South Korea just launched itself into a very exclusive club. Here’s why its new sub-launched missile sets it apart.

South Korean navy submarine surfacing
A South Korean Navy’s Type 209-class submarine surfaces during the international fleet review near Busan, October 7, 2008.

  • On September 15, a South Korean submarine successfully test-launched a domestically built ballistic missile.
  • That test puts South Korea into the club of now eight countries with SLBM capability and makes it the only member without nuclear weapons.
  • It may also open a new phase in South Korea’s arms race with North Korea.

On September 15, the South Korean navy made history when it successfully launched its own domestically built submarine-launched ballistic missile from its first Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarine.

With that test, South Korea joins the US, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, and North Korea in the club of nations with SLBM capability, becoming the only member that doesn’t possess nuclear weapons.

The new capability is yet another attained by South Korea’s increasingly modern and sophisticated military, and it is only the latest milestone for the country’s rapidly developing domestic defense industry.

It may also represent a new phase in South Korea’s arms race with North Korea, which has responded with new missile tests of its own.

An exclusive club

South Korean submarine-launched ballistic missile
South Korea’s first underwater-launched ballistic missile is test-fired from a sub in South Korean waters, September 15, 2021.

The September 15 test, which President Moon Jae-in attended, was actually the third and final one of South Korea’s SLBM program.

The first test, conducted in July, involved firing an SLBM from a submerged barge. It was followed two months later by a second “cold launch” test from the Dosan Ahn Changho, a diesel-electric sub commissioned in August.

The missiles in all tests were Hyunmoo-4-4s, a variant of the Hyunmoo-2B designed to be fired from submarines. The Hyunmoo-2B has a maximum range of 800 km, though the missile used in the third test reportedly only flew 400 km.

With the Biden and Moon administrations agreeing to lift restrictions on the range of South Korean missiles in May, South Korea’s navy will likely field SLBMs with longer ranges in the future.

South Korea’s government has argued that it is actually the seventh country to achieve SLBM capability, as North Korea hasn’t clearly demonstrated that its active or under-development ballistic-missile subs are actually capable of launching any of its much-touted Pukguksong series of SLBMs.

Second-strike capability

A missile is seen launched during a drill of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in North Korea
A missile is seen launched during a drill by North Korea’s Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in September 2021.

South Korea’s military is already considered superior to that of the North, but North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal, currently estimated to be between 67 and 116 warheads, could level the playing field in a conflict.

South Korea has invested heavily in modern, high-end military hardware, part of an effort to compensate for demographic shifts that will likely shrink the overall size of its military.

But that hardware – such as fighter jets and warships – are often in fixed locations that are known to North Korea. South Korea’s missile batteries and other ground assets are also at risk of discovery by North Korean spies.

As a result, there is a huge risk that South Korea’s most important military equipment could be destroyed in a preemptive nuclear attack by North Korea.

“A fundamental part of [North Korea’s] doctrine is surprise,” Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation, told Insider. “If they are going to try and get that surprise, South Korea may get very little warning.”

To better defend against such an attack, Dosan Ahn Changho-class subs, originally envisioned as cruise-missile submarines, were redesigned to carry six SLBMs. A ballistic missile could reach targets deep inside North Korea in minutes, while a cruise missile, which flies closer to the ground, could take as long as an hour depending on where it’s launched.

“If they’ve got to preempt the North Korean preemption, they’ve got to have a ballistic missile,” Bennett said.

Dosan Ahn Changho-class subs can also stay underwater for extended periods, giving South Korea a nearly guaranteed way to strike back if attacked.

“You can’t follow the submarines,” Bennett said. “It’s a secure second-strike force.”

‘A hedge against the future’

North Korea missile launch
An underwater-launched missile emerges off the North Korean coastal town of Wonsan, October 2, 2019.

Predictably, North Korea has not taken kindly to South Korea’s SLBM development.

On September 11 and 12, it conducted a series of long-range missile tests – its first in six months – with new cruise missiles that flew 1,500 km, the maximum range of South Korea’s cruise missiles.

