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North Korea (6): Credible Missile-Threat Diplomacy..?

As the war tension with North Korea escalates further the U.S. officials decided to keep radar surveillance capabilities at current levels, despite prior decisions for radar cuts:

US Reverses Air Force Radar Cuts Amid North Korea Tensions – Huffington Post

The U.S. Air Force has reversed plans to cut the use of missile-warning radar after threats from North Korea, Reuters reported Tuesday. According to William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, the situation in North Korea has prompted officials not to implement planned budget cuts that would have forced a reduction in the use of radar. Reversing the radar cuts, which had been expected to save approximately $5 million, will leave the radar “at full power,” Shelton said.  The radar warning system is on the Aleutian Islands, approximately 1,200 miles from the coast of Alaska. Earlier Tuesday, Adm. Samuel Locklear said that although the U.S. is capable of intercepting a missile from North Korea, it may choose not to if the trajectory shows it would not be a threat. An anonymous source told Reuters that the Obama administration’s “working assumption is that there are two missiles that they may be prepared to launch.” According to Locklear, neither Hawaii nor the U.S. mainland would be at risk. The U. S. Air Force has already begun grounding combat aircraft due to sequestration. Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command at Langley-Eustis, said in a statement, “Units will stand down on a rotating basis so our limited resources can be focused on fulfilling critical missions.”

North Korea, Global Hawk 1

Additionally, North Korea also increases its radar surveillance capabilities as North Korea seemed to move a number of Musudan missiles to its east coast by pointing them to Japan:

South Korea increases surveillance as North moves missile – Reuters

South Korea has raised its surveillance of North Korea after the reclusive state moved one or more long-range missiles in readiness for a possible launch, Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday. Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific region, said the U.S. military believed North Korea had moved an unspecified number of Musudan missiles to its east coast. An Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters “our working assumption is that there are two missiles that they may be prepared to launch”. That was in line with South Korean media reports. The North has been threatening the United States and its “puppet” South Korea on an almost a daily basis in recent weeks, although the threats appear to be aimed partly at boosting internal support for young leader Kim Jong-un. The Combined Forces Command in Seoul raised its “Watchcon 3″ status, a normal defense condition, by one level in order to step up monitoring and increase the number of intelligence staff, a senior military official told Yonhap on Wednesday. ”There are clear signs that the North could simultaneously fire off Musudan, Scud and Nodong missiles,” Yonhap quoted an unidentified official as saying.

More importantly, today is the deadline set by North Korea, for foreign diplomats to leave Pyongyang:

North Korea: South On Alert For Missile Launch – Sky News

South Korea fears Pyongyang could launch up to three missiles after weeks of threats, according to local reports.  South Korea and the US have upgraded their military surveillance status on the Korean Peninsula amid concerns Pyongyang is ready to fire up to three missiles. North Korea, which previously said it cannot guarantee the safety of foreign embassy workers after Wednesday, is believed to have moved weaponry to its eastern coast, facing Japan. It has also warned foreigners living in South Korea to leave the country to avoid being dragged into a “thermonuclear war”. One unnamed official told the Yonhap news agency: “There are clear signs that the North could simultaneously fire off Musudan, Scud and Nodong missiles.” The South has also brought in extra intelligence officers.

The U.S. also considers North Korea, as a credible missile threat and deploys an unmanned  Global Hawk spy plane in Japan for enhancing surveillance capabilities in the area:

US to deploy Global Hawk spy drone in Japan Press TV

The U.S. military is set to deploy an unmanned spy plane in Japan to boost surveillance capabilities as North Korea apparently readied for missile launches, a newspaper report said on Saturday. The Global Hawk will be stationed at the U.S. airbase in Misawa, northern Japan, in the first ever deployment of the aircraft in the country, the Sankei Shimbun reported, quoting government sources. The U.S. military informed Japan last month about plans to deploy the plane between June and September but may bring the date forward, it said, following reports about North Korea’s preparations for missile launches.South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing a top South Korean government official, said North Korea had loaded two mid-range Musudan missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them in underground facilities near its east coast. The Musudan missiles have never been tested but are believed to have a range of around 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles), which could theoretically be pushed to 4,000 if they were to be given a light payload. That would cover any target in South Korea and Japan, and possibly even reach US military bases located on the Pacific island of Guam.

Finally, the war tension further escalates today, as all parts are engaging in a missile threat diplomacy. North Korea is playing its missile card…

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