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Road to war on the Korean Peninsula?

Timeline: Road to war on the Korean Peninsula? Northeast Asia has seen a recent intensification of jingoistic rhetoric and military activity on both sides of the long-running conflict between North Korea and South Korea, which is backed by the United States. In the last several weeks, Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang's young leader, has warned of "simmering nuclear war", ordered missile deployments and threatened to attack the US mainland. Washington says it will defend itself and its "treaty ally" and has stationed the USS Fitzgerald, a 154-feet long Navy-guided missile destroyer, off the Korean Peninsula coast to defend against a possible strike - along with USS John McCain. The US military also deployed a Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX), resembling an enormous balloon mounted on large oil rig, to track ballistic missiles. USS Fitzgerald Sea-Based X-Band Radar The North was angered by annual joint US training exercises with S Korea, which included flying two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers as part of a “deterrence mission", and the presence of the USS Cheyenne nuclear-powered submarine. B-2 stealth bombers USS Cheyenne April 5 Deploying missiles Reports say North Korea has moved two medium-range missiles to its east coast, ratcheting up geopolitical tension in the region. Intelligence analysts quoted by South Korea's Yonhap news agency say the type is Musudan - with a range of around 3,000km. Seoul's defence minister Kim Kwan-jin says the missiles could reach a "considerable distance" but not the US mainland, telling legislators they "could be aimed at test-firing or military drills". Meanwhile, the Unification Ministry in S Korea says there are still 608 South Korean citizens in the Kaesong industrial zone, after 253 returned to the South. Al Jazeera English, Musudan (Rodong-B) Length 12m Diameter 1.5m Range 3,000km (est.) April 4 'Moment of explosion' The North Korean army warns Washington that its military has been cleared to wage an attack using "smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear" weapons. "The moment of explosion is approaching fast," the military says, warning that war could break out "today or tomorrow". The warning, the latest in a series of escalating threats against the US and South Korea, comes after the Pentagon starts deploying a missile defence system to Guam. Despite the rhetoric, many analysts say they do not expect a nuclear attack by Pyongyang, which knows the move could trigger a destructive, suicidal war that no one in the region wants. Al Jazeera English, April 3 Closing Kaesong The North Korean government begins to follow through on a threat to close the Kaesong joint industrial zone with the South, which it initially made on March 30. Security forces block entry by South Koreans into the area, as tensions escalate further. "The North this morning notified us that it will only allow returning trips from Kaesong and will ban trips to the complex," says S Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk, as 861 South Korean workers remained in the industrial complex and 179 awaited entry. Seoul-funded Kaesong - a cash cow for Pyongyang - reaps $90m annually in wages to 53,000 North Korean workers largely employed by South Korean firms just several kilometres from the De-militarised Zone. The operating stability of the complex is seen as a bellwether of inter-Korean relations. Al Jazeera English, China North Korea Yongbyon (nuclear complex) Pyongyang (capital of North Korea) Kaesong South Korea Apr 2 Restarting reactor North Korea announces it will rebuild all nuclear facilities at its main Yongbyon complex. A spokesman from the country's atomic energy agency says Pyongyang will restart uranium enrichment facility at the 5 MW reactor which it closed in 2007. Shut as part of an international nuclear disarmament deal, the plant was the sole source of plutonium for the North's nuclear weapons programme. The remaining plutonium stockpile is believed to be enough for four to eight bombs. State news agency KCNA says the upgrade will be used for electricity shortages and military development. S Korea foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young: "North Korea should keep their promise and agreements and they should keep to denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula." Al Jazeera English, Mar 31 Bolstering Nukes A meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party, headed by leader Kim Jong-un, decides that the country's possession of nuclear weapons "should be fixed by law". The goal: "Bolstering the nuclear-armed force both in quality and quantity". "They are a treasure of a reunified country which can never be traded with billions of dollars." Al Jazeera English, Mar 30 "State of War' Pyongyang announces it has entered into a "state of war" with South Korea. "All matters between the two Koreas will be handled according to wartime protocol," the North says in a government statement. Al Jazeera English, Mar 29 Rockets aimed at US Kim convenes an "urgent operation meeting" of high-ranking generals and signs a rocket preparation plan. He orders his forces on standby to strike the US mainland, South Korea, Guam and Hawaii, despite no proven military capability to strike either of those American islands or the West Coast. He says: "The time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tells reporters in Moscow: "We can simply see the situation getting out of control. It could spiral down into a vicious circle." For its part, China says, stability in Northeast Asia "serves the common interests of all parties". Al Jazeera English, US