Just hours before the scheduled launch of South Korea’s SLBM, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles from train cars in the country’s mountains. The missiles traveled 800 km before crashing into the into the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Pyongyang has tried to minimize South Korea’s SLBM test. North Korean state media has questioned its authenticity and claimed the missile “will not be effective in war” and has “no strategic or tactical value.”

On September 15, after Moon called South Korea’s missile capabilities a “sure deterrence” against North Korean attacks, Kim Jong Un’s sister responded by threatening the “complete destruction” of bilateral relations, describing Moon’s comments as “slander and detraction.”

Finally, at the end of September, North Korea launched the Hwasong-8, which it called a hypersonic missile, and followed it a day later with a test of a new surface-to-air missile.

North Korea Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile
A Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile is test-fired by North Korea,September 29, 2021.

North Korea’s missile tests may be an attempt to demonstrate parity with South Korea’s missile capabilities, while state media may have downplayed the SLBM test in an attempt to distract from North Korea’s lack of progress on its own ballistic-missile subs.

South Korea’s military said the Hwasong-8 appears to be early in development with “considerable time” needed before it could be deployed. But North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal coupled with the threat of hypersonic weapons, which are virtually impossible to intercept because of their speed and maneuverability, have only increased tensions.

Some South Korean officials have even called for again allowing US forces to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea or for developing its own nuclear weapons.

If Seoul did develop its own nuclear weapons, Dosan Ahn Changho-class subs and the Hyunmoo-4-4 missiles would already be able to carry the warheads.

“If you’re going to build your own nuclear weapons, what a great idea to have this submarine ready, to have the missile ready, and only have to build the nuclear warhead and put it on a missile and be set to go,” Bennett said. “It’s a hedge against the future.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

North Korea offered a good look at its new hypersonic missile as Kim Jong Un vowed to build ‘invincible military’

North Korea claimed that a missile test in late September involved a new hypersonic missile.
North Korea claimed that a missile test in late September involved a new hypersonic missile. That weapon appears to have been on display at a big event this week.

  • North Korea showed off what appears to be a hypersonic missile at a defense exhibition in Pyongyang.
  • The weapon looks like it could be the purported hypersonic missile tested late last month, experts said.
  • At Monday’s event, Kim Jong Un vowed to build an “invincible military” to fend off US hostility.

North Korea gave observers a good look at what appears to be a new hypersonic missile at an event Monday celebrating the country’s defense capabilities, an event where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he would build an “invincible military” defend itself against US hostility.

Surrounded by various weaponry, Kim said at the Self-Defense 2021 exhibition in Pyongyang that North Korea is “not discussing war with anyone” but aims to “prevent war itself and to literally increase war deterrence for the protection of national sovereignty.”

During the big defense event, the North Korean leader reviewed various missile systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles theoretically able to reach the continental US. Some systems have been tested, while others have only been displayed at military events.

Among the North Korean weapon systems presented at the exhibition and displayed in state-run media reporting on the event is what experts said appears to be the hypersonic missile that North Korea claims to have tested last month – the Hwasong-8.

North Korea announced in late September that it had test-fired a new hypersonic missile. At the time, state media reported on the test, noting evaluations of the “detached hypersonic gliding warhead.” There was only one photo from the test, and it was simply a silhouette of the missile.

Footage from Monday’s exhibition offered multiple views of the new weapon.

“That looks like the same glider they tested last month,” Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, told Insider, pointing out that “we can now see its shape more clearly. It’s not a cone but rather a winged body with a flat bottom.”

He added that the concept seems similar to the DF-17 that China unveiled in 2019 at a military parade marking the country’s National Day.

Military vehicles carrying hypersonic missiles DF-17 travel past Tiananmen Square during the military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China
Military vehicles carrying DF-17 hypersonic missiles travel past Tiananmen Square during the military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People’s Republic of China.

In both cases, the weapon design features a ballistic missile carrying a boost-glide vehicle on a transporter-erector launcher.

The rocket gets the hypersonic glide vehicle up to speed (at least Mach 5) before it detaches, moving along an unpredictable flight path that makes it harder to intercept as it rushes toward its final destination.

For North Korea, while it is clear that it is now in the competition to develop new hypersonic missiles, a competition that involves powerful countries like China, Russia, and the US, it is difficult to know where they are in the development process or how the system performs.

