As a U.S. nuclear-powered missile submarine docked in South Korea today, North Korea put on a huge live-fire artillery drill to commemorate the foundation of its military–and, presumably, show the world who's boss.
Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs are the subject of renewed concerns in recent weeks, as the blundering Donald J. Trump administration 'forgets' where its armadas are. Pretty much the entire world is freaked out today over the possibility of future nuclear tests (or worse) by 'that gentleman' in Pyongyang, as forgetful Donald likes to call him.
A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group is heading for Korean waters, and leading nuclear envoys from South Korea, Japan, and the United States are meeting in Tokyo.
The USS Michigan, which made a port call in South Korea today, is the second Ohio-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarine in the United States Navy.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported that the North appeared to have deployed a large number of long-range artillery units in the region of Wonsan on its east coast on Tuesday, conducting a large-scale, live-fire drill.
The report, citing an unidentified government source, said the live-fire exercise was possibly supervised by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
While South Korea's Defence Ministry could not immediately confirm the report, the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said: "Our military is closely monitoring the North Korean military's movement in Wonsan areas and we are firmly maintaining readiness."
North Korea defiantly said in a state media commentary marking the 85th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army's that its military was prepared "to bring to closure the history of U.S. scheming and nuclear blackmail".
"There is no limit to the strike power of the People's Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment including various precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles," the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a front-page editorial.
South Korea's Navy said it was conducting a live-fire exercise with U.S. Navy destroyers on Tuesday in waters west of the Korean peninsula and would soon join the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group approaching the region.
The carrier group was sent to the region as a warning to North Korea and a show of solidarity with U.S. allies.
And in related bizarre North Korea news, all 100 U.S. senators are to show up for an unprecedented briefing at the White House for a briefing on the topic Wednesday.
Evidently they're converting a big auditorium into a SCIF for the day.
Top Trump administration officials will hold a rare briefing on Wednesday at the White House for the entire U.S. Senate on the situation in North Korea.
All 100 senators have been asked to the White House for the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday.
While administration officials routinely travel to Capitol Hill to address members of Congress on foreign policy matters, it is unusual for the entire Senate to go to the White House, and for all four of those officials to be involved.
Wednesday's briefing was originally scheduled for a secure room at the Capitol, but President Donald Trump suggested a shift to the White House, congressional aides said.
North Korea: We are ready to sink American aircraft carrier with a single strike https://t.co/0LGTSulVnP pic.twitter.com/goVTjZkC5O
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 25, 2017
As North Korea speeds its nuclear program, U.S. fears time will run out https://t.co/Xb8X9qza50
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 25, 2017
PHOTO, TOP: The USS Michigan, an Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarine, arrives at a naval base in Busan, South Korea, April 25, 2017. Cho Jueong-ho/Yonhap via REUTERS