Rating agency Standard & Poor's has said that the tensions in the Korean Peninsula are not high enough to downgrade South Korea's sovereign rating.
"As long as there is no actual war outbreak, I think the impact is relatively limited, and that's why we don't change our outlook on the rating of South Korea," Kim Eng Tan, senior director of Asia-Pacific sovereign ratings at S&P, was quoted as saying by a Korean newspaper.
14, 08.00 What happened when we were asleep?
The US State Department issued a statement saying they haven't given up on diplomacy to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. Deaprtment spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the department is "realistic" but also "optimistic" that diplomacy will resolve the issue, expressing satisfaction with the new UN Security Council resolution against the North.
The Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (KAPPC), a North Korean communist organisation, demanded that that the United States be "beaten to death" like a "rabid dog" for pushing fresh UN sanctions on Pyongyang over its latest nuclear test and added that ally Japan should be "sunken into the sea".
19:37 North Korea is one of the world’s most secretive major exporters of small arms such as including Kalashnikovs, rockets and machine guns, according to a report of experts in Geneva. The Small Arms Survey Trade Update 2017 survey states that among 55 percent of nations who trade in small arms, the USD 6 billion market remains a murky industry in which weapons find their way into the hands of terrorists or are used by states to carry out human rights abuses.
The survey singles out North Korea along with nations such as Saudi Arabia and Iran on transparency of small arms. "The five least transparent major small arms exporters are: Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the UAE. These states do not provide information on their small arms exports to Comtrade or the UN Register,” the survey states.
"North Korea has received a score of 0 in every edition of the Transparency Barometer to date. It has never provided information on its small arms exports to Comtrade or the UN Register.30 In 2013, Comtrade recorded the highest value for North Korean small arms exports: USD 300,000," it says.
17:30 North Korea vowed today to accelerate its weapons programmes in response to "evil" sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council following its latest and most powerful nuclear test. The North says it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself from "hostile" US forces and analysts believe Pyongyang's weapons programme has made rapid progress under leader Kim Jong-Un, with previous sanctions having done little to deter it. Read the full story here.
16.17 US-based defence analysts have said that North Korea has resumed work at its underground nuclear weapon testing site.
After studying recent satellite images, the analysts said they had detected new vehicles, mining carts and other signs of activity at the Punggye-ri underground nuclear test site in northeast North Korea.
15.21 In a well-rounded piece published today, Michelle Ye Hee Lee of the Washington Post talked about how South Korea now wants nuclear weapons of its own. Not too long ago, this was a fringe idea. But now that the threat from North Korea is escalating every passing day, the argument for South Korea to arm itself with nukes is gaining steam. Read the full story here.
15.15 Chinese expert on Korean Studies Lü Chao has said that he does not believe imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea will result in the rogue nation giving up its nuclear weapons program.
"The US and its allies Japan and South Korea hope to suffocate North Korea and overturn its regime through economic and military pressure, but this will not work because China and Russia will not accept this, as it will affect their national interests and jeopardize the regional strategic balance," Lü said in an interview to Global Times. Read the full story by Global Times here.
15.06 In a statement yesterday, the Russian agriculture ministry said that Russia is ready to develop cooperation with the United States in the field of agriculture. The statement said Russia eyes promoting US investments in its agricultural sector.
15.05 The US State Department on Tuesday said that the current diplomatic row between Russia and the United States should not be escalated.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he believed that "no further escalatory action is necessary at his point" and that both countries should look ahead and try strengthening their ties.14.53
14.51 "Of course, we take these proposals with interest. A creative look and approach to the situation are very much in demand," Ryabkov said when asked what Russia made of Merkel's statement. "But, saying this, I cannot but also say that complete and direct parallels between the two situations are probably already impossible, because the DPRK, unlike Iran, is a country that has already really mastered nuclear weapons technologies at least to a degree that allows Pyongyang to test nuclear explosive devices and move in the direction of constant improvement of delivery systems in the form of ballistic missiles."
14.50 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said that Russia is considering German Chancellor Angela Merkel's proposal of an Iran-like negotiation with North Korea with interest, but direct parallels between the situations are almost impossible.
14.47 Even as some politicians have called for the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, the Moon Jae-in-led South Korean government has repeatedly declared its opposition to the idea, noting that it “remains committed to the principle of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.”
14.43 North Korea may be facing a shortage of oil at the moment and it does not have any oil reserves of its own either. But the rogue nation may be sitting on minerals worth trillions of dollars, including rare earth minerals and precious metals like gold and silver. Estimates over the last decade by South Korean authorities have pegged North Korea's deposits of coal, iron ore, zinc, copper, graphite, gold, silver, magnesite, molybdenite, and many others, to be worth between USD 6 trillion and USD 10 trillion. Read the full story by RT here.
14.33 Business Korea has reported that the leaders of South Korea, the United States and Japan have started discussing ways to hold a summit meeting in New York during the 72nd regular session of the UN General Assembly scheduled for next week.
14.31 Chinese traders along the North Korean border and some regular visitors to the hermit nation have said that scarcer and costlier fuel, as well as earlier UN sanctions banning the export of commodities such as seafood and coal, are now taking a toll. Several Chinese traders said the sanctions had stymied North Korean businesses’ ability to raise hard currency to trade.
13.04 A day after North Korea conducted its largest ever nuclear weapons test, South Korean defense minister, Song Young-moo, told lawmakers in Seoul that a special forces brigade that defense officials described as a “decapitation unit” would be established by the end of the year.
Although it is not a commonly followed practice to announce plans to assassinate someone, South Korea wants to make sure this one is widely heard and prevents North Korea from initiating any conflict. Read the full New York Times story here.
12.26 An article by Financial Times has explained in detail how a network of shell companies and old ships is helping North Korea circumvent the sanctions imposed on it by the United Nations. The registered offices of a lot of these shell companies have been found to be at the same address in Hong Kong, and multiple companies in this web own or manage the same ships. Read the full story here.
12.14 The UN sanctions on North Korea's textile industry are expected to impact a lot of businesses and cause compliance issues to clothing retailers in US and other parts of the world.
North Korea exports USD 752 million of textile a year, 80 percent of which goes to China. A lot of clothing retailers in the US too depend on imports from North Korea and even though big retail chains like Walmart can afford to keep North Korean products off its shelves, smaller businesses may not have the wherewithal necessary to do so.
11.58 Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger has expressed fears that although everyone seems to be wanting to avoid a nuclear war, the US and NATO are on a path leading to war, not just with North Korea but potentially with Russia and China too.
11.55 Former NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark has said that secret negotiations mediated by a neutral third party are key to resolving the North Korean crisis.
11.41 The New Yorker has published a very well-written piece titled 'To Do', in which the writer lists five things to do for the day, for each day of the week, arranged by priority. While the first five days seem like any other, the lists for the last two days are very interesting and sum up the prevalent American sentiment. Read it here.
11.25 Continuation of the KAPPC statement...
3. The south Korean authorities should not spout "strong military counteraction" for which they can not be responsible, a bluff unbecoming for their have-not position. The stooges moving at the beck and call of others, being subject to sycophancy and submission should not go unreasonable as to call for slapping "painful sanctions" and "pressure", and should stop provoking laughter of people with their such clumsy counteraction as "joint strike" reminiscent of children's playing at soldiers.
4. The world including the neighboring countries needs to have proper understanding of the nuclear issue of Korea. The nuclear blackmail and threat the U.S. has posed to the DPRK so far have been a wrong option against the rival of wrong choice.
11.24 In a report yesterday, North Korean state mouthpiece KCNA published the reactions of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (KAPPC), a North Korean communist organisation.
This was the KAPPC statement:
1. The U.S. should stop rash act and not run wild, with deep consideration of the position and weight of its rival Juche Korea that have undergone change after its access to H-bomb. If the U.S. adheres to sanctions and pressure, not properly judging the great significance and the stern warning given by the success in the H-bomb test of Juche Korea, it will face unprecedentedly resolute counteraction it can not hold control of.
2. Japan should clearly understand its position and stop indecent deed of acting as the U.S. cat's paw. The army and people of the DPRK with pent-up wrath against the Japanese reactionaries are waiting for a moment to settle accounts with the present Japanese authorities who have taken the lead in tightening sanctions against the DPRK pursuant to the U.S. Japan should bear in mind that it is near the DPRK, world-level military power possessed of diversified A-bomb, H-bomb and rockets of deadly striking power and hit effect.