Ankit Panda, a North Korea expert and a Stanton Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, explained to Insider that “it certainly looks like what we’d expect a notional hypersonic glider to look like.” But, he said, “that tells us little about the materials it’s made from or its real-world aerodynamic performance.”

South Korean military leaders said after last month’s missile test that “it appears to be at an early stage of development that would require considerable time for actual deployment.”

Panda said that while the weapons technology on display is noteworthy, “the bigger picture here is that this event was a full-scale celebration of North Korea’s defense scientists and technicians right as the new military modernization campaign spins up.”

“Kim’s trying to ensure that this community is full-on morale, especially while the broader economic picture in the country looks quite dire.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

North Korea’s new ‘hypersonic missile’ isn’t a game-changer yet

North Korea Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile
A Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile is test-fired by North Korea,September 29, 2021.

  • North Korea announced that it successfully tested a new “hypersonic missile” late last month.
  • Many countries are pursuing hypersonic weapons, but North Korea already has ways to stress and overwhelm missile defenses.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

North Korea has announced that it successfully tested a new “hypersonic missile” late last month.

The country’s Academy of Defence Science said that a newly developed missile, dubbed the Hwasong-8, was flight-tested for the first time and carried a “hypersonic gliding warhead.” State media described the missile as a “strategic weapon,” which is a euphemistic way of implying that it is nuclear-capable.

While North Korea’s claims of testing “hypersonic” missile technology will no doubt raise concerns in Northeast Asia about its continued qualitative progress with missile technologies, this latest test does not represent a game-changing development in the region.

A theme in North Korea’s missile development efforts since 2017 has been attempt to defeat missile defenses. A hypersonic glider presents one technological path to stressing existing US, South Korea, and Japanese missile defense capabilities.

But instead of breathlessly panicking about this new capability, policymakers should understand that “hypersonic” missile technologies are not a monolithic class of superweapons, but vary in types, with each offering different advantages and trade-offs.

Japanese TV report on North Korea missile launch
A Japanese TV news program reporting on a North Korean missile launch, in Tokyo, August 29, 2017.

In strict terms, all that’s conveyed by the word “hypersonic” is that the weapon in question travels at a speed of more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5).

All long-range ballistic missiles, in this sense, are “hypersonic” – even missiles that North Korea first flight-tested in 1990s, for instance.

Where things get more interesting is with “gliding warheads.” Unlike traditional ballistic reentry vehicles, which follow a parabolic trajectory to their targets, gliding warheads are part of a class of so-called maneuvering reentry vehicles. Unlike their simple ballistic counterparts, these warheads employ fins and aerodynamic designs to maneuver in the earth’s atmosphere to their targets.

Hypersonic gliders like Russia’s Avangard and China’s DF-17 reenter the atmosphere early and spend most of their flight path in unpowered aerodynamic flight at hypersonic speeds. (Avangard is an intercontinental-range system and the DF-17 is a theater-range system.)

Because ballistic missile reentry vehicles spend much of their time in the vacuum of space, they can often – but not always – be quicker to reach their targets than gliders of equivalent range.

Long-range gliders can maneuver during the so-called mid-course phase of their flight; mid-course missile defense interceptors, like the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3), would be unable to intercept these, but future “terminal” missile defenses may be able to. (Terminal defenses attempt to destroy incoming warheads during their final moments of flight.)

China hypersonic missiles
Chinese military vehicles carrying DF-17 hypersonic missiles on parade in Beijing, October 1, 2019.

It’s not difficult to understand why North Korea might be interested in gliders. This technology is seeing significant interest across the world’s major missile powers and is perceived to be essential for defeating missile defenses.

But while North Korea’s scientists and engineers may see this project as worthwhile, there are already ways in which Pyongyang’s missile arsenal can overwhelm and stress missile defenses.

For instance, North Korea could rely on simply saturating missile defenses with large salvo launches in a conflict. This concept was tested in 2016 and 2017, when North Korea carried out simultaneous launches of multiple ballistic missiles.

Additionally, newer North Korean quasi-ballistic missiles first tested in 2019 also exhibited flight characteristics similar to a hypersonic glider, spending much of their time in the earth’s atmosphere while maneuvering to their target.

