On Thursday (October 27) a US military spokesperson confirmed the exercise had been carried out in a rare public announcement.
They said: “Troops of South Korean Air Force’s combat control team, an infiltration commando unit, and the US Air Force’s 353rd Special Operations Group staged a joint exercise at Gunsan Air Base recently.”
Part of the operation saw military transport aircraft practising flying low – something that has been done since the 1990s to test infiltrating North Korea.
These aircraft are apparently used to transport special forces who are on a mission to destroy Kim Jong-un’s missiles and nuclear weapons.
According to a South Korean news network, the 353rd Special Operations Group, which is based at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, completes missions to send commandos into the closed country.
“It’s different from a decapitation strike operation targeting the North Korean leadership.”
There have been calls in the US to launch pre-emptive strikes in North Korea following numerous incidents of despot leader Kim Jong-un testing his countries nuclear power.
Just this week officials confirmed he tested nuclear-capable missile which has the potential to reach the US military base in Guam.
South Korea’s March Toward a Strike-First Nuclear Policy An increasingly provocative North Korea and wavering U.S. support leave Seoul scrambling for more forceful defense options. WSJ By DONALD KIRKOct. 25, 2016 Seoul
After years of hesitation, South Korean defense officials and members of President Park Geun-hye’s ruling Saenuri Party are openly discussing the possibility of pre-emptive strikes on North Korean missile and nuclear facilities. Increasingly, political figures are urging both their own government and the U.S. to go beyond the level of study promised by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and enshrine the right to respond to North Korean threats at least with the heaviest conventional weapons in their arsenal as a formal tenet of U.S. and Korean policy.
Nor is “strike first” the only demand gaining common currency among conservative Koreans. While North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, orders missile and nuclear tests, voices are rising within the Saenuri for South Korea to develop its own nuclear deterrent. The U.S. has opposed proliferation ever since physicists at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute were discovered looking into it during the presidency of Ms. Park’s father, Park Chung-hee………
Calls for a South Korean nuclear submarine are rising in tandem with North Korean missile testing. The North has a large submarine fleet—and has spread alarm by testing a ballistic missile fired from one of its subs.
One South Korean assembly member, Won Yoo-chul, derided longtime U.S. guarantees of a “nuclear umbrella” since the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from the South 25 years ago. “We cannot borrow an umbrella from a neighbor every time it rains,” he warned. “We need to have a raincoat and wear it ourselves.”
U.S. and South Korean officials are talking openly about “decapitation” of the North Korean leadership in a quick strike at Pyongyang. If the word seems hyperbolic to Americans, North and South Koreans alike take it seriously. North Korea has said the term clearly shows why the North has to have a nuclear program “for self-defense” while many South Korean officials see “decapitation” as the ultimate solution—with or without nuclear weapons.
“Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation” was the name the Koreans gave a massive exercise this month in the Yellow Sea in which the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan led a joint U.S.-South Korean strike force. Their mission was more sharply defined than in previous war games. This time, said a Korean defense official, ships and planes focused specifically on imaginary North Korean nuclear and missile facilities, command headquarters—and Kim Jong Un…..http://www.wsj.com/articles/south-koreas-march-toward-a-strike-first-nuclear-policy-1477414963
South Korea’s State nuclear company expects to win $billions from marketing nuclear operations to United Arab Emirates
S.Korea signs on to venture to operate UAE’s 1st nuclear power plant http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL3N1C32ZG
SEOUL Oct 20 (Reuters) – State-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) agreed to invest $900 million in a company operating the first nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates, South Korea’s energy ministry said on Thursday.
KEPCO expects the deal to boost its revenue by nearly $50 billion over the next 60 years, according to a statement from the ministry.
KEPCO and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) signed the deal to co-invest in the company managing and operating the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant for the next six decades, the ministry statement said.
In 2009, a KEPCO-led consortium won a contract to build the four 1,400 megawatt nuclear reactors that are being constructed at the Barakah plant to meet the UAE’s surging demand for electricity.
South Korea, the world’s fifth-biggest user of nuclear power, constructs and operates its reactors through KEPCO. (Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Tom Hogue)
Seoul Questions Own Defense Strategy as North Korea Nuclear Threat Grows South Korean defense spending is up and a debate is growing over the nuclear option. WSJ, By ALASTAIR GALE Oct. 13, 2016 SEOUL—North Korea’s nuclear push is triggering a military buildup here and adding fuel to a hot debate over South Korea’s defense strategy—including whether the country should have its own nuclear option.