10.50 South Korea today said that it had found traces of radioactive xenon gas and confirmed them to be from the North Korean nuclear weapon test earlier this month.
The country's Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said its land-based xenon detector in the northeastern part of the country found traces of xenon-133 isotope on 9 occasions, while its mobile equipment off the country's east coast detected traces of the isotope 4 times.
However, South Korea has still not been able to determine whether the test was for a conventional nuke or a hydrogen bomb.
10.43 According to a United Nations report released Saturday, Tanzania is one among 7 countries being investigated for violating the arms embargo imposed on North Korea by the UN. The other countries implicated in the report are Angola, Congo, Eritrea, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda and Syria.
10.33 A report by Asia Times today has talked about how, even at a time when North Korea's advancements in the field of nuclear weaponry is making other countries wary, the country's low-tech military equipment is something to worry about. The North Korean air force has 300 An-2 Biplanes that were designed way back in 1946 and are predominantly made of wood.
These aircraft are known for their ability to fly low and slow and still be easy to maneuver, and are therefore used widely in other countries for crop dusting. However, North Korea could use these aircraft to disperse chemical or biological weapons, as it is known to have stockpiles of toxins like Sarin and VX. The wooden exterior of these aircraft make them very difficult to track by radar and they can carry as many as ten paratroops on board. Read the full story here.
10.16 With around 5 months to go for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, the organizers are finding it very difficult to sell tickets. Given the frequent weapons tests by North Korea and mounting tensions in the Korean Peninsula, spectators seem to want to stay away from the ski resort town, which is located a mere 80 km away from the heavily-armed North Korean border.
10.10 The North Korean representative to the UN Han Tae Song said yesterday that the US is definitely on a path of military confrontation with North Korea.
“The sanctions and pressure campaign by the Washington regime to completely obliterate DPRK’s sovereignty and the right to existence is reaching an extremely reckless level,” Song said while speaking at the UN Disarmament Conference. “Instead of making the right choice with a rational analysis on (the) overall situation, the Washington regime finally opts for political, economic and military confrontation.”
09.59 Reacting to North Korea's warning that it will inflict on US "the greatest pain" it has ever experienced, Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said that the reaction was along expected lines. "On this scale of threats, intimidation and insults it's probably just par for the course from North Korea," Bishop said today.
The foreign minister refused to acknowledge that the fresh sanctions would only stir the pot more and not result in a real solution. "The alternative would be to allow a rogue regime to continue down an illegal path that is in direct defiance of the UN security council. That is not acceptable," she said.
09.17 Coming under a lot of pressure because of its ties with North Korea, Egypt has reportedly severed military ties with the rogue nation. According to a report by AP, the announcement was made by the Egyptian defence minister during his visit to Seoul.
09.14 US-based monitoring website 38 North, which is associated with Johns Hopkins University, has estimated the nuclear weapon tested by North Korea on September 3 to have a yield of 250 kilotons, as opposed to earlier estimates of between 50 kt and 160 kt.
09.01 South Korea has said that it conducted its first live-fire drill for an advanced air-launched cruise missile that will strengthen its pre-emptive strike capability against North Korea in the event of crisis, the Washington Post reported.
The South Korean military said today that the Taurus missile fired from an F-15 fighter jet travelled through obstacles at low altitudes before hitting a target off the country’s western coast. Read the full story here.
08.14 In its official response to the newly imposed sanctions, the North Korean foreign ministry said yesterday that UN resolution only reaffirmed the country's belief that its push for nuclear weapons "was absolutely right". It vowed to “follow this road at a faster pace without the slightest diversion until this fight to the finish is over”, and added that it will establish a 'practical equilibrium' with the United States.
08.01 Frustrated US lawmakers called for a high-powered response to North Korea’s nuclear tests on Tuesday, saying Washington should act alone if necessary to stiffen sanctions on companies from China, Russia and any country doing business with Pyongyang.
“I believe the response from the United States and our allies should be supercharged,” said Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. “We need to use every ounce of leverage ... to put maximum pressure on this rogue regime. Time is running out,” the Republican Congressman added.
September 13, 07.57 What happened while we were asleep?
US President Donald Trump said that the UN sanctions on North Korea agreed upon this week were a small step and nothing compared to what would have to happen to deal with the country’s nuclear program.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned China, North Korea’s main ally and trading partner, that if it did not follow through on the new measures, Washington would “put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system.”
19:30 North Korea is trying to steal Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies says report
According to a report by cyber security firm FireEye, North Korean hackers targeted at least three South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges. The firm suspects that the aim was to steal the digital tokens, to avoid sanctions.
The report further said that the hackers used the 'spear phishing' method of sending emails to make them look like they were sent by someone you know – and sent malware to illicitly get the virtual cash.
18:47 Park Song Il, member of North Korea's Foreign Ministry has told The New Yorker, "Don’t push us too hard, because you’re going to start a war. And we should say, we’re not going to die alone."
17.08 DATA STORY: Can the US intercept a North Korean missile flying towards it?
17.03 United States Republican Senator Mark Miloscia has said that the threat of a nuclear strike on the US mainland is starting to become imminent. He warned the threat is growing with every weapons test, and urged lawmakers to back the bid for an emergency response plan.
16.19 North Korea today rejected the UN Security Council resolution imposing tougher sanctions on it and said the United States would soon face the “greatest pain” it had ever experienced.
14.41 A senior Japanese official has reportedly warned that the world faces its "last chance" to put an end to North Korea's nuclear program and said it is "very helpful" for countries like Australia to tighten the sanctions noose by targeting companies around the world that help North Korea dodge United Nations penalties.
13.03 On a lighter note, Italian senator Antonio Razzi, who is believed to be close to Kim Jong-un, revealed in an interview to The Sun that the North Korean dictator is a big fan of English football club Manchester United. Razzi also said Kim believes that North Korean footballers will take over the English football scene one day and dominate it. Read the full story here.
12.57 China's top four banks have reportedly stopped providing any financial service to North Korean clients amid concerns from the international community that China has not been hard enough on North Korea following the rogue nation's sixth, and most powerful yet, nuclear weapons test on September 3.
12.54 The National Human Rights Commission of Korea has said that it will petition the United Nations to investigate the cases of 6 South Korean detainees in North Korea, NK News reported.
12.50 The South Korean government has welcomed the United Nations Security Council's unanimous vote in favour imposing new sanctions on North Korea, calling it a "strict warning" to the rogue nation from the international community.
"North Korea should accept the strict warning from the international community that continued provocations only deepen the diplomatic isolation and economic pressure," the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement.
12.43 According to a report by security firm FireEye, North Korean hackers working for the Kim Jong-un regime have increased the number of attacks on South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges and related websites with a view of securing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These cryptocurrencies can then be used to circumvent trade restrictions, including the new sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council on Monday.
11.36 Scientists have warned that the possibility of a radiation leak at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site is growing with every detonation and is inevitable. "It’s just a matter of time to detect it, because there are cracks on mountains where radioactive substances will leak," said Chinese scientist Wei Shijie.
This development comes a day after the Chinese government issued a statement saying the nuclear test by North Korea on September 3 did not affect the people or environment around China-North Korea border. China even stopped its emergency monitoring of the area, which was started right after the nuclear test and lasted for 8 days.
11.23 In an article published in the South China Morning Post, journalist Sylvia Yu has detailed the story of woman who was trafficked from North Korea to China for the purpose of being sold into marriage, escaped from China to Laos and from there to Thailand, and now intends to go to South Korea to find freedom.
The woman, Mi-young, escaped from China with the help of volunteers from Helping Hands Korea. However, as Yu mentioned in her article, the passage out of China for North Koreans has become even more perilous now. China is currently witnessing its strictest crackdown on North Korean refugees in recent times. Moreover, because of an agreement signed in 1986 between China and North Korea, North Korean citizens don't get arrested by Chinese authorities, but get sent back to their home country. Read the full story here.
10.58 Jocko Willink, a former US Navy SEAL, made a very peculiar suggestion last week about how the North Korean crisis could be best resolved. Surprisingly, his suggestion wasn't about the use of military means at all. Instead of bombs, he said, the US should drop around 25 million iPhones in North Korea, put some satellites over the country and provide free wifi.