Beyond the claims of the North Korean Academy of Defense Science and a single photograph released by state media, there’s little data at the moment that would allow for detailed insight into the military utility of this new North Korean missile.

But the bigger picture here is that North Korea remains a nuclear-armed state with an increasingly diverse and capable array of delivery systems.

Kim Jong Un smiles during inspection of North Korean missile site
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiles during an inspection of the test launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile, August 29, 2017.

Kim Jong Un had indicated in January 2021, at the Eighth Party Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, that he sought to test a hypersonic glider. At that same Party Congress, he had alluded to new cruise missiles as well, which were also recently tested.

Like the years between 2013 and 2017, North Korea has now embarked on a new campaign of military modernization. Without diplomacy to incentivize a cessation of North Korean testing, Kim’s pursuit of qualitative improvements to his capabilities will continue.

Kim is slowly, but surely working his way through the expansive military modernization wish list he laid out in January 2021.

Apart from new cruise missiles and hypersonic gliders, Kim also alluded to multiple warhead intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and more responsive solid propellant-based ICBM. With the newly tested hypersonic glider, Kim appears to have kept his word.

Without diplomacy to dissuade further testing, we shouldn’t be surprised to see North Korea test more advanced weapons in the coming months. The missile-testing campaign of the 8th Party Congress is in full swing.

Ankit Panda is the Stanton Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. He is also the author of “Kim Jong Un and the Bomb: Survival and Deterrence in North Korea” (Hurst/Oxford, 2020).

Read the original article on Business Insider

How a surprise invasion deep behind enemy lines turned the tide in the US’s first Cold War conflict

US Army soldiers land at Inchon during Korea War
US soldiers land at Incheon, September 18, 1950.

  • In September 1950, three months after the North Korean invasion, South Korean troops and their allies held just a corner of the peninsula.
  • Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander of UN forces in Korea, knew the pressure needed to be relieved.
  • MacArthur devised a bold plan to land thousands of troops at Incheon – 150 miles behind enemy lines.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On the morning of September 15, 1950, as US and Royal Navy warships fired at targets ashore, US Marines boarded landing craft and assaulted Wolmido, a small fortified island at the mouth of Incheon harbor.

The North Korean invasion three months earlier had devastated the South Korea army, pushing it into a last bastion in the southeastern corner of the peninsula.

The Marines landing at the port of Incheon were part of a 40,000-strong landing force with a critical objective: liberate the city and open a second front.

It was the largest amphibious invasion since D-Day, and like that operation, it would turn the tide of the war. Nothing less than the fate of South Korea was at stake.

Pusan Perimeter

US soldiers fighting on Pusan Perimeter during Korean War
US soldiers fire at North Korean positions along the Pusan Perimeter, September 4, 1950.

The situation in South Korea in September 1950 was perilous. The North Korean offensive launched on June 25 was too strong for South Korea’s military to fight off alone, and Seoul was captured in just three days.

On June 27, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 83, which condemned the North Korean action as a “breach of the peace” and called for the world to assist South Korea. Resolution 84, passed on July 7, designated the US as the leader of military operations to save South Korea.

Ultimately, 21 countries contributed to the US-led effort. It was the Cold War’s first hot conflict.

The first American soldiers arrived in early July, but due to equipment and supply shortages as a result of the downsizing of the US military after World War II, they were unable to reverse North Korea’s gains.

By August, communist forces held all but a 100-mile by 50-mile area around the port city of Busan that was known as the “Pusan Perimeter,” where UN and South Korean forces desperately held off repeated KPA attacks.

‘I shall crush them’

Gen. Douglas MacArthur at Incheon invasion
MacArthur and other officers observe the shelling of Incheon from the USS Mount McKinley, September 15, 1950.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the famed American general in charge of UN forces in Korea, knew the pressure needed to be taken off the Pusan Perimeter.

He devised a bold plan for an amphibious operation to land thousands of troops at Incheon – 150 miles behind enemy lines.

Incheon was on the opposite side of the peninsula and only 20 miles from Seoul, which meant UN forces could land, liberate the capital, and launch a pincer attack that would surround the KPA on two sides.

