CNN reports: North Korea threatened a nuclear strike on “the heart of the US” if it attempts to remove Kim Jong Un as Supreme Leader, Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Tuesday.
The threat was in response to comments from CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who said last week that the Trump administration needed to find a way to separate Kim from his growing nuclear stockpile.
“As for the regime, I am hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system,” Pompeo said. “The North Korean people I’m sure are lovely people and would love to see him go.”
KCNA reported that a spokesman from the North Korean Foreign Ministry said, “The DPRK legally stipulates that if the supreme dignity of the DPRK is threatened, it must preemptively annihilate those countries and entities that are directly or indirectly involved in it, by mobilizing all kinds of strike means including the nuclear ones.” [Continue reading…]
The Washington Post reports: North Korea will be able to field a reliable, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile as early as next year, U.S. officials have concluded in a confidential assessment that dramatically shrinks the timeline for when Pyongyang could strike North American cities with atomic weapons.
The new assessment by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which shaves a full two years off the consensus forecast for North Korea’s ICBM program, was prompted by recent missile tests showing surprising technical advances by the country’s weapons scientists, at a pace beyond which many analysts believed was possible for the isolated communist regime.
The U.S. projection closely mirrors revised predictions by South Korean intelligence officials, who also have watched with growing alarm as North Korea has appeared to master key technologies needed to loft a warhead toward targets thousands of miles away.
The finding further increases the pressure on U.S. and Asian leaders to halt North Korea’s progress before it can threaten the world with nuclear-tipped missiles. President Trump, during his visit to Poland earlier this month, vowed to confront Pyongyang “very strongly” to stop its missile advances. [Continue reading…]
Newsweek reports: While North Korea’s leadership celebrates its successful testing of a missile that it claims can strike the United States with a nuclear warhead, its citizens are facing the prospect of its worst drought in 16 years, which could lead to even greater food shortages in the isolated country.
A report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released last week said that rainfall between the critical period of April to June was lower than for the same period in 2001, when cereal production reached an unprecedented low.
“More rains are urgently needed to avoid significant decreases in the main 2017 cereal production season,” the report said. “Should drought conditions persist, the food security situation is likely to further deteriorate.”
North Korea has long been criticized for spending a large proportion of its budget on developing weapons while failing to provide adequate food for its people. Between 2004 and 2014, it spent nearly a quarter of its gross domestic product on the military, by far the highest percentage relative to GDP of any country in the world. Meanwhile, two in five North Koreans are undernourished with more than two-thirds relying on food aid, according to the United Nations. [Continue reading…]