North Korea's population is estimated to be around 25.2 million. The idea behind Willink suggestion is that if all the people of North Korea get their hands on iPhones and see for themselves what they are missing out on, Kim Jong-un's regime won't be sustainable any longer and it will be overthrown.
10.48 According to a report by South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo, Cho Tae Yong, the deputy chief of South Korea’s National Security Council under the administration of former President Park Geun-hye, requested the United States to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons when he visited the country between October 4 and October 7 last year and met with Daniel Kritenbrink, the then senior director for Asian affairs at the US National Security Council.
10.45 The head of the NATO military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, has said that North Korea's "reckless behaviour" is a threat to countries across the globe and warrants a global response. "The reckless behavior of North Korea is a global threat and requires a global response and that of course also includes NATO. We are now totally focused on how can we contribute to a peaceful solution of the conflict," Stoltenberg said.10.31
09.53 In light of the growing threat from North Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's support ratings have gone up by as much as 50 percent. Of course, the Opposition being in disarray did not hurt.
09.31 This is an interesting web application that allows the user to enter a location, a specific yield (for a nuclear bomb) and type of explosion, and get an estimate of the damage that could possibly be inflicted. According to its estimate, if North Korea dropped the bomb it test-fired on September 3 on Seoul, it would kill over 400,000 people and injure close to 2 million others. Users can enter the names of any one of the 20 cities on the list and see for themselves the fallout of a nuclear explosion over there. Check it out.
09.23 The International Olympic Committee on Monday said that the escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula had so far raised "no hint" of a security threat for next year's Pyeongchang 2018 winter Olympics in South Korea.
"We are in contact with governments concerned. In all these conversations with the leading figures in the different governments we can see there is no doubt being raised about the winter Games of 2018," IOC President Thomas Bach said.
08.51 The new sanctions imposed on North Korea include a cap on oil exports to the country but do not block them completely. In addition to the cap on oil exports, the resolution passed by the Security Council bans the country from exporting any textile and importing any natural gas, apart from setting a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum sales. Seafood exports to North Korea have been banned too and a cap has been set on coal imports by the rogue nation as well.
08.06 In an article published yesterday, The Washington Post has detailed how Russia is quietly helping North Korea undercut the sanctions imposed on it. An examination of some official documents by US officials and interviews of key people have revealed that Russian smugglers have been coming to North Korea's aid with shipments of petroleum and other vital supplies for the last few months.
Tanker traffic between North Korean ports and Vladivostok this spring has seen a marked increase from last year. With the sanctions imposed by the UN getting tougher with time, some Russian entrepreneurs have recognised the opportunity to make a quick profit. They set up multiple front companies to hide their transactions and launder their money, US officials said. Read the full article.
07.55 China's ambassador to the UN, Liu Jieyi, has called on North Korea to "take seriously the expectations and will of the international community" to put an end to its nuclear and ballistic missile development. He also called on all other countries and parties involved to remain calm and not stoke tensions.
September 12, 07.52 The United Nations Security Council voted in favour of imposing new sanctions on North Korea yesterday but the sanctions were well short of what the Trump administration had first proposed. The original demands of the United States, which were made by American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley last week, were significantly toned down after multiple negotiations with Russia and China, both of who were against the idea of imposing very harsh sanctions.
22:15 German Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted that an agreement similar to the Iranian nuclear deal could be the solution.
According to the Iran Nuclear deal, the country agreed to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for easing of sanctions.
"I could imagine such a format being used to end the North Korea conflict. Europe and especially Germany should be prepared to play a very active part in that," Merkel told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
17:30 Speaking to CNN, Senator John McCain on Sunday had called for the US to step up its presence around North Korea in order to make it clear to the Kim Jong-un regime that their acts would lead to the extinction of the country.
17:03 North Korea warns US ahead of sanctions vote
According to a report by CNN, North Korean Foreign Ministry, in a statement has said that it would respond in kind if the US went ahead with the "illegal and unlawful 'resolution'".
"The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the US the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history," it said.
16:53 The United Nations Security Council is expected to vote to impose sanctions on North Korea, later today.
We'll bring you all the latest updates.
15.08 China has reportedly not detected any abnormal rise in radiation levels along the border it shares with North Korea after the latter conducted its largest ever nuclear weapons test last Sunday. The Chinese government had imposed an emergency monitoring following the nuclear test but has now decided to end it since nothing out of the ordinary was found.
14.36 A United Nations report has revealed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be colluding with Syria for the development of chemical and ballistic missiles, UK-based Daily Star reported. A United Nations team investigated secretive contact between the two countries and discovered “reported prohibited chemical, ballistic missile and conventional arms cooperation”.
14.21 South Korean manufacturers of consumer goods are contemplating a scale-back or a complete pull out from the Chinese market because of heavy losses incurred over the last couple of months. The losses are because of the Chinese government boycotting South Korean goods after South Korea first deployed a US missile defence system.
According to a report by Financial Times, Lotte Group, which is South Korea's fifth largest conglomerate, is planning to shut down its stores in China after incurring massive losses due the Chinese government boycott. Lotte estimated that the sales loss for this year would be to the tune of USD 900 million.
13.05 A CNBC report from earlier today has talked about how the THAAD anti-missile defence systems deployed in South Korea by the United States may not be enough to protect the country's capital. Seoul, which is only around 20 miles from the North Korean border, is out of the THAAD's range and therefore, any missiles fired at Seoul could not be shot down.
Also, even if the THAAD systems are deployed in the Seoul metropolitan area, they may not be able to shoot down multiple missiles headed their way. Even if it is one missile but fired at a low height and high velocity, it would become nearly impossible for the THAAD to stop it.
12.47 According to a report by Singapore-based Straits Times, the Chinese government has instructed state-owned banks to suspend transactions through accounts held by North Koreans, thereby making trade between the two countries nearly impossible.
11.47 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today called for a boosting of the country's defence forces in light of the rising North Korean threat. In a speech to senior officers of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces Abe said, "No one else will protect you if you don't have the mindset of protecting yourself. We have to take all appropriate measures against (incidents such as) North Korea's missile launch over Japan."
The Prime Minister has asked Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera to to draw up a blueprint for Japan's medium-term defence strategy.
11.00 According to some diplomats, the United Nations Security Council is likely to vote on a watered-down US-drafted resolution to impose new sanctions on North Korea over its latest nuclear test on Monday afternoon. However, it was unclear whether China and Russia would support it.
09.45 British Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren has asked what the world intends to do about Iran aiding North Korea in its advances in nuclear weapon technolog. British officials recently compiled a list of countries that were suspected to be co-conspirators with North Korea and Iran was at the top of the list. The list also included Russia.
The officials had said that it was implausible that North Korea could have developed all its weapons without outside help. "“North Korean scientists are people of some ability, but clearly they’re not doing it entirely in a vacuum,” a minister in the government was quoted as saying.08.06
With the intention of gaining another ally in Asia to help curb North Korea's nuclear weapons program, US President Donald Trump will be hosting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The meeting is scheduled to take place later this week, despite the US Department of Justice (DoJ) just starting a criminal probe into funds allegedly diverted from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
08.00 According to some media reports, North Korea seems to be preparing for yet another nuclear weapons test. Workers have reportedly started repairing an underground missile launch pad in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province. Sources told Radio Free Asia, who reported the story, that the regime is replacing an old Paektusan-1 or Taepodong-1 missile with a new Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile.
07.55 A Russian yacht has been seized in the Sea of Japan by a North Korean coast guard boat and is currently underway to North Korea. Another yacht has reportedly gone missing in the same area. Both yachts were headed to South Korea to participate in an international yacht racing event.
07.51 Meanwhile, top Chinese government officials believe that US holds the key to ending the North Korean crisis. Both China and US have agreed that they need to work toward ridding North Korea of its nuclear arsenal but have expressed different opinions about how it should be dealt with. While the US has repeatedly urged China to step in and end the crisis by using its leverage as North Korea's largest trading partner, China does not want to invite catastrophe by triggering an unwanted response from Kim Jong-un's regime.
07.44 "The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the US the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history," the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement. "The world will witness how the DPRK tames the US gangsters by taking (a) series of action tougher than they have ever envisaged."September 11, 07.39 What happened overnight?