It would not be easy. Incheon’s tide fell as much as 36 feet twice a day, exposing completely impassable mudflats for 12 hours. Moreover, the city had seawalls as high as 12 feet in some places, and the KPA had turned Wolmido into a fortress.

Troops assaulting in the morning waves would have to wait 12 hours for reinforcements, and those arriving in the evening would have only 30 minutes of daylight to secure their objectives.

“We drew up a list of every natural and geographic handicap – and Inchon had ’em all,” one staff officer wrote later.

“Make up a list of amphibious ‘don’ts,’ and you have an exact description of the Inchon operation” another officer recalled.

MacArthur was undeterred. He knew such an operation would be “sort of helter-skelter” but believed it would be the kind of surprise that could win the war.

“We must act now or we will die,” he told his staff at a planning conference. “We shall land at Inchon, and I shall crush them.”

Operation Chromite

US Marines land at Inchon
First Lt. Baldomero Lopez leads Marines over the seawall in the second assault wave at Incheon, September 15, 1950.

MacArthur’s plan, dubbed “Operation Chromite,” was approved and assigned a massive force of 40,000 men and 230 ships.

UN aircraft and warships bombed and shelled cities, bridges, and railways across Korea in the weeks before the battle, hoping to distract the KPA from the true target.

Air attacks on Incheon began on September 10. On September 13, two days of naval bombardment began, with particular attention to Wolmido, the first target for capture. Despite the intensity of the bombardment, three destroyers were damaged by return fire from coastal artillery.

On September 15, the first landing craft arrived at Wolmido. With support from 10 tanks, the Marines were able to quickly take the island with only 17 wounded.

They waited 12 hours before the second wave arrived, which landed Marines at beaches north and south of Incheon. As the Marines pushed into the city, they were constantly supported by fire from cruisers, destroyers, and aircraft carriers.

The Marines were able to secure the harbor by September 16. There were a few pockets of heavy resistance during the initial landings but mostly light resistance in the city itself. US troops quickly moved to the surrounding hills, taking Kimpo Airfield on September 18 and turning it into an airbase.

The KPA were completely surprised, and the diversionary tactics added to the confusion. The KPA sent tanks to slow down the Americans, but they were no match for UN forces. By September 19, Incheon was secure.

Three more years

Marines fighting in Seoul during Korean War
US Marines engaged in street fighting during the liberation of Seoul, September 1950.

Operation Chromite was a massive success. With Incheon liberated, UN forces headed to Seoul. It was retaken within two weeks of the landings, despite desperate KPA resistance.

The invasion of Incheon and liberation of Seoul resulted in about 3,500 casualties for UN forces. KPA casualties, meanwhile, were estimated to be roughly 14,000 dead and 7,000 captured.

The KPA was outflanked and soon forced into complete retreat. On September 23, UN forces at Pusan began pushing north to link up with troops at Incheon and Seoul.

Allied airpower, operating from Kimpo, other airfields in South Korea, and Japan, as well as from nearby carriers, continued to attack KPA positions virtually unchallenged.

By the end of September, the remnants of the KPA had retreated back across the 38th Parallel. It was a stunning reversal, but the war was far from over.

MacArthur, buoyed by his victory and determined to push the communists out of Korea, was allowed to advance north of the 38th Parallel.

Worried about the loss of an ally, the Soviets and Chinese increased their support. The Chinese officially joined the war in October, and Soviet fighter pilots began engaging UN aircraft in November.

There would be another three years of bloodshed before the war ended in a stalemate that persists to this day.

Read the original article on Business Insider

North Korea says the latest weapon it tested was a hypersonic missile

A missile is seen launched earlier this month, that time from a train. North Korea now claims it has tested a hypersonic missile.
A missile is seen launched earlier this month, that time from a train. North Korea now claims it has tested a hypersonic missile.

  • North Korea tested a missile Tuesday that was initially identified as a short-range ballistic missile.
  • North Korean state media claims it tested a hypersonic weapon called the Hwasong-8.
  • North Korea reportedly expressed an interest in developing hypersonic weapon technology earlier this year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

North Korea has provided some new details on its latest missile test, claiming in a state media article that it test-fired a hypersonic missile.

