Health officials respond to beach radiation scare

An amateur video of a Geiger counter showing what appear to be high radiation levels at a Coastside beach has drawn the attention of local, state and federal public health officials. Since being posted last week, the short video has galvanized public concerns that radioactive material could be landing on the local coastline after traveling from Japan as a result of the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

Government officials say they are looking into the video shot on Dec. 23 and performing their own sampling of the beaches, but they have found no indication so far that radiation levels were hazardous.

“It’s not something that we feel is an immediate public health concern,” said Dean Peterson, county environmental health director. “We’re not even close to the point of saying that any of this is from Fukushima.”

First posted last week on YouTube, the seven-minute video shows the meter of a Geiger counter as an off-camera man measures different spots on the beach south of Pillar Point Harbor. The gadget’s alarm begins ringing as its radiation reading ratchets up to about 150 counts per minute, or roughly five times the typical amount found in the environment.

Counts per minute is a standard way for Geiger counters to measure radiation, but it does not directly equate to the strength or its hazard level to humans. Those factors depend on the type of radioactive particles and isotope.

Nonetheless, the video went viral online, gaining nearly 400,000 views in the last week.

In a blog entry, the unidentified poster of the video noted that he has been monitoring local beaches for two years before noticing a sudden rise in radiation levels in recent days. The Review was not immediately able to contact the man who made the video.

In the following days, other amateurs with Geiger counters began posting similar videos online. The videos follow other alarming news last month that starfish were mysteriously disintegrating along the West Coast, a trend that has not been linked yet to any cause. Past computer simulations had indicated that radioactive cesium-137 from the Fukushima reactors could begin appearing on West Coast shores by early 2014. Those findings, published in August by the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems in Spain, also noted that any radioactive material that crossed the Pacific would likely be diluted and fall below international safety levels.

County health officials first learned of the radiation levels last week, and they sent their own inspector on Dec. 28 to Pacifica with a Geiger counter. Using a different unit, the county inspector measured the beach to have a radiation level of about 100 micro-REM per hour, or about five times the normal amount. REM stands for “Roentgen equivalent man,” a measurement of the dosage and statistical biological effects presented by radiation.

Although the radiation levels were clearly higher than is typical, Peterson emphasized that it was still not unsafe for humans. A person would need to be exposed to 100 microREMs of radiation for 50,000 hours before it surpassed safety guidelines by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he explained.

Peterson admitted he was “befuddled” as to why radiation levels were higher than normal, but he was skeptical that the Fukushima meltdown could be the cause. He noted that many innocuous items could spike the radiation levels in an area, including red-painted disposable eating utensils.

“I honestly think the end result of this is that it’s just higher levels of background radiation,” he said.

Peterson forwarded the matter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Public Health, agencies with more expertise on analyzing radioactivity.

A state Public Health spokeswoman said her office was contacted on Thursday and was still looking into the matter. More information would be available by next week, she said.

“We can’t comment on anybody’s media creation. We really have no way of knowing right now whether it’s valid or not,” said spokeswoman Wendy Hopkins.

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North Korea states ‘nuclear war is unavoidable’ as it declares first target will be Japan

NORTH KOREA has warned Japan that Tokyo would be the first target in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula, as it increased threats of an attack.

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In a commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the communist country lashed out at Tokyo’s standing orders to destroy any missile heading toward Japan, threatening such actions will result in a nuclear attack against the island nation.

If Japan executes its threat to shoot down any North Korean missile, such a “provocative” intervention would see Tokyo — an enormous conurbation of 30 million people — “consumed in nuclear flames”, KCNA warned.

“Japan is always in the cross-hairs of our revolutionary army and if Japan makes a slightest move, the spark of war will touch Japan first,” the report added.

An official at Japan’s defence ministry said that the country “will take every possible measure to respond to any scenario”, while the US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that a North Korean missile launch would be a “huge mistake”.

“The rhetoric that we are hearing from North Korea is simply unacceptable by any standards,” he told a news conference in Seoul alongside South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se.