North Korea has said that the United States would pay a ‘due price’ for spearheading a United Nations Security Council resolution against its latest nuclear test.
The United States wants the Security Council to impose an oil embargo on the North, halt its key export of textiles and subject leader Kim Jong Un to financial and travel ban, according to a draft resolution. The North’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the US was ‘going frantic’ to manipulate the Security Council over Pyongyang’s nuclear test, which it said was part of ‘legitimate self-defensive measures.’
12:30 pm: Suggesting Iran style nuclear talks with North Korea, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a newspaper she would be prepared to become involved in a diplomatic initiative to end the North Korean nuclear and missiles programme, according to Reuters.
12:10 pm: Japan has backed the US push for the United Nations Security Council to vote Monday on another round of sanction on North Korea. It said that Pyongyang’s nuclear program poses the most serious threat since World War II. The US-presented draft resolution calls for an oil embargo on North Korea, an assets freeze on its leader Kim Jong-un, a ban on textiles and an end to payments of North Korean guest workers.
September 10, 11.55 am: Welcome to another day of live updates on the North Korean crisis. On Sunday, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hosted a "huge" celebration party in order to congratulate the scientists and engineers involved in its sixth and biggest nuclear test a week ago.
21.01 It has been confirmed that Japan will host the North Korean football team in Tokyo on December 9 for the opener of the East Asian championship. The tie is expected to be politically charged since Japan recently joined a host of other countries in condemning North Korea for conducting its sixth, and most powerful yet, nuclear weapon test on Sunday.
20.57 According to media reports, the Japanese Air Self Defence Force and US Air Force today conducted more exercises over the East China Sea, just south of the Korean Peninsula. The exercises were conducted amidst growing tension about another possible nuclear test by North Korea and involved 2 Japanese F-15 fighter jets and 2 US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers.
The B-1B Lancer is an aircraft that has the capability to carry nuclear weapons and was earlier earmarked for nuclear strikes only. However, since 1995, this aircraft has only been used as a conventional heavy bomber and no longer carries nuclear weapons.
17.52 Two North Korea propaganda channels on YouTube have been shut down by the video streaming website for violating its community guidelines.
Numerous US-based North Korea experts, who often relied on these channels for information on the goings-on in North Korea, have urged YouTube to revoke its decision keeping national security in mind.
16.05 The BBC has reportedly dragged itself into North Korea's crosshairs by announcing that it will shortly be launching a Korean language news service to be broadcast in North Korea, despite Kim Jong-un's regime asking it to back down.
BBC officials admitted that they were expecting a reaction like this but said they wouldn't give in to Pyongyang's demands.
12:51 North Koreans on Saturday celebrated another public holiday with familiar routines, laying flowers and bowing in front of statues and portraits of past leaders while the outside world kept a close watch amid speculations that another missile test is near, reports ABC News. South Korea's government earlier said North Korea could potentially mark the 69th founding anniversary with its third test of a developmental intercontinental ballistic missile.
10:47 The state media in North Korea marks the nation's founding anniversary today with calls for a nuclear arms buildup, in defiance of mounting international sanctions.
9:17 The US will be seeking a vote Monday on a draft UN Security Council resolution on North Korea, as it pushes for fresh sanctions against the regime after its recent nuclear test, reports Bloomberg.
9:01 South Korea looks like it is prepared for any possible missile test by North Korea even as the dictatorship country will be marking its founding anniversary today --only days after its sixth and largest nuclear test, reports the Telegraph.
8:57 As we start another day bringing to you updates on the North Korean crisis, North Korea’s ambassador to Mexico has said its tensions with the US were not Mexico City’s business after President Enrique Pena Nieto ordered that he leave the country in protest over Pyongyang’s nuclear tests. Read in full.
22:20 North Korea's Day of the Foundation of the Republic, a public holiday, is on Saturday, September 9, and global investors will be watching closely for any bold move from the nation.
Some prognosticators think the North Korean version of the United States' Independence Day this weekend will bring another missile test, reported TheStreet.
The last nuclear test North Korea conducted was Sept. 9, 2016 — Foundation Day last year.
The country conducted a test on Foundation Day a year ago which yielded an explosion equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT, according to a statement from South Korean officials at the time, and triggered a magnitude 5 artificial tremor.
21:30 North Korea on Friday called US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley a "political prostitute" and derided her as "crazily swishing her skirt" after Haley said the rogue regime was "begging for war", reported Fox News.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency described Haley’s comments to the UN Sunday as a “hysteric fit.”
“Nikki should be careful with her tongue though she might be a blind fool,” KCNA said. “The US administration will have to pay a dear price for her tongue-lashing."
20:00 Mexico on Thursday ordered North Korea’s ambassador to leave the country in 72 hours in response to the Asian nation’s latest nuclear tests, reports Bloomberg.
Ambassador Kim Hyong Gil was declared persona non grata and will have to vacate the embassy in Mexico City, the Foreign Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. Mexico said it absolutely rejects North Korea’s nuclear activity, calling it a serious risk to peace and international security and a growing threat to the region, including its "fundamental allies" of Japan and South Korea.
The expulsion comes as US President Donald Trump’s administration presses countries to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Kim Jong Un’s regime over the nation’s missile and nuclear weapons program.
The US wants the United Nations Security Council to tighten economic sanctions at a meeting on Sept. 11. The US is circulating a draft resolution at the UN that would bar crude oil shipments to North Korea, ban the nation’s exports of textiles and prohibit employment of its guest workers by other countries, according to a diplomat at the world body.
18:30 North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un will escape to a vast complex of underground tunnels if a nuclear war breaks out — with a huge supply of his favourite cheese, reports news.com.au.
And a military expert says that if the brutal leader of the Stalinist regime does go underground he will be harder to take out than 9/11 terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.
The luxury-loving tyrant’s passion for emmental
is believed to have been sparked when he studied at a university in Switzerland.
Now a North Korea expert says it is likely Kim has ordered staff to stockpile supplies of the cheese if he is forced to flee into North Korea’s vast network of subterranean passages in the event of war.
16.13 Leaders of 18 countries, including Australia and New Zealand, today signed a declaration which officially termed North Korea as a threat to not only Guam, but also the entire wider region. The signatories vowed to strip away the registration of any North Korean fishing boats they may have on their books, while New Zealand and Australia will help the other Pacific states to sniff out North Korean ships moving under the radar and reduce the costs involved for everyone.
16.06 With tensions in the Korean Peninsula rising every day, the question of whether India has to worry about North Korea's nuclear advancements is being asked by a lot of people. To make things clear, North Korea and Pakistan have been allies for a long time now when it comes to nuclear weapon technology. Like North Korea, Pakistan too is making rapid advancements in the field of nuclear warfare and is believed to have more nuclear warheads than India does.
So even if India may not have to worry about North Korea being direct threat, the possibility of Pakistan acquiring a Hydrogen bomb from the rogue nation is certainly worrisome for India.
15.29 French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the international community to increase pressure on North Korea in the hope that it would result in bringing the rogue nation back to the negotiating table.
15.00 Sweden has urged its citizens to refrain from unnecessary trips to North Korea following the country's sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date. The Scandinavian country is the latest of a number of countries to issue such warnings to their citizens over the last week.
14.11 Chinese President Xi Jinping told French President Emmanuel Macron today that he hoped France could play a "constructive role" in restarting talks on North Korea, days after the rogue nation conducted its sixth nuclear test.
13.48 In the latest in a series of controversial comments, US President reportedly called South Korean President Moon Jae-in "a beggar" because of his repeated calls for dialogue with North Korea. The comment was reportedly made during a phone conversation between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
13.42 According to reports in the New Zealand media, a New Zealand-led proposal to cut off North Korea's ability to operate in Pacific waters has just been accepted by leaders at the Pacific Island Forum. The move will see New Zealand help identify North Korean fishing and cargo vessels that fly under the radar using flags of small Pacific states - and get them deregistered.
13.40 According to reports in the South Korean media, the South Korean military is considering introducing ship-based Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors to make up for shortcomings of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery that was fully deployed here on Thursday.
13.07 The Japanese are reportedly very concerned following Pyongyang's announcement that it has developed an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon that could paralyze the country's electronics and power grids. And EMP weapon generates an electromagnetic pulse by detonating a bomb at a height of over 400 kilometres. This does not kill anyone directly but damanges electronics, telecom networks and other social infrastructure.
