This post was published at Scott Horton
According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U. S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea.
Washington, D. C. – United States reconnaissance satellites have allegedly caught Chinese ships violating UN sanctions by engaging in illegal oil trades with North Korean vessels nearly 30 times in October.
The images were captured in the West Sea on October 19, prior to the most recent round of sanctions on the DPRK, which caps oil product shipments at 500K barrels per year, going into effect.
The satellite footage reveals a North Korean ship, named Ryesonggang 1, connected with a Chinese ship in what was deemed a ship-to-ship oil transfer, which is prohibited and deemed illegal by U. S. authorities.
According to the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s official report on the incident:
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 27, 2017.
The United States and China are preparing for a situation in which all hell breaks loose on the Korean Peninsula. Both nations are taking unprecedented steps as tensions toward a nuclear war ramp up even more.
The US has stepped up military drills, practiced air raids, and reportedly started preparing to seize North Korea’s nuclear weapons by force, a feat South Korea has declared won’t be all that easy. South Korean officials have been talking up a pause in military drills in hopes that it will lead to a peaceful Winter Olympics in February, but the US has yet to agree to halt said drills. Instead, the US brought in a record number of stealth aircraft this month to train up on an air war against North Korea. Immediately after the drill, which featured a marked increase in simulated bomb runs on North Korean targets, the US and South Korea reportedly engaged in drills to infiltrate North Korea and neutralize its weapons of mass destruction.
At a speech at the Atlantic Council last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US was preparing plans to seize loose nuclear weapons, should North Korea somehow collapse or become unstable.
This post was published at shtfplan on December 20th, 2017.
In keeping with China’s strategy of methodically encroaching on its geopolitical rivals via air force and naval drills in the Pacific, both Japan and South Korea scrambled fighter jets earlier this week as China suddenly expanded the scope of naval drills being held in the waters off the Korean peninsula.
The Associated Press reported that China sent a squad of fighter jets and bombers on a long-range military drill to the Sea of Japan. During their journey, the planes traveled through South Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese air defence zones, a move widely seen as China flexing its military muscles and asserting its dominance in the region.
The drills marked the first time China has sent warplanes through the strait that lies between South Korea and Japan.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.
A top Chinese general has warned that a war with North Korea could break out anytime. Because of the possibility of another world war by March, the general is suggesting the Chinese military mobilized their troops on the border with North Korea.
To prepare for a conflict that could break out anytime between now and March, Lieutenant General Wang Gongguang claims that China should mobilize their military might sooner rather than later. The Global Times, the English-language outlet of the Beijing government’s state-run mouthpiece People’s Daily China, reports the official is warning of the need to be ‘mentally prepared for [war] anytime’.
‘China should be psychologically prepared for a potential Korean War, and the Northeast China regions should be mobilized for that,’ said General Wang. He is also urging the deployment of antimissile systems and troops in the border area with North Korea in anticipation of conflict between North and South Korea, and others such as Japan and the United States.
This post was published at shtfplan on December 18th, 2017.
Chinese government advisors and a senior military officer warned Beijing that it must be ready for a war on the Korean peninsula, with the risk of conflict higher than ever before, the SCMP reported on Saturday. They also warned that Beijing, once seen as Pyongyang’s biggest ally with influence over its neighbor, was losing control of the situation.
‘Conditions on the peninsula now make for the biggest risk of a war in decades,’ said Renmin University international relations professor Shi Yinhong, who also advises the State Council, China’s cabinet. ‘North Korea is a time bomb. We can only delay the explosion, hoping that by delaying it, a time will come to remove the detonator,’ Shi added on the sidelines of a Beijing conference on the crisis.
Shi said US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were locked in a vicious cycle of threats and it was already too late for China to avert it. However, at best, Beijing could delay a full-blown conflict. Also addressing the conference was Wang Hongguang, former deputy commander of the Nanjing’s Military Region, who warned that war could break out on the Korean peninsula at any time from now on until March when South Korea and the United States held annual military drills.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2017.
It’s difficult not to empathize with South Korea right now: The country is preparing to host the Pyeongchang winter games in February – a moment of immense national pride – as the risks of a terrorist attack (not to mention nuclear annihilation) have intensified.
To wit, Reuters reports that the South Korean government is taking precautions to assuage the international community’s fears. Police conducted a series of security drills on Tuesday to prepare against terror attacks ranging from a hostage situation, a vehicle ramming a stadium and a bomb-attached to a drone.
South Korea Police and firemen were among around 420 personnel participating in the exercise, held in front of the Olympic Stadium at Pyeongchang, just 80 km (50 miles) from the heavily fortified border with North Korea as SWAT team members rehearsed a scenario where they shot down a drone with a bomb attached that was flying toward a bus carrying athletes.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2017.
North Korea is warning the United States that their ‘threats’ in the form of joint military drills with South Korea are making the outbreak of war ‘an established fact.’ Kim Jong-Un’s regime is now saying that war is unavoidable.
