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N. Korea’s Kim oversees ICBM test, vows more nuclear weapons

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(Last Updated On: November 20, 2022)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to counter US nuclear threats with nuclear weapons as he inspected a test of the country’s new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), state media KCNA said on Saturday.

The isolated country tested the Hwasong-17 ICBM on Friday a day after warning of “fiercer military responses” to Washington beefing up its regional security presence including nuclear assets, Reuters reported.

Attending the site with his daughter for the first time, Kim said threats from the United States and its allies pursing a hostile policy prompted his country to “substantially accelerate the bolstering of its overwhelming nuclear deterrence.”

“Kim Jong Un solemnly declared that if the enemies continue to pose threats … our party and government will resolutely react to nukes with nuclear weapons and to total confrontation with all-out confrontation,” the official KCNA news agency said.

The launch of the Hwasong-17 was part of the North’s “top-priority defence-building strategy” aimed at establishing “the most powerful and absolute nuclear deterrence,” KCNA said, calling it “the strongest strategic weapon in the world.”

The missile flew nearly 1,000 km (621 miles) for about 69 minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 6,041 km, KCNA said. Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the weapon could travel as far as 15,000 km (9,320 miles), enough to reach the continental United States.

South Korea’s military said its F-35A fighters and U.S. F-16 jets escorted American B-1B bombers as they conducted joint drills on Saturday, designed to improve their ability to quickly deploy U.S. extended deterrence assets.

On Thursday, North Korea’s foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, denounced a trilateral summit on Sunday of the United States, South Korea and Japan, during which the leaders criticised Pyongyang’s ongoing weapons tests and pledged greater security cooperation.

Choe singled out a recent series of their joint military drills and efforts to reinforce American extended deterrence, including its nuclear forces to deter attacks on the two key Asian allies, Reuters reported.

Kim said the test confirmed “another reliable and maximum capacity to contain any nuclear threat” at a time when he needed to warn Washington and its allies that military moves against Pyongyang would lead to their “self-destruction.”

“Our party and government should clearly demonstrate their strongest will to retaliate the hysteric aggression war drills by the enemies,” he said.

“The more the US imperialists make a military bluffing … while being engrossed in ‘strengthened offer of extended deterrence’ to their allies and war exercises, the more offensive the DPRK’s military counteraction will be.”

Kim referred to his country by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He ordered swifter development of strategic weapons, and more intensive training for the ICBM and tactical nuclear weapons units to ensure they flawlessly perform their duty “in any situation and at any moment,” KCNA said.

According to Reuters unveiled at a military parade in October 2020 and first tested last March, the latest test of the Hwasong-17 demonstrated the capabilities of a weapon potentially able to deliver a nuclear warhead to anywhere in the United States.

Some analysts have speculated it would be designed to carry multiple warheads and decoys to better penetrate missile defences.

The U.N. Security Council will gather on Monday discuss North Korea at the request of the United States, which together with South Korea and Japan strongly condemned the latest launch, read the report.

China and Russia had backed tighter sanctions following Pyongyang’s last nuclear test in 2017, but in May both vetoed a US-led push for more U.N. penalties over its renewed missile launches.

ICBMs are North Korea’s longest-range weapon, and Friday’s launch is its eighth ICBM test this year, based on a tally from the US State Department.

South Korean and US officials have reported a number of North Korean ICBM failures, including a Nov. 3 launch that appeared to have failed at high altitude.

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Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan says party will quit all assemblies

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2022)

Pakistan’s former prime minister and leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan announced late Saturday that his party has decided to quit all legislative assemblies in the country in a bid to force the incumbent rulers to announce early elections.

Pakistan’s Express Tribune reportedthat Khan, 70, said he discussed the matter of stepping down from all legislative assemblies with the chief ministers and the final decision will be announced after the party’s parliamentary party meeting.

“Instead of causing harm to our country, it is better to leave this corrupt system,” he said.

