CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Thursday, August 31, 2017





The Ark of the Covenant could have held pagan idols and may NEVER have been taken to Jerusalem by King David


  • The team have been excavating Kiriath Jearim where the ark was allegedly kept
  • Researchers believe it was not carried to Jerusalem by King David, but by Josiah
  • His scribes may have justified their political legitimacy by saying it was David
  • Ancient Israelites were polytheists and carried their idols in boxes
  • The ark could have contained Canaanite relics which were worshipped in Kiriath Jearim in the 8th century BC

But now, a team of archaeologists looking at the origins of the legendary Ark of the Covenant say it may have once carried Canaanite pagan idols. 
Researchers have been excavating Kiriath Jearim - an area where the Old Testament claims the ark was kept for 20 years before it arrived in Jerusalem.
They believe that rather than being carried from there to Jerusalem by King David it was carried by Josiah around 400 years later. 
Before converting to monotheism, the Israelites were polytheists and carried their idols in boxes meaning the ark could have been associated with beliefs far removed from the orders of the Ten Commandments.

Researchers have been excavating Kiriath Jearim - the place where the Old Testament claims the Ark of the Covenant was kept for 20 years before it arrived in Jerusalem
Researchers have been excavating Kiriath Jearim - the place where the Old Testament claims the Ark of the Covenant was kept for 20 years before it arrived in Jerusalem

WHAT HAVE THEY FOUND?

Sources suggest the Ark spent 20 years in in Kiriath Jearim but new findings indicate it could have been much longer.
This could explain why there are no more stories about it after 609BC, according to researchers from the College de France and Tel Aviv University.
Indeed, it could even have been Josiah - not King David - who brought the ark back to Jerusalem.
This would suggest the ark came back to Jerusalem in around 600BC and not in 1000BC as suggested in the Old Testament. 
The ancient site is referred to as a place of worship multiple times in the bible, and has various names including Kiryat Ye'arim, Kiryat Ba'al, Ba'alah and Ba'ale Judah - which probably relate to its Canaanite origins.   
Before converting to monotheism, the Israelites were polytheists and carried their idols in boxes.
Their findings suggest the ark could have contained Canaanite relics which were worshipped in the area in the 8th century BC. Despite its fame, nobody has ever been able to find the sacred wooden and gold-plated box.
The Old Testament says the Israelites took the ark through the desert where it was lost to Philistines in battle.
However, legend has it God punished the Philistines with sickness which forced them to return their finds to the Isrealites in Kiriath Jearim, where it remained for 20 years.
The story goes King David then took it to Jerusalem where it was put in King Solomon's Temple, from which point there are no further records of it.
'It is possible that the ark stayed much longer at Kiriath Jearim, and it was only Josiah who brought it to Jerusalem when he wanted to centralize all cultic and political activity there, and his scribes justified it by writing the story about David taking the ark,' Professor Thomas Römer, an expert in Hebrew at the College de France told Haaretz
New findings indicate it could have spent several hundred years in Kiriath Jearim.
This could explain why there are no more stories about it after 609BC, according to researchers from the College de France and Tel Aviv University.
Indeed, it could even have been Josiah - not King David - who brought the ark back to Jerusalem.
This would suggest the ark came back to Jerusalem in around 600BC and not in 1000BC as suggested in the Old Testament. Kiriath Jearim is referred to as a place of worship multiple times in the Bible, and has various names including Kiryat Ye'arim, Kiryat Ba'al, Ba'alah and Ba'ale Judah - which probably relate to its Canaanite origins. Moses and Joshua bowing before the Ark of the Covenant, which was believed to be kept at the ancient site of Kiriath-Jearim, in west Jerusalem
Moses and Joshua bowing before the Ark of the Covenant, which was believed to be kept at the ancient site of Kiriath-Jearim, in west Jerusalem

WHAT DOES THE OLD TESTAMENT SAY ABOUT THE ARK?