A few conservative politicians and a small majority in opinion polls have for years supported South Korea getting access to nuclear weapons. Lately, some prominent new voices have joined them, including Kim Jin-pyo, a four-term lawmaker from the main, left-of-center opposition party, who said Seoul needed a “balance of terror” to match North Korea’s threat.
Mr. Kim said nuclear weapons in South Korea would also pressure China and Russia to deal with North Korea more seriously……..
The government, however, strongly resists a nuclear option, citing the U.S. umbrella and the negative diplomatic and economic repercussions of opting out of the international nonproliferation regimen. Asked about the experts’ report, the president’s spokesman said: “Our government’s position remains unchanged and we are committed to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”
Under a separate bilateral treaty renewed last year, South Korea is barred from creating nuclear material for weapons in return for U.S. fuel for its atomic-power reactors.
American officials say there has been no discussion about redeploying nuclear weapons here. One senior South Korean government official said privately that calls for Seoul to deploy them were “bullshit.”
But as North Korea advances toward a more-threatening arsenal, including nuclear-tipped missiles that could be fired from submarines, discussion in the South over how to respond has intensified. Talk from military officials of pre-emptive strikes if a nuclear attack appears imminent has become frequent.
Uncertainty over Pyongyang’s progress has amplified fears. “The South Koreans are so nervous because they don’t know what they’re looking at,” said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea………
Against the rising hawkish voices, some South Korean politicians question the effectiveness of nuclear weapons or shows of force in deterring Mr. Kim.
Joo Seung-young, a member of a minor opposition party, said this month that U.S. bomber flights “might just heighten nuclear tension” on the Korean Peninsula……. —Min Sun Lee contributed to this article.
The large-scale naval drills, known as Invincible Spirit, kicked off Monday and are due to run for six days, the South’s navy said in a statement.
On Monday, the allies carried out exercises involving ship-to-ground and submarine-to-ground cruise missiles with average flight ranges of up to 1,000 km, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.
The exercises come just days after reports that the North may be making preparations for a sixth nuclear test or a long-range rocket launch…….
The reclusive nation [North Korea] also stoked concern in August when it claimed to have successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called that test “the greatest success” after the missile landed in Japan’s air defense identification zone, flying about 500 km — its longest test-flight by a weapon of that type.
The SLBM test has left the United States, South Korea and Japan worried that further developmental successes could give the North a difficult-to-detect weapon that would pose a serious security threat to all of them.
The U.S. and its Asian allies have responded to the North’s tests by showing off their own military muscle.
Late last month, the U.S. and South Korea conducted joint naval exercises in the Sea of Japan after Washington earlier in the month flew two supersonic bombers over the South — with one landing on the Korean Peninsula for the first time in 20 years.
One of the bombers also flew the closest a B-1B strategic bomber had ever flown to the border between the North and South. It was the second time in less than a month that the U.S., which has about 28,500 troops in South Korea, had flown bombers over the country. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/10/asia-pacific/u-s-south-korean-joint-naval-drills-kick-off-nuclear-powered-uss-ronald-reagan-set-take-part/#.V__uQeV97Gg
Pope concerned over North Korea’s nuclear testing, Crux, Inés San Martín
“The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there,” says Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Vatican Undersecretary for Relations with States. ROME-Watching the continuing tension on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea carrying out nuclear tests, a Vatican’s representative has expressed Pope Francis’s concerns to Vienna’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Tuesday that he could confirm that, considering the “delicate situation on the Korean Peninsula,” the Vatican’s Undersecretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, had reiterated in Vienna “the concern of the Holy Father and the Holy See about the continuing tensions in the area on account of the nuclear tests carried out by North Korea.”
Last Tuesday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) had reported that North Korea had successfully conducted a ground test of a new type of high-powered rocket engine.
Camillieri was speaking as the Vatican representative in the 60th General Assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEG), taking place in Vienna Sept. 26-30.
“We view the situation in the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] with grave concern,” Camillieri said in his remarks. “The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there.”
The Vatican representative also said the Church welcomes the IAEA’s participation in the “verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” adding that the Holy See sees this agreement positively…….. Talking about disarmament, he again quoted Francis, but this time from the pontiff’s message to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2014, when the Argentine pope said that spending on these weapons squanders a country’s wealth.
