North Korean Crisis Update
Today, US President, Donald Trump, told reporters that military action in North Korea is not his first choice but "we'll see what happens."
North Korean UN Ambassador Han Tae Song warned that “The U.S. will receive more ‘gift packages’ from my country as long as its relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK.” With the world expecting another North Korean missile test and perhaps another nuclear test, South Korean Navy warships conducted live-fire exercises at sea on Tuesday in a second straight day of military exercises. On Wednesday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said the remaining four Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) launchers would be installed on Thursday in response to “North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile threats.” Additionally, President Trump, pledged Tuesday to increase weapon sales to Japan and South Korea and likely items include F-35 stealth fighter planes, stand-off weapons, and missile defense components. The US is said to have started reviewing plans to evacuate up to 200, 000 American citizens from South Korea and increased its intelligence gathering on the North.
As well, President Trump and South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, agreed on Monday to scrap the weight limit on South Korea's ballistic missile warheads under the joint missile policy. South Korea had been restricted from maintaining warheads over 500 kilograms but that benchmark has been removed, while the range limit remains in place at 800 Kilometers. Furthermore, South Korean Defense Minister, Song Young-moo, and US Defense Secretary, James Mattis, reached an agreement on Tuesday to increase the deployment of US ‘strategic assets’ to South Korea. While, Japanese Defense Minister, Itsunori Onodera, met with Indian counterpart, Arun Jaitley, and both agreed to jointly exert more pressure on North Korea.
North Korea said Tuesday it will "respond with our own mode of counteroffensive" to any new sanctions put in place following its latest nuclear test. In a move to scuttle a new UN Security Council resolution in response to North Korea’s most recent thermonuclear test, the Ambassador for the Russian Federation is insisting that the new resolution should cite the importance of talks and noting that sanctions could be pursued in a separate resolution. On Wednesday, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said his country opposed cutting off oil supplies to North Korea as part of new sanctions during his meeting Wednesday with South Korean President, Moon Jae-in. China reportedly shot down “incoming missiles” in the early hours of Tuesday morning during a military exercise held over the waters near the Korean peninsula. President Trump told reporters that he had a good phone call earlier today with Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and that China wanted to de-escalate the tensions on the Korean peninsula. But there was no reported diplomatic breakthrough ahead of the UN Security Council vote on September 11th.
Lastly, there are unconfirmed reports that North Korea may be hiding or holding nuclear weapons grade material for Iran in violation of the Obama 'Iran deal,' after Pyongyang sent a delegation to the Islamic Republic in the aftermath of the North's nuclear test.