12.21 Amid rising tensions in the Korean Peninsula, safe haven assets like gold have seen increased buying. Gold hit a one year high of USD 1,353.12 per ounce on Friday.
12.01 Bloomberg has reported, citing a report by US-based North Korea analyst organisation NK Pro, that the possibility of North Korea deciding to test-fire yet another intercontinental ballistic missile or nuclear weapon on Saturday is remote. An analysis of provocations in the past has revealed that there is little correlation between North Korea's nuclear weapons tests and key holidays and anniversaries in the country. Read here.
11.35 According to media reports, a Chinese customs office in the border region has closed its gates to North Korea since September 4. Chinese businessmen and merchants staying in North Korea had been notified beforehand. The move is being perceived as a warning to North Korea after the rogue nation conducted its sixth, and most powerful, nuclear weapons test on Sunday.
11.30 A poll conducted by Reuters on Friday revealed that a majority of South Koreans do not believe that North Korea will start a war. According to the findings of the poll, 58 percent of South Koreans believed that there was no possibility of North Korea starting a war, while only 37 percent believed that it would.
10.14 India is now worried that given Pakistan and North Korea's secret 'I scratch your back, you scratch mine' understanding, under the benign guidance of China, Pakistan's own nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs are only going to benefit now that North Korea has successfully developed the technology by itself.
09.47 Evan Osnos of the New Yorker travelled to Pyongyang and has written a wonderful piece on the risk of nuclear war with North Korea. Read it here.
09.20 Diplomats from the United Nations have reportedly said that the United States is determined to have a vote at the United Nations Security Council on Monday on imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea. The diplomats, however, did not rule out the possibility of either China or Russia deciding to veto the decision.
08.59 China has detected higher level of radiation near the North Korean border, according to nuclear threat watchdog DEFCON Warning Systems.
08.52 Even as North Korea stepped up its nuclear weapons program and has so far managed to stay a step ahead of US intelligence with its fast-paced missile testing, top officials from the United States' armed forces have said that the US has never been more prepared to deal with the North Korean threat. However, they added that their leaders are keeping an eye on what kind of missile North Korea fires off next.
08.10 The US Army reportedly wants its troops deployed in South Korea to train for a potential attack with the use of hazardous materials, which could be either radioactive or chemical. It is expected to be a two-week training course, taught on-site at the US Camp Humphreys base in South Korea. The US has around 25,000 troops deployed in South Korea, at some 80 sites across the country.
07.52 What happened overnight?
South Korea has maintained that it expects North Korea to test-fire yet another intercontinental ballistic missile on Saturday. In a press briefing at the White House, US President Donald Trump said that the US military has never been stronger and is armed with the best equipment in the world. "Hopefully we're not going to have to use it on North Korea. If we do use it on North Korea, it will be a very sad day for North Korea," Trump said.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping joined hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to call for tougher sanctions on North Korea. After speaking to each other over the phone, the two premiers concluded that the test conducted by North Korea on Sunday represented a significant danger to the security of the entire region and a serious violation of international law. "Both interlocutors called for a tightening of the sanctions against North Korea," Merkel's spokesperson Steffen Seibert said.
21:40 Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the two leaders “decisively condemned” North Korean weapons tests.
“We decisively condemned North Korea’s launch of a medium-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan’s territory on August 28, as well as the new nuclear tests conducted on September 3,” Putin said in a statement.
Putin reiterated that the crisis around North Korea should be resolved only by political means, and that it posed a threat to peace and stability in the region.
He called for it to be resolved through a road map proposed by Moscow and Beijing.
20:55 Everyone is waiting for Kim Jong-un's next move, but in South Korea, some people are more worried about Donald Trump.
19:58 It is not even a week since North Korea fired its sixth nuclear test. Now, South Korea says that its neighbour may fire an intercontinental ballistic missile this weekend. South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon suggested that Kim Jong Un could order a launch on Saturday, which is the 64th anniversary of the totalitarian regime's founding. Read it here.
18:59 So, what did North Koreans do after testing their hydrogen bomb? They celebrated by filling the streets of Pyongyang on Wednesday, reports Newsweek.
17:52 North Korea breaks its silence. It has vowed to take the fight to US if more sanctions are placed over its missile programme. It has called Washington a war-monger. Full read here.
17:20 Russian President Vladimir Putin has been vocal about the North Korean crisis. He predicted a 'global catastrophe' if North Korea didn't respond to diplomacy. Later, a more despairing Putin said it may be 'impossible' to solve the situation. And now, Putin has said that the US could be adding fuel to Pyongyang's fire, if it keeps its pressure on North Korea. Read it in full here.
16:49 An opinion piece in CNN.com written by Nic Robertson says that bringing North Korea to its knees will be harder with broken diplomacy. Read it in full here.
15.41 As both US and North Korea seem to be on collision course, many people have started asking what this means for them. Wall Street, however, has chosen to ignore the elephant in the room. MarketWatch has published an interesting read on how investors are living in denial about the risk of war with North Korea. Read it here.
15.30 The Russian President's comment comes after North Korea’s Minister of External Economic Relations Kim Yong-jae said earlier today that his country will introduce strong countermeasures against the United States' attempts to exert pressure through sanctions.
"Attempts to use unprecedented aggressive sanctions and pressure to intimidate us and make us reverse our course, are a huge mistake," Kim had said. "The United States should by all means keep in mind the nuclear status of our country, who owns nuclear and hydrogen bombs, and intercontinental ballistic missiles."
15.28 Russian President Vladimir Putin once again urged the US to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in the Korean Peninsula and said that by increasing pressure through sanctions, US could be playing right into North Korea's hands. "It's a provocation from North Korea, it's obvious. They count on a specific reaction from the partners and they get it. Why are you playing along with it? Have ever you thought about it?" Putin said.14.54
North Korea’s Minister of External Economic Relations and head of the delegation at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Kim Yong-jae, has said that the country will introduce strong countermeasures against the United States' attempts to exert pressure through strong sanctions.
14.12 UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that the unity among certain members of the UN Security Council was paramount for resolving the ongoing North Korea issue. Guterres said that unity between China, the United States and Russia was essential if North Korea's nuclear ambitions were to be put to an end.
14.05 "Given the new developments on the Korean peninsula, China agrees that the UN Security Council should respond further by taking necessary measures," Wang told reporters in Beijing. "We believe that sanctions and pressure are only half of the key to resolving the issue. The other half is dialogue and negotiation," he added.
14.04 China seems to have finally given in to the idea of imposing stronger sanctions on North Korea. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has said that China would support the United Nations taking further measures against North Korea.
13.31 European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has called for the European Union to impose additional sanctions on North Korea as a part of the international pressure being exerted at the moment on the rogue nation.
13.26 Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he hopes the situation in the Korean Peninsula does not descend to a conflict involving the use of weapons of mass destruction.
13.04 The price of automobile fuel has reportedly skyrocketed in North Korea, possibly because of developments related to the sanctions being imposed on the country. Last month, gasoline prices had risen to nearly USD 30 for 15 kilograms and they have risen substantially once again. Drivers in Pyongyang have had to visit multiple gas stations to get their tanks full as gas supply has been significantly reduced. Some stations are secretly charging extra too, according to some media reports.
12.54 This rare aerial footage of North Korean capital Pyongyang shows a city full of skyscrapers and other modern structures but devoid of pedestrians and cars.
12.32 "There are possibilities to achieve the settlement of Pyongyang's problem by diplomatic means. This is possible and must be done. We are telling them that we will not impose sanctions, which means you will live better, you will have more good and tasty food on the table, you will dress better. But the next step, they think, is an invitation to the cemetery. And they will never agree with this," Putin said in his address at Vladivostok.
12.31 Criticizing the United States' demand for stronger sanctions to be imposed on North Korea, Russia's Vladimir Putin said that if it happens, it would only push North Korea to start an armed conflict.
12.24 Speaking at the same forum in Vladivostok, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the issue surrounding North Korea needs quick action and that all major world powers must push Pyongyang to meet its obligations to the United Nations and put an end to its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
12.18 Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he believes that US President Donald Trump's administration is willing to defuse tensions in the Korean Peninsula, but reiterated Russia's opposition to imposing stronger sanctions on North Korea. Putin was speaking at an economic forum being held in Vladivostok.