China continues to urge calm between the two heated nations, as two American B-1B heavy bombers joined large-scale combat drills over South Korea on Thursday. These drills are being regarded by North Korea as acts of aggression. According to Reuters, a spokesman for the North’s foreign ministry blamed the drills and ‘confrontational warmongering’ by U. S. officials for making war inevitable.
This post was published at shtfplan on December 7th, 2017.
As North Korea continues its saber-rattling exercises, with the latest coming via an ICBM test that confirmed the rogue nation could reach a bombing target anywhere in the continental U. S., the South has responded with similar displays of force largely consisting drills conducted in coordination with the United States military (see: In “Largest-Ever” Military Drill, US Orders 16,000 Troops, 230 Jets To Simulate War With North Korea).
Now, as the Financial Times points out this morning, South Korean preparations for a potential confrontation with their northern neighbor will include the creation of a weaponized drone unit that could be used to swarm North Korea in the event of a conflict.
Operated by the army, the unit will primarily engage in reconnaissance missions to survey developments at the North’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile sites, but could in future be used to launch swarm attacks, according to people familiar with the matter.
The establishment of the army unit follows calls from western officials and analysts for South Korea to improve its advanced surveillance technology.
‘South Korea’s army plans to create a drone-bot combat unit in 2018 and set up a professional combat team to operate it,’ an official at the Ministry of Defence confirmed.
‘South Korea has reached a level of consensus on swarm technology, but adoption will take a while,’ said a person familiar with the military developments. ‘The army is facing [political] pressure to reduce its forces, so it has to come up with new ideas.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.
A new study in the New York Times suggests that Saudi Arabia’s state of the art defense system failed to intercept the ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels which nearly hit Riyadh’s international airport on November 4th. The report contradicts the official claims of the Saudi and American governments, which both announced immediately after the incident that the US-supplied Patriot missile defense system had successfully intercepted the Houthi fired Scud.
The analysis, which utilized open-source material in the form of available video and social media photos of the aftermath of the attack, was conducted by a team of missile experts, and threatens to shake confidence in the US system, which is currently implemented by American allies around the world from South Korea and Taiwan to Turkey, Israel and Japan, among others.
And notably President Trump himself had announced while aboard Air Force One on the day following the attack, ‘Our system knocked the missile out of the air.’ Trump also emphasized the importance of demonstrable success of the systems and added, ‘That’s how good we are. Nobody makes what we make, and now we’re selling it all over the world.’
But The New York Times report begins with a flat contradiction of that claim:
The official story was clear: Saudi forces shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebel group last month at Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. It was a victory for the Saudis and for the United States, which supplied the Patriot missile defense system.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 5, 2017.
The US and South Korea launched their largest aerial drills yet on Monday, less than a week after North Korea tested its new Hwasong-15 missile which military observers said has the capacity to strike Washington DC, or nearly any other location in the continental US. The launched shattered nearly two months of calm as many suspected the North’s benefactors in China were making good on their promises to rein in the restive state’s belligerent behavior.
As we reported Sunday, the annual US-South Korean drills, called Vigilant Ace, will run until Friday. Six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters will be deployed among the more than 230 aircraft taking part. The North has condemned the exercises as yet another provocation.
F-35 fighters will also participate in the drill, which will involve the largest number of 5th generation fighters, according to a South Korea-based US Air Force spokesman quoted by Reuters.
Around 12,000 US troops, including the Marines and Navy, will join South Korean troops. Aircraft participating in the drills will take off from eight different US and South Korean military installations.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.
Neocon Senator Lindsay Graham was stoking the flame of what is looking like increasingly probable war with North Korea today, when he warned on national TV that rising tensions between the the US and Pyongyang means preparations for war need to be taken, and that dependents of U. S. military personnel in South Korea should be relocated after the latest North Korean missile test.
Speaking on CBS News’ “Face the Nation”, Sen. Graham said that “we’re getting close to a military conflict because North Korea’s marching toward marrying up the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that cannot only get to America but deliver the weapon. We’re running out of time.”
Graham then urged American dependants should no longer be sent to South Korea, and added that it’s time to start evacuating dependents out of North Korea’s southern neighbor: “South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour. It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea. So I want them to stop sending dependents. And I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.
Days after North Korea launched its most advanced ICBM which reportedly can hit a target anywhere in the United States with its 8,000+ mile range, Pyongyang said the U. S. is “begging” for a nuclear war by planning the “largest-ever” joint aerial drill with South Korea, according to Bloomberg. ‘Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the U. S., the U. S. will have to accept full responsibility for it,’ North Korea’s state-run KCNA said Saturday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As we previously reported, the statement came after Yonhap News reported that six U. S. Raptor stealth fighters planes arrived in South Korea on Saturday for a joint air drill named “Vigilant Ace 18” scheduled for Dec. 4 to 8. The F-22s flew into South Korea together in a show of force. The stealth fighters, however, were just a small part of the upcoming show of force: according to local media, some 230 aircraft and up to 16,000 soldiers and airmen are taking part in the drill, which is one of the biggest ever of its kind.
