April 4th, 2013
07:24 PM ET

Where North Korea most threatens U.S. troops

U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, less than 20 miles from the border with North Korea, bases in Japan and Guam are all targets for North Korea's missiles. Chris Lawrence reports on how and where North Korea would strike U.S. troops.

North Korea difficult intel target
North Korea President Kim Jung Un with military officers
April 4th, 2013
05:17 PM ET

North Korea difficult intel target

From Pam Benson

A former senior US official, who recently retired, says North Korea is a difficult target for the intelligence community but "the coverage is very extensive using national technical means: imagery, intercepts and other means."  The official said, "It's hard to get in there, but we do have external capabilities. Looking, listening and watching are all in play."

Moving a missile to the east coast is "very discernible", the official said, even on mobile launchers. The mobile launchers are more difficult–one or two might get through, the official said, but North Korea has limited routes to take whether by rail or road. "It's not a large country with an intricate transportation system."

What is difficult to ascertain is its uranium enrichment program. It could be buried in underground facilities where there are no air samples, nothing to collect.

There are other shortfalls for gathering intelligence on North Korea, in particular a lack of human intelligence, the official said. "We don't have physical access, minimal, if at all," the official said.

FULL POST

Sources: State Department will shift North Korea focus to diplomacy
State Department Spokeperson Victoria Nuland
April 4th, 2013
12:49 PM ET

Sources: State Department will shift North Korea focus to diplomacy

As tensions mount on the Korean Peninsula, Wolf Blitzer explains what's behind the threats and what's at stake in a special edition of "The Situation Room," Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on CNN.
Are you from South or North Korea? Concerned about the latest crisis? Send us your thoughts.

Senior U.S. officials tell CNN that at the State Department briefing Thursday, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland is going to try and take the focus on North Korea in a different direction toward diplomacy, as part of an administration-wide effort to calm tensions with North Korea.

The U.S. has been saying its military actions have all been defensive in nature and focused on the U.S. protecting its allies and its homeland. Now Nuland is going to send the message “this is time for diplomacy” and urge North Korea to stop threats and get back on the peace train, one official said.

Nuland is going to be setting up the fact Kerry is in Asia next week and will be talking about “finding a diplomatic way forward,” the official said.

April 4th, 2013
12:21 PM ET

US intel sees missile movement in North Korea

As tensions mount on the Korean Peninsula, Wolf Blitzer explains what's behind the threats and what's at stake in a special edition of "The Situation Room," Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on CNN.
Are you from South or North Korea? Concerned about the latest crisis? Send us your thoughts.

US intelligence has seen missile and launch components move to the east coast of North Korea in the “last few days”, a US official with direct knowledge of the information tells CNN’s Barbara Starr.

The movements are consistent with that of a Musudan missile, the official said.  The Musadan missile has a 2,500 mile range and can threaten South Korea, Japan, Guam and southeast Asia.

The US is looking for a hidden North Korean east coast launch site or mobile launchers, the official said, which are of concern because a launch from the east coast would go over Japan.

The official said it is believed such a missile launch would be a “test” launch rather than a targeted strike.  That is because it appears the North Koreans have only moved components so far.  The U.S. is waiting to see if North Korea issues a notice to its airmen and mariners to stay out of the region.

            For full story

FIRST ON CNN: North Korea could be planning missile launch, official says
This file photo taken on April 15, 2012 shows a military vehicle carrying what is believed to be a Taepodong-class missile Intermediary Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM), about 20 meters long, during a military parade in North Korea
April 4th, 2013
09:31 AM ET

FIRST ON CNN: North Korea could be planning missile launch, official says

From CNN's Barbara Starr at the Pentagon

Intercepted communications in recent days indicate that North Korea could be planning to launch a mobile ballistic missile in the coming days or weeks, a U.S. official tells CNN. Previously, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said that North Korea has moved a medium-range missile to its east coast for an imminent test firing or military drill.


Filed under: North Korea
U.S. scripts North Korea 'playbook'
A North Korean soldier looks through binoculars at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas on April 4, 2013
April 4th, 2013
09:04 AM ET

U.S. scripts North Korea 'playbook'

By Barbara Starr

The Obama administration established a "playbook" of pre-scripted actions and responses to the last several weeks of North Korean rhetoric and provocations, an administration official said Thursday.

The plan, the official explained, basically details "if the adversary does this, we do this, we say this."

The scripted actions included an increased show of U.S. military force - such as the flying of B-2 bombers - during the annual U.S.-South Korea military exercise, the Foal Eagle.

"Eyebrows started to go up when it was clear Foal Eagle was going to be protected from the budget cuts of sequestration," the official said, referring to the forced federal spending cuts that went into effect in March.
FULL POST