• Syrian government's chemical weapons use has enough Russian shielding and US acquiescence to make further use likely

    EVENT On 4 April 2017, Syrian opposition channels carried videos and images of civilians in Khan Sheikhun suffering symptoms consistent with poisoning by nerve agents. More than 50 people were reported killed. With the exception of an isolated incident in 2014, IHS Markit has not recorded any use

  • North Korea's 'reckless' actions 'got to be stopped', says Mattis

    North Korea is moving in a "very reckless manner" with regard to its nuclear and missile programmes, US secretary of defence Jim Mattis said on 31 March during a visit to the United Kingdom. "This is a threat of both rhetoric and growing capability, and we will be working with the

  • EUCOM worried by Russia's non-strategic nuclear weapons

    US European Command's (EUCOM's) biggest concern regarding Russia is its tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and its "troubling doctrine" of using those weapons to try de-escalating conflict. General Curtis Scaparrotti, head of the EUCOM, told Congress on 28 March what alarms him most is

  • Signs detected of possible North Korean preparations for nuclear test

    Analysis of commercial satellite imagery of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test facility suggests that Pyongyang may be preparing to carry out the country's sixth overall nuclear test. Taken on 24 March the images indicate the presence of possibly four or five vehicles or trailers at the entrance

  • UNSC condemns North Korean missile launch, engine test

    The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has condemned North Korea's most recent missile launch and rocket engine test. "The launch and engine test are in grave violation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's [North Korea's official name] international obligations under United

  • China to boycott UN summit on nuclear-weapon ban

    China has said that it will not participate in a UN conference aimed at negotiating a ban on nuclear weapons. "After careful consideration, China has decided not to participate in the new round of negotiations," said Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson Hua Chunying on

  • US nuclear review to provide options for Russia's INF Treaty compliance

    Key Points The US NPR will seek 'leverage points' with Russia US officials have accused Russia of violating the 1987 INF Treaty The Pentagon's ongoing Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) will consider how to address Russia's reported violation of deal barring intermediate-range weapons, among wider US

  • North Korea says missile launches practised hitting US bases in Japan

    North Korea's launch of four short-range ballistic missiles on 6 March was part of an exercise to strike US military bases in Japan, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, a daily of the Workers' Party of Korea, has reported. The country's leader, Kim Jong-un, supervised the drill, which was conducted by the

  • North Korea fires four ballistic missiles into Sea of Japan

    North Korea launched four ballistic missiles on 6 March that landed within or close to Japan's exclusive economic zone in what appears to be a reaction to joint US-South Korean military drills on the Korean Peninsula. The yet unidentified missiles were fired almost simultaneously around 0734 h

  • IRGC terrorist designation would increase risk of doing business in Iran, indirectly threatening nuclear agreement

    Key Points Royce's use of a "terrorist" label for the IRGC reflects the likely ongoing political debate in the US surrounding the designation of Iran's IRGC as a foreign terrorist organisation. Previously, the US only designated the IRGC Qods Force - the extra-territorial branch of the

  • South Korean military on high alert following Kim Jong-nam's death

    South Korea's military has remained on high alert to counter any provocations by North Korea following Pyongyang's 12 February missile test launch and the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un the following day, Yonhap news agency quoted the defence ministry in

  • Adding value: Danish frigate looks to make a difference for USN CSG

    The Royal Danish Navy frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes is deploying with a US Navy carrier strike group. Dr Lee Willett visited the ship to investigate what it offers to CSG operations Only a small number of navies operating at the highest levels of the conventional capability spectrum deploy

  • North Koreans test Trump administration with ballistic missile test

    A North Korean ballistic missile test conducted on 12 February has been widely condemned by the international community. The missile was launched at 0755 h local time (2255 h GMT 11 February) from a location 9 km north of Panghyon in North Pyongan province on the west side of the Korean peninsula

  • North Korea capable of producing up to 60 nuclear warheads, says report

    North Korea is believed to have enough highly enriched uranium and plutonium to produce up to 60 nuclear warheads, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported on 9 February, citing a 'secret report by intelligence and military authorities'. Based on 2016 figures, Pyongyang has 758 kg of highly enriched

  • PLA Rocket Force trains deployment of Dong Feng ballistic missiles

    China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force has demonstrated its ability to deploy its short-range, nuclear-capable Dong Feng-15B (DF-15B) and Dong Feng-16 (DF-16) ballistic missile systems in exercises carried out in early February, Chinese state-owned media has reported. The China

  • US response to Iranian missile test indicates strategy targeting threats posed by IRGC, rather than nuclear agreement

    Key Points The US Treasury's sanctions designations indicate a willingness to toughen its stance against Iran. This generates a high risk of sanctions targeting IRGC interlocutors and affiliated firms outside Iran in 2017. The US' more robust stance vis-à-vis Iran is more likely intended to

  • US warns North Korea of 'overwhelming response' to use of nuclear weapons

    US secretary of defence Jim Mattis has warned North Korea that any nuclear attack on the United States or its allies would be met with an "overwhelming" response. "North Korea continues to launch missiles, develop its nuclear weapons programme and engage in threatening rhetoric and

  • White House puts Iran 'on notice' after ballistic missile test

    US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said on 1 February that the United States is "officially putting Iran on notice" in the wake of a ballistic missile test and an attack on a Saudi frigate off Yemen. Speaking to journalists at the White House, Flynn said the ballistic missile test

  • US, South Korea reaffirm THAAD deployment plans, says report

    US secretary of defence James Mattis and South Korean defence minister Han Min-koo have reaffirmed plans to deploy the US Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in 2017 amid concerns about North Korea's growing missile capabilities, Yonhap news agency reported on 31 January. In a

  • North Korea's plutonium-producing reactor likely reactivated, says report

    Analysis of commercial satellite imagery from 22 January indicates that operations at the 5 MWe plutonium-producing reactor at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear research facility is likely to have resumed. The images show a water plume - most probably warm - originating from the cooling water outlet

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