Khan also said that the party’s long march to Islamabad will also stop as he does not want chaos and anarchy to grip the country.

“They [the government] cannot afford the Islamabad march… they cannot stop millions from entering Islamabad. We could have created a Sri Lanka-like situation,” he said, addressing his party’s gathering in Rawalpindi on Saturday.

“If riots take place then things will get out of everyone’s hands. I tried my best not to take any step which could create chaos in the country,” he added.

“Today I am deciding against marching on Islamabad because we don’t want to spread anarchy in the country,” he announced. “We will not remain part of this corrupt system. We have decided to quit all legislative assemblies.”

This comes after Khan was shot in the leg at a rally earlier this month.

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Kim Jong Un says N. Korea aims to have the world’s strongest nuclear force

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2022)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country’s intends to have the world’s most powerful nuclear force as he promoted dozens of military officers involved in the recent launch of a new ballistic missile, state media reported on Sunday.

The announcement comes after Kim inspected a Nov. 18 test of the Hwasong-17, North Korea’s largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and pledged to counter what he called US nuclear threats, Reuters reported.

North Korea’s “ultimate goal is to possess the world’s most powerful strategic force, the absolute force unprecedented in the century,” Kim said in the order promoting the officers, adding that building up the country’s nuclear capabilities would reliably protect the dignity and sovereignty of the state and the people.

He described the Hwasong-17 as the “world’s strongest strategic weapon” and said it demonstrated North Korea’s resolve and ability to eventually build the world’s strongest army, read the report.

According to Reuters North Korean scientists have made a “wonderful leap forward in the development of the technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles,” and were expected to expand and strengthen the country’s nuclear deterrent capabilities at an extraordinarily rapid pace, Kim was also quoted as saying.

Kim was pictured in photos posing with scientists, engineers and military officials involved in the test.

According to state media, those workers pledged to defend the “absolute authority” of the party and Kim, and vowed that “our missiles will fly vigorously only in the direction indicated” by Kim.

Capable of reaching the US mainland, the launch of the Hwasong-17 prompted the United States to call for a United Nations Security Council presidential statement to hold North Korea accountable for its missile tests, which are banned by Security Council resolutions, read the report.

State media also showed Kim Jong Un’s daughter accompanying him as he reviewed the officers. Her unexpected first appearance at the Hwasong-17 test has raised the prospect that leadership of the totalitarian state could pass to a fourth generation of Kims.

North Korea’s powerful Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly awarded the Hwasong-17 missile the title of “DPRK Hero and Gold Star Medal and Order of National Flag 1st Class”, state news agency KCNA reported in another statement, using the initials of the country’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“(The missile) clearly proved before the world that the DPRK is a full-fledged nuclear power capable of standing against the nuclear supremacy of the U.S. imperialists and fully demonstrated its might as the most powerful ICBM state,” KCNA said.

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Death toll from Indonesian earthquake rises to 310

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

The death toll from this week’s earthquake that shook Indonesia’s main island of Java has risen to 310, the country’s national disaster mitigation agency said on Friday.

Monday’s earthquake triggered landslides, collapsed roofs and walls and buried victims in mounds of earth.

The agency’s chief Suharyanto, who goes by one name, said 24 people are still missing in the West Java town of Cianjur.

On Wednesday, a six-year-old boy, Azka, was rescued alive from the rubble – a rescue that was described as a “miracle” after he survived more than two days without food or water.

Heavy rain and potentially deadly aftershocks have hampered the rescue effort.

Henri Alfiandi, head of the national search and rescue agency, told RTE: “The problems are the unstable soil, the thickness of the landslide pile aggravated by continuous rain, and the concerns of aftershocks.”

He said the emergency period for the search and rescue effort would last a week until Monday and authorities would evaluate if it needed to be extended if all the missing had not been found.

Many of those killed in the quake were children, some in classes at school, according to officials.

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