North Korea displays apparently new missiles as U.S. carrier group approaches

Reuters reports: North Korea displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles on the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday, as a nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region.

Missiles appeared to be the main theme of a giant military parade, with Kim’s grandson, leader Kim Jong Un, taking time to greet the commander of the Strategic Forces, the branch that oversees the missile arsenal.

A U.S. Navy attack on a Syrian airfield this month with Tomahawk missiles raised questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for reclusive North Korea, which has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions, regularly threatening to destroy the United States. [Continue reading…]

Politico reports: President Donald Trump would be best served to simply ignore the provocations of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, a former acting director of the CIA said Friday, and is “making it worse” by replying with a show of force.

Kim has moved his repressive, communist state to the top of the president’s international priority list in recent weeks, first with a missile test and now with preparations consistent with the test of a nuclear weapon. North Korea was a main point of discussion during the president’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, and last weekend Trump ordered the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its accompanying battle group into the waters off the Korean peninsula.

“We have a new president and Kim Jong Un is trying to challenge him, is trying to get him back to the negotiating table,” former CIA acting Director Mike Morell said Friday on “CBS This Morning,” praising former President Barack Obama for largely ignoring the North Korean regime’s efforts at saber rattling. “Kim Jong Un wants to get back to a situation where we give them gifts when they do something bad. And then we are also making it worse, right? With our bluster and by sending aircraft carriers in there, we’re raising the crisis.” [Continue reading…]

Josh Rogin writes: Despite heated rhetoric about potential military conflict, the Trump administration’s official policy on North Korea is not aimed at regime change, but rather seeks to impose “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang in the hopes of returning to negotiations to get rid of its growing nuclear arsenal. That’s the result of a comprehensive policy review the Trump White House completed this month.

Tensions couldn’t be higher as the regime of Kim Jong Un signals that it may soon detonate its sixth nuclear bomb and North Korean officials say they are ready to “go to war” if provoked by the United States. The United States has moved significant military assets into the region, and officials are even signaling that the United States is capable of launching a preemptive strike.

But behind the scenes, the Trump administration has completed a two-month comprehensive review of the North Korea policy that was approved by all of the top National Security Council officials this month, a senior White House official who has read the policy confirmed to me. [Continue reading…]

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