“To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price,” the pope had said in the message Camillieri quoted on Tuesday. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2016/09/27/pope-concerned-north-koreas-nuclear-testing/
South Korea and Japan tempted to develop nuclear weapons, in response to North Korea’s nuclear test?
Will North Korea’s Nuclear Test Tempt South Korea and Japan to Go Nuclear?The latest test may strengthen calls South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. The Diplomat, By Pang Zhongying September 27, 2016 North Korea’s latest nuclear test strengthened the sections of public opinion that approve of obtaining nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan. The test, then, could bring about a chain reaction and accelerate the pace of Japanese and South Korean efforts to possess nuclear weapons. Under these circumstances, China will face not only a threat from the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, but also the further deterioration of Northeast Asia’s strategic environment.
In my opinion, the biggest challenge posed to China by this North Korean nuclear test is that South Korea’s domestic support for nuclear weapons may increase. Since Kim Jong-un assumed leadership of North Korea — especially this year — public support for possessing nuclear weapons and turning South Korea into a nuclear state has reached a certain scale. South Korea has been protected by the U.S nuclear umbrella, but now more and more people in South Korea want to build up a domestic nuclear deterrent to balance against North Korea.
On July 1, President Park Geun-hye suddenly decided to deploy the U.S. THAAD system in South Korea. In the following two months, domestic voices advocating for possessing and/or developing nuclear weapons have been constantly coming from South Korea. These voices will get even louder after the latest nuclear test in North Korea. It is said that the tested nuclear warhead was miniaturized, but its blast is estimated to be very large. Readings of the seismic activity in North Korea indicate that the test was very successful. Therefore, South Korea is currently enveloped by the sense of a national security crisis and many now believe that it is not enough to only have United States’ nuclear protection. So North Korea’s nuclear test may further stimulate South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons or develop nuclear weapons, which is also a big challenge for the United States………http://thediplomat.com/2016/09/will-north-koreas-nuclear-test-tempt-south-korea-and-japan-to-go-nuclear/
- The two countries will simulate attacks on nuclear facilities and sudden missile strikes
- The announcement comes after North Korea conducted a nuclear test this month
Four South Korea nuclear reactors suspended due to earthquakes http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-quake-nuclearpower-idUSKCN11I1X5
South Korea’s nuclear operator said early on Tuesday it suspended operation of four reactors at a nuclear power complex as a precaution late on Monday after two earthquakes struck the country’s southeast.
The earthquakes, of magnitude 5.1 and 5.8, occurred on Monday night near the city of Gyeongju, according to South Korea’s meteorological agency.
The 5.8 magnitude earthquake was the strongest recorded in South Korea, an official at the meteorological agency said.
Two injuries had been reported as a result of the quake, but no serious damage had been immediately reported, the agency said.
State-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co shut down the Wolsong No.1, Wolsong No.2, Wolsong No.3 and Wolsong No.4 reactors, with a combined capacity of 2,779 megawatts, an official with the operator said.
It was not immediately clear when the four reactors would restart. The shutdown of the four takes the number of reactors offline in the country to seven, according to KHNP website. KHNP, owned by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), operates 25 nuclear reactors in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
(Reporting by Jane Chung,Ju-min Park; Editing by Tony Munroe and Alison Williams)
S Korea draws up plan to destroy Pyongyang https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/32588140/s-korea-draws-up-plan-to-destroy-pyongyang/#page1 AAP on September 11, 2016,
“Every Pyongyang district, particularly where the North Korean leadership is possibly hidden, will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosive shells as soon as the North shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon. In other words, the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map,” reported South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing a military official.
The details of the operation came to light after the South Korean Defence Ministry unveiled the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) plan in front of the National Assembly in response to the latest nuclear test by North Korea.
The plan is to carry out pre-emptive strikes against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the country’s military leadership if any signs of an imminent use of nuclear weapons is detected or in case of a war, the official explained.
In such a scenario, South Korea will deploy its Hyunmoo 2A and Hyunmoo 2B ballistic missiles, with a range of between 300 and 500 kilometres as well as the Hyunmoo-3 cruise missiles with a range of 1000 kilometres.
In mid-August, Seoul announced its intention to significantly boost its arsenal of missiles to counter the growing military threat from North Korea.
