The United States has confirmed that it is seized of North Korea's threat of developing a submarine-launched ballistic missile. This was officially acknowledged by Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the top commander, while briefing the U.S Congress on Thursday about emerging threats including China’s multi-warhead missiles.
According to Pentagon, the first flight test of North Korea's KN-11 SLBM was held in February 2014. Haney said North Korea is continuing its advance in nuclear weapon capabilities and have “a miniaturised warhead capable of delivery by ballistic missile.” The February test was followed a land-based ejection test in November, from a static launcher at its Sinpo South Shipyard.
Haney said the complex and dangerous global security environment is seeing nations around the world continue to execute long-term military modernisation programs including capabilities that pose an existential threat to the United States, adding that military forces of nations and groups are “improving across all domains.”
In his prepared testimony, the Admiral endorsed reports that North Korea is working on a new underwater missile capability and has put to rest the skepticism whether the communist state had the technical expertise to build a missile capable of being fired from a submerged submarine.
The statement of U.S Admiral is significant in the context of North Korea’s U. K Ambassador Hyun Hak-bong’s claim that his country is ready to go for a nuclear strike. He told Sky News in London that, “We don't say empty words. We mean what we mean. It is not the United States that has a monopoly on nuclear weapons strikes. We are prepared. A sparkle of a fire is made on the Korean peninsula will lead to a nuclear war.” On being asked whether North Korea has the ability to fire a nuclear missile? "Anytime, anytime, yes." the ambassador claimed.
Meanwhile, North Korea continues to hold out military threats. The latest is its response to balloons that South Korean activists are planning to send along with 10,000 DVDs of the Hollywood film “The Interview”. The film is a comedy about a fictional CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jon Un. The DVDs are to be accompanied by 500,000 propaganda leaflets across the de-militarized zone on March 26. But, Pyongyang's News Agency called the launch a "de facto declaration of war." South Korea’s military warned that it would retaliate if North Korea opens fire on it territory.
Admiral Haney also apprised the Senate panel of China’s “low intensity coercion” in the Asia Pacific and its pursuit of space weapons developments as part of its global aspirations. The U.S. officials have confirmed that China had conducted the first flight test of a new missile called the DF-31B, which is a multi-warhead version of its existing DF-31A, which is known for hard to track nature ability to launch with little warning.
The Admiral also said China is also into testing of ballistic missile submarines and "developing multi-dimensional space capabilities supporting their access-denial campaign.” Access denial refers to weapons are designed to drive U.S. forces out of Asia to allow Beijing to become the dominant power there.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Marine Corps on Sunday urged “vigilance” after a group claiming to be Islamic State hackers, published names and addresses of 100 U.S military personnel with an appeal to supporters to kill them, reports AFP. The Islamic State Hacking Division posted the detailed online information about personnel of the U.S Air force, Army and Navy with their photos and ranks, monitoring group SITE Intelligence reported.
In its response, the U.S. Marine Corps said it is contacting all affected staff, and urged caution. Vigilance and force protection considerations remain a priority for commanders and their personnel, said U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel John Caldwell. However, Caldwell said the threat remained "unverified."
ISIS, in its message gave the rationale of such an action and said these 100 military staff had targeted the Islamic State group in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The radical group said "with the huge amount of data we have from various different servers and databases, we have decided to leak 100 addresses so that our brothers residing in America can deal with you. Now we have made it easy for you by giving you addresses, all you need to do is take the final step, so what are you waiting for?” the radical group wrote.
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