With all eyes on North Korea, China quietly tests missiles over weekend, US officials tell Fox

By Lucas Tomlinson

As the world reacted to North Korea’s record-setting long-range missile test Friday, one day later and hundreds of miles away, China quietly performed a dramatic series of missile tests of its own, designed U.S. officials say, to send a message to the United States and the world.

On Saturday, U.S. spy agencies detected the Chinese military launching a series of 20 missiles at mock up targets designed to look like American THAAD missile batteries and advanced US Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets.

China has long protested the deployment of U.S. THAAD anti-ballistic missiles to South Korea, and doubled down on its condemnation after the government in Seoul said they want four more American launchers over the weekend following North Korea’s second KN-20 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.

Officials believe the Chinese military tested intermediate, medium and cruise missiles and were also meant to coincide with China’s Army Day celebrations on August 1st, when China staged a massive military parade involving 12,000 troops in the desert along with dozens of tanks, jets and missiles.  Chinese state media said it was the first time China ever celebrated Army Day with a parade, attended by China’s President Xi Jinping and Beijing’s military chief.

China currently has as many destroyers, crusiers and submarines as the U.S. Navy.  Beijing recently put a new type of destroyer in the water which analysts say rivals advanced American Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

Days before the China missile tests Saturday, U.S. military satellites also detected a failed attempt of China’s anti-ballistic missile system—Beijing’s version of the US THAAD system

At the State Department Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters the United States and China are at a “pivot point” in history.

Tillerson acknowledged differences between super powers over North Korea and Beijing’s continued island construction of military bases in the South China Sea.

“We will deal with those differences in a way that does not lead to open conflict,” Tillerson vowed.

China's U.N. envoy said this week said it’s up to the United States and North Korea, not Beijing, to reduce tensions and work toward resuming talks to end Pyongyang's nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile programs.

Tillerson said yesterday “at some point” he would be open for talks with North Korea.

One day after North Korea’s record-setting intercontinental ballistic missile launch, President Trump tweeted that he was “very disappointed” in China for doing “nothing” to stop North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.

State Department: China can do a whole lot more to bring pressure to North Korea

Reporting by Rich Edson

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet again tomorrow. President Trump said they made tremendous progress in their first meeting three months ago. Since then, this relationship has yielded disappointment.

China is the centerpiece of what the Trump administration calls its pressure campaign to isolate North Korea and force it to abandon its nuclear programs.

North Korea has continued developing its weapons programs, successfully testing for the first time—and on the 4th of July—an intercontinental ballistic missile.

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert says they believe China can do more.

“I think we view it as there’s a lot of work left to be done. We’re still somewhat early on it the overall pressure campaign against North Korea. We continue to believe that China can do a whole lot more to try to bring additional pressure to North Korea.”

China accounts for about 90% of North Korea’s trade and Chinese government data shows that relationship grew nearly 40% in this year’s first three months compared to the same period last year.

Following North Korea’s latest launch, President Trump tweeted, “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us—but we had to give it a try!”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says China initially took significant action against North Korea, then paused. Last week, the Treasury Department sanctioned Chinese companies conducting business in North Korea.

“The sanctions action that was taken here just in the last week to 10 days certainly got their attention in terms of their understanding our resolve,” Tillerson said.

The State Department refuses to comment on additional penalties the U.S. may initiate against Chinese businesses.

Despite the U.S. disappointment with China, President Trump says his administration will continue to convince President Xi to confront North Korea.

China also continues floating a solution—the U.S. and South Korea suspend their joint military exercises, North Korea surrenders its weapons programs. The U.S. has rejected that approach, claiming its military exercises are defensive, and North Korea’s weapons programs are illegal.

 

North Korea missile launch

Jennifer Griffin

A senior US official tells Fox News the US watched North Koreans prepare a liquid-fueled 2-stage ICBM missile in advance of the recent launch Tuesday.

A Pentagon spokesman said the 37-minutes flight time was the longest to date for a North Korean ballistic missile. Despite reports a mobile launcher was used, the missile was only transported to the launch pad, not fired from the vehicle.

Kim Jong -un taunted the US after watching the successful launch.

The Korean Central News Agency reported, “he said American bastards would not be very happy with this gift sent on the July 4 anniversary,” adding that he had no plans to negotiate.

North Korean media said the missile could carry a “large-sized heavy nuclear warhead,” and despite “extreme overload and vibration the nuclear warhead detonation control device successfully worked.” If true, experts say the North Koreans have cleared another hurdle.

Late yesterday, the Pentagon responded to the test by releasing video of American Army and South Korean military unites near Seoul testing short range surface-to-surface missiles which can travel up to 200 miles. Seoul, with its 10 million residents is only 35 miles from the DMZ, or border. North Korea has thousands of artillery units pointed at South Korea’s capital as a deterrent.

When asked why the Pentagon did not shoot the missile down a spokesman said the US military did not employ an elaborate missile defense shield because it did not threaten the US homeland, adding it did put at risk commercial airlines and shipping in the region.

US officials are also worried because the two stage missile was able to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and now has the range to hit the state of Alaska.

The US has dozens of interceptor missiles at bases in Alaska and California to shoot down a rogue North Korean missile in outer space. The THAAD missile defense system based in South Korea could also be used. But the THAAD, which faced protests when it was installed at a golf course in Seoul, only has two out of six missile interceptors and South Korea is blocking the US from sending more.

The US Navy also has one less tool in its defense shield arsenal after the USS Fitzgerald collided last month with a cargo ship near Japan. The Fitzgerald had advances radar and missiles that could be used to shoot down a ballistic missile.

