North Korea Poised to Conduct Sixth Nuclear Test

North Korea Poised to Conduct Sixth Nuclear Test

On the trouble Korean peninsula, South Korean intelligence has warned that North Korea has completed preparations for its sixth nuclear test at the Punggye-ri test site, and it is likely to be thermonuclear explosion. North Korea has reportedly completed its preparation to carry out a nuclear test at Tunnel 2 and Tunnel 3 at the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility. South Korea has ordered its military to enhanced readiness, saying it should be ready for immediate offensive if North Korea crosses the ‘line.’ Tonight, North Korea test-fired another, as of yet unidentified, ballistic missile over Japan tripping the country's air defense network. This news comes after North Korea launched three Short-Range Ballistic Missiles from its east coast into the Sea of Japan on Friday. Two of the SRBMs flew about 150 miles while the other one appears to have blown up almost instantly on launch. There are also reports that Kim Jong-un is in the process of conducting another purge of the Hermit Kingdom. Interestingly, North Korea carried out its last nuclear test at Punnggye-ri on September 9th, 2016. The 9th of September marks the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea.

In the War on Terror in Europe, the number of people killed in two Islamic State (ISIS) vehicle terror attacks in Spain last week rose to 16 on Sunday after a German woman died from her injuries.

In Africa, relatives and elders have protested the deaths of 10 Somali civilians killed in a raid by Somali and US troops warning the bodies will not be buried until the US apologizes. Al-Qaeda-linked Boko Haram militants attacked a village in remote Cameroon near Nigeria with automatic fire, killing 15 people and kidnapping eight others. Jihadists loyal to ISIS in Libya overran a checkpoint manned by the Libyan National Army (LNA) yesterday and at least 11 people were beheaded after the raid.

In the ground campaign against ISIS decaying Caliphate, the US military has rejected calls by the UN to halt the coalition air campaign in Raqqa, Syria, saying that to do so would only serve to reinforce the Islamic State’s tactic of using human shields putting more civilians in harm’s way. Cease-fires took effect Sunday in the border area between Syria and Lebanon, halting separate but simultaneous weeklong offensives against ISIS by the Lebanese army on one side and Hezbollah and Syrian troops on the other. The US-led coalition has admitted that support to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces have strengthen Iranian-backed Shiite militias. Iran currently has 70,000 combatants in Syria and iraq, counting regular Iranian troops and militias under Iranian control. The Iraqi military has retaken the northern city of Tal Afar from the ISIS on Sunday in a rapid campaign.

In Afghanistan, US General John W. Nicholson, has claimed on Saturday that the US was aware of Afghan Taliban leadership's presence in Peshawar and Quetta. The Afghan Taliban overran two district centers, Zana Khan in Ghazni and Gomal in Paktika province in the east, while Afghan forces regained control of another district, Jani Khel in Paktia, which has changed hands several times over the past year. The ISIS’s Khorasan province claimed credit for today’s suicide assault that took place at a crowded Imam Zaman Mosque Shiite mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Afghan officials are claiming that more than 30 civilians were killed and at least 80 people were wounded in the attack.

On the International security front in Asia, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy PLA(N) has held a live-fire drill in the waters of the western Indian Ocean, in a warning to India in the stand-off over disputed Doklam. Indian Army Commander, General Bipin Rawat, said on Sunday that situations like the ongoing standoff over Doklam Plateau between Indian and China could recur in the future, and that India troops remain on guard. But India and China have reportedly agreed to show restraint and to end their stand-off in the region. Meanwhile, there are fears that China is getting ready for another land-grab at the expense of its neighbors after Chinese ships reportedly gathered at Sandy Cay, a set of sandbars close to Philippines-occupied Thitu Island in the South China Sea’s disputed Spratly archipelago. The island has a small civilian population and an old, decrepit runway the Philippines has said that it would repair.

Lastly, Michael Elleman, Senior Fellow for missile defense at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London has said that North Korea is unlikely to field a solid-fuel Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) within a decade. Elleman said that North Korea's largest tested solid motor is the Pukguksong Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile's (IRBM) first stage, which weighs about 6 to 7 tons, while an ICBM first-stage motor will weigh around 20 tons. The step from producing 6-ton motors to 20-ton motors is estimated at between seven to 10 years. Solid Fuel powered ICBMs can be launched rapidly and with little warning as opposed to the Hwasong-14 liquid fueled ICBM that requires considerable preparations for test-fire.

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