The Old Testament says the Israelites took the ark through the desert where it was lost to Philistines in battle.
However, legend has it God punished the Philistines with sickness which forced them to return their finds to the Isrealites in Kiriath Jearim, where it remained for 20 years.
The story goes King David then took it to Jerusalem where it was put in King Solomon's Temple, from which point there are no further records of it.
New findings indicate it could have spent several hundred years in Kiriath Jearim.
This could explain why there are no more stories about it after 609BC, according to researchers from the College de France and Tel Aviv University.
Their findings suggest the ark could have contained Canaanite relics which were worshipped in the area in the 8th century BC. 
Researchers have now uncovered a wall at Kiriath Jearim which could have supported a temple that was home to one of the most important cults in Israel at the time.
Sources suggest it was located just 12 kilometres (7.4 miles) west of the city and would have rivalled the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is the most important find and suggests Kiriath Jearim was powerful and much more likely to have been home to such an important relic.
'This site might have been one of the most important cultic centers of the country,' Christophe Nicolle, an archaeologist from the College de France told Haaretz.
'This reinforces the idea there was a temple here in the 8th or 7th century B.C.E., perhaps in competition with the Temple in Jerusalem'.Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the two stone tablets bearing the Ten Commandments
Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant, which contains the two stone tablets bearing the Ten Commandments
Archaeological evidence also  suggests Kiriath Jerarim was home to cult activity during this time. 
This was well after King David was initially supposed to carry the ark off to Jerusalem. 
If these findings are correct, it could mean the ark only spent a few decades in Jerusalem before it was invaded by Babylonians.
Excavators say they are not expecting to find the Ark of the Covenant but are hoping their research will help them better understand the ancient Israelites.
Kiriath Jearim is referred to as a place of worship multiple times in the bible, and has various names including Kiryat Ye'arim, Kiryat Ba'al, Ba'alah and Ba'ale Judah - which probably relate to its Canaanite origins
Kiriath Jearim is referred to as a place of worship multiple times in the bible, and has various names including Kiryat Ye'arim, Kiryat Ba'al, Ba'alah and Ba'ale Judah - which probably relate to its Canaanite origins
'I want to know what's behind it, what it tells us about the history of Judah and Israel, of the cult of the God of Israel and the Temple in Jerusalem', said Dr Römer.
Scholars have suggested over the years the ark story is in fact dated to the 8th century BC and was then incorporated into biblical texts.
There is also debate over the accuracy of depictions of figures such as David and Solomon and the idea there was a unique Israelite kingdom in the 10th century as described in biblical texts.
This research shows the reality is more complex and Christian beliefs incorporated a number of influences from other religions and cultures at the time.

Solomon's Stables under the Temple Platform

Image Description from historic lecture booklet: "When the Temple was built, the summit of Mount Moriah was found not large enough for the building and its courts. The architects adopted the plan of building out the platform and resting it upon great walls reared up form the side of the mountain. we can descend by a series of steps into theses wast substructures which are underneath the open court south of the Dome of the Rock. There are thirteen of these great vaults, including an area of 273 feet from east to wast, and nearly 300 feet from north to south. They are called "Solomon's Stables" from a tradition of their use in ancient times. On the lower courses of the pillars a smooth band or drafting may be noticed. This is characteristic of very ancient work, and may indicate that the foundations of these structures were laid by the Tyrian builders of Solomon's Temple. As we look upward to these arched roofs. let us remember that above them is the platform of the Temple area."

The artifacts may be the first physical evidence of human activity at the Temple Mount—also known as Solomon's Temple—in that time.

