Major construction at North Korea rocket site, US research institute says | Fox News

Satellite imagery shows significant new construction at North Korea’s main rocket launch site in a sign of leader Kim Jong Un’s determination to pursue a space program despite international censure, a U.S. research institute said Thursday.

North Korea is barred under U.N. Security Council resolutions from launching rockets as that technology can also be used to launch ballistic missiles. Kim, however, declared this month that its space program “can never be abandoned.”

North Korea has been upgrading the Sohae launch site on its west coast since mid-2013 after it blasted its first rocket into space in December 2012. It says the space program is peaceful.

Major construction at North Korea rocket site, US research institute says | Fox News

NATO Needs a Nuclear Strategy Update – WSJ

North Atlantic Treaty Organization ministers meeting in Antalya, Turkey earlier this month heard from the alliance’s supreme military commander that Russia is using threatening rhetoric about nuclear weapons to intimidate the West. It’s designed “to give pause to NATO’s decision making,” said Gen. Philip Breedlove. This has included not only general references to Russia’s nuclear arsenal, the general pointed out, but also Moscow referring specifically to “the possibility of moving nukes into certain areas or employing nukes if something had not gone correctly in Crimea.”

This is part of a pattern in which Moscow has in recent years sharply increased and intensified deployments of nuclear platforms, singled out countries like Denmark for nuclear threats and signaled a readiness to employ nuclear weapons to try to force NATO to back down in the event of war. And to put credibility into its chilling threats, Russia has conducted exercises specifically practicing its ability to use nuclear weapons against NATO—exercises that have, for instance, included simulated nuclear attacks on Poland.

At the same time, the alliance has spent the past 20 years largely relegating nuclear planning to the basement. Most NATO discussions on nuclear weapons in recent years have focused on whether the alliance should get rid of them. But now there are indications that the alliance is rethinking its nuclear-deterrent doctrine.

NATO Needs a Nuclear Strategy Update – WSJ

The US is signaling a tougher stance over the South China Sea – Business Insider

By releasing video of Beijing’s island reclamation work and considering more assertive maritime actions, the United States is signaling a tougher stance over the South China Sea and trying to spur Asian partners to more action.

The release last week of the surveillance plane footage — showing dredgers and other ships busily turning remote outcrops into islands with runways and harbors — helps ensure the issue will dominate an Asian security forum starting on Friday attended by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter as well as senior Chinese military officials.

The US is signaling a tougher stance over the South China Sea – Business Insider

A dissident group says Iran and North Korea are forging nuclear ties – Business Insider

An exiled Iranian opposition group said on Thursday a delegation of North Korean experts in nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles visited a military site near Tehran in April amid talks between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.

Citing information from sources inside Iran, including within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Paris-based NCRI said the seven person North Korean Defence Ministry team were in Iran for the last week of April. It was the third time in 2015 that North Koreans had been to Iran and a nine person delegation was due to return in June, it said.

A dissident group says Iran and North Korea are forging nuclear ties – Business Insider

I don’t think “forging ties” is an accurate description. The ties had already been forged years ago. Naturally there will be meetings between the two countries as each makes progress in different areas. This all means that if one of them has it (missile or nuclear technology) then one should assume the other has it too.

In my opinion there is no stopping these two. Eventually both will acquire the ability to accurately deliver nuclear warheads to countries far and wide. And they will probably sell this technology too. Over the next 10 to 15 years we will see this play out.

 

US-China Tension Set To Esclate As China Mulls “Offensive” To Defend South China Sea

“If the U.S.’s bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a U.S.-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea,” said in the article.” [Global Times]

In a fresh escalation of tension, China has donned an offensive posture with regard to its rights in the South China Sea. In a provocative military white paper, China warned that a U.S.-China war is “inevitable” unless Washington back out from its objections to Beijing’s activities.

The policy document published on 26 May, outlines China’s shift from a defensive military posture to flaunting of offensive capabilities. Claiming “grave and complex array of security threats” including challenges to its sovereignty over the South China Sea, the Chinese document authored by the State Council said the military will step up its “open seas protection.”