“The United States, South Korea and the entire international community… are all united in the fact that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power,” Kerry added.

However, the North has declared it is “confident of final victory” against its enemies.

“The enemies should know that it is the era of the great Marshal Kim Jong Un, leader of the most powerful country and invincible great Paektusan nation,” KCNA stated.

“The DPRK has won victories in confrontation with the U.S. in spirit and is waging an all-out action with it, with confidence in final victory.”

The torrent of war cries is seen outside Pyongyang as an effort to raise fears and pressure Seoul and Washington into changing their North Korea policies, and to show the North Korean people that their young leader is strong enough to stand up to powerful foes.

South Korea fears Pyongyang could launch now launch multiple missiles after weeks of threats, according to local reports.

Observers believe a launch is most likely in the build-up to Monday’s anniversary of the birth of late founder Kim Il-Sung, for which celebrations are already well under way in Pyongyang.

The Korean Peninsula has “been reduced to the biggest nuclear hotspot in the world”, the North said in more fiery rhetoric today, “making the outbreak of a nuclear war on this land unavoidable.”

The reclusive state is dedicated to “defending the sovereignty and dignity of the country with its own strike mode and means,” it said.

“No force on earth can block the just cause of the army and people of the DPRK,” the chilling message concluded.

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Nuclear bombshell: North Korea has nukes capable of striking neighboring nations, says Pentagon

china-military-parade

A classified Defense Intelligence Agency report described in testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday reveals that “North Korea now has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles.”

The U.S. has jointly declared “Watchcon 2” status with South Korea, the highest level of military alert, as North Korean missiles have been spotted in the “launch” position.

This story was broken by the Christian Science Monitor and publicized by DrudgeReport.com.

According to the report, Rep. Doug Lamborn ® of Colorado quotes an unclassified edition of the DIA report which reads, “DIA assess with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles. However, the reliability will be low.”

What this means is that the missile failure rate is believed to be high, but that North Korea possesses ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

Why is this such a big deal? Because North Korea recently promised to nuke several major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. The threat was dismissed by most observers as hot air, based on the belief that North Korea did not possess missiles capable of carrying and delivering nuclear warheads. Now that belief must be called into question.

North Korea capable of striking Japan, South Korea, Taiwan

If the report is true, it would mean North Korea is capable of launching nuclear missiles at nearby targets such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other nations. Thousands of U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, making military zones there obvious targets for the North’s nuclear crusade.

But North Korea may also be capable of launching ballistics missiles with longer range — allowing them to strike targets such as Australia, Hawaii or even the West Coast of the United States. Most experts doubt North Korea has the technical expertise to achieve such long-range performance, but no one denies the country is working on developing such technologies.

If North Korea has nuclear missiles as described in the intelligence report — and if it is willing to use them — it means North Korea possesses the means to overrun South Korea with military might. Kim Jong-Un can simply launch a preemptive nuclear strike at the closest military base then unleash a human wave of North Korean soldiers to march into Seoul and occupy South Korea.

This could pull the United States into a dangerous global war with China, a communist regime that considers North Korea to be its political ally and strategic partner.

Predictions: The U.S. may strike North Korea

I predict that if this escalation does not rapidly cool down, the U.S. will be forced to unleash a military strike on North Korea’s missile assets. I am not the only one concerned about this possibility.

This YouTube video claims to show a stream of vehicles fleeing the North and crossing the DMZ into South Korea, escorted by a military vehicle. Their rationale? Possibly to escape an imminent U.S. military strike on North Korea.

Interestingly, this is one of the few times when I actually agree with the Pentagon that a pre-emptive strike is morally justified against North Korea. If the U.S. attacks North Korea’s military leadership (but not civilians), it will be an act of national self-defense against an irrational aggressor who had directly and persistently threatened to nuke U.S. cities.

Pentagon Finds Nuclear Strides by North Korea

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A new assessment by the Pentagon’s intelligence arm has concluded for the first time, with “moderate confidence,” that North Korea has learned how to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be delivered by a ballistic missile.

The assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has been distributed to senior administration officials and members of Congress, cautions that the weapon’s “reliability will be low,” apparently a reference to the North’s difficulty in developing accurate missiles or, perhaps, to the huge technical challenges of designing a warhead that can survive the rigors of flight and detonate on a specific target.

The assessment’s existence was disclosed Thursday by Representative Doug Lamborn, Republican of Colorado, three hours into a budget hearing of the House Armed Services Committee with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. General Dempsey declined to comment on the assessment because of classification issues.

But late Thursday, the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., released a statement saying that the assessment did not represent a consensus of the nation’s intelligence community and that “North Korea has not yet demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear armed missile.”

In another sign of the administration’s deep concern over the release of the assessment, the Pentagon press secretary, George Little, issued a statement that sought to qualify the conclusion from the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has primary responsibility for monitoring the missile capabilities of adversary nations but which a decade ago was among those that argued most vociferously — and incorrectly — that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

“It would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage,” Mr. Little said.

A spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry, Kim Min-seok, said early Friday that despite various assessments. “we have doubt that North Korea has reached the stage of miniaturization.”

Nonetheless, outside experts said that the report’s conclusions could explain why Mr. Hagel has announced in recent weeks that the Pentagon was bolstering long-range antimissile defenses in Alaska and California, intended to protect the West Coast, and rushing another antimissile system, originally not set for deployment until 2015, to Guam.

Also Thursday, Mr. Clapper sought to tamp down fears that North Korean rhetoric could lead to an armed clash with the United States, South Korea and regional allies, and a high South Korean official called for dialogue with North Korea.

Mr. Clapper told a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee that in his experience, two other confrontations with the North — the seizure of the Navy spy ship Pueblo in 1968 and the death of two military officers in a tree-cutting episode in the demilitarized zone in 1976 — stoked much greater tensions between the two countries. The statement by the South Korean official, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae, was televised nationally, and it represented a considerable softening in tone by President Park Geun-hye’s government.

Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, was scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Friday and to travel to China and Japan after that. He has two principal goals on the last leg of a six-nation trip: to encourage China to use its influence to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program while reassuring South Korea and Japan that the United States remains committed to their defense.

The report issued by the Defense Intelligence Agency last month was titled “Dynamic Threat Assessment 8099: North Korea Nuclear Weapons Program.” Its executive summary reads: “D.I.A. assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles; however the reliability will be low.”

A spokesman for Mr. Lamborn, Catherine Mortensen, said the material he quoted during the hearing was unclassified. Pentagon officials said later that while the report remained classified, the one-paragraph finding had been declassified but not released. Republicans in Congress have led efforts to increase money for missile defense, and Mr. Lamborn has been critical of the Obama administration for failing to finance it adequately.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, including one this year, and shot a ballistic missile as far as the Philippines in December. American and South Korean intelligence agencies believe that another test — perhaps of a midrange missile called the Musudan that can reach Japan, South Korea and almost as far as Guam — may be conducted in the coming days, to celebrate the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder. At the Pentagon, there is particular concern about another missile, yet untested, called the KN-08, which may have significantly longer range.

“North Korea has already demonstrated capabilities that threaten the United States and the security environment in East Asia,” Mr. Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee.

He added that “we believe Pyongyang has already taken initial steps” toward fielding what he called a “road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile.” He appeared to be referring to the KN-08, provided to North Korea by a Russian company and based on the design of a Russian submarine-launched nuclear missile.

Mr. Clapper referred to “extremely belligerent, aggressive public rhetoric towards the United States and South Korea” by the North’s young president, Kim Jong-un. And he made it clear that getting inside Mr. Kim’s head, and understanding his goals, had been particularly frustrating.

He suggested that while Mr. Kim’s grandfather and father had clear motives — to periodically threaten the world with nuclear crises, then wait to get paid in cash, food or equipment to lower the rhetoric — the younger Mr. Kim apparently intended to demonstrate both to North Koreans and to the international community that North Korea deserves respect as a nuclear power.