12.09 In a phone conversation with US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated China's commitment towards denuclearising North Korea, after Trump warned that any threat from the rogue nation will be met with an "overwhelming" response.
11.55 According to a report by The Times, UK, South Korean commandos will be working with the team of US Navy Seals who killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden to create a special squad to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
11.52 According to media reports, dozens of South Korean protestors have been injured in clashes between them and the South Korean police as the US military added more launchers to their THAAD missile defence systems deployed across the country. The police officers also reportedly smashed windows of cars that were being used to block roads.
11.47 Suki Kim, a South Korean-born American writer who worked undercover in North Korea for over 6 months, has said that an uprising by the people of North Korea against the Kim Jong-un regime is the only way of dealing with the issue. "Literally the only way to approach it is a regime change, North Korea as a regime will not cooperate, you cannot actually come to any conclusion dealing with [their] great leader system," she said.
11.42 South Korean citizens took to the streets today, protesting the deployment of THAAD missile defence systems by the US military. South Koreans have been opposing the THAAD systems for quite some time as they believe the system's presence will impact the environment and health of people in an adverse way. Some maintain that deploying these systems is only going to result in an escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula, not help calm them down.
11.34 South Korea has said that it expects North Korea to launch yet another intercontinental ballistic missile on Saturday, September 9. "The situation is very grave. It doesn't seem much time is left before North Korea achieves its complete nuclear armament," South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon was quoted as telling a meeting of defense ministers in Seoul today.
11.26 US-led military alliance NATO has urged all other countries to step up their efforts in imposing stronger sanctions on North Korea and stop its nuclear tests. The appeal was perceived to be aimed at North Korea's trading partners China and Russia, who seem to be holding back penalties.
11.12 Citizens of Pyongyang lined the streets to cheer buses carrying the specialists into the city, and tens of thousands of people gathered in Kim Il-Sung Square to praise their efforts.
11.10 North Korea on Wednesday held a mass celebration for the scientists involved in carrying out its largest nuclear blast to date, with fireworks and a mass rally in Pyongyang.
10.41 The rocket scientist behind North Korea's controversial nuclear weapons program was picked out of nowhere by Kim Jong-un after he spotted a mistake in 2012 missile test that went awry. After that, Kim Jong Sik, as he is known, was elevated to Kim Jong-un's inner military circle in 2012, after the successful launch of a Unha-3 rocket in December that year.
10.06 Reports have just come in that amid protests in the South Korean village where the THAAD systems have been deployed, US military personnel have added more launchers to the anti-missile systems.
09.59 Meanwhile, in the Chinese city of Dandong, which is on the Chinese-North Korean border, one could be excused for thinking there is nothing going on in the Korean Peninsula. Trucks are still seen plying to and from North Korea and people are seen walking calmly on the promenade in plain view of North Korean border guards. Even local businesses like hotels and restaurants said that the tourist season, which is drawing to a close, did not see much of an impact because of the war of words between US and North Korea.
09.50 Analysts have been quoted saying that if North Korea follows through on its threat of launching nuclear attacks, Asia's supply chain will be badly hurt. South Korea will be one of the worst-affected countries if war breaks out in the Korean Peninsula and it is one of the largest economies in the world. A lot of other countries depend on South Korea, particularly for electronics, and war-related devastation in the country could end up disrupting the entire manufacturing supply chain in Asia.
09.41 South Korea had already deployed two launchers of the US anti-missile Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system couple of days ago. Amid rising tensions, it decided to install the four remaining launchers of the THAAD system on a former golf course earlier today.
09.38 South Korea has reportedly deployed anti-missile systems across the country. Protestors in a South Korean village clashed with thousands of policemen today as components of a controversial system to guard against North Korean missiles were deployed.
09.23 In a statement issued yesterday, President Trump said that the US would no longer tolerate North Korea's actions, but that using military force would not be his first choice. The President's comments were perceived to be in line with the classified briefings to Congress made by Trump’s top national security advisors - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.
09.01 In fact, in a conversation over the phone before meeting with him, Moon asked Putin to ban North Korean workers, who are one of the rogue nation's biggest sources of foreign currency. But Putin maintained that diplomacy, and not stronger sanctions, is what is necessary to solve the North Korean problem.
08.57 South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have repeated their calls for stronger sanctions on North Korea, including cutting the country's oil supply, after a meeting in Russia today. Both Moon and Abe are in Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the North Korean issue. After meeting with Moon yesterday, Putin refused to go through with stronger sanctions as he believed it was not the answer to the problem. Abe is scheduled to meet Putin later today.
08.20 US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin has said that he has an executive order prepared that will authorise him to stop trade with and impose sanctions on any country that trades with North Korea, adding that it was ready to go to the president. "The president will consider that at the appropriate time once he gives the UN time to act," Mnuchin told reporters.
08.12 "I feel like we still have two different polices on North Korea: one at the Department of State and Department of Defense, and another on the President's Twitter feed," Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said in a press briefing.
08.02 US President Donald Trump's top national security advisers detailed the Trump administration's strategy for dealing with North Korea in back-to-back classified briefings on Capitol Hill in Washington DC yesterday. Although everyone seemed to agree that the security team's plan was a sensible one, given there has never been a good solution for the problem and that the problem had been troubling the US for decades now, the Democrats in the House believed that this plan was at odds with whatever President Trump has been saying through his Twitter handle.
07.55 Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman, who is famous for his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has said that he wants to try patching things up between Kim and Us President Donald Trump. Referring to his friendship with the North Korean dictator, Rodman said that he hangs out with him all the time. "We laugh, we sing karaoke, we do a lot of cool things together. We ride horses, we hang out, we go skiing, we hardly ever talk politics and that’s the good thing.I just want to try to straighten things out for everyone to get along together," he said.
07.44 What happened overnight?
The US has proposed a series of new sanctions to be imposed on North Korea that includes an oil supply cut and freezing Kim Jong-un's assets. The draft proposal also includes banning textile imports from North Korea by other countries and banning Kim Jong-un from traveling internationally. It is still unclear whether this proposal has the backing of either China or Russia as both of them had expressed their concerns about imposing such sanctions on North Korea.21:30
China shot down “incoming missiles” on Tuesday early morning during a military exercise held over the waters that separate it from the Korean peninsula, reports South China Morning Post.
The drill, which began at midnight and came just two days after Pyongyang conducted its latest nuclear test, challenged a ground unit, under China’s air force, to shoot down simulated low flying missiles in the skies over Bohai
Bay, the report quoted the official military news website 81.cn.
The missiles used in the “sudden attack” were shot down at the first attempt by the People’s Liberation Army’s missile force, the report said, without elaborating.
The exercise was the third in the bay area – the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea between China and North Korea – since late July.
20:00 Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell said Wednesday the US can't expect China to help with North Korea's nuclear weapons threat.
Mitchell, a key mediator in the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland, said the problem with the US and China teaming up is the latter's "long-term interests are the exact opposite of ours."
"In the short-term, we both want stability. We wish this guy would calm down," Mitchell told CNBC US in an interview," referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "But in the long term, we want a unified Korea and a democratic regime. And that's the last thing that China wants."
18:30 Here's a look at the nations that would be in the range of North Korean missiles
17:30 US cooperation may be needed to evacuate Japanese nationals from South Korea in the event of an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, Foreign Minister Taro Kono has said, reported The Japan Times.
In principle, Japanese nationals should leave by commercial aircraft or by other means, but US help will become necessary if airports and seaports are closed, Kono told a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Upper House on Tuesday.
Kono also said that the Japan-US defense guidelines stipulate cooperation in activities to evacuate noncombatants from a third country.
The remarks were made in reply to questions from Upper House lawmaker Antonio Inoki.
17:00 The government on Wednesday upgraded its estimated size of North Korea’s latest nuclear test to a yield of around 160 kilotons — more than 10 times the size of the Hiroshima bomb — as a leading member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said the country should debate the deploying of US atomic weapons on Japanese soil, reports The Japan Times.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera called Sunday’s nuclear test “vastly greater” than previous North Korean nuclear tests.
“(North Korea) is evolving not just their ballistic missiles but also their nuclear technology,” he added.
