, if they are deployed, will cover future work on installing a unit of the U.S. strategic air defence system with interceptor missiles in Poland,” Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified member of Russia’s general staff as saying.
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Medvedev again criticizes NATO exercise in Georgia…

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev criticized NATO’s exercises in Georgia and pushed for a new trans-Atlantic security treaty in remarks broadcast Friday.

He said NATO’s expansion eastward has created new divisions and hurt European security.

The United States, Canada, the European Union, NATO and alliances of ex-Soviet nations must take part in forging a new security pact, Medvedev said in an interview with Russian state television, fragments of which were broadcast Friday.
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Chinese and American ships clash again in Yellow Sea…

China demonstrated its growing naval confidence again in the latest standoff between American and Chinese ships.

The fifth such incident in two months occurred on Friday in the Yellow Sea when a US Navy surveillance ship turned its fire hoses on two Chinese fishing vessels.

A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the American ship was operating in China’s exclusive economic zone without permission and had violated Chinese and international laws. “We express our concern about this and demand the US side take effective measures to ensure a similar incident does not happen again,” he said.
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NATO needs another war to justify its useless existence…

NATO is beginning its large-scale military drills in Georgia today, May 6. A diplomatic scandal broke out between Russia and NATO shortly before the start of the drills. NATO expelled two Russian envoys from the headquarters of the alliance in Brussels on May 2. Official spokespeople for the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Belgium stated May 5 that the two Russian diplomats must leave the territory of the country. Russia’s Ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, stated that the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia and NATO members, which was slated to take place in May, would be delayed because of the decision.

In the meantime, the military command of a tank battalion in Georgia declared its insubordination to authorities. Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili arrived at the army base in Mukhrovani and soon announced that the mutiny had been suppressed. Saakashvili did not miss a chance to accuse Russia of plotting the mutiny although he did not give any evidence to prove that. interviewed Deputy Prime Minister of South Ossetia, Inal Pliyev, regarding the latest events in Georgia.

“What do you think of NATO’s current military drills in Georgia?”

“This step is being deliberately made to destabilize the situation in the Caucasus. Last year, Georgia attacked South Ossetia after similar military exercises had taken place in the country. A part of NATO’s military hardware, which was delivered for the drills, was left in Georgia.

“NATO intends to demonstrate its support to Georgia pushing it towards aggressive actions against Russia. Georgia tries to intimidate South Ossetia and Abkhazia too. NATO did not cancel the drills in Georgia to show everyone that it could rebel against Russia.

“Seven countries, including Kazakhstan, Armenia, Moldavia and Serbia, refused to take part in the drills after Russia set out its negative attitude to them. It means that Russia’s opinion is much more important to those countries than NATO’s opinion. Even Estonia and Latvia will not send their military men to the region.”
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NATO begins Georgia military exercises after mutiny…

TBILISI (AFP) – NATO on Wednesday began controversial military exercises in Georgia a day after the ex-Soviet republic said it had put down a military rebellion that had Russia‘s backing.

The month-long exercises involve at least 1,100 soldiers from more than a dozen NATO and non-NATO states in command and field exercises.

Georgia has lauded the exercises as a gesture of solidarity nine months after its brief war with Russia last summer, but Moscow has reacted angrily, with President Dmitry Medvedev calling them “an overt provocation.”
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Russia launches new defense satellite to increase military presence on near-Earth orbit…

Russian Space Forces conducted a successful launch of the Soyuz-U booster rocket with a defense satellite on board on April 29. The satellite, which entered the predicted orbit, will now be referred to as Kosmos-2450, officials of the Russian Space Forces said.

The launch was performed normally at 21:03 Moscow time. The satellite was launched to increase Russia’s orbital group of defense spacecraft, Itar-Tass reports.
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Russia criticizes NATO Georgia war games, urges boycott…

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday criticized NATO exercises in Georgia next month as harmful and said other countries should join Russia in boycotting them.

NATO had invited Russia to send observers to the near month-long exercises that will involve 1,300 troops from NATO members and other countries.

“Of course, Russia will not be participating and advises other countries against doing so,” Lavrov told a news conference. “We believe that these exercises, in the current environment, are harmful.
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