'North Korea boosts defenses' amid tensions with US


Park said President Moon told the meeting that Washington and Seoul agreed that pressure needed to be applied to North Korea, with the door to talks still open. The last time North Korea fired on a USA aircraft was in 1994.

The US aircraft, which according to the Pentagon, have reached the closest point to North Korean territory for the first time in recent years, were sent off to North Korea around midnight on Saturday.

In intensifying rhetoric between the United States and North Korea during the past week, President Donald Trump said the USA would "destroy" the country if it threatened the U.S. or its allies.

Ri's comment followed Saturday's flight of American B-1B bombers and fighter jets in worldwide airspace to the line separating North and South Korea. But the Associated Press reports that it is unclear if North Korea was able to detect the bomber flight on Saturday with its radar.

The latest United States fighter jets have stealth capability created to avoid detection and North Korea's military is known to be incapable of operating radar systems around the clock because supplies of energy are low, a South Korean government official said, asking not to be identified.

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North Korea did not take any immediate action in response to US strategic bombers' flight near its east coast last week, Seoul's spy agency said Tuesday, noting it might have failed to fully detect the warplanes.

Most or all of the North Koreans living in the United States are based at the country's diplomatic mission to the United Nations. The surviving pilot said after his release he was pressured by North Korean officials to confess that the helicopter had crossed into North Korea.

However, McMaster also acknowledged the risks of escalation with any USA military option.

By highlighting the possibility of a potential military clash on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea may be trying to create a distraction as it works behind the scenes to advance its nuclear weapons development, said Du Hyeogn Cha, a visiting scholar at Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies. It conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, which it said was a thermonuclear weapon built for intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Missile expert Elleman said his main concern was that any North Korean defensive move could quickly lead to all-out conflict.

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South Korean police claim that the attack vector consisted of spear phishing campaigns with the North Korean hackers pretending to be security authorities and sending emails containing malware.

In Moscow, Russia's Foreign Ministry said it was working behind the scenes to find a political solution and that using sanctions against North Korea was nearly exhausted.

North Korea, however, has fired on American aircrafts before.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce and not a peace treaty. Washington said the flight underscores the seriousness with which it takes the North's "reckless behavior".

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