16.08 North Korea's primary foe is the United States, which commands the largest naval fleet and airforce in the world, and the third largest ground army. The US naval fleet consists of 11 aircraft carriers, with a combined tonnage of over 1.2 million tonnes. These carriers are the largest in the world and act as mini-navies by themselves, carrying over 80 aircraft at a time and packing lots of firepower. In addition to this, the US also has enough number of military aircraft to almost equal the rest of the world's put together.
16.00 China, of course, commands the largest army in the region, with a ground force of over 1.6 million personnel. In addition to this, China has three naval fleets — the North Sea Fleet, which has around 50 ships, the East Sea Fleet, which has around 60 ships, and the South Sea Fleet, which has around 82 ships, including the large aircraft carrier Liaoning, which carries 40 aircraft. The Chinese airforce is also one of the strongest in the world, consisting of over 1,300 fighter aircraft, and 11 airborne early warning planes.
15.43 Another major power in the region is Japan, which has an army of around 150,000 active personnel and a naval fleet of 124 ships, including 4 helicopter carriers, 26 destroyers, 10 frigates, and 18 attack submarines. In addition to this, the Japanese Airforce operates 373 fighter aircraft.
15.37 The South Korean army, which is also one of the largest in the world, has 625,000 active personnel serving in its armed forces, with around 425,000 of them being in the army. As of 2016, it also had around 70,000 active navy personnel and a fleet of around 170 commissioned ships, including 10 submarines and 10 amphibious warfare ships.
15.32 With all the talk about a possible outbreak of war in the Korean Peninsula, everyone has been wondering which countries will be involved in the war and how well are those countries armed. Well, as of 2012, the North Korean army had 1.1 million actively serving personnel, making it the fourth largest active army in the world. It has also worked hard over the last few years to increase its stockpile of weapons and according to a Pentagon estimate, currently has over 60 intercontinental ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear warheads.
15.23 Amid talks of a rapid escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula, China has now become the latest in a list of countries that have tested their own missile defence systems. A unit of the Chinese Airforce on Tuesday shot down missiles from a "surprise attack" in a drill conducted over the waters near North Korea.
15.01 When asked by South Korea's President Moon Jae-in to support the decision of cutting off oil supply to North Korea, Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to so. "I am concerned cutting off oil supplies to North Korea may cause damage to people in hospitals or other ordinary citizens," Putin said.
14.07 Vladimir Putin also said that the North Korea situation may be "impossible" to resolve. It is too dangerous to assume that North Korea is bluffing about its missile being able to reach US mainland, as recent studies of the test conducted and the shots fired have revealed that the claims may be legit.
13.46 However, in the joint press conference with South Korea's Moon Jae-in, the Russian President did acknowledge that North Korea possessing nuclear weapons was simply not acceptable. This comes a day after Putin said that North Korea would rather "eat grass" than give up its nuclear weapons.
13.42 Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for talks with North Korea, saying sanctions are not a solution to North Korea developing their nuclear firepower. The President was speaking after the meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, who had earlier urged Putin to support stronger sanctions against North Korea.
13.36 Talking to The Washington Post, Narang, along with Joel Wit and John Delury, gave suggestions about how to best handle the conflict with North Korea in an effective manner. Interestingly, none of their suggestions involved use of military means. Read it here.
13.31 According to Vipin Narang, a nuclear strategy and nonproliferation expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, bringing the North Korea situation under control does not really need US to fire even one shot. To get Kim Jong-un to do what US wants him to do will require two things Narang believes are now lacking: a coherent and unified message to Pyongyang from President Donald Trump’s administration, and strong, believable reassurances to America’s regional allies.
12.46 Amid all the confusion about North Korea and the latest developments from the Korean Peninsula, perhaps the biggest question asked over the last three days is "What does Kim Jong-un want?". In an article published in July, The Washington Post talked about the North Korean dictator's agenda and how understanding it would give us some clues about his nuclear strategy. Read it here.
12.13 Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop has said that Australia is prioritising diplomatic and economic solutions over military alternatives when it comes to North Korea. "Sanctions will bite, and bite hard," she said.
12.07 In the bilateral talks held in Vladivostok, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has reportedly asked Vladimir Putin's help to "tame" North Korea. "The global political situation has become very serious due to North Korea’s repeated provocations," Moon told Putin.
12.01 According to studies conducted by Chinese experts, the mountain where North Korea likely conducted its five most recent nuclear bomb tests could be at risk of collapse, potentially releasing radiation into the atmosphere. They believe the most recent tests were carried out under a mountain at North Korea's Punggye-ri test site, with a margin of error of around 100 metres.
11.55 South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said that he is open to all forms of talk with Kim Jong-un to resolve the ongoing tensions in the region, but stressed that this is not the time for dialogue.
11.37 In an article published by Abu Dhabi-based think tank TRENDS Research & Advisory on August 31 titled "North Korea and a Return of 'Balance of Terror'", Scott Englund speaks about how after a long gap, there is now a new “balance of terror” where two adversaries are capable of attacking one another’s cities with the most powerful weapons ever built. Read it here.
11.31 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also planning to visit Vladivostok to talk to both Putin and Moon about North Korea. In an interaction with reporters in Tokyo, Abe said that North Korea must understand that it has "no bright future" if it continues doing what it is doing.
11.25 "If we fail to stop North Korea's provocations now, it could sink into an uncontrollable situation," Moon said in his opening remarks in Vladivostok. On his part, Putin said that he welcomed the opportunity to discuss North Korea with Moon.
11.23 South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has requested for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss how to prevent the North Korean situation from getting out of hand. Moon is currently in Vladivostok, Russia, for the Eastern Economic Forum that starts today.
11.06 US President Donald Trump has said that he will be speaking to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the security challenges being posed by North Korea. This would be the first interaction between the two leaders since North Korea successfully test-fired its largest-ever nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile on Sunday.
10.48 This piece, published by Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institue of International Studies on August 16, speaks about what could be done to deal with North Korea within the boundaries of diplomacy. Read it here.
10.42 Robert Kelly, Associate Professor of International Relations at Pusan National University in South Korea, has said that the possibility of the situation in the Korean Peninsula escalating to war is remote. "“No Korea analyst of any stature has argued for war. I don’t know one person in the Korea analyst community who thinks war is likely. Nor do I know anyone serious who has advocated air strikes or other kinetic options,” Kelly wrote in his commentary on the issue on Wednesday.
10.35 There is also increased concern that although North Korea may or may not be able to reach the US mainland with its ICBMs, it would be able to reach mainland Europe. The French defence minister on Tuesday warned that North Korea may be able to develop missiles that could reach Europe sooner than expected, and acknowledged that the possibility of the situation escalating to full-fledged conflict cannot be ruled out.
10.29 After North Korea's comments on Tuesday in the UN about having "gift packages" ready for the United States, Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said that Russia would not be able to rush into the decision of imposing new sanctions on the rogue nation. As the situation is developing, there is more and more doubt that US would not be able to get the UN Security Council's go ahead for imposing new sanctions on North Korea, given that both China and Russia are also members of the Security Council.
09.59 Media reports from Tuesday said that the Pentagon estimated North korea to have upwards of 60 nuclear bombs that could be mounted on intercontinental ballistic missiles.
09.54 The North Korean media has also warned that the country could kill millions of Americans without ever firing a nuke at them by simply hitting the US with an electromagnetic pulse onslaught. If the power grid of a large area in the US, particularly on or near the east coast, collapses, it could lead to scores of casualties in a short span of time.
09.48 The Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel advisory asking Singaporeans to avoid all travel to North Korea that isn't absolutely necessary, as Singapore does not have diplomatic representation in the rogue nation.
09.33 The North Korean media has criticized South Korea's move to expand the South Korean-Japanese military intelligence protection agreement.
"The said agreement, which the Park Geun Hye group of traitors concluded with Japan in November last year under the pressure and backstage manipulation of the U.S., aims at the bilateral exchange of information on surveillance and espionage on the northern half of the Republic under the pretext of coping with the "nuclear threat from the north" and contingency," North Korea's Consultative Council for National Reconciliation said in a statement.
07:36 Asian stocks are trading lower, tracking Wall Street’s slide overnight. The dollar was on the defensive with tensions in the Korean Peninsula showing little signs of abating. Japan's Nikkei shed 0.55 percent while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.2 percent, on track for its fifth straight day of losses.