Another source cited by Yonhap said Seoul recently set up a special unit in charge of targeting North Korea’s top military leadership and “launching retaliatory attacks on them.”
North Korea conducted its fifth and largest-ever nuclear test on Friday, claiming it had tested a nuclear warhead that can be fitted onto missiles.
The deal, if it goes ahead, would add momentum to Moorside at a time when the rival Hinkley Point nuclear power project in Somerset has been thrown into doubt by concerns about its high cost and the role of Chinese investors in the scheme.
Theresa May, prime minister, is expected to decide this month whether to go ahead with Hinkley, led by EDF of France with Chinese backing, after ordering a review of the £18bn project.
NuGen sees the uncertainty as a chance to leapfrog Hinkley in the race to build the first new nuclear reactor in the UK for more than two decades. However, it is still years behind EDF in securing financing and regulatory approval for its project.
For Kepco, an investment in Moorside would be a chance to gain a foothold in the UK as it builds its presence in the global nuclear industry.
The Cumbrian plant — designed to provide power for 6m homes — would be supplied with reactors by Westinghouse, the US subsidiary of Toshiba. But Kepco sees the UK as a potential future market for its own technology.
South Korea has set a goal to become the world’s third-largest exporter of nuclear reactors by 2030 and has already won a $20bn contract in Abu Dhabi. Tom Samson, chief executive of NuGen, is former chief operating officer of the Abu Dhabi company, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, which struck that deal.
Kepco is not without controversy, having been rocked by a domestic safety scandal three years ago. The country’s atomic watchdog said safety certificates for thousands of components procured by Korean reactors over the previous nine years had been forged. An ally of Kepco said the scandal was behind it and the group was now seen as “a first division player” in nuclear power.
The group, 51 per cent owned by the South Korean government, first entered talks with NuGen three years ago, but no deal was reached. Four people with knowledge of the situation said talks had since resumed and made progress over a potential equity stake in NuGen as well as a possible role in construction.
NuGen declined to comment on Kepco but said it had a “universe of options for financing” and was talking to a variety of potential investors and contractors. Kepco could not be immediately reached for comment.
The UK government has put nuclear power at the heart of its energy policy, with a target for 14GW of generating capacity from new reactors by 2035. However, its refusal to inject public money has left ministers dependent on foreign investors to finance the programme.
As well as Hinkley and Moorside, Hitachi of Japan also has plans for reactors at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire. EDF and its Chinese state-backed partner CGN are planning further reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex.
The latter project has been the focus of close scrutiny from Downing Street since Mrs May became prime minister because Bradwell would involve Chinese rather than French reactor technology.
New nuclear power stations are seen as crucial to UK energy security in the coming decades as dirty coal-fired power stations and old nuclear reactors are phased out. But critics say nuclear is too expensive and believe a mix of renewables and natural gas could keep the lights on at a lower cost while still reducing carbon emissions.
That presented a problem for Park Won-soon, the eco-minded human rights lawyer elected mayor of Seoul eight months after the disaster……..
Nearly a year after the Fukushima disaster, Park unveiled the city’s flagship energy policy, dubbed the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” initiative. It aimed to reduce overall energy consumption and became the cornerstone of Seoul’s plan to overhaul its power production, in part by encouraging more people to install solar panels on rooftops. Park set a goal of cutting energy use by one nuclear power plant’s output, the equivalent of 2 million tons of burning oil.
It worked. Seoul reached its target in June 2014 ― six months ahead of schedule, according to a government report. Now, as part of the second phase of the plan, Seoul is working to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tons.
But the plan also highlighted a fissure between the national government and the local leaders of Korea’s capital, a megacity where over half the country’s population lives. The national government has plans to build 11 more plants by 2024.
Seoul also continues to issue feed-in tariffs ― payments to customers who produce their own energy and sell it back to the grid ― to households in hopes of spurring more rooftop solar production, a policy the central government scrapped in 2011.
“We cannot eliminate at once the whole nuclear power [industry],” Park said. “But as an experiment of Seoul, we can, step by step, eliminate [the need for] nuclear power.”
That experiment has yielded some significant progress. A core component of Seoul’s second-phase clean energy plan is electrical “self-reliance.” As part of the plan, the city has invested heavily in solar energy, granting five-year subsidies to small solar plants producing less than 100 kilowatt-hours of energy, according to areport by the consulting giant KPMG.
