Archive for the ‘Kim Jong-il’ Category

Commanders: US ready for any North Korean missile

March 19, 2009

Two senior U.S. commanders said Thursday that the military is ready if called upon to shoot down North Korea’s planned rocket launch next month.

The top U.S. commander in the Pacific, Adm. Timothy Keating, told senators at a hearing that there was a “high probability” that the United States could knock down a North Korean missile. Gen. Walter Sharp, the U.S. commander in South Korea, said the threat “is real.”

Associated Press
The comments come as North Korea reportedly prepares for what many believe will be a long-range missile test in early April. North Korea says it will launch a communications satellite, and defends the launch by saying other countries have been pursuing peaceful space programs.

Keating said the United States is getting “reasonable intelligence” reports that give a close look at North Korea’s activities.

“We’ll be prepared to respond,” he said, adding that “the United States has the capability” to shoot down any missile.

Sharp said any launch would be a “very clear” violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution. “The threat,” he said, “is real, and it is felt in South Korea.” The U.S. has some 28,500 military personnel in South Korea.

“We call on North Korea not to act in this provocative manner,” Sharp said.

In his testimony, Sharp said North Korea continues to build missiles of “increasing range, lethality and accuracy” for sale in Syria and Iran and elsewhere and for its own forces.

The United States, he said, “cannot afford to overlook” the threat those missiles pose to Asia and the world.

Sharp said North Korea is struggling with attempts to balance increased contact with the outside world and the risks such contact poses to “regime control.”

That, Sharp said, “raises questions about the long-term viability of an increasingly stressed North Korean regime.”

Sharp also said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il “is in charge. Every major decision is coming directly from him.”

Kim, 67, reportedly suffered a stroke in August. North Korea denies he was ill.

North Korea, China, U.S., Japan: Missiles, Missile Defense, Naval Power At Sea

March 15, 2009

Kim Jong Il is obviously uncomfortable. As tens of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops staged an annual war-games exercise last week, he put North Korea’s military on alert. The real pea under his mattress, though, could be four battle cruisers that ply the Sea of Japan, just over the horizon from the Dear Leader’s beaches. These ships—two American, two Japanese—carry missiles capable of reaching North Korean nuclear-tipped rockets on their way to Japan, or even the satellite Kim has promised to put up any day now. U.S. Admiral Timothy Keating may have had these same missiles in mind when he threatened in late February to shoot down anything Kim felt emboldened to launch.

Related:
 US deploys warships as North Korea prepares to launch missile

By Fred Guterl
Newsweek
March 14, 2009
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The Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie launches a Standard Missile III off Kaua’i, Hawaii, 25 January 2001. The RIM-161 Standard missile 3 (SM-3) provides Lake Erie with the capability to shoot down ballistic missiles.

These four cruisers aren’t the only ships that act as a de facto antimissile defense. The U.S. Navy has 73 Aegis ships around the world equipped with missiles that can reach space targets—whether the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that carry nuclear warheads or satellites that fly in low earth orbit. As the Obama administration shows signs of backing away from plans to put missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic, this fleet of “Aegis” cruisers, as they’re called, may be called upon to take up the slack. U.S. Representative Ellen Tauscher, head of the House strategic forces subcommittee, praised recent progress on Aegis in hearings last month. “This was a major accomplishment that we should all take pride in,” she said. “The same cannot be said of the long-range” ground-based missile defense. However, there are reasons to doubt that relying on Aegis will be an effective military strategy in the long run.

Compared with land-based missile defense, Aegis has the advantage of proximity. Ships can go, with minimal diplomatic hassle, wherever the threat is greatest. Kim’s saber rattling, in fact, led the United States to supply Japan with Aegis equipment and know-how. Aegis, a combination of radars and interceptor missiles, was originally designed to defend battle cruisers against fighter jets. Technological improvements over the years gradually extended its range. The Bush administration funded a new interceptor—SM-3, for “standard missile”—capable of reaching the ICBMs Russia and China have and North Korea and Iran want. Tests suggest that it can fly fast and far enough to catch an ICBM shortly after leaving the atmosphere. That’s an impressive feat, but experts caution that these tests were “scripted” and didn’t take into account countermeasures an enemy might invoke. By the time a rocket leaves the atmosphere, it’s almost impossible for an interceptor missile to tell the difference between the warhead and a decoy balloon. “If I were to throw a rock at you, but warn you ahead of time, you’d probably be able to deflect it,” says Philip Coyle, former assistant deputy of defense in the Clinton administration and now an adviser to the Center for Defense Information in Washington, D.C. “But that’s not to say you could get every rock thrown in the room, or in the whole country.”

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORL
D/asiapcf/03/12/nkorea.launch/in
dex.html#cnnSTCText

File:USSLeyteGulfCG-55.jpg
Aegis cruiser USS Leyte Gulf

Tokyo is now developing a lighter, faster and more nimble version of the SM-3 that would come closer to hitting an ICBM at the end of its “boost phase,” before it had time to throw up decoys. The new version, expected to be ready in a few years, will travel twice as fast as the current one, but still too slow by half, says MIT missile expert Theodore Postol. The Navy has an Aegis missile on the drawing board designed to attain such speeds, though funding has yet to be approved.

