North Korea Current Affairs - 2019

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US military test fires Minuteman III ballistic missile

After North Korea tested a ballistic missile from the coast of Wonsan, US tested an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. The missile was launched from the California base.

The missile traveled 6,750 km across Pacific Ocean to the Kwajalein Atoll in Marshall Islands.

On 2nd October North Korea tested a ballistic missile which is believed to be launched from a submarine. The test was confirmed by the South Korea officials.

About Minuteman III

The program was started in 1966. The missile is armed with 170 kilo tons of TNT. Airborne Launch Control System is a part of the missile. When Minuteman was first discovered the Soviet had no target to counter it. However, they gained pace after a few years. The airborne launch system offers a survivable launch capability to the US air force.

US North Korea Talks

Following missile test by the countries, the leaders have agreed to hold talks in Stockholm. Since June, the US officials struggled to make North Korea to return to table. Currently North Korea is under many sanctions. The United Nations had earlier complained that the country had circumvented many sanctions.

Kwajalein Atoll

It is a part of the Marshall Islands in Pacific Ocean. The US hosts naval base in the atoll. The total island area is just over 6 square miles.

Atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef. It is formed due to volcanic action. Long after the volcano receded into the ocean, corals begin to settle around the crater forming a ring-shaped colony called atolls

Bulletin: US approves Missile Sales to South Korea, Japan

The United State recently approved Anti-Ballistic Missile sales to South Korea and Japan. The sale is worth more than $600 million and comes in backdrop of mounting tensions with North Korea.

Key Highlights

  • Objective: to support national security and foreign policy objectives of United States (US) by assisting its key allies. This will not alter basic military balance in region and will give them capability to defend itself against a growing nuclear and missile threat from North Korea.
  • Reason: Recently in May second week the North Korea reportedly tested two short-range missiles which is its second launch in less than a week. Earlier in April also North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised test-firing of a new type of “tactical guided weapon“. These tests come amid halted negotiations between the United States and North Korea, which US President Donald Trump promised would put an end to North’s missile tests.
  • The US’s State Department approved sale of-
  1. 92 ‘Standard Missile-2’ (SM-2), which is world’s premier fleet-area air defense weapon and used by ships against air threats along with 12 missile guidance systems for a total cost of $313.9 million.
  2. 160 anti-air AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) missiles and related guidance equipment to Japan for $317 million.

US and North Korea

In February 2019 second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was held in Vietnam. It ended with a deadlock, when US side refused North Korea’s demands of easing sanctions until Pyongyang takes major steps to end its nuclear program.