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Israeli Antiquity Authority archeologist Annete Nagar shows the 2,000-year-old Second Temple period drainage tunnel under Jerusalem's Old City at the west side of the Jewish Wailing Wall on January 25, 2011. Israeli archaeologists have finished work, which started in 2004, on the tunnel that starts at a site near the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound inside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, officials said. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)
Religious leaders do not allow archaeological excavations on Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites for Judaism and Islam. The site, known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is now covered by Islam's Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.
The earliest source of information on the First Temple is the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament). According to the biblical sources, the temple was constructed under King Solomon during Israel's period of united monarchy. This puts the date of its construction in the mid-10th century BCE. Some scholars have speculated that a Jebusite sanctuary may have previously occupied the site. During the kingdom of Judah, the temple was dedicated to Yahweh, the God of Israel and is said to have housed the Ark of the CovenantRabbinic sources state that the First Temple stood for 410 years and, based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah, place construction in 832 BCE and destruction in 422 BCE (3338 AM), 165 years later than secular estimates.
The following is a summary of the history according to Book of Samuel and Book of Kings, with notes on the variations to this story in the later Book of Chronicles.
The Mishkan (dwelling place) of the god of Israel, was originally the portable shrine called the Ark of the Covenant, which was placed in the Tabernacle tent. King David, having unified all Israel, brought the Ark to his new capital, Jerusalem, intending to build there a temple in order to house the Ark in a permanent place. David purchased a threshing-floor for the site of the Temple (1 Chronicles 21–22), but then Yahweh told him that he would not be permitted to build a temple. The task of building therefore passed to David's son and successor, Solomon1 Kings 6:1–381 Kings Chapter 7, and Chapter 8 describe the construction and dedication of the Temple under Solomon.
King Solomon requested the aid of King Hiram of Tyre to provide both the quality materials and skilled craftsmen. During the construction, a special inner room, named in Hebrew Kodesh Hakodashim (Holy of Holies), was prepared to receive and house the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 6:19); and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark—containing the Tablets of Stone—was placed therein (1 Kings 8:6–9).
The exact location of the First Temple is unknown: it is believed to have been situated upon the hill which forms the site of the 1st century Second Temple and present-day Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock is situated. However, two other, slightly different sites have been proposed on this same hill: one places the stone altar at the location of the rock which is now beneath the gilded dome, with the rest of the temple to the west. The Well of Souls was, according to this theory, a pit for the remnants of the blood services of the korbanot. The other theory places the Holy of Holies atop this rock. Still another location has recently been proposed between the Dome of the Rock and the gilded dome, based on orientation to the eastern wall, drainage channels, orientation of the platform stones, and the location of a possible Boaz pillar base.[6]
2 Chronicles 12:9, and 1 Kings 14:26 describe the Sack of Jerusalem by the Pharaoh Shishaq, who "took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house."
2 Kings 12:4–16 describes arrangements for the refurbishment of the Temple in the time of king Jehoash of Judah in the 9th century BCE. According to 2 Kings 14:14 the Temple was looted by Jehoash of Israel in the early 8th century and again by King Ahaz in the late 8th century (2 Kings 16:8). Ahaz also installed some cultic innovations in the Temple which were abhorrent to the author of 1–2 Kings (2 Kings 16:10–18).
The Temple also figures in the account of King Hezekiah, who turned Judah away from idols; when later in the same century Hezekiah is confronted with a siege by theAssyrian king Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:23, 19:1 and the Taylor prism), Hezekiah "instead of plundering the temple treasuries... now uses the temple the way it is designed to be used — as a house of prayer (2 Kings 19:1–14).[8]
Hezekiah's son, however, is much different from his father and during the reign of Manasseh of Judah in the early and middle seventh century (2 Kings 21:4–9), Manasseh makes innovations to the Temple cult. He has been described as a Solomon who also fell into idolatry, and Manasseh is described as a king who "makes" (2 Kings 21:3–7) or "builds" (2 Kings 21:3) high places (cf. 1 Kings 11:7) (see Deuteronomy 12 for the prohibition against high place worship), yet while Solomon's idolatry was punished by a divided kingdom, Manessah's idolatry was punished by exile.[9]
King Josiah, the grandson of Manasseh, refurbished and made changes to the Temple by removing idolatrous vessels and destroying the idolatrous priesthood c. 621 BCE (2 Kings 22:3–9; 23:11–12). He also suppressed worship at altars other than the Temple's.
File:Tissot Solomon Dedicates the Temple at Jerusalem.jpg

The Temple was plundered by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem during the brief reign of Jehoiachin c. 598 (2 Kings 24:13), Josiah's grandson. A decade later, Nebuchadnezzar again besieged Jerusalem and after 30 months finally breached the city walls in 587 BCE, subsequently burning the Temple, along with most of the city (2 Kings 25). According to Jewish tradition, the Temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of Av (Hebrew calendar).
  