North Korea has test-fired missiles six times this year, with the latest test occurring Tuesday. The test, which was the third this month, involved a short-range missile, the South Korean military said.

North Korean state media outlet KCNA reported on Wednesday local time that it actually launched a hypersonic missile.

Hypersonic missiles are a key area of great power competition between the US, China, and Russia. It is unclear if what North Korea claims to be a hypersonic missile is actually a hypersonic weapon in the same way that other countries use the term.

KCNA reported that the missile is known as the Hwasong-8 and was launched from Toyang-ri.

During the missile test, which was aimed at “boosting the independent power of ultra-modern defense science and technology of the country and in increasing the nation’s capabilities for self-defense in every way,” scientists confirmed key navigation control and stability attributes, as well as the “guiding maneuverability” and “gliding flight characteristics of the detached hypersonic gliding warhead,” state media said.

Launched using a conventional rocket booster, hypersonic weapons generally carry a detachable glide body that eventually separates from the rocket and then continues on to the target.

After the separation, the hypersonic glide vehicle is no longer able to accelerate, but it retains the ability to maneuver.

Hypersonic weapons fly at speeds of at least Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, but it is their maneuverability and unpredictable flight path that makes them especially dangerous and difficult for traditional air- and missile-defense systems to intercept and eliminate.

In January, North Korea said a goal was to “develop and introduce hypersonic gliding flight warheads in a short period” and stated that it had “finished research into developing warheads of different combat missions including the hypersonic gliding flight warheads for new-type ballistic rockets and was making preparations for their test manufacture.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ethereum researcher Virgil Griffith pleads guilty to helping North Korea dodge US sanctions

Virgil Griffith
Virgil Griffith

  • Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum Foundation researcher, pleaded guilty to aiding North Korea in sidestepping US sanctions.
  • US authorities alleged that he helped the North Koreans deploy blockchain tech to let the country sidestep sanctions.
  • “I don’t think what Virgil did gave DRPK any kind of real help in doing anything bad,” ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin said in 2019.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum Foundation researcher, pleaded guilty to aiding North Korea in sidestepping US sanctions using blockchain technology, according to a Bloomberg report.

Griffith was arrested in 2019 after he attended a Pyongyang blockchain conference. US authorities alleged that he helped the North Koreans deploy blockchain tech to let the country sidestep strict international sanctions. Prosecutors say his presentation was tantamount to giving services to North Korea and his trip was not approved by America, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Griffith’s lawyers countered that he gave out simple information available easily online.

The trial was set to begin on Monday, but instead Griffith admitted to conspiring to violate sanctions law, according to Bloomberg. He could get up to 20 years in prison.

After he was arrested in 2019, ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin circulated a petition on Twitter calling for Griffith’s release, though he said the Ethereum Foundation was not involved in the Pyongyang trip.

“I don’t think what Virgil did gave DRPK any kind of real help in doing anything bad,” Buterin wrote. “There was no weird hackery ‘advanced tutoring.'”

“Geopolitical open-mindedness is a virtue. It’s admirable to go to a group of people that one has been trained since childhood to believe is a Maximum Evil Enemy, and hear out what they have to say,” he added.

North Korea is subject to so-called secondary sanctions, meaning that anyone who does business with the country can find themselves under fire.

In the pre-crypto days, Griffith made his name as an iconoclastic hacker who reveled in creating “minor public-relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike,” as he said in a 2008 interview with the New York Times.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump reportedly called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a ‘lunatic’: book

Trump, Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump before a meeting in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Panmunjom, Korea, on June 30, 2019.

  • Former President Donald Trump called Kim Jong Un “a fucking lunatic,” according to a new book.
  • The comment was reportedly made in the presence of Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, a staunch ally of Trump.
  • While Trump and Kim managed to mend fences, their earlier exchanges featured a furious war of words.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Despite the public show of affection between former President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as they sought to propel the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the former president made a less-than-flattering comment about the leader during his time in office, according to an upcoming book by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

Insider obtained an early copy of the book, “Peril,” which at one point details the relationship between Trump and Ret. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, a staunch ally of the then-president who also worked as the national security advisor for then-Vice President Mike Pence.