“His primary objective is to consolidate, affirm his power,” Mr. Clapper told the House committee, adding that “the belligerent rhetoric of late, I think, is designed for both an internal and an external audience.”

Asked if the North Korean leader had an “endgame,” Mr. Clapper said, “I don’t think, really, he has much of an endgame other than to somehow elicit recognition from the world and specifically, most importantly, the United States, of North Korea as a rival on an international scene, as a nuclear power, and that that entitles him to negotiation and to accommodation, and presumably for aid.”

Other officials have said, in background interviews, that Mr. Kim is trying to get North Korea into the same position as Pakistan: an acknowledged nuclear power that the West has given up hopes of disarming.

Mr. Clapper appeared with the heads of several other intelligence agencies, including Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn of the Defense Intelligence Agency; the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III; and the C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, to present their annual assessment of the threats facing the nation. The same officials briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee last month.

Even as they sought to explain the North Korean leader’s recent bellicose threats, which have prompted American and South Korean troops to increase alert levels, Mr. Clapper and other top intelligence officials acknowledged that United States spy agencies do not know much about Mr. Kim.

“Kim Jong-un has not been in power all that long, so we don’t have an extended track record for him like we did with his father and grandfather,” Mr. Brennan said. “That’s why we are watching this very closely and to see whether or not what he is doing is consistent with past patterns of North Korean behavior.”

Mr. Clapper added that with such little information on Mr. Kim, “there’s no telling how he’s going to behave.”

“He impresses me as impetuous, not as inhibited as his father became about taking aggressive action,” he added. “The pattern with his father was to be provocative and then to sort of back off. We haven’t seen that yet with Kim Jong-un.”

As for what might change the North’s posture, Mr. Clapper pointed to China’s new leadership. “I think probably if anyone has real leverage over the North Koreans, it is China,” he said.

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North Korea to ‘launch missile TOMORROW’ after warning foreigners to evacuate South

NORTH Korea has completed preparations for a mid-range missile launch tomorrow from its east coast, officials in Seoul have revealed – just hours after foreigners living in South Korea were warned to quit the country.

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The worrying warning came as speculation heightened that North Korea is planning to pull its ambassador out of the UK after a shipping container was pictured outside the London embassy.

Boxes were seen being loaded onto a large lorry parked outside the pariah state’s embassy – an ordinary home in Ealing, west London.Seoul revealed today that foreign nationals in South Korea were told by the North to evacuate in case of a “merciless” war.
“We do not wish harm on foreigners in South Korea should there be a war,” said the KCNA news agency, citing its Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermo-nuclear war,” said the statement.

“Once a war is ignited on the peninsula, it will be an all-out war, a merciless, sacred, retaliatory war waged by the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea),” it went on to say.

The remarks come as the communist country has repeatedly said it will turn Seoul and Washington into a “sea of fire” and launch pre-emptive nuclear attacks against its enemies at any time.

South Korea’s defense ministry has stated that the launch could come at any point, even tomorrow, and that the South Korean military is on alert for any scenario.

South Korean forces have been on high alert for an imminent missile launch by the communist nation, which was seen moving two Musudan missiles to its east coast last week and mounting them on mobile launchers.

Speculation had been building that North Korea could carry out a missile test as early as this week after dictator Kim Jong-un warned he could not “guarantee the safety of foreigners” after April 10.

Boxes are loaded into a shipping container at the North Korean Embassy in London

Speculation had been building that North Korea could carry out a missile test this week

Japan today deployed missile-defense systems at three sites around Tokyo ahead of the possible missile launch, officials confirmed.

The country’s defense minister has also reportedly put destroyers with missile interception systems on alert in the Sea of Japan.

“As North Korea keeps making provocative comments, Japan, co-operating with relevant countries, will do what we have to do,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said today.

“The government is making utmost efforts to protect our people’s lives and ensure their safety,” he added.