US Hawaii Guam Length (m) Estimated range (km) Hwasong-5 300 Operational Hwasong-6 500 Rodong 1,300 Test-firing Taepodong-1 2,500 Musudan 3000+ In development Taepodong-2 6,700+ 10 20 30 40 Mar 27 Cutting communications North Korea discontinues use of direct military hotline with the South, which was the last remaining official communication link. The phone connection is generally used by the countries' militaries to arrange for border crossings by South Korean workers at Kaesong. South Korea's Unification Ministry reports Pyongyang earlier in March had disconnected a Red Cross hotline - used by officials on both sides and which runs through the Panmunjom border village. The North says conditions "for a simmering nuclear war" have been created on the peninsula. Leonid Petrov, a Korea expert at Sydney's Australian National University, says the North's "attention-seeking behaviour" is in response to it feeling "cornered" by the international community. Al Jazeera English, Mar 25 "Combat-ready' status The order for troops to prepare for war, issued in a statement from the North's military "supreme command", marks the latest fiery rhetoric. Most experts believe North Korea is years from developing a genuine inter-continental ballistic missile that could strike the continental US. Hawaii and Guam are also outside the range of its medium-range missiles, which are capable, however, of striking US military bases in South Korea and Japan. South Korea's defence ministry says it has detected no signs of unusual activity by the North's military. Meanwhile, South Korea and the US sign a new military plan that lays out how the allies will communicate with each other and react to any future North Korean aggression. Al Jazeera English, Japan -South Korea Hawaii Guam North Korea's operational missile ranges Mar 20 Cyber warfare Co-ordinated cyber-attacks in South Korea take down computers and servers at three major TV channels and three banks. The source remains under investigation but N Korean involvement is suspected. Al Jazeera English, Mar 15 Blame for hacking North Korea, usually blamed for hacking others, accuses the US of staging cyber attacks against its internet servers after reports of disruptions to its main news services. Victims include the websites of the KCNA news agency and the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper. Meanwhile, the US announces it will deploy 14 additional ground-based defence missiles against the growing threat from North Korea. In addition to the new interceptors based in Fort Greely, Alaska, new radar capability will also be installed in Japan. Al Jazeera English, Mar 12 Island menace Kim Jong-un threatens to "wipe out" Baengnyeong, a South Korean island, as Pyongyang comes under new economic and diplomatic fire from US sanctions and from UN charges of gross rights abuses initiated on January 14. The N Korean leader pledges to turn the island into a "sea of fire". "The question is whether this intense rhetoric signals some kind of change, whether there is some kind of pressure on Kim Jong-un's young leadership or whether he may be trying to shore up his position." - Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett. Al Jazeera English, Mar 11 Armistice nullified Pyongyang says it has cancelled the 60-year-old armistice that ended the Korean War. But South Korea and the UN say the North cannot end the 1953 pact unilaterally. Al Jazeera English, Mar 7 O UN sanctions In response to the nuclear test, the Security Council imposes a fresh round of sanctions on North Korea targeting cash transfers and diplomatic travel. Just before the vote, North Korea said it would exercise the right to a pre-emptive nuclear attack against the US. Al Jazeera English, Feb 12 O Nuclear test Pyongyang carries out a nuclear test said to be twice as large as the 2009 test. The underground explosion carried a nuclear bomb signature with a magnitude around 5.0 and blast yield estimated at more than seven kilotons, about one-third the yield of the US fission bomb dropped on Nagasaki. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission says the location is "roughly congruent" with the site for the two previous tests. The test comes two weeks after S Korea successfully launched a satellite into space. Al Jazeera English, 1945 - Bombing of Nagasaki- 21KT 1945 - Bombing of Hiroshima - 16KT 2013 - North Korean test - 7kT 2009 - North Korean test - 4.7kT 2006 - North Korean test - 1KT Dec 12 Missile launch North Korea launches a long-range rocket in defiance of critics who believe it is seeking to develop technology that will enable it to deliver a nuclear warhead. The test is widely recognised as more effective than previous attempts. "The launch of the second version of our Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite from the Sohae Space Centre.. was successful," KCNA says. "The satellite has entered the orbit as planned." Al Jazeera English, 2012 Father, Son & Grandfather This is the year that the country mourned the death of Kim Jong-il, inaugurated his son Kim Jong-un as new national leader in several key posts and honoured the 100th birthday of "eternal president" Kim Il-sung. The centenary was celebrated on a grand scale as the communist state honoured the national founder by dedicating major building projects and putting on a mass games spectacle. Spotlight coverage on Korea Conundrum: Al Jazeera English, For more information and continued coverage visit: BY NO ND KOREA TENSIONS ALJAZEERA

Road to war on the Korean Peninsula?

shared by b_willers on Apr 05
Timeline of recent events in Northeast Asia shows major increase in threats between Pyongyang and its adversaries.


Al Jazeera




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