The Navy’s last test to shoot down a missile from a warship on June 22, 2017 failed when the missile missed the target, but carried out a successful intercept of a mock ICBM fired from the Marshall Islands earlier this year. 

North Korea conducts another rocket engine test for ICBM

By Lucas Tomlinson

North Korea conducted another rocket engine test Wednesday which could potentially be used on a future intercontinental ballistic missile or ICBM, two US officials tell Fox News.

It’s the first rocket engine test since the rogue communist regime conducted three in March, which, in addition to an ICBM could also be used for a future new rocket capable of putting a satellite into orbit, according to both officials who are concerned that the technology used for putting satellites into space are the same ones used for an ICBM capable of reaching the west coast of the United States.

The rocket test was conducted in the city of Yun Song, where previous rocket tests have taken place, according to one official.

The news of another rocket engine test out of North Korea comes as another U.S. official said Wednesday there are signs of increased activity at North Korea’s lone nuclear test site.

“There are more people and more cars but nobody knows what that means,” said the official.   

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests since 2006, including two last year.

Since hosting China’s President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago Club in April, President Trump hoped China would help deescalate tensions in the region following a series of ballistic missile tests, including one that flew 1,000 miles higher than NASA’s international space station before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere before splashing down a mere 60 miles from Russia last month.

“While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” said Trump in a tweet earlier this week.

At the State Department, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hosted Chinese counterparts.

“China understands that the United States regards North Korea as our top security threat,” Tillerson told reporters Wednesday. “We reiterated to China that they have a diplomatic responsibility to exert much great economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region.”

Relations with North Korea deteriorated further after Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old University of Virginia student and Ohio native was returned to the United States last week after being held for 17-months on charges of subversion after allegedly stealing a communist propaganda poster from his hotel. He died on Monday.

NoKo failed missile is KN-17, new type of Scud, US officials tell Fox

By Lucas Tomlinson

U.S. officials tell Fox News the failed North Korean missile was a KN-17, a new type of Scud, which could be used to target ships similar to the one launched earlier this month days before Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.

“The only way a Scud gets a new designation is if it is substantially different,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

The KN-17 is a single-stage, liquid-fueled missile -- not the three-stage, solid-fuel missile that North Korea successfully tested back in February, which caused more concern among Pentagon officials.

Monday, the Pentagon announced it was conducting a new nuclear posture review, two days after North Korea failed to launch a new type of ballistic missile, which exploded four seconds after launch.

The latest failed test over the weekend occurred hours before Vice President Pence touched down in Seoul. On Monday, he visited the Demilitarized Zone on the border between North and South and warned the rogue communist regime against conducting further tests.

"There was a period of strategic patience. But the era of strategic patience is over. President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out, and we want to see change,'' Pence said.

Aside from the rumblings out of North Korea, Russia recently deployed a ground-based, nuclear-capable cruise missile in violation of a decades-long arms treaty between Washington and Moscow, drawing condemnation from Capitol Hill lawmakers. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and the then-Soviet Union required complete “destruction” of ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,418 miles and support equipment by 1990. 

On Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland on “Fox News Sunday” if the U.S. played a role in North Korea’s failed test launch over the weekend.

“You know we can't talk about secret intelligence and things that might have been done, covert operations that might have happened. So, I really have no comment on that, and nor should I,” McFarland said.

She added, “I do think we are entering a whole new era, not just with North Korea, but with everybody, with any country, major country, we are entering a cyber platform, a cyber battlefield.”

North Korean Nuclear Threat

By Jake Smith

In 80 days of the Trump Administration, the regime of North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un has launched about half a dozen missiles. In response to the latest test, the USS Carl Vinson has navigated from its destination in Australia to the waters off of the Korean Peninsula.

“Carl Vinson Strike Group, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), will operate in the Western Pacific rather than executing previously planned port visits to Australia,” according to a release by Admiral Harry Harris, Commander United States Pacific Command.

President Donald Trump has called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to assist in diminishing the threat from North Korea. Trump on Tuesday said North Korea “is looking for trouble” and has vowed to “solve the problem without” China.

“I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem,” Trump tweeted hinting that a favorable US-China trade agreement could emerge if cooperation between the two powers to de-escalate the North Korean threat is successful.

China has responded by placing a total of 150,000 troops along the Chinese-North Korean border, signaling Chinese officials are attempting to deter a strike against the regime similar to the Syrian airstrike committed last week by the US, according to reports.

This all comes after President Trump’s exclusive interview the Financial Times last month where he said, “China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t,” Trump said. “And if they do, that will be very good for China. And if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone. If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”

"Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the U.S. mainland," North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said to the country in response to the USS Carl Vinson.

Hwang Kyo-ahn, South Korea’s acting President, has warned Pyongyang will “wage greater provocations such as a nuclear test timed with various anniversaries.” The next nuclear test could happen as soon as April 15, the anniversary of the communist country’s founding according to reports by The Wall Street Journal. 

Sen. McCain on North Korea

STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN McCAIN ON NORTH KOREA


 


Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement on North Korea:


 


“As the world waits to see whether North Korea will act on its threat to test launch a medium-range ballistic missile, I maintain that the United States should treat any North Korean missile launch as a threat to our national security and our allies, and that we should shoot it down once it leaves North Korean airspace. North Korea’s leaders should have no doubt that the United States of America has both the capability and the will to eliminate the threats they seek to pose to international peace and stability.”


 


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North Korea: Threat of Attack

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