• Both the US and China have been taking unprecedented steps as tensions ramp up along the Korean Peninsula.
• China has prepared refugee camps and information for citizens to help them survive nuclear attacks and has expanded its offensive capabilities with its air force.
• The US has stepped up military drills, practiced air raids, and reportedly started preparing to seize North Korea’s nuclear weapons by force.
The Hill/Mallory Shelbourne/12-19-17
National security adviser H.R. McMaster said in a Tuesday morning interview that he does not believe the world can allow North Korea to develop nuclear weapons.
“I don’t think we can tolerate that risk. The world can’t tolerate that risk,” McMaster told “CBS This Morning” when asked if the United States and a nuclear North Korea can “co-exist.”
PG View: McMaster stops short of saying how far the U.S. is prepared to go to prevent nuclear armed North Korea, but the threat seems pretty clear. The associated geopolitical risk should continue to underpin gold.
The Hill/Mallory Shelbourne/11-07-17
North Korea has reportedly said that a nuclear conflict in the region is unavoidable, accusing CIA Director Mike Pompeo of provocation.
…“We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it, and should the U.S. miscalculate our patience and light the fuse for a nuclear war, we will surely make the U.S. dearly pay the consequences with our mighty nuclear force which we have consistently strengthened,” the unidentified spokesperson said in remarks originally reported by the Korean Central News Agency.
NBCNews/by Alexander Smith/12-04-17
Two dozen U.S. stealth jets were among hundreds of aircraft involved in war games intended as a show of strength to neighboring North Korea on Monday.
Dubbed Vigilant Ace, the annual military drills come amid heightened tensions in the region triggered by Kim Jong Un’s missile and nuclear tests and ratcheting rhetoric from both sides.
…North Korea described the exercises as a “grave provocation,” claiming in its state-run media Monday that they could escalate the situation “to the brink of nuclear war.”
Members of the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned North Korea’s successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile during an emergency meeting in New York on Wednesday, during which US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the rogue regime’s actions have brought the world “closer to war.”
“The dictator of North Korea made a choice yesterday that brings the world closer to war, not farther from it,” Haley said. “We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it. If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday.”
“And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed,” she added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday warned that the U.S. could be hurtling toward a war with North Korea “if things don’t change” after the country’s latest weapons test.
Graham, an outspoken defense hawk, told CNN during an interview that he believes “every test puts them closer” to a military conflict.
“We’re headed toward a war if things don’t change,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
North Korea has fired a ballistic missile, South Korean media say, quoting military officials.
The news was confirmed by a US government source, according to Reuters news agency.
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the missile flew eastward from Pyongsong in South Pyongan province.
It is not clear how far it went or whether it flew over Japan as other missiles did earlier this year.
CNN/Dan Merica & Jeremy Diamond/11-20-17
President Donald Trump, in the latest demonstration of increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula, placed North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Trump announced the move Monday during a public meeting with his Cabinet at the White House and said the Treasury Department will announce new sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday.
North Korea is rejecting calls from China to step away from its nuclear program, claiming such weapons are vital to the security of its people, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported Friday.
“The conclusion that our army and people have reached via the history of North Korea-U.S. confrontations is there is no way other than standing against the repressive U.S. imperialists only with a nuclear deterrent of justice,” the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun wrote in an article…
PG View: Newsweek is also reporting that North Korea is building a ballistic missile submarine. I would imagine the U.S. views the prospect of a North Korean “boomer” lurking off the west coast as completely unacceptable.
UK Express/Joe Barnes/11-13-17
North Korea has continued with its development of a nuclear weapons arsenal despite international condemnation.
After the rogue state’s despot leader Kim Jong-un started a furious war of words with US President Donald Trump fears of the possible outbreak of World War 3 intensified.
…“The situation of the Korean peninsula is now on the worst phase of tension in which a nuclear war may break out any moment due to the US reckless moves for aggression on the DPRK.”
North Korea has also reportedly sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin about a potential strike on the United States as the crisis threatens to boil over.
A senior North Korean official has issued a stern warning to the world that it should take “literally” his country’s threat to test a nuclear weapon above ground.
The official, Ri Yong Pil, told CNN in an exclusive conversation in Pyongyang that the threat made by North Korea’s foreign minister last month should not be dismissed. North Korea “has always brought its words into action,” Ri said, visibly angry.
…”The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally,” Ri told CNN in Pyongyang.
The super carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its supporting warships have entered the western Pacific and will “integrate” with other US ships deployed in the region, including those near the Korean peninsula.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said the United States has to act as if North Korea is on the verge of being able to strike it with a missile and act accordingly — and that President Donald Trump is ready to do so.
…Pompeo is among a number of former officials who have been signaling the increased possibility of a slide into military confrontation with North Korea over its refusal to back down from its nuclear program.
President Donald Trump on Monday morning tweeted another hint that he was nearing the end of his patience with North Korea.
“Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn’t work!” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s tweet echoes a sentiment he expressed over the weekend that “only one thing will work” to solve the North Korea crisis.
…Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, later confirmed the meaning in an interview on NBC: Trump was “clearly telegraphing” military action against North Korea.
Securing North Korea’s missile launchers and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons sites would likely be a chief priority for China in the event of a major crisis involving its communist neighbor, analysts say, although Beijing so far is keeping mum on any plans.
Despite China’s official silence, its People’s Liberation Army likely has a “vast array” of contingency plans involving military options, said Dean Cheng, an Asia security expert at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington…
…What’s less clear is whether and under what conditions China would commit troops as an occupying force should North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime fall apart, Cheng said.
South China Morning Post/Liu Zhen & Kristin Huang/09-28-17
China announced on Thursday that all North Korean firms and joint ventures in China would be closed, as part of the latest sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons programme.
All existing joint ventures with North Korean firms in China, as well as entities solely owned by North Korean companies or individuals, are to be closed within 120 days from September 11, when the sanctions were adopted, a notice from the Ministry of Commerce said.
Joint ventures set up overseas by Chinese firms and North Korean entities or individuals should also be closed, it said.
North Korea’s foreign minister on Monday accused President Donald Trump of declaring war, saying that gives the rogue regime the right to take countermeasures.
That includes the right to shoot down strategic U.S. bombers, even when they are not flying in North Korean airspace, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York.
“The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” he said.
TheGuardian/Tom Phillips & Justin McCurry/09-19-17
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have agreed “to maximise pressure” on North Korea, the White House has announced, as the US president prepares to use his debut speech to the UN general assembly to urge global action against Pyongyang’s “hostile and dangerous behaviour”.
Gold prices are near steady in early New York trading Friday, despite overnight developments on the geopolitical front. The yellow metal continues to see a corrective technical pullback and some profit taking from the shorter-term futures traders after prices last week hit a 12-month high.
The marketplace is so far showing a very muted reaction to news North Korea has fired another ballistic missile over Japan. The U.N. Security Council is holding an emergency meeting today on the matter.
Reports of a bomb explosion in a London subway indicate the incident was a terror attack.
Telegraph/ Chris Graham,Danny Boyle & Neil Connor/09-15-17
North Korea has fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean.
It was the second aggressive test-flight over the territory of the close US ally in less than a month and it followed the sixth and most powerful nuclear test by North Korea to date on September 3.
PG View: South Korea responded by test-firing missiles of its own, as Japan considers bolstering its military capabilities.
Reuters, via CNBC/09-14.17
A North Korean state agency threatened on Thursday to use nuclear weapons to “sink” Japan and reduce the United States to “ashes and darkness” for supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution and sanctions over its latest nuclear test.
PG View: Geopolitical tensions should continue to underpin gold.