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    North Korea Tag

    President Donald Trump will host the entire U.S. Senate on Wednesday for a briefing on the situation with North Korea. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will join the senators along with Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. It will take place at 3PM ET. Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the media that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for the meeting. The Senate usually holds these meetings at a secure location on Capitol Hill, but Trump offered to host the meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

    Officials in North Korea have detained an American citizen this weekend. The communist kingdom now has three Americans behind bars. Reuters reported:
    Korean-American Tony Kim had spent a month teaching an accounting course at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), the university's chancellor, Chan-Mo Park, told Reuters on Sunday.

    I've chronicled China's opposition to the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), the U.S. missile-defense system in South Korea. The Chinese government has denied retaliating against the system, but one American cybersecurity firm told The Wall Street Journal that it found evidence that Beijing has used hackers to target THAAD. The firm FireEye discovered that "two cyberespionage groups that the firm linked to Beijing’s military and intelligence agencies have launched a variety of attacks against South Korea’s government, military, defense companies and a big conglomerate."

    As tension rise between America and North Korea, it appears that Russian state TV has decided to side with dictator Kim Jong Un. According to Bloomberg, the Kremlin's top TV guy Dmitry Kiselyov made this proclamation after calling President Donald Trump "just the kind of leader the world needed" a few weeks ago. Bloomberg reported:
    In the latest sign of the Kremlin’s abrupt about-face on its erstwhile American hero, Kiselyov pronounced Trump “more dangerous” than his North Korean counterpart. “Trump is more impulsive and unpredictable than Kim Jong Un,” he told viewers of his prime-time Sunday “Vesti Nedelyi” program, which earlier this year carried paeans to Trump for his pledge to warm up relations with Russia.

    (Updates placed at the end of the post.) US military officials are reporting that North Korea attempt to launch a missile along its east coast, but it blew up almost immediately.
    ...It’s unclear why it failed. The missile was launched from Sinpo, on its east coast. The Yonhap news agency in South Korea first reported the failed launch, citing the South Korean military. “The North attempted to launch an unidentified missile from near the Sinpo region this morning but it is suspected to have failed,” the South’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement

    Last weekend President Donald Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping met at Mar-a-Lago. The state dinner featured a side of tactical bombing of Syrian airstrips and a bit of Sound of Music diplomacy from the First Daughter. Knowing the room would be tense, she deployed her charming children to serenade the Chinese President and his wife...in Chinese.
    Ivanka assumed, or rightly knew, that there is nothing like having the children or grandchildren of a host put on a cute performance to cut down tensions in a room full of VIPs with competing agendas.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned North Korea that the U.S. will not rule out military action or tougher sanctions against the communist kingdom. From Fox News:
    “We’re exchanging views,” Tillerson said, while standing a few feet within what is technically North Korean territory inside what is known as the Joint Security Area. “Nothing has been taken off the table,” he said, when asked whether he would rule out nuclearization of the peninsula, during the interview with Fox News.

    North Korea has threatened America with "merciless" attacks due to the continued drills between our military and South Korea. From Reuters:
    North Korea said the arrival of the U.S. strike group in the seas off the east of the Korean peninsula was part of a "reckless scheme" to attack it. "If they infringe on the DPRK's sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea and underwater," the North's state news agency KCNA said.

    South Korea's Constitutional Court has officially removed President Park Geun-hye from office. The country will hold a snap election on May 9. Scandals have plagued Park, including one alleging Park helped a close friend receive "bribes from Samsung and other South Korean conglomerates." Legislators impeached Park back in December, with a vote of 234-56, including many from her own party. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn took over, even though Park fired him in November as a way to salvage her presidency. When no one could agree on a replacement, he maintained his position.

    South Korea's spy chief claims that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un ordered the assassination of his half-brother. Kim Jong Nam died after two women attacked him at a Malaysian airport. From The Wall Street Journal:
    “The longstanding order has been executed,” said Lee Cheol-woo, who heads the​ South Korean​legislature’s intelligence committee, which oversees the spy agency, according to an aide of his in the session with the spy chief. “It reflects Kim Jong Un’s propensity for paranoia, rather than his calculated act of removing a threat to his rule.”

    Well, this is interesting. Someone killed North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un's older half-brother Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia on Monday. From South Korea's Yonhap News Agency:
    Cable TV broadcaster TV Chosun reported that Kim was killed at an airport in Malaysia after being attacked by two unidentified female agents with "poisoned needles." The suspects fled the scene and Malaysian police suspected North Korea was behind the killing.

    South Korean officials indicate that North Korea just test-fired a ballistic missile, the first such test by the rogue nation since Donald Trump was inaugurated.
    "The South Korean government and the international community are working together to take punitive actions appropriate for this launch," acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn said. Trump, when asked by reporters about the missile launch, declined to comment. A White House spokesman said Trump was briefed on the launch.

    In a New Year's announcement, North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un stated that his nation was on the verge of launching its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) - a missile capable of both carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching the United States. This threat could President-elect Donald Trump's first major foreign policy challenge, coming as it does after nuclear bomb tests of varying success by the North Koreans.
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