Posted Apr 4, 2013 5:02 AM CD
n this Feb. 14, 2008 file photo released by US researchers, the empty inner structure of a cooling tower at the Nyongbyon Nuclear Center in Nyongbyon, also known as Yongbyon, North Korea, is shown. (AP Photo/S.S. Hecker, File)
(Newser) – Looks like North Korea may be making good on at least one of its threats: After saying it would restart its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, it has apparently launched construction on the site, according to a US think tank. The construction appears visible in a March 27 satellite image of Yongbyon, say experts at Johns Hopkins University, per AFP. The work may be to replace cooling mechanisms that North Korea destroyed under a Bush administration agreement. When working, the reactor can produce 13 pounds of plutonium annually.
- In another possible sign of action, the government has moved a missile to the east coast, the South’s defense head says. Though its range is “considerable,” it’s not enough to reach the US and may have been moved for training purposes. The weapon is reportedly a Musudan, with a 1,900 mile range; Guam is some 2,200 miles away, the New York Times notes.
- Meanwhile, the North continues to make threats regarding the Kaesong industrial zone, Reuters reports. Northern officials said that if Southern media “bad-mouthing” continues, “we will be taking the stern measure of pulling out all of our workers”—some 53,000 people, the Times notes. That would amount to a closure of the park, which diplomats in the South consider a “red line,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
- South Korean workers at Kaesong, however, are largely holding their ground, Reuters notes. Only 222 out of 828 who stayed at the site overnight said they planned to go home today. But the North has been denying access to those attempting to cross the border from the South to enter the park, the Times reports.
- Reports that Pyongyang was requiring Southern workers to exit Kaesong by April 10, however, have been inaccurate, the South says, per the Journal. Instead, the North had simply sought information on planned border crossings by staffers at South Korean businesses; Pyongyang wanted to know how many employees would be heading back to Seoul by that date.
N. Korea Loads Missiles, Hides Launchers: Report
Observers fear surprise launch: Yonhap
Newser) – North Korea has installed two medium-range missiles on mobile launchers hidden close to its east coast, Yonhap News reports by way of South Korean military sources. One senior official describes them as Musudan missiles, which Yonhap notes were debuted in October 2010 and are believed to have a 1,865-mile range, but have yet to be test fired. He sees the move to hide the missiles as indicative of possible plans for a surprise launch—though many experts believe such a launch could come on or around April 15, founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday. Seoul and Washington are keeping a close eye on the facility believed to house the missiles.Meanwhile, South Korean markets are starting to feel the stress of the situation, reports Reuters. “In the past, North Korea-related events had little impact,” the South’s vice finance minister told fellow officials. “But recent threats from North Korea are stronger and the impact may therefore not disappear quickly.” With foreign investors selling heavily, South Korea’s stocks dropped 1.64% today, the New York Times reports, and its won dropped against the dollar. Meanwhile, GM’s CEO cited safety concerns for the company’s workers in the country, noting that it might eventually consider moving out if tensions worsen.
US Moving Missile-Defense System to Guam After N. Korea Threats
Pentagon to deploy advanced battery to protect military bases
Newser) – North Korea’s threats to hit US targets in the Pacific might well be hot air, but the Pentagon says it has no choice but to take them seriously. As a result, it plans to move a high-tech missile-defense system to Guam to protect military bases in the area, reports the BBC and Wall Street Journal. This will mark the first global deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, and it comes two years ahead of schedule.The Pentagon describes it as a “precautionary move” and offered no details about when it might take place. It’s no small feat: One THAAD battery costs $800 million and consists of interceptor missiles ($1 million apiece), a truck to launch them, and a sophisticated radar system to guide the way. “Some of the actions they’ve taken over the last few weeks, present a real and clear danger,” US defense chief Chuck Hagel said today of Pyongyang.
Israel, Gaza Launch Heaviest Strikes Since Nov. Truce
No reported casualties
AP) – Palestinian militants launched several rockets into southern Israel, as Israeli aircraft struck targets in the Gaza Strip early today in the heaviest exchange of fire between the sides since they agreed to an internationally brokered ceasefire in November. There were no casualties reported, but the violence threatened to shatter the calm that has prevailed for more than four months and prompted Israel’s new defense minister to warn that the Jewish state will not sit back if militants attack the south of the country.Although there was no claim of responsibility for the rockets, defense minister Moshe Yaalon said he holds Hamas responsible for all such attacks from the seaside strip. In recent weeks, there have been a handful of rocket attacks; overnight, Israel responded for the first time by striking a pair of empty fields in northern and eastern Gaza. Around the time Yaalon was speaking this morning, two more rockets exploded in the Israeli border town of Sderot, according to police, prompting air raid sirens. The Israeli military said a total of five rockets had been fired in the past 24 hours, including two that exploded prematurely inside Gaza.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
Isaiah 29:6 the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
Matthew 24:8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Mark 13:7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
Mark 13:9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them.
- Report: North Korea Loads 2 Missiles Onto Mobile Launchers (voanews.com)
- N. Korea refuses to allow S. Koreans into factory park (usatoday.com)
- North Korea moves missiles, South Korean markets roiled (thetruthseeker.co.uk)