Dec 14, 2019

North Korea conducts satellite test for second time in less than a week

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un supervised the test firing of a new multiple rocket launcher on July 31. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea said on Saturday that it carried out another satellite launch test near the Chinese border, and that the unspecified test "would help bolster the country's nuclear deterrent," the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The reported test was conducted Friday evening — making it the second North Korean satellite launch in less than a week, state news agency KCNA said, per Reuters

What they're saying:

“The research successes being registered by us in defense science one after another recently will be applied to further bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea."
spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defense Science in a statement

The big picture: North Korea's latest satellite test comes as tensions with the U.S. remain high. North Korea has previously told the Trump administration that it has until the end of the year to come up with a deal if the U.S. wants North Korea to stop testing nuclear weapons, the Post notes.

What to watch: U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun will visit Seoul starting Sunday in an attempt to maintain open dialogue with Pyongyang, South Korea’s foreign ministry announced Friday.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Evidence of new work at North Korea site linked to long-range missiles

Kim Jong-un flanked by military officials, 2017. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea has begun fresh work at a factory involved in the development and production of intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, per satellite images shared by Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Why it matters: Lewis said on Saturday that Pyongyang is expanding work at the March 16 Factory in Pyongsong, where North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "watched preparations" for the 2017 test of the Hwasong-15 missile, which was theoretically capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

Go deeperArrowDec 22, 2019

Trump brushes off North Korea "Christmas gift"

President Trump on Dec. 24. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday dismissed North Korea's threat of a "Christmas gift" for the U.S., saying the military would “deal with it very successfully," Reuters reports.

Why it matters: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un said in October that the U.S. had until year’s end to propose new concessions in talks over his country’s nuclear arsenal and warned the U.S. to not ignore the deadline.

Go deeperArrowDec 24, 2019

Exclusive: John Bolton hits Trump for bluffing on North Korea nukes

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Ed Jones/AFP, Saul Loeb/AFP, Brendan Smialowski/AFP, and Sergei Gapon/AFP all via Getty Images

In his sharpest criticism yet of his old workplace, John Bolton suggested the Trump administration is bluffing about stopping North Korea's nuclear ambitions — and soon might need to admit publicly that its policy failed badly.

Driving the news: Bolton told me in an interview that he does not think the administration "really means it" when President Trump and top officials vow to stop North Korea from having deliverable nuclear weapons — "or it would be pursuing a different course."

Go deeperArrowDec 22, 2019