Just as South Korea has exported its nuclear reactor technology, the country is now becoming a major source of solar energy hardware. Sales of solar panels and other equipment reached $2.01 billion in the first half of this year, a 46.7 percent jump from the same period last year, Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.
For the past two years, Seoul has hosted a three-day fair for investors to showcase upcoming clean energy projects. This year’s fair took place last week. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/seoul-nuclear-energy_us_57d03babe4b03d2d4597b38e
South Korea think tank proposes acquiring nuclear-powered submarines, UPI. By Elizabeth Shim | Sept. 8, 2016 SEOUL, — A South Korean think tank is proposing Seoul retain nuclear-powered submarines in response to North Korea‘s sub-launched ballistic missile provocations.
The Yeouido Research Institute, an organization affiliated with South Korea’s ruling Saenuri party, stated nuclear submarines could be used to deter Pyongyang’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles, local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported Thursday.
The think tank’s recommendation of “strengthening anti-submarine warfare capabilities” follows a North Korea SLBM launch, most recently on Aug. 24.
“So far surveillance of North Korea submarines has been conducted by reconnaissance satellite, but because real-time tracking is difficult, in order to detect and destroy [North Korean incursions] a careful review of the need for nuclear submarine ownership is necessary,” the think tank said in its statement.
The nuclear submarine issue was previously raised by ruling party majority leader Chung Jin-suk.
There is worry in Seoul, however, that the acquisition of the subs could raise concerns in the United States.
A defense ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the JoongAng there is “no evidence” the United States could prevent South Korea from maintaining nuclear-powered submarines but Washington could place “pressure” on Seoul if South Korea chose to acquire the submarines……..http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2016/09/08/South-Korea-think-tank-proposes-acquiring-nuclear-powered-submarines/1251473348269/
Kenya pens nuclear power deal with South Korea By Anthony Mugo, Citizen Digital2 September 2016 “……Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) penned a Memorandum of Understanding with the Korea Electric Power Corporation, (KEPCO), Korea Nuclear Association for International Cooperation (KNAIC) and the KEPCO International Graduate School (K-INGS).
This partnership deal will help Kenya to obtain important knowledge and expertise from Korea by way of capacity building, specialized training and skills development, as well as technical support for its intended nuclear power program……….This development comes as KNEB is gearing up for feasibility studies to identify potential sites for Kenya’s nuclear power plants as well as undertaking reactor technology assessment aimed at settling on the best option in terms of nuclear power plant model.
Keter has been leading a Kenyan delegation for a four-day nuclear power cooperation visit to South Korea which included a visit to Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Company and the Kori Nuclear Power Plant Complex in Busan.
In May 2016 during the visit by president Park Gun-Hye in the country, the ministry of energy entered into an agreement with the Korea’s ministry of Trade Industry and Energy
The agreement facilitated the exchange of technical information, three specialists as well as training opportunities for Kenyans in Korea’s vast nuclear power industry……..Other than the agreement with South Korea, Kenya has previously signed nuclear power cooperation pacts with Russia, China and Slovakia. https://citizentv.co.ke/business/kenya-pens-nuclear-power-deal-with-south-korea-139655/
South Korea Seeks Indigenous Missile Defense System To Deal With North, Raises 2017 Defense Budget, IBT, BY KUKIL BORA @KUKILBORA ON 08/30/16 The South Korean government on Tuesday raised the country’s 2017 defense budget to build a homegrown missile defense system to better counter growing North Korean missile and nuclear threats. The announcement came nearly a week after Pyongyang test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in an apparent response to the annual Seoul-Washington military drill that will continue till Friday.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the allotted defense budget of 40.3 trillion won ($36.1 billion) — up 4 percent from the previous year — for 2017 was proposed to build the country’s own “Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD)” system to deal with potential North Korean threats. In addition, some 39.9 billion won ($35.7 million) will be used to equip all military barracks with air conditioning systems, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
The KAMD, expected to be deployed by mid-2020s, includes medium-range surface-to-air missiles (M-SAM), long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAM), U.S. Patriot missiles and early-warning radars to shoot down missiles fired by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — the official title for the reclusive nation.
The sped-up efforts to develop the homegrown KAMD comes amid growing tensions in the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test in January, followed by the launch of a long-range rocket in February……http://www.ibtimes.com/south-korea-seeks-indigenous-missile-defense-system-deal-north-raises-2017-defense-2409128
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