Is This Kim’s “Christmas Gift”? Satellite Images Suggest North Korea Readying ICBM Tests

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

Just a few short days after Pyongyang warned it is entirely up to the US what Christmas gift it will select to get” after N.Korea test-fired two short-range missiles on Thanksgiving Day, and then one just days before, it appears Kim is repeating an all too familiar pattern of doing threatening things on American holidays.

Is This Kim's "Christmas Gift"? Satellite Images Suggest North Korea Readying ICBM Tests

As we noted previously, the north has launched dozens of “short-range” missiles since May, but has largely stuck to its word that it would refrain from ICBM tests, despite occasional disputes about the precise the nature of some of the tests.

“We’re watching it very closely,” Trump said this week, noting he would be “disappointed” if that happens.

But tonight, NBC News reports, citing new satellite images shared by Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, that North Korea has begun fresh work at a factory involved in the development and production of intercontinental ballistic missile launchers.

Is This Kim's "Christmas Gift"? Satellite Images Suggest North Korea Readying ICBM Tests

Lewis said Saturday Pyongyang is expanding work at the March 16 Factory in Pyongsong, where North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “watched preparations” for the 2017 test of the Hwasong-15 missile, which was theoretically capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

“The site makes trucks to transport and launch ICBMs, so this is a long-term development,” Lewis told Axios via email.

Is This Kim's "Christmas Gift"? Satellite Images Suggest North Korea Readying ICBM Tests

“But what it shows is that North Korea is broadly expanding its missile capabilities.” 

Is This Kim's "Christmas Gift"? Satellite Images Suggest North Korea Readying ICBM Tests

“We believe North Korea erects this structure when the facility is involved in producing or modifying ICBM launchers,” Lewis concluded in a written analysis.

“There is activity at a number of locations indicating that North Korea is laying the groundwork for an expansion of their ICBM program — more systems, more buildings, more capabilities,” he said.

Gen. Charles Brown, commander of Pacific Air Forces and air component commander for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said this week:

“What I would expect is some type of long-range ballistic missile would be the gift. It’s just a matter of does it come on Christmas Eve, does it come on Christmas Day, does it come after the New Year.”

Suggesting he knows what to expect as North Korea’s “Christmas gift” to Washington: a long-range ballistic missile test.

When North Korea conducted a series of long-range missile tests in 2017, Trump threatened the nation with “fire and fury.”

“The only option is to accept the reality that North Korea is a nuclear-armed state that holds the U.S. at risk,” Lewis said.

“The Trump administration had an opportunity, and I think they’ve blown it.”

How will Trump respond this time, given his “beautiful” relationship with Kim (and leverage on phase one trade deal details with China – Kim’s apparent puppetmaster – now off the table)?

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  • Assad must stay (gr8rambino)

    hhahahaha trump thought he had some wonderful deal with him

    • Black Waters

      Trump is a dwarf, no need to worry about him… but the creepy old men who dictate the U.S policies that’s a really “old” and problematic issue.

  • Veritas Vincit

    War is approaching. It is likely not a matter of if but when.

    Established US policy/behaviour is incompatible with a peaceful resolution. The US is neither interested in cooperation (only capitulation) nor capable of honouring agreements.

    The US is also largely replicating the format of pre-Iraq war actions (economic strangulation/warfare, efforts to dismantle/degrade retaliatory capabilities, expanding demands to facilitate the process of degrading capabilities, demand for foreign inspections/monitoring programs as part of pre-war intelligence gathering operations, efforts to foment internal uprisings/regime change through engineering economic hardship/suffering, etc. ). The eventual outcome shall also likely be war.

    Importantly, any kinetic stage of warfare against the DPRK would involve the PRC (the security of the PRC is linked to the security of the DPRK).

    – “the nations they [President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping] lead are on a collision course for war….. U.S. war planners have examined scenarios for North Korea that begin with regime collapse. As the country descends into chaos, U.S. forces would try to destroy weapon systems capable of delivering a nuclear warhead against South Korea, Japan or Guam. The U.S. Joint Special Operations Command has a long-standing mission to secure “loose nukes” and has trained to enter the North to take control of its nuclear weapons facilities….. trying to secure North Korea’s nuclear weapons would result in a “vertical track meet” between Chinese and U.S.-South Korean forces…… Because U.S. troops and aircraft stationed in South Korea are integrated with South Korean troops in operational military plans, American and Chinese troops would then engage one another directly” (Comment: How Trump and China’s Xi could stumble into war, The Washington Post, Graham Allison, 03/04/2017)

    As the US is unwilling to make necessary concessions or to modify its (revealed or concealed) hostility towards the DPRK (regime change being an uncompromising objective), the DPRK will continue to have no reasonable option but to develop its defensive/deterrent/retaliatory capabilities. The US will consider such developments incompatible with its objectives (degrading of capabilities) and (unreasonable) demands. A kinetic stage of conflict is therefore a likely eventual outcome. While diplomatic efforts remain a priority, the quiet but appropriate acceleration of preparations by the DPRK (and the PRC) is also evident.

    Note: A kinetic stage of conflict would involve broader strategic allies (US-Japan-ROK-Australia against the DPRK-PRC with the likely involvement of other powers). This concept also applies to other concurrent developing conflicts.

  • Ashok Varma

    Only a fool would have believed in DPRK ever giving up its well deserved nuclear deterrent in the current US created law of the jungle. There is lesson for Iranian mullahs, either arm yourself with nuclear weaponry or face continued US and Zionist bullying.

  • Andrei

    He’s looking like he is going to explode himself.
    Such a fat pig…
    He is becoming worst than his father…
    Keeping his own people like in a concentration camp…

  • <>

    Stupid fatty, the U.S will wipe his country off the map if he ever dares to shoot ICBM onto U.S territory. The Chinese better keep their doggy on a short leash.