Fresh tensions between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have raised fears of a devastating nuclear war between the US and North Korea.
The US military this morning released pictures of supersonic B-1B bombers flying from Guam after North Korea threatened to strike an American airbase on the remote Pacific island.
Two US Air Force B-1B jets took part in 10-hour mission over the Korean peninsula just hours before Kim Jong-un revealed his plans.
On Monday, Trump warned any threat to America would be met with “fire and fury”.
Trump reaffirms ‘fire and fury’ comments with Fox retweets
In a series of early-morning tweets, Donald Trump reaffirmed his threat from a day earlier.
The US president reposted a video of him warning that Pyongyang would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it made any advances on the US.
He also retweeted a series of reports posted by Fox News which detailed his New Jersey speech.
Trump said his first order as president had been to “renovate and modernise” the US nuclear arsenal.
In December, before being sworn into office, President Trump called for the United States to “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” until the rest of the world “comes to its senses” regarding nuclear weapons.
After his inauguration, he ordered a review of the nation’s nuclear posture to ensure that US capabilities were modern and robust. (The White House has not detailed any findings from that evaluation.)
But efforts to modernise the nation’s ageing nuclear stockpiles pre-date Trump’s presidency.
In 2016, then-defence secretary Ash Carter said the Pentagon planned to spend 108 billion US dollars (£83 billion) over five years to sustain and improve its nuclear force.
President Trump tweeted on Wednesday: “Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world.”
Trump ‘couldn’t even name weapons needed for war’
Expert George A. Lopez said he thinks Trump would be “hard pressed to name” any of the weapons needed to start a war.
Lopez is a former member of the UN Panel of Experts created to monitor North Korea sanctions.
He is currently Hesburgh Chair in Peace Studies at Notre Dame University.
He said: “Much like former US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld’s ‘shock and awe’ in Iraq, this is a classic attempt to show resolve.
“I fear this – if you asked the president which particular weapons create such fire, he would be hard pressed to name them.”
World is witnessing ‘psychological tug-of-war’ between leaders
Moon Seong-mook is a retired South Korean brigadier general who took part in previous military talks with North Korea.
He said: “North Korea has no choice but to react [to Trump’s remarks] right now. They have to respond.
“From their point of view, the US is insulting their great leader Kim Jong-un, so they are trying to manage the situation with this kind of rhetoric.
“Neither country will be able to take action quickly. Right now it’s a mental fight – a psychological tug-of-war.”
Experts Thoughts: Is WW3 likely?
Experts are analysing the risks of war after a tense rhetorical exchange between US president Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
Kunihiko Miyake, former Japanese diplomat and now research director at The Canon Institute for Global Studies, said: “I don’t think North Korea is going to attack.
“They are not going suicidal… They are not militarily provoking, they are diplomatically provoking.
“They want negotiations, to strike a peace pact with the United States from a position of strength.”
Meanwhile, Sun Zhe, co-director of the China Initiative of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, said: “ I think the United States won’t take any land-based military action.
“It would bomb some military infrastructure, but it wouldn’t likely cross the 38th parallel.” [The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth’s equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean.]
Zhang Liangui, a North Korea expert at China’s Central Party School which trains rising Chinese officials, said: “Nobody wants war. But North Korea’s pushing of its nuclear programme has touched the America’s red line and they won’t stand for it, so there really is a possibility of a clash.
“The United States might well go behind the UN and take unilateral action on North Korea.
“This possibility is getting greater and greater, so there is cause for concern. The United States is a superpower.
“It does not need to resort to nuclear weapons to win a war. So I think the chances of them using nuclear weapons is small.”
US strike on North Korea ‘could take months ‘
Analysts say it would take months for the US to launch a strike against North Korea.
The kind of campaign that would be needed to bring battlefield success and would need weeks, if not months, to sort out the logistics, analysts say.
Mark Hertling, a retired US Army general, told CNN the tens of thousands of US civilians, many of them military dependents, would first need to be evacuated from South Korea.
The US would also need to add to its forces in the region in what Hertling called “a reinforcement of shooters”.
These would include US Navy ships and submarines armed with cruise missiles, plus Air Force bombers that could operate out of bases in Japan or Guam.
Tillerson: The international community has had a ‘pretty good week’
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson continued defending Donald Trump’s comments.
“I think what the president was just reaffirming is that the United States has the capability to fully defend itself from any attack, and our allies, and we will do so,” Tillerson said.
The international community had a “pretty good week” with respect to North Korea, he said, citing new UN sanctions and strong statements coming out of a meeting of world leaders in Asia.