Japan’s armed forces are authorised to shoot down any North Korean missile headed towards its territory, a defence ministry spokesman said.

“We are doing all we can to protect the safety of our nation,” chief Cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga said, though he and Ministry of Defense officials refused to confirm reports of a naval alert, saying they do not want to “show their cards” to North Korea.

Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers prepare its missile interceptor

Tensions have escalated further after North Korean authorities told embassies in Pyongyang they could not guarantee their safety from Wednesday – after saying conflict was inevitable amid joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises due to last until the end of the month.

However, no diplomats appear to have left the North Korean capital, despite a North Korean general reprotedly warning diplomats at the weekend that the situation remained “grave”.

Earlier today, North Korean labourers failed to turn up for work at a factory complex operated with South Korea, effectively shutting down the last major symbol of cooperation between the hostile neighbours.

Soaring tensions on the peninsula have been fuelled by North Korean anger over the imposition of U.N. sanctions after its last nuclear arms test in February, creating one of the worst crises since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

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Deadly levels of radiation found in food 225 miles from Fukushima: Media blackout on nuclear fallout continues

Fukushimafallout

New data released by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) shows once again that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is far from over. Despite a complete media blackout on the current situation, levels of Cesium-137 (Cs-137) and Cesium-134 (Cs-134) found in produce and rice crackers located roughly 225 miles away from Fukushima are high enough to cause residents to exceed the annual radiation exposure limit in just a few months, or even weeks.

According to Fukushima-Diary.com, which posts up-to-date information about the Fukushima disaster, rice crackers and tangerines produced in the Shizuoka prefecture are testing high for both Cs-137 and Cs-134. Rice crackers, according to the data sheet, tested at 3.7 Becquerels per kilogram (Bq/Kg) of Cs-137, while tangerines tested at 1.46 Bq/Kg of Cs-134 and 3.14 Bq/Kg of Cs-137.

The Shizuoka prefecture is located about 80 miles southwest of Tokyo, which is highly concerning as it is actually farther away from Fukushima than Tokyo. This suggest that potentially deadly levels of radiation are still affecting large population centers across Japan, including those that are not even in close proximity to the Fukushima plant.

It is generally regarded that adult radiation workers should be exposed to no more than 50 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation per year in order to avoid serious health consequences. For children, this number is far lower, probably somewhere around 10 mSv, with this being on the high end. But the average adult and child eating these tainted foods at their current radiation levels will not only reach but exceed the safe maximum in just a few weeks.

Radiation levels continue to increase in lakes, rivers north of Tokyo

But food, of course, is not the only major source of radiation exposure in Japan. Other data also released by Fukushima-Diary.com shows that radiation levels in rivers, lakes and shorelines around Kashiwa City in Chiba, located about 20 miles northeast of Tokyo, are dangerously high and getting even higher.

Since radiation levels were last tested in the Otsu River back in September, detected levels have nearly tripled, jumping from 5,700 Bq/Kg to 14,200 Bq/Kg of radiation. Similar jumps were observed in lakes and shore soils, the former increasing from 7,600 Bq/Kg to 8,200 Bq/Kg of radiation, and the latter increasing from 440 Bq/Kg to 780 Bq/Kg of radiation.

Any increase in disease or death resulting from these continued radiation spikes, however, will more than likely be blamed on other causes besides radiation, so as to cover up the severity of the situation. The radiation component of radiation-induced heart disease, organ failure, and cancer, for instance, will simply be ignored, and any uptick in deaths, particularly among the elderly, declared normal.

Meanwhile, a recent Rasmussen Report found that more than one-third of all Americans believe radiation from Fukushima caused “significant harm” in the U.S. This is likely due to the fact that high levels of radiation were observed in soil, water, and even food all across America in the wake of the disaster.

Sources for this article include:

http://fukushima-diary.com

http://fukushima-diary.com

http://www.rasmussenreports.com

Embassies remain in N. Korea after warnings to evacuate

kingsoftheeast

Foreign embassies seem to have no immediate intentions to withdraw their staff from Pyongyang, despite the North Korean government warning they could not guarantee safety and suggesting they evacuate.

