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.
What We're Following See More »
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.