North Korea on Tuesday staged a live-artillery exercise in waters near the South, and the regime issued a fresh nuclear warning, news reports said.
Roughly 50 munitions were fired from two coastal military facilities in the afternoon, the Yonhap News Agency reported. South Korea was notified ahead of time about the maritime exercise and did not return fire as no North Korean shell crossed into its territory.
Meanwhile, a powerful North Korean military body on Monday threatened to do “more than nuclear tests” in response to recent international warnings on the matter.
“The world is making all the guesses and conjectures that our new nuclear test and the rocket launch will develop into a boosted fission weapon or a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the North Korean National Defense Commission said in a statement quoted by the Choson Ilbo newspaper.
“If you ask us to tell the truth, we will not deny that we are capable of doing more than these speculations,” the defense commission said.
The United States and South Korea are keeping a close eye via satellites on the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where personnel appear to be in the thick of preparations for an expected fourth underground atomic trial. U.S. President Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Friday warned that Pyongyang could expect more sanctions and an end to any hope of reviving a moribund aid-for-denuclearization process if it proceeds with the test.
In related news, the South Korean government on Monday authorized a plan to boost domestic missile defenses by upgrading existing interceptors and purchasing more-capable systems from the United States, the Korea Times reported.
Under the approved plan, the South would acquire as many as 100 Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles between 2016 and 2020 and would seek to buy upgrades for its 48 PAC-2 systems through a competitive bid process, the Korea Herald reported.
The new interceptors and missile upgrades will be used to boost the effectiveness of the country’s Korea Air and Missile Defense framework, which is designed to counter lower-altitude ballistic missiles fired by North Korea.
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When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.