North Korea Launches Massive Artillery Drills as US Increases Its Presence

By Danielle Pechette-Graham and Richard Cameron

To mark the 85th anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s military, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un launched a massive artillery drill with 300-400 long-range units being deployed along the eastern side of the Korean Peninsula near Wonsan, it’s naval base.  The drills are adding to the increasingly tense atmosphere that has been building for months.

Tuesday’s military show by North Korea came on the heels of the USS Michigan arriving in the South Korean port of Busan.  The Ohio class submarine was originally designed to deploy nuclear missiles and has since been converted to launch Tomahawk missiles.

Once the USS Michigan completes what Matt Knight, Lieutenant Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet describes as it’s “routine deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific” – it will continue on to meet with the USS Vinson to conduct group military exercises in the Sea of Japan.

As tensions continue to rise with the speculations of North Korea getting ready to perform another nuclear missile test the United States is putting pressure on China to get control of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

China’s growing impatience with North Korea prompted the Chinese government to put out a stern warning to the nation in an editorial piece in the Global Times where they said: “All stakeholders will bear the consequences, with Pyongyang sure to suffer the greatest losses.”

“We urge all sides concerned to keep restrained and calm and refrain from taking actions that could escalate tensions”, was a message stressed by Lu Kang, a representative of the Chinese foreign ministry, in an effort to ease growing tensions in the region.

The Los Angeles Times reports that, on Tuesday, China dispatched Wu Dawei, a longtime diplomat handling tensions on the Korean Peninsula, to Tokyo for talks with Japanese Foreign Ministry officials, in hopes of warding off military confrontation.

North Korea has been making yet another round of belligerent statements threatening the United States and its allies in the region in recent weeks including that from Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North Korean government’s Central Committee, which said in an editorial, the country is ready to demonstrate its “military force” by sinking the “nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike.”

In the meantime, President Trump has invited the entire US Senate for a briefing session on the situation with him along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and other administration officials, including Dan Coats, Director of national intelligence, and Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday to discuss the situation in North Korea.

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