Currently, about two dozen countries have embassies in North Korea. Most of the represented governments have already made it clear they had no immediate plans to withdraw personnel; some suggested the advisory was just a ruse to fuel growing global anxiety over the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

We believe they have taken this step as part of their country’s rhetoric that the US poses a threat to them,” a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

North Korea’s proposal of evacuations was sent to all foreign embassies on Friday. It has left an uneasy feeling in the air.

We are very worried by inciting of tensions, even though it’s verbal so far,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. “We would like to understand the reasons behind the proposal to evacuate the embassies, whether it’s a decision of the North Korean leadership or a proposal. We were told it’s a proposal.”

So far no embassy has announced moving its staff.

The security of the German embassy and its exposure to danger are continually being evaluated,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “For now, the embassy can continue working.”

‘No particular developments in Pyongyang or other cities’

South Korea’s presidential office said Saturday it had detected no noticeable developments in its review of the latest situation in the North.

It was determined at the meeting that for now, there are no particular signs of changes or developments in Pyongyang or in any other cities,” a South Korean official was quoted by Yonhap news agency.

Western tourists returning from Pyongyang confirm the situation on the ground is calm, with life going on as normal.

We didn’t feel frightened when we were there,” said Tina Krabbe, from Denmark, arriving in Beijing after five days in North Korea.

Athletes attend a torch-lighting ceremony for the 5th International Martial Arts Games on Chongchun Street in Pyongyang April 3, 2013. (AFP Photo / KCNA)

Athletes attend a torch-lighting ceremony for the 5th International Martial Arts Games on Chongchun Street in Pyongyang April 3, 2013. (AFP Photo / KCNA)

 

The embassy warning on Friday coincided with reports that North Korea had loaded two intermediate-range missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them in underground facilities near its east coast. North Korea has repeatedly issued threats it aims to hit South Korea and the US.

Geopolitical analyst at 21stCentury Wire.com, Patrick Henningsen, admits that “there is a very real danger for the embassies” in the DPRK, as well as danger for South Korea and other nearby countries.

But the big question is how this hyped up at the beginning, had it to do with nuclear threat from North Korea,” he noted to RT. “I can’t help but remember that in the run-up to the Iraq war everyone was asking whether Saddam Hussein would use chemical weapons or not, but no one actually asked the question if he really had them in the first place,” the expert observed.

In his view, “there is no nuclear threat or inter-ballistic missile threat to the US” from North Korea and the whole situation is “very much overhyped in a Cold War theatrical sense.”

At the same time, Henningsen observed, “the pivot towards Asia from United States is very real.” Since the beginning of the Korean crisis, the Philippines have already approved the use of more bases for the US. Besides that, “there was a deal to decommission some of the Okinawa sites in Japan,” and now, thanks to the conflict it “might be off the table.

The military-industrial complex needs reason to exist,” the analyst pointed out. “And I believe the North Korean threat – be it theatrical or real – gives us that reason, gives a pre-text for the expansion of the military economy from the US side,” he concluded.

Tensions in the region have flared up since February, when North Korea conducted its third nuclear test. The launch was condemned by the UN and much of the international community, prompting the UN to approve a new round of sanctions in early March.

Pyongyang reacted to sanctions by threatening to launch a nuclear strike on the US.

Last week, Pyongyang declared it had entered a state of war with its southern neighbor following an earlier decision to withdrawal from the 60-year armistice that ended the Korean War.

North Korea had previously threatened to pull out of the 1953 armistice if the South did not halt a joint annual military exercise with the US.

On Friday, South Korean media reported that its northern neighbor had positioned two medium-ranged Musudan missiles on mobile launchers along the country’s east coast.

South Korea responded by deploying two battleships capable of intercepting and destroying ballistic missiles.

The US for its part has bolstered its missile defense system in the region by deploying interceptor missiles and warships.

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