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MISSILE DEFENSE
S.Korea, US to deploy more anti-missile defences: Seoul
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Sept 4, 2017


S.Korea believes North has warhead-sized nuclear weapon: minister
Seoul (AFP) Sept 4, 2017 - South Korea believes the North has successfully miniaturised a nuclear weapon to fit onto a missile, Seoul's defence minister said Monday.

"We believe it fits in an intercontinental ballistic missile," Song Young-Moo told lawmakers at a parliamentary briefing, a day after Pyongyang's biggest nuclear test to date.

S. Korean media urges Seoul to develop own nukes
Seoul (AFP) Sept 4, 2017 - South Korean media called Monday for Seoul to consider building its own nuclear weapons amid growing doubts over its decades-old alliance with Washington following North Korea's sixth nuclear test.

Pyongyang on Sunday triggered global alarm with by far its most powerful test to date, after it claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted onto a long-range missile, which analysts say is a major advancement in its nuclear programme.

The South, which hosts 28,500 US troops to defend it from the North, is banned from building its own nuclear weapons under a 1974 atomic energy deal it signed with the US, which instead offers a "nuclear umbrella" against potential attacks.

But growing nuclear and missile threats from its belligerent northern neighbour is prompting some in the South to call for its own nuclear armament.

"As nuclear weapons are being churned out above our heads, we can't always rely on the US nuclear umbrella and extended deterrence," the mass-circulation Donga Ilbo newspaper said in an editorial Monday.

The US stationed some of its atomic weapons in the South following the 1950-53 Korean War, but withdrew them in 1991 when the two Koreas jointly declared they would make the peninsula nuclear-free.

That pact was no longer binding, the editorial said, and added: "There is no reason for us to cling onto the declaration when it has become the 'denuclearisation of South Korea', not the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

The Seoul government should not "hesitate" in reintroducing US tactical nuclear weapons as well as building its own atomic devices.

Such a move would undoubtedly alarm Pyongyang, which consistently says it is at risk of attack by the US.

Following Sunday's test, South Korean President Moon Jae-In called for discussions on deploying "the strongest strategic assets of the US military", without elaborating on what those weapons could be.

But Moon's office later clarified that Seoul "maintains" its position on denuclearisation.

Analysts warn that growing doubts over the alliance, fuelled by rash comments from US President Donald Trump, could force the South to seriously consider nuclear armament.

"Undermining alliance solidarity at this moment is dumb and dangerous," tweeted Colin Kahl of Georgetown University, who worked for the Obama administration.

In a series of tweets posted hours after the test, Trump denounced the North but also criticised Seoul, saying: "South Korea is finding their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!"

On the campaign trail, Trump had accused US allies including Japan and South Korea of not paying enough for their defence and suggested they develop their own nuclear weapons, triggering major concerns about the alliance.

Trump must "stop attacking" the allies and tweeting before meeting them, Kahl said, adding: "The Administration needs to speak with one voice before confusion splits the US from its allies, produces a war, or both."

South Korea and the United States will deploy more of the anti-missile defences hated by China in response to Sunday's nuclear test by North Korea, Seoul's defence ministry said Monday.

Two launchers of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system are already operational, but public concern about the possible environmental impact of the US system forced Seoul to suspend the installation.

"Four remaining launchers will soon be temporarily deployed through consulations between South Korea and the US to counter growing nuclear and missile threats from the North," the ministry said in a statement.

The THAAD launchers are sited on a golf course-turned-US military base in Seongju County, 300 kilometres (188 miles) south of Seoul.

The deployment has infuriated China, which has long argued it will destabilise the region and has retaliated against Seoul through unofficial economic sanctions.

Pyongyang on Sunday triggered global alarm with by far its most powerful nuclear blast to date. It claimed it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted onto a long-range missile.

The North -- which in July carried out two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches that apparently brought much of the US mainland into range -- has rapidly made progress with its weapons programme, in defiance of seven sets of UN sanctions.

S. Korea launches missile drill after North's nuclear test
Seoul (AFP) Sept 4, 2017 - South Korea's military launched a volley of ballistic missiles simulating an attack on the North's nuclear test site Monday, Seoul said, in an exercise responding to a test of what Pyongyang says was a hydrogen bomb.

Pictures showed South Korean short-range Hyunmoo ballistic missiles roaring into the sky in the pale light of dawn from a launch site on the country's east coast.

Authorities released video showing South Korean F-15K fighter jets firing air-to-ground missiles.

The weapons accurately hit their targets in the East Sea -- the Korean name for the Sea of Japan -- the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The exercise "was carried out as a strong warning" to the North for conducting its sixth nuclear test, it added.

The range to the simulated targets was equivalent to the distance to the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where Sunday's test was conducted, it said.

North Korea on Sunday triggered global alarm with by far its most powerful atomic test to date, claiming it was a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted onto a long-range missile.

Following the test, South Korean President Moon Jae-In called for the "strongest punishment" while top military officers in Seoul and Washington vowed a joint "military counteraction" at the earliest date.

In a series of tweets posted hours after Sunday's test, US President Donald Trump denounced the North but also criticised Seoul.

South Korea, Trump said, "is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!"

The United States warned it could launch a "massive military response" to threats from North Korea.

US cites its nuclear capabilities in defense against N.Korea
Washington (AFP) Sept 4, 2017 - The United States stands ready to defend itself and its allies with the full range of its capabilities, including nuclear, the White House said Sunday after US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe conferred on North Korea's latest nuclear test.

The two leaders condemned "North Korea's continued destabilizing and provocative actions," reaffirmed their "ironclad" mutual defense commitments, and pledged to cooperate closely, the White House statement said.

"President Trump reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to defending our homeland, territories, and allies using the full range of diplomatic, conventional, and nuclear capabilities at our disposal."

Earlier Sunday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned that any threat to the United States, Guam or US allies would be met with a "massive military response."

North Korea detonated what it claimed was a missile-ready hydrogen bomb, sharply raising the stakes in an already tense confrontation with Washington.

The US Geological Survey said the detonation registered as a 6.3 magnitude "explosion," one far more powerful than any of North Korea's previous five nuclear tests.

In July, North Korea twice successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles, another leap in capability that could put the US mainland within its reach.

MISSILE DEFENSE
US cites its nuclear capabilities in defense against N.Korea
Washington (AFP) Sept 4, 2017
The United States stands ready to defend itself and its allies with the full range of its capabilities, including nuclear, the White House said Sunday after US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe conferred on North Korea's latest nuclear test. The two leaders condemned "North Korea's continued destabilizing and provocative actions," reaffirmed their "ironclad" mutua ... read more

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MISSILE DEFENSE
S.Korea, US to deploy more anti-missile defences: Seoul

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