Meanwhile, in addition to Lindsey Graham’s warning that US civilians in South Korea should evacuate ahead of “military conflict”, in response to North Korea’s recently enhanced capabilities, the United States is beefing up security on the West Coast.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.
Just days after Pyongyang launched its most advanced ICBM, one which experts warned has the potential to hit a target anywhere on the territory of the United States, North Korea said the U. S. is ‘begging’ for a nuclear war by planning the ‘largest-ever’ joint aerial drill with South Korea just after concluding an exercise with nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, Bloomberg reported.
‘Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the U. S., the U. S. will have to accept full responsibility for it,’ North Korea’s state-run KCNA said Saturday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The statement came after Yonhap News reported that six U. S. Raptor stealth fighters planes arrived in South Korea on Saturday for a joint air drill named “Vigilant Ace 18” scheduled for Dec. 4 to 8. The F-22s flew into South Korea together in a show of force. The stealth fighters, however, were just a small part of the upcoming show of force: according to local media, some 230 aircraft and up to 16,000 soldiers and airmen are taking part in the drill, which is one of the biggest ever of its kind.
As part of “Vigilant Ace”, US and South Korean forces will be rehearsing for a full-scale war with North Korea, with Yonhap noting that “allies plan to stage simulated attacks on mock North Korean nuclear and missile targets.”
Despite Pyongyang’s harsh rhetoric, US commanders have downplayed the drill – claiming it is ‘regular’ and not a direct response to North Korea.
According to the WSJ, at least 230 US and Southg Korean warplanes will take part, alongside 12,000 US troops from the Air Force, Marines and Navy and airmen with another 4,000 expected to represent Seoul.” The drill, which lasts from December 4 until December 8, will see aircraft flying over eight airbases in across the Korean Peninsula.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.
North Korea launched its Hwasong-15 ICBM into the waters west of Japan at 3:17 am local time on Wednesday. Barely six minutes later, South Korean artillery, air force, and Navy sprang into action and began firing missiles into the waters off eastern Korea – yet another military show of force meant to intimidate the North into ceasing its missile strikes.
The retaliatory display was calibrated to target a spot in the waters off the Korean peninsula that was exactly as far away as Pyongsong, a town about 20 miles north of Pyongyang where the Hwasong 15 was reportedly launched. The distance was meant to signify that the South Korean military could destroy the North’s missile launchers if it chose to do so, the Wall Street Journal.
But while the precision strike probably impressed any bystanders who were watching, in reality, the South’s technology for detecting and responding to North Korean missile launches is still unreliable.
But detecting missile tests is an imperfect science, involving misses as well as hits. In a conflict situation, North Korea is likely to take more steps to conceal its movements, for instance by deploying decoy launchers, said Yang Uk, senior defense researcher at the Korea Defense and Security Forum, a Seoul think tank. In such a scenario, the likelihood falls that South Korean, U. S. or Japanese forces would pinpoint the exact launch site, Mr. Yang said. Still, he viewed the South’s response to the missile test as a success, especially considering the short time the military needed to return fire.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.
Contrary to the South Korean government’s initial analysis, the missile launched by North Korea into the waters west of Japan yesterday could represent an important advancement in the country’s missile technology that would allow it to carry multiple warheads.
According to a report in Japanese business newspaper Nikkei, photos of the Hwasong-15 published by local North Korean media showcase a newly developed launch system and casing.
Rodong Sinmun, a mouthpiece for the North’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, published photos of the Hwasong-15, the country’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile, at liftoff and mounted on what appears to be a newly developed mobile launch system. The missile seems to involve a completely new rocket, judging by its size and shape, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said Thursday. The ministry’s initial analysis Wednesday claimed the Hwasong-15 was merely a retooled version of the Hwasong-14 ICBMs launched in July.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 30, 2017.
In yet another apparent attempt at igniting a full-scale war, North Korea has conducted a test of what many believe to be the countries most powerful ICBM ever launched, with the missile landing off the coast of the United States close ally Japan.
In response, South Korea conducted their own test-launch while leaders from the United States and Japan also condemned the renewed nuclear aggression.
‘North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile early this morning from Pyongsong, South Pyongan, to the east direction. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff is analyzing more details of the missile with the US side,’ said an official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South Korean military carried out a ‘precision missile strike drill’ just minutes after North Korea’s missile launch.
The precision missile strike matched the flight distance of the North Korean missile and landed in waters off the east coast of South Korea.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff added that its counter drill tested a scenario of simultaneously hitting a target through the land, air and sea, but did not elaborate further.
‘South Korea apparently used this launch to prove it has the ability to hit the North’s mobile missile launchers or leadership targets,’ according to Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists who previously worked as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
‘It is a measured and pointed response but also a reminder that the peninsula remains on hair trigger alert, he told CNN. ‘In this situation, provocations or even mistakes could quickly escalate out of control.’
This post was published at shtfplan on November 28th, 2017.