The Temple of Solomon – The first Temple of the Jews was called hecal Jehovah or beth Jehovah, the palace or house of Jehovah, to indicate is splendor and magnificence, and that it was intended to be the perpetual dwelling place of the Lord. It was King David who first proposed to substitute for the nomadic tabernacle a permanent place of worship for his people; but although he had made the necessary arrangements, and even collected many of the materials, he was not permitted to commence the undertaking, and the execution of the task was left to his son and successor, Solomon.

The human-made plateau covers the hill where Jews and Christians believe Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac at God's behest. Islam teaches that Abraham almost sacrificed his son Ishmael, rather than Issac, at God's behest on this site.
Muslims also believe Muhammad ascended to heaven there to receive prayers from God before returning to Earth.

The Temple of Solomon - interior

Physical Evidence
Jerusalem's district archaeologist Yuval Baruch is supervising the Muslim maintenance project.
Baruch and Sy Gitin, director of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, Ronny Reich of Haifa University, and Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University, concluded that the finds might help reconstruct the dimensions and boundaries of the Temple Mount during the First Temple Period.
The findings include animal bones; ceramic bowl rims, bases, and body sherds; the base of a juglet used to pour oil; the handle of a small juglet; and the rim of a storage jar, according to the IAA.
The bowl sherds were decorated with wheel burnishing lines characteristic of the First Temple Period.
In addition, a piece of a whitewashed, handmade object was found. It may have been used to decorate a larger object or may have been the leg of an animal figurine.
"If he built the temple during the tenth century B.C., he—according to the Bible—had to bring a lot of copper to Jerusalem, and the copper had to come from somewhere," said Amihai Mazar, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was not involved with the study.
If the Bible's accounts of David and Solomon are rooted in reality, it's reasonable to figure the copper came from the closest known source—the contemporaneous site excavated by Levy and Jordanian archaeologist Mohammad Najjar in the area the Bible calls Edom.
Historical Extremes
Seventy years ago American archaeologist Nelson Glueck declared he'd found "King Solomon's mines" around the area Levy's team is excavating.
"He was in the 'Golden Age' of biblical archaeology between the World Wars," Levy said of Glueck.  
"He literally mapped everything that he saw archaeologically to the biblical narrative."
By the mid- to late-20th century, the tide had turned: Many academics were finding no verifiable connection between the Old Testament and actual history from the 12th through 9th centuries B.C.
Some believe that any useful historical accuracy in the holy book was lost during a period of revisions that is believed to have occurred between the seventh and fourth centuries B.C.
Research beginning in the 1970s determined Glueck's mine site became active only in the 7th century BC—hundreds of years after David and Solomon would have lived.
To this day, little archaeological evidence has been found to confirm the reigns of either King David or King Solomon.
"To what extent the Bible really recalls ancient historical reality from the tenth century is hard to say," said the Hebrew University's Mazar, who has been to the site but was not involved with the study.
Striking a Balance
Levy believes his study is a model for archaeologists working in areas described in ancient, sacred texts.
He avoided over-reliance on the biblical chronology, but also did not reject it.
His team created sophisticated, three-dimensional digital recording methods to map the layout of the site and the location of all the artifacts to determine ancient settlement patterns. Organic remains were radiocarbon dated at a lab in the U.K.
According to Mazar, the science is solid.
Levy argues that archaeologists should consider wide-ranging sources of information when examining a site from historical texts and ecological information to cultural materials, anthropology, and sacred texts. "I think that with archaeology, we need to use every possible source of data at our disposal," he said. "If you were interested in ancient India, you'd want to have an objective look at the Mahabharata," he said, referring to the set of sanskrit epics