According to the book, the president had a high comfort level with Kellogg, who “had the kind of look Trump liked for his generals,” possessing a “straight jaw” and “a gruff manner of speaking.” Trump reportedly felt at ease cursing around the retired lieutenant general, and one day, Kim was the target of his ire.

“I’m dealing with a fucking lunatic,” Trump reportedly said during a meeting with Kellogg regarding his relationship with the North Korean leader.

The book did not say when the statement was made, but Kellogg became Pence’s national security advisor in April 2018, the same month as the historic inter-Korean summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Kellogg served in that capacity until January 2021.

The authors write that Kellogg was “torn between two worlds” as part of the Pence orbit, as well as Trump World.

“I make no bones about it. I’m a Trump loyalist,” Kellogg reportedly told others, despite his post in Pence’s office.

While the Trump administration early on sought to thaw their relationship with Kim, the pathway to doing so was not easy.

In September 2017, Trump called Kim “rocket man,” which set off a stream of insults between the two men.

According to The Washington Post, the then-president remarked that he felt as though the comment could be taken as a compliment and not in a derogatory manner.

However, Trump previously called Kim a “maniac” who “actually has nuclear weapons” during a GOP presidential debate in September 2015.

In February 2016, he said that Kim was “a bad dude” who shouldn’t be underestimated, and added: “I would get China to make that guy disappear in one form or another very quickly.”

Kim was no slouch in the insult department, calling Trump “a mentally deranged US dotard” in September 2017 after the then-president threatened to “totally destroy” nuclear-armed North Korea as he gave his first address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“He is surely a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician,” Kim said in response to Trump’s comments.

While the relationship between the two men grew stronger over time, their push for a peace treaty did not produce a concrete deal that would lock in North Korea’s denuclearization in exchange for sanctions relief.

Read the original article on Business Insider

North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test appeared to involve firing missiles out of a train

A missile is seen launched during a drill of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in North Korea
A missile is seen launched during a drill of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in North Korea.

  • North Korea’s latest missile launch appears to have involved firing missiles from a train.
  • The country’s Railway Mobile Missile Regiment appears to have launched two short-range ballistic missiles.
  • Photos from the test appear to show missiles being launched from a railway car.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

North Korea fired off two short-range ballistic missiles Wednesday, but unlike past North Korean missile launches, the missiles appear to have been fired from a train.

The test was carried out by the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment and was a kind of proof-of-concept evaluation of the practicality of the “railway mobile missile system,” North Korean state media reported, noting that the system was “deployed for the first time for action” during this test.

Pak Jong Chon, a senior North Korean military leader and political figure, oversaw the weapon testing, concluding in the aftermath that the “railway mobile missile system is an effective counter-striking means,” one that can be used “to deal a heavy blow at the threatening forces multiconcurrently with dispersive firing across the country,” state media said.

North Korean state media released multiple images of the unusual test, which saw North Korean missiles land approximately 500 miles away in the East Sea.

A missile is seen launched during a drill of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in North Korea
A missile is seen launched during a drill of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in North Korea

Wednesday’s test followed the launch of long-range cruise missiles, which North Korea calls “strategic weapons,” over the weekend. North Korea state media claimed the missiles flew 930 miles.

North Korea’s Academy of Defense Science said that the cruise missiles are “another effective deterrence means for more reliably guaranteeing the security of our state and strongly containing the military maneuvers of the hostile forces against the DPRK,” according to multiple reports.

North Korea has been working to develop a diverse arsenal of missile technology with varied delivery systems, from transporter erector launchers to submarines to, now, railway cars in order to increase not only its combat capability but also its survivability.

A missile is seen launched during a drill of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in North Korea
A missile is seen launched during a drill of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in North Korea.

Adam Mount, the Director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, wrote on Twitter that “rail mobile missiles are a relatively cheap and reliable option for countries seeking to improve the survivability of their nuclear forces.”

“Russia did it. The US considered it,” he said. “It makes a ton of sense for North Korea.”

He pointed out that the advantage is the ability to move missiles in ways that are more difficult to predict or detect, fire from austere locations, or play a shell game where trains may or may not contain missiles.