07:30 Here's what happened overnight:
A top North Korean diplomat has warned that his country is ready to send "more gift packages" to the United States, according to Reuters.
"The recent self-defence measures by my country, DPRK, are a gift package addressed to none other than the US," Han told a disarmament conference, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s formal name.
On Tuesday (yesterday), South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) had said that North Korea is believed to be moving an ICBM. It also said that the missile's projectile and how it was being transported was unclear.
21:17 "I am allowing Japan & South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States," tweets US President Donald Trump.
18:39 US stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Tuesday, as geopolitical concerns surrounding North Korea's relationship with the West amplified jitters in market trading.
17:51 Does the US have enough defence systems to take on a North Korean nuke? Yes, it does. This CNN story tells you about the arsenal at US' disposal.
17:09 The UN is considering tougher sanctions on North Korea—but that could actually help Pyongyang, reports CNBC.
17:01 The single mountain under which North Korea most likely conducted its five most recent nuclear bomb tests, including the latest and most powerful on Sunday, could be at risk of collapsing, a Chinese scientist said.
16:56 Angela Merkel has called for more sanctions over North Korea. In parliamentary address Tuesday, Merkel said she would meet with EU foreign ministers this weekend to discuss ramping up sanctions against the rogue state.
15:56 South Korea said on Tuesday an agreement with the US to scrap a weight limit on its warheads would help it respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat after it conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test two days ago, reports Reuters.
South Korean Defense Ministry handout: South Korean Vessels taking part in a naval drill off the east coast on September 4, 2017.
15:27 South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) has said that North Korea is believed to be moving an ICBM. It said that the missile's projectile and how it was being transported was unclear.
14:42 British Conservative politician William Hague said that Kim Jong-un is probably a prisoner of his own dictatorship.
“Born the third son of Kim Jong-il, he has always faced a choice of getting absolute power for himself or facing the dire consequences of not doing so,” Hague wrote in the Telegraph, adding that were Kim to dismantle the brutal North Korean regime, or even relax his grip on power, he could easily be assassinated.
14:10 Russian President Putin also warned that the escalating North Korean crisis could cause a “planetary catastrophe” and huge loss of life.
13:53 Japan's parliamentary committee today condemned the nuclear test by North Korea and is demanding tougher UN sanctions on the rogue state. It also urged the Japanese government to take leadership in pushing for tougher punishment against Pyongyang.13:3513:23
"The world is stunned by news that the DPRK's
intermediate-and-long range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 crossed the sky over islands of Japan along the preset flight track and accurately hit the preset target waters in northern Pacific.
The U.S. and Japan, the sworn enemies of the Korean nation, are struck with horror in face of the mettle of the DPRK which took the toughest counteraction against the U.S. insensible war drills. In the meantime, the Korean people feel relieved, their towering grudge settled," KCNA had reported on Monday.
13:17 Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that new sanctions imposed on North Korea would be "useless" and "ineffective", adding that imposing tougher sanctions on the regime of Kim Jong Un over its nuclear missile programme would not change the leadership in Pyongyang, but could lead to large-scale human suffering.
13:12 In an article published in KCNA, the state-owned news agency in North Korea, Kim Myong Gil, an officer of the Korean People's Army, said:
"Another thrilling nuclear thunder of Songun Korea is heavy punishment and sledgehammer blows to the US imperialists who are bringing the worst touch-and-go situation on the Korean peninsula while being carried away by ill-advised bravery.
Neglecting the strategic position of our country as a Juche-oriented nuclear power and a military power, they are bent on brigandish sanctions and stifling manoeuvres and hysteric war exercises. Today’s triumph deals another heavy blow to them, but fills us service personnel with the inexhaustible might and courage."
12:58 pm The South Korean Defence Minister has said that he is "willing to review" the plan for redeployment of tactical US nuclear weapons to Korea for first time in 26 years.
12:53 pm Talking at the BRICS Summit being held in China, Russian President Vladimir Putin compared North Korea to Iraq under Saddam Hussein. "We must not forget and North Korean should not forget what happened in Iraq," Putin said.
12:20 pm The situation in the Korean Peninsula is very precarious at the moment. The United States is putting all its weight behind the sanctions imposed on North Korea, asking other member nations of the United Nations Security Council to stop supplying oil to the rogue state. Here's how the North Korean chessboard is currently placed.
10:39 am According to various media reports, North Korea may launch ICBM tonight or tomorrow.
10.35 am Dollar index trading close to 0.2 percent down at 92.48 amid a cautious mood prevailing among market participants due to tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
9.41 am Media reports said that North Korea has been spotted moving what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile towards its west coast.
9.01 am Speaking to the United Nations on Monday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that North Korea was begging for war. "Enough is enough," Haley said. "We have taken an incremental approach, and despite the best of intentions, it has not worked...War is never something the Unites States wants -- we don't want it now. But our country's patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory."
8.55 am The South Korean navy conducted major live fire drills today to warn North Korea against any provocation at sea. The drills were conducted in the Sea of Japan and involved the 2,500-tonne frigate Gangwon, a 1,000-tonne patrol ship and 400-tonne guided-missile vessels, among others, the navy said in a statement.
8.18 am From the United States' point of view, a military response would be the least preferable option for a lot of reasons. Firstly, given that US intelligence about the locations of Kim Jong-un's nuclear sites is limited and that mountains occupy 79.5 percent of North Korea's territory, it would be very difficult to carry out a pre-emptive attack. Secondly, going by analyst estimates, it would take the US weeks, if not months, to get enough troops, equipment and fighter aircraft in the region.
8.09 am In a phone call on Monday evening with South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in, US President Donald Trump agreed to let the country build more non-nuclear ballistic missiles, something that South Korea has been seeking for many years. However, this might be too little too late as even if the South manages to build more missiles in time, it is unlikely to alter the strategic balance in the Korean Peninsula in a significant way.
7.59 am Also, China's trade with North Korea has steadily increased over the last one year or so and if it falls, South Korea is the one likely to take over. China will certainly not be overly comfortable with the idea of sharing a border with a US ally.
7.55 am It is unclear whether Chinese President Xi Jinping will go through with the decision to cut off oil supply to North Korea. China is North Korea's largest trading partner, accounting for around 90 percent of all trade carried out by the rogue state and all of the energy supply.
7.35 am In a last ditch effort to avoid using military means to resolve the ongoing tensions with North Korea, the US has urged other countries of the United Nations Security Council to cut off oil supply to the rogue state.
5.10 pm The problem with putting to use any one of the military options at the disposal of the US is that North Korea has, and always had, a lot of non-nuclear artillery within the range of the South Korean capital Seoul and its surrounding areas, which together house around 25 million people. Tens of thousands, if not more, would likely die if any military action is initiated.
5.07 pm Analysts have come out and expressed their doubts about whether the US really has any military options against North Korea that could actually be used. "We always have military options, but they're very ugly," said Mark Hertling, a retired US Army general, in an interactin with CNN.
4.57 pm Reports also quoted South Korea as saying that North Korea has completed preparations for a seventh nuclear test and is ready for launch.
4.18 pm Associated Press has reported that China has warned North Korea against proceeding with its reported plans to launch another ballistic missile, saying it should not worsen tensions.
4.15 pm According to media reports, Switzerland says it's prepared to mediate between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un.
3.30 pm Ever since US Secretary of Defence James Mattis warned of a massive miltary response by the US, safe haven assets like bonds and gold have risen across the globe.
3.08 pm Amidst the growing tension in the Korean Peninsula, the dollar index has fallen by more than 0.3 percent today. It is currently trading at 92.52.
1.49 pm Media reports say that China has called President Donald Trump's trade threat over North Korea "unacceptable" and "unfair."
1.46 pm Associated Press has reported, quoting South Korean government officials, that the US military will soon install additional missile-defense launchers at the site in southeastern South Korea in order to counter North Korea’s provocations.1.42 pm
1.39 pm Other media reports suggest that South Korea is in the process of deploying four Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems in response to the likely North Korean ICBM launch.
1.36 pm AFP has reported quoting Chinese foreign ministry officials that China has made a diplomatic protest to North Korea over its nuclear test.1.15 pm
News has just broken that North Korea may be close to launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). South Korean agency Yonhap reported the country's officials as saying they have detected missile launch activity in North Korea, which could be linked to an ICBM launch. We're tracking live updates.