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NUKEWARS
US flies B-52 bombers over S. Korea
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) March 19, 2013


N. Korea video shows Washington under attack
Seoul (AFP) March 19, 2013 - North Korea has produced another video showing the United States under attack, this time with the White House and the US Capitol literally in the crosshairs.

The four-minute video titled "Firestorms will rain on the Headquarters of War" (http://y2u.be/DyapeCiOl9A) was posted Monday on the YouTube channel of the North's official website, Uriminzokkiri, which distributes news and propaganda from the state media.

The first two minutes used still photos of US fighter jets, B-52 bombers and aircraft carriers to portray the United States as a bullying nuclear power intent on bending Pyongyang to its will.

"Second by second, the fuse of a nuclear war is burning," a female narrator warned.

It then showed a sniper's crosshairs superimposed over the White House, before switching to animated footage of the dome of the US Capitol building exploding in a fireball.

"There is no limit to the range of our strategic rockets," the narrator said.

Angered by UN sanctions imposed after its nuclear test last month, North Korea has threatened the United States with a pre-emptive nuclear strike, as military tensions on the Korean peninsula escalated to their highest level for years.

Although experts say the North is years from being able to fire a nuclear-tipped ballistic mile as far as the US mainland, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel responded Friday with plans to boost West Coast missile defences.

It was the latest in a line of similarly-themed videos posted to the Uriminzokkiri channel.

An offering early last month showed New York in flames after an apparent missile attack, and another two weeks later depicted US soldiers and President Barack Obama burning in the flames of a nuclear blast.

N. Korea says US 'nuclear blackmail' will drive arms race
United Nations (AFP) March 18, 2013 - North Korea said Monday that "nuclear blackmail" by the United States would drive more countries to follow its lead and build their own atomic weapon.

The North proclaimed its "very proud and powerful" position as the latest nuclear weapons state on the first day of negotiations for a conventional weapons treaty at the UN headquarters.

Facing ever more stringent UN sanctions because of its nuclear weapons test last month, the North also seized on the occasion to make a new attack on US policy.

"The continuing policy of nuclear pre-emptive strike by the largest nuclear weapon state, makes us easily predict that it will in the long run give birth to more nuclear weapons states," said the North's deputy UN ambassador Ri Tong-Il.

He said the United States had applied "increased nuclear blackmail" by naming certain countries for a pre-emptive strike and this had forced North Korea to develop its own weapon.

North Korea staged its third nuclear bomb test on February 12 to near universal condemnation. The UN Security Council has since increased international sanctions against the isolated state.

The United States said it was flying training missions of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers over South Korea, in a clear signal to North Korea at a time of escalating military tensions.

The flights -- part of annual joint South Korea-US military exercises -- should be seen as underscoring US commitment and capacity to defend Seoul against an attack from the North, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

In response to UN sanctions imposed after its third nuclear test last month, North Korea has warned of a "second Korean war" and threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the South and the United States.

Little said a B-52 from Andersen Air Force base in Guam, flew over South Korea on March 8 as part of a military exercise dubbed "Foal Eagle."

"The B-52 Stratofortress can perform a variety of missions including carrying precision-guided conventional or nuclear ordnance," he said Monday.

B-52s have taken part in annual exercises before, but Little said the Pentagon wanted to underline their use this time given the current, heightened tensions.

"We're drawing attention to the fact that we have extended deterrence capabilities that we believe are important to demonstrate in the wake of recent North Korean rhetoric," he said.

That message was echoed in Seoul on Monday by visiting Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who promised to provide South Korea with every available military resource "offered by the US nuclear umbrella".

Another B-52 training mission was carried out Tuesday, Yonhap cited a South Korean military official as saying.

"The bomber struck a simulated target in (eastern) Gangwon Province," the official said.

In a major announcement on Friday, the United States unveiled plans to bolster its own missile defenses in direct response to the growing threat posed by North Korea.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that 14 more interceptors would be stationed in Alaska, increasing by almost half the 30 already deployed along the California and Alaska coastlines.

Hagel said the defence upgrade was designed to "stay ahead of the threat" from North Korea, which is still believed to be years from having a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

The US initiative did not go down well in Beijing, where the Chinese foreign ministry warned that any effort to increase military capacity would only serve to "intensify antagonism".

China is North Korea's sole major ally and main trading partner.

Although it backed the latest UN sanctions against Pyongyang, analysts say China's main concern is to avoid sudden regime collapse in Pyongyang that might result in a US-allied, reunified Korea.

Despite its growing isolation and the stepped-up international pressure, North Korea insists its plan to develop a viable nuclear deterrent is "unshakeable" and non-negotiable.

On the first day of negotiations for a conventional weapons treaty at UN headquarters on Monday, the North's deputy UN ambassador Ri Tong-Il proclaimed the North's "very proud and powerful" position as the latest nuclear weapons state.

Ri also denounced what he termed a US policy of "nuclear blackmail" that he insisted would "in the long run give birth to more nuclear weapons states".

burs/gh/ao

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