“In response to that, North Korea’s rhetoric is just ratcheted up, louder and louder and more threatening,” Tillerson told reporters.
Just moments after Tillerson’s remarks, Trump hammered home his tough talk in a Twitter post about US nuclear weapons in what looked like another warning to North Korea.
Tillerson said he hoped international pressure, including engagement of China and Russia, can persuade North Korea to reconsider its nuclear ambitions and begin a diplomatic dialogue.
Trump says US nuclear arsenal “stronger than ever before”
In his latest show of bravado, US President Donald Trump has said the US will always be the world’s “most powerful nation” and that its nuclear arsenal is “stronger than ever before”.
He made the comment as he addressed the tense showdown between the US and North Korea.
The president added that he hopes he will never have to use the country’s nuclear arsenal.
Trump wrote on Twitter in a pair of tweets: “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….
“…Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”
France calls on North Korea and US to ‘act responsibly’
France has called on all the concerned parties to act responsibly and de-escalate the situation regarding North Korea.
“We call on all sides to act responsibly,” government spokesman Christophe Castaner told reporters at a news briefing on Wednesday.
He added that France was “preoccupied” by the situation.
Just last month, Donald Trump and his wife Melania spent a few days with French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte.
US Secretary of State: Trump is using ‘language Kim Jong-un will understand’
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump is sending a strong message to North Korea “in a language Kim Jong-un would understand”.
He told reporters the North Korean leader does not understand diplomatic language.
Tillerson said while he doesn’t believe North Korea poses an imminent threat, Trump wanted to deliver message that would avoid any miscalculation in Pyongyang.
“Americans should sleep well at night,” he said.
China urges for ‘calm’ as US and North Korea fire threats
China has urged for ‘calm’ after North Korea said it was considering plans for a missile strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam.
China called on all parties to avoid any words or actions that might escalate the situation and make even greater efforts to resolve the issue via talks, the ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters.
Donald Trump announced on Monday that any threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury”.
Germany calls on China and Russia to weigh in on conflict
Germany has called on China and Russia to dissuade Pyongyang from pursuing policies that would lead to a military escalation on the Korean peninsula.
“The goal of the German government is to avoid a further military escalation and to settle the conflict in the North Pacific peacefully,” said government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer.
“China and Russia have a special responsibility to do everything they can to dissuade North Korea from a path of escalation.”
Earlier North Korea said it was considering plans for a missile strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam after US President Donald Trump said any threat to his country would be met with “fire and fury”.
North Korea releases Canadian pastor serving life sentence
North Korea has released a Canadian pastor serving a life sentence there on humanitarian grounds, the country’s official KCNA news agency has announced.
“Rim Hyon Su, a Canadian civilian, was released on sick bail according to the decision of the Central Court of the DPRK on August 9, 2017, from the humanitarian viewpoint,” it said, using the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Also known as Hyeon Soo Lim, who served at one of the largest churches in Canada, he was sentenced to hard labour for life in December 2015 for what North Korea says was an attempt to overthrow the regime.
Lim travelled to North Korea on January 31, 2015. He disappeared as he attempted to cross the land border with China to visit the northeastern city of Rajin.
Much later it was determined he had been arrested.
In a video released by a North Korean website in August, Hyeon appeared to read from a script to a nearly empty state-operated Pongsu Church in Pyongyang.
“The worst crime I committed was to rashly defame and insult the highest dignity and the system of the republic,” he said.
Guam islanders panic over North Korea missile threat
North Korea claims it has missiles capable of reaching the US mainland.
But its latest threat is against Guam – a much closer target.
The small Pacific island is home to an important strategic US air base, US nuclear bombers, about 6,000 troops along and some 165,000 civilians.
And while the Guamanian authorities have been quick to state there is nothing to fear, many islanders are concerned, the BBC reports.
“Yes, of course people are worried,” front desk manager at a local hotel, Adele, told the BBC.
“It is scary to think that there is a threat from North Korea on Guam.”
Local stand-up comedian Chris ‘Malafunkshun’ Barnett said there was a real level of anxiety: “There have been threats before but this time feels different.
“We’re really in caught in the cross fire.
“President Trump seems as much of a sabre-rattler as Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.
“And a lot of people here feel like Trump is the guy who might actually press the button.”
Trump ‘will plunge world into global war’
Back in April, the Voice of the Mirror predicted Donald Trump would plunge the world headfirst into another global war.
Shoot-from-the-lip Donald Trump needs to cool it, or this unpredictable, irrational and dangerous US President risks triggering World War III.