It is unclear exactly what North Korea has planned for this system, but according to state media, Pak reportedly “stressed the need for the army and the fields concerned to steadily perfect the tactical plans to make the best use of this system in accordance with the geographical conditions and realities of the country.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

North and South Korea fired off ballistic missiles just hours apart in dueling weapons tests

People watch a TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's missiles with file image, in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021
People watch a TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea’s missiles with file image, in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021

  • North and South Korea conducted ballistic missile tests hours apart on Wednesday.
  • North Korea tested what the South Korean military identified as short-range ballistic missiles.
  • South Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Both North and South Korea conducted ballistic missile tests within hours of one another on Wednesday, raising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea launched what the South Korean military identified as two short-range ballistic missiles just after noon (local time), NK News reported, citing the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff. The missiles flew about 500 miles and landed in the East Sea.

The ballistic missile test comes on the heels of another test conducted over the weekend involving long-range cruise missiles, what North Korean state media calls a “strategic weapon” and claimed flew 930 miles, giving it the ability to range targets throughout Japan.

North Korea’s Academy of Defense Science said the cruise missiles are “another effective deterrence means for more reliably guaranteeing the security of our state and strongly containing the military maneuvers of the hostile forces against the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea],” CNN reported.

North Korea has not yet commented publicly on its latest ballistic missile test.

Though the US military said the missiles posed no “immediate threat” to the US or its allies, it noted that North Korea’s activities “highlights the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program.” A US State Department spokesperson told Reuters that the US condemns the ballistic missile test, which violated UN Security Council resolutions.

In this image taken from video provided by the South Korea Defense Ministry, South Korea's first underwater-launched ballistic missile is test-fired from a 3,000-ton-class submarine at an undisclosed location in the waters of South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021
In this image taken from video provided by the South Korea Defense Ministry, South Korea’s first underwater-launched ballistic missile is test-fired from a 3,000-ton-class submarine at an undisclosed location in the waters of South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021

On the other side of the peninsula, just hours after the North Korea test, South Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile involving the new Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office said in a statement that “possessing a SLBM has significant meaning in securing deterrence against omni-directional threats, and it is expected to play a key role in building self-defence capability and peace on the Korean peninsula,” South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

South Korea joins the ranks of the US, Russia, China, India, France, and the UK in the successful development and testing of SLBM technology, typically viewed as a stealthy and more survivable launch platform that gives rivals one more reason not to attack for fear of a counter-attack. North Korea has developed SLBMs, but they have only been tested from submerged testing platforms, not actual submarines.

Speaking at the test site, Moon said that South Korea’s “enhanced missile power can be a sure-fire deterrent to North Korea’s provocation.”

In the wake of Moon’s comments suggesting that improved missile technology would provide sufficient deterrence against North Korea, Kim Yo Jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, warned in a media statement of the “complete destruction” of inter-Korean relations if South Korea continues to slander North Korea, the AP reported.

North and South Korean ties have been strained since a push for diplomatic engagement fell apart last year.

Read the original article on Business Insider

North Korea said it successfully tested ‘strategic’ long-range cruise missiles

Kim Jong Un Speech
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea central committee in Pyongyang, North Korea on February 10, 2021.

  • North Korea said it test-fired long range missiles over the weekend, according to state-run media.
  • Officials called the missile “a strategic weapon of great significance.”
  • One expert told Reuters “strategic” is “a common euphemism for nuclear-capable system.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

North Korea said it test-fired new long-range missiles this weekend, state-run Korean Central News Agency reported, according to Reuters.

KCNA said the missiles flew for over two hours and successfully hit a target 1,500 km (930 miles) away during tests on Saturday and Sunday.

Officials called the missile “a strategic weapon of great significance” to the country’s defense, adding that the weapons serve as “another effective deterrence means for more reliably guaranteeing the security of our state and strongly containing the military maneuvers of the hostile forces against the DPRK.”

Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the US, told Reuters: “This would be the first cruise missile in North Korea to be explicitly designated a ‘strategic’ role.”

“This is a common euphemism for nuclear-capable system,” Panda said.

Read the original article on Business Insider