US-China Tension Set To Esclate As China Mulls “Offensive” To Defend South China Sea

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO chief, says Russian probes creating a ‘sphere of instability’ – Washington Times

Recent Russian military aggression threatens to unravel the fabric of European security, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Wednesday.

Russia’s attempt to create a sphere of influence risks sending us back in time,” said Mr. Stoltenberg, who met with President Obama Tuesday as part of a Washington visit this week, “and it could create a sphere of instability for us all.”

The remarks come two days after a “snap” Russian military exercise in the country’s northwest coincided with a long-planned NATO training operation, which ruffled feathers in the organization.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO chief, says Russian probes creating a ‘sphere of instability’ – Washington Times

NATO Secretary General Says Russia’s Nuclear Threats Destabilizing – WSJ

Russia’s nuclear threats are destabilizing and unjustified, the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said Wednesday.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general, said he was deeply troubled by Russia’s escalating rhetoric about its nuclear weapons as well as stepped-up flights by its nuclear-capable bombers.

Russia’s promises to put nuclear-capable missile systems in Kaliningrad, the portion of Russia next to Poland, and suggestions that it could put nuclear weapons in Crimea, the portion of Ukraine annexed by Moscow last year, have raised deep concerns in the Pentagon and across Europe.

Mr. Stoltenberg said putting nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad or Crimea “would fundamentally change the balance of security in Europe.”

NATO Secretary General Says Russia’s Nuclear Threats Destabilizing – WSJ

Exclusive: Russia masses heavy firepower on border with Ukraine – witness | Reuters

Russia’s army is massing troops and hundreds of pieces of weaponry including mobile rocket launchers, tanks and artillery at a makeshift base near the border with Ukraine, a Reuters reporter saw this week.

Many of the vehicles have number plates and identifying marks removed while many of the servicemen had taken insignia off their fatigues. As such, they match the appearance of some of the forces spotted in eastern Ukraine, which Kiev and its Western allies allege are covert Russian detachments.

The scene at the base on the Kuzminsky firing range, around 50 km (30 miles) from the border, offers some of the clearest evidence to date of what appeared to be a concerted Russian military build-up in the area.

Exclusive: Russia masses heavy firepower on border with Ukraine – witness | Reuters

China Warns of ‘Inevitable’ War with US Over South China Sea – Defense One

“Increasingly scholars and analysts say that war may not be “as improbable as many experts suggest” because of growing dominance of hardliners in the Chinese government, increased rivalry, or general lack of trust between the countries.”

After Chinese state media warned that war with the United States may be “inevitable,” Beijing has published a policy paper detailing how the military will shift its focus from land and coastlines to the open seas. China’s State Council released a white paper today that criticizes “external countries…busy meddling in South China Sea affairs” and sets out an “active defense” military strategy for the country.

Lily Kuo is a reporter at Quartz covering emerging markets. She previously reported general news for Reuters. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and the China Post in Taiwan. She holds a dual master’s degree in international … Full Bio

The paper comes a day after an editorial (link in Chinese) in the state-run Chinese tabloid Global Times said conflict between China and the US will be unavoidable if the Washington doesn’t lay off Beijing for building islands and military facilities in disputed parts of the South China Sea.

“We do not want a military conflict with the United States, but if it were to come we have to accept it,” the paper said. (Editorials in state-run papers are not official representations of Beijing’s position, but often reflect government sentiment.)

China Warns of ‘Inevitable’ War with US Over South China Sea – Defense One

China Warns War May Be Coming With US

Tim Huxley, director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies in Asia, told the Japan Times, “As their (Southeast Asian) capabilities in the maritime space expand, it means the range and lethality of strike forces will also increase. If there is a confrontation and it escalates, there is a potential for a more lethal conflict.”

China’s white paper “reflects China’s rising reliance on the oceans for its economic prosperity,” Zhang Baohui, director of the Center for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.

“However, it has also intensified the security dilemma with other countries, such as the U.S., Japan, and India, who distrust China’s maritime agenda.”

The white paper indicated that China intends to add offensive air operations to its military plans, as well as to further develop its outer space, cyberspace, and nuclear capabilities, Bloomberg News reported.

China Warns War May Be Coming With US

Monitoring emerging risks.