Publicly threatening to attack North Korea is lunacy and would make firing missiles into Syria and dropping a monster bomb in Afghanistan look like an Easter stroll in the park.
Nobody doubts the world would be a safer place without tyrant Kim Jong-un but Trump is stupidly feeding the nuclear-armed dictator’s paranoia and dicing with a confrontation with another superpower, China.
The warning “conflict could break out at any moment” from China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, should make Trump stop and think.
Alas, it may not, so this is a moment for wiser heads to prevail or who knows what will happen.
Trump is a toxic bundle of contradictions and he sounds increasingly unhinged.
We want the US to show peaceful leadership, yet Trump behaves like a tin-pot commander-in-chief, playing into Kim’s hands with the spectre of a devastating Third World War in which there would be no winners, only losers.
Nagasaki bombing on August 9 1945 was last major act of WW2
Tens of thousands of US troops remain stationed in South Korea and in nearby Japan, the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons.
Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city of Nagasaki by the United States.
“Tension is mounting when it comes to the international situation surrounding nuclear weapons,” Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue told a ceremony marking the attack.
“Strong fears are spreading that nuclear weapons may be used in the not-so-distant future.”
Inside the paradise island of Guam
With its sandy beaches, sparkling clear waters and balmy temperatures, the island of Guam looks like the perfect holiday destination.
But the remote paradise in the Pacific Ocean is more than it appears at first glance – for it is an important strategic US military outpost.
The island, which stretches 210 square miles, is home to a number of military installations and at least 6,000 servicemen and women.
An American territory, it hosts bombers with nuclear capabilities – which would likely make it an appealing target for a nuclear attack.
It also has a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group.
Today, North Korea, situated around 2,100 miles away to the northwest of Guam, said it was considering plans for a missile strike on the territory.
Map shows how close North Korea is to Guam
This map shows why the US is so concerned over North Korea’s threats.
Guam has a large US naval base on it along with thousands of troops.
The island is just over 2,000 miles from North Korea.
Trump warned ‘you need more than Twitter and some bravado’
Abraham Denmark, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, said the mixed messages coming from the Trump administration were problematic because they could create confusion for both allies and adversaries.
“Our adversaries and our allies are getting very mixed messages from the Trump administration, and this is why you need to have experienced people in government,” he said.
“This is why diplomacy requires more than a Twitter account and some bravado – you need to have real experienced diplomats coordinating all these messages.”
South Korea official claims situation ‘Does NOT represent a crisis’
An official from South Korea’s presidential office said the situation “does NOT represent a crisis”.
The anonymous official noted the North Korean threat may have been multipurposed and not intended to incite an actual conflict, Yonhap News reports.
“I do not agree with the claim that the Korean Peninsula faces an imminent crisis,” the official told reporters.
“It is true the situation on the Korean Peninsula is becoming very serious due to North Korea’s repeated provocations though many believe they are rather strategic provocations.
“We are working to fundamentally resolve the North Korean nuclear and missile issues at the earliest date possible, and are working with a belief that the possibility is very high.
“However, I do not believe the situation has reached a state of crisis, and rather think we may turn this into an opportunity to overcome the serious security condition.”
The remarks from the Cheong Wa Dae official came hours after an unidentified spokesman for the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) said Pyongyang was “carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in order to contain the U.S. major military bases on Guam”.
Cambodia ‘not happy’ with North Korea
Cambodia’s foreign minister said southeast Asian countries are “not happy” with North Korea’s missile tests.
He made the comments as tension grows between Washington and Pyongyang.
US President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that North Korea would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the US, provoking a riposte that the North was examining a plan to fire missiles at the US-held Pacific island of Guam.
Trump’s warning comes as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits countries in Asia, where he attended a regional meeting in Manila at the weekend and urged southeast Asia to cut back on ties with North Korea.
In Phnom Penh, Cambodian foreign minister Prak Sokhonn said he called on the North to soften its stance during a meeting with its foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, in Manila.
“We sent a message to them that all ASEAN countries are not happy with the actions of North Korea that still continue to violate the United Nations resolution,” he told reporters, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“It’s an insult to the international community as a whole, and it’s a threat to peace and stability of the region.”
Cambodia is a key regional ally of China, which this week said it would pay the biggest price from new United Nations sanctions against North Korea because of its close economic ties with the country.
Cambodia has previously made clear it will not back any further nuclear development efforts by North Korea.
Trump slammed for ‘bombtastic’ and ‘unhinged’ comments
Democrats have slammed Trump for his “bombastic” and “unhinged” comments of “fire and fury”.
”President Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments,” California senator Dianne Feinstein said in a statement, as reported by CNN.
Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump had undermined US credibility “by drawing an absurd red line”.
“Make no mistake: North Korea is a real threat, but the President’s unhinged reaction suggests he might consider using American nuclear weapons in response to a nasty comment from a North Korean despot,” Engel said.
And Maryland senator Ben Cardin compared Trump’s comments to rhetoric that often comes out of Pyongyang.
“President Trump’s comments were not helpful and once again show that he lacks the temperament and judgment to deal with the serious crisis the United States confronts,” Cardin said.
“We should not be engaging in the same kind of bluster and provocative statements as North Korea about nuclear war.”
Democratic senator Chuck Schumer similarly called out Trump’s comments.
“We need to be firm and deliberate with North Korea, but reckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe,” Schumer said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Mystic predicts exact date WW3 will start
A mystic who foretold the Donald Trump presidency has predicted World War 3 will start on October 13.
Self-proclaimed ‘messenger of God’ Horacio Villegas believes nuclear war will break out on the 100th anniversary of the visitation of Our Lady of Fatima.
With the USA and North Korea engaged in a nuclear war of words, amid threats of ‘preventative war’ and a missile attack on Guam, the fears of a new global conflict are more prescient than ever.
The clairvoyant claims to have envisioned Trump would win the US election as far back as 2015, according to the Daily Star.
He reportedly predicted the billionaire businessman would become the “illuminati king” who will “bring the world into WW3”.
How an intercontinental ballistic missile works
North Korea has claimed it is testing an intercontinental ballistic missile that is capable of reaching Alaska.
Authorities in the US and South Korea verified the missile had intercontinental range but provided few other details.
So how does an intercontinental ballistic missile work? And how it can reach long-range targets?
- Missiles are self-guided munitions that travel through the air or outer space to their targets.
- A ballistic missile travels along a suborbital trajectory.
- An intercontinental ballistic missile can travel a substantial distance around the Earth to its target.
- As opposed to bombs, torpedoes and rockets, missiles are both powered and guided.
- If unguided, it would be termed a rocket. A bomb is neither powered nor guided. A guided bomb is called a “smart” bomb.
- If powered and traveling underwater, it is termed a torpedo.
- Better known by the abbreviation ICBMs, intercontinental missiles can do exactly what their name implies: deliver a weapon, like a nuclear warhead or nerve agents, to another continent.
- Unlike other military missiles, ICBMs are feared for their long range because they can fly more than 5,500 km (3,420 miles).
- Most ICBMs don’t enter Earth’s orbit. Instead, they travel in high, arclike paths.
- Some ICBMs burn solid fuel, while others use liquid fuel or a combination of both, but the goal is to generate enough lift and thrust to deliver a bomb to a target as quickly as possible.
- To reach such speeds and strike with such precision, ICBMs typically have three or four separate rocket motors.
- During flight, ICBMs use several tricks to stay on course. Flight computers can monitor the rocket’s trajectory and some ICBMs also use cameras to look at constellations of stars while flying high above the clouds.
- At each stage of flight, the missile moves faster and faster.
- All the while, Earth’s gravity pulls the weapon back toward the ground on a “ballistic” trajectory.
- By the time the last stage has burned out, all that remains is for the payload – a nuclear warhead, chemical weapon, or biological weapon – to deploy.
Kellyanne Conway: Trump’s comments were ‘strong and obvious’
White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway was asked to expand on President Trump’s comments about North Korea on Monday.
She described the remarks as “strong and obvious”.
“I think the President’s comments were very strong and obvious, and you all covered them live,” Conway told reporters in New Jersey.
She referred other questions about the remarks – during which Trump vowed to bring “fire and fury” upon North Korea – to other members of the cabinet.
South Korean president calls for ‘urgent’ overhaul of armed services
South Korean president Moon Jae-in has called for a complete and thorough overhaul of the country’s armed services.
He has highlighted an “urgent” need to enhance the country’s defence capabilities against North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile technologies, Yonhap News reports.
“I believe we might need a complete defence reform at the level of a rebirth instead of making some improvements or modifications,” the president said on Wednesday.
He added: “I believe another task now facing us is the urgent task of securing defence capabilities to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations.”
Moon’s remarks came amid escalating tension caused by the communist state’s recent missile launches and a fresh threat, filed earlier in the day by the North Korean military, to strike near US-controlled Guam with a barrage of missiles.
US shares slip as Korea tensions escalate
US stock futures slipped on Wednesday.
Investors sought havens such as US Treasuries, gold and the yen as tensions on the Korean peninsula escalated.