This missile wouldn’t be a silver bullet either, says Postol. Even if the new interceptors hit their targets 100 percent of the time, they would still allow some warheads through. That’s because the warhead occupies a small volume of the missile, usually at the tip, and interceptors aren’t close to being able to sniff them out and make a direct hit. An airtight defense would require layers of redundancy—throwing lots of missiles at each ICBM—and could be countered easily by launching more ICBMs. “Missile defense encourages the enemy to do exactly what you don’t what them to do—build more missiles,” says Coyle. “I don’t know if Kim is worried, but he shouldn’t be.” Postol argues that putting missiles on drone planes, which could shoot down on ICBMs while they’re still rising off the launchpad, would work better than firing missiles from ships.

In one respect, Aegis is a completely effective weapon: it could easily take out low-flying military intelligence satellites. Does that confer a significant military advantage? Shooting down a nation’s satellite would be so provocative it’s hard to envision a scenario in which it would be a smart move. Besides, a hit on a 15-ton spy satellite would more than double the amount of space debris currently in orbit. That would make everybody uncomfortable.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/189255

 Sun Setting On American Superpower?

File:DDG-178MakingAshigara.jpg
A Japan Navt Aegis ship of the Kongo class

Related:
Obama Backs Off, Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

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China’s Love/Hate Relationship With The U.S

Obama Wasting America’s Strategic World Power; China Surges Despite Economy
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Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

Behind the U.S. and China At Sea Incident

China Buying Oil, Uranium, Gold, Other Products At Bargain Prices

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

North Korea to ‘Test Missile Capable of Striking U.S.’

February 3, 2009

SEOUL, South Korea —  North Korea is preparing to test fire a long range missile capable of striking the United States, according to media reports in South Korea and Japan this morning.

The Yonhap News Agency in Seoul quoted South Korean officials who described satellite image showing a long cylindrical object being transported on a train through the North Korean countryside. The sinister object has been identified as a Taepodong-2, an intercontinental missile with a range of more than 4000 miles, capable of crossing the Pacific and striking targets in Hawaii or Alaska.

The Times (UK)

It is impossible to confirm independently reports from North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated and hardline dictatorships, where government of information is almost total. But the country is known to have an active missile programme,…

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/
0,2933,487085,00.html

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new
s/world/asia/article5647653.ece

Related: North Korea seeking attention?
 Hey President Obama, what about North Korea?

Hey President Obama, what about North Korea?

January 24, 2009

Korea remains the forgotten war. Just ask United States President Barak Obama. “For us,” he declaimed at his inaugural, Americans “fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sanh”.

World Tribune
By Donald Kirk

 
Korean War Memorial, Washington DC

Korea? The Chosun Reservoir, from which U.S. Marines retreated in bloody defeat in “the coldest winter” of 1950-1951? The Pusan perimeter, which Americans defended against repeated North Korean assaults in the summer of 1950 before driving the invaders out of the south after the Inchon landing? Heartbreak Ridge and Pork Chop Hill – two of the hardest-fought battlegrounds of the Korean War? Forget it.

Clearly, Obama’s policy-making and speech-writing crew made a calculated decision. One can imagine the thoughts coursing through the collective brains of the incoming doyens of the White House and National Security Council and their aides and advisers from the think-tanks:

“Nah, don’t touch that one – might upset North Korea.  Kim Jong-il might see a mention as advance build-up for a pre-emptive strike. Nah, North Korea’s too sensitive, might throw off the nuke talks. Nah, we don’t want South Korea thinking we’re ready to support them with more arms.” Or, just as likely, “Nah, nobody cares about Korea.”

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North Korea Committed To Denuclearization

BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea is committed to removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and wants to co-exist peacefully, leader Kim Jong-il said on Friday in his first meeting with a foreign envoy since his suspected stroke in August.
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China’s state Xinhua news agency said Kim made the comments during a visit to Pyongyang by a senior Chinese official.

Kim Jong-Il, right, appeared with Chinese official  Wang Jiarui.

Kim Jong-Il, right, appeared with Chinese official Wang Jiarui.

Analysts have said a meeting with a foreign visitor would offer evidence that Kim, who U.S. and South Korean officials said fell seriously ill in August, was well enough to run Asia’s only communist dynasty and make decisions about its nuclear program.

“The North Korean side will commit itself to the denuclearization of the North Korean peninsula, and hopes to co-exist peacefully with other involved parties,” Xinhua news agency quoted Kim as saying.

Read the rest:
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/1/24
/worldupdates/2009-01-24T025233Z_01_NOOTR
_RTRMDNC_0_-376289-1&sec=Worldupdates

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/asiapcf/01/23/nkorea.china.kim/index.html