European bourses also looked set to open lower across the board, with Eurostoxx 50 futures already down 0.7 percent in early trade.
A spokesman for the Korean People’s Army said in a statement that it was “carefully examining” plans for a missile attack on Guam, a US Pacific territory, which has a large American military base.
The comments came just hours after Donald Trump told North Korea that any threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury”, rattling markets globally.
Stock markets in Asia have also fallen.
‘North Korea always talks about war, war, war’
In Dandong, a Chinese trading hub across the border from North Korea, residents said they were unperturbed by the escalating rhetoric.
“North Korea always talks about war, war, war, but it never happens,” said a restaurant owner who asked to be identified only by her surname, Yang.
“We now live in peaceful times. But if war does break out it will be us ordinary people that suffer,” she said.
Another resident, Zhang Shubin, 63, said North Korea knew that it faced economic collapse if China went significantly further with its sanctions.
“These so-called sanctions are nothing,” he said. “If President Xi (Jinping) really wanted to, then China can make Kim Jong Un behave.”
VIDEO: Gov of Guam warns “America will be defended”
North Korea has been warned any attack on the island of Guam is an attack on the United States.
Governor Eddie Calvo said he had spoken to the White House and had been reassured America “will be defended” in a dramatic special address.
In a video published online he said: “I’ve reached out to the White House this morning.
“An attack or threat on Guam, is a threat or an attack on the United States.
“They have said that America will be defended.”
Asian stock markets fall amid North Korea tensions
Stock markets in Asia have fallen amid tensions in North Korean.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.7 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.4 percent.
South Korean shares fell 0.9 percent, while the won sank around 0.7 percent to 1,136.4 to the dollar. Both slid to more than one-month lows.
Financial markets have tended to quickly shake off North Korea’s threats in the past.
But fears have increased this year amid signs that it is making progress in its ballistic missile program and on Trump’s growing frustration with Pyongyang.
“The sell-off caused by geopolitical tensions on North Korea will likely be short-lived as long as both Trump and Kim Jong Un keep making feints against each other and neither takes military action,” said Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc in Tokyo.
“The market’s dent only lasted for a week in April when tension rose between them after North Korea launched a missile. Both countries know that there is no turning back once they push the button,” Fujii said.
‘Don’t take us down into the mud like North Korea’
Former U.S. diplomat Douglas Paal, now with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank in Washington, said Trump should not get into a war of words with North Korea.
“It strikes me as an amateurish reflection of a belief that we should give as we get rhetorically. That might be satisfying at one level, but it takes us down into the mud that we should let Pyongyang enjoy alone,” said Paal, who served as a White House official under previous Republican administrations.
‘Horrendous leadership could lead us to WWII’ Trump in 2013
As always seems to be the case, a lot of people are bringing up an old Donald Trump tweet which has relevance for his current actions or words.
This time it’s one from 2013 when he was sounding off about the Obama administration’s foreign policy.
“Be prepared, there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.”
It would be ironic if the present situation wasn’t so genuinely terrifying.
‘Deeply troubling’ – Congresswoman for Guam
The Congresswoman for the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam on Wednesday said she was confident U.S. forces could protect it from the “deeply troubling” North Korean nuclear threat.
Madeleine Z. Bordallo called on President Donald Trump to show “steady leadership” and work with the international community to de-escalate tensions and stop North Korea advancing its weapons programme.
“Guam remains safe, and I am confident in the ability of U.S. defences to protect our island and allies in the region,” Bordallo said in a statement.
‘The world must keep calm and contain Kim Jong-Un’
‘Remain calm, defences are in place’
As we reported earlier, the alert level has not been raised in Guam.
But given the frightening language being used on both sides, local officials have felt the need to reassure people.
“As of this morning, we have not changed our stance in confidence that the U.S. Department of Defence is monitoring this situation very closely and is maintaining a condition of readiness, daily,” said George Charfauros, Homeland Security adviser.
“We will continue to keep the public updated on any changes or requests for action.
“For now, we advise the community to remain calm, remember that there are defences in place for threats such as North Korea and to continue to remain prepared for all hazards.”
North Korea ‘examining missile attack’ after Trump threat
North Korea is “carefully examining” a plan to launch a missile strike on Guam – the US Naval Base in the Pacific.
It comes after President Donald Trump threatened the regime with “fire and fury like the world has never seen”.
Trump’s dramatic attack came amid claims North Korea’s nuclear capabilities have progressed and the country can now produce a mini nuclear warhead able to fit inside its missiles.
Arms folded angrily, President Trump said: “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States.
“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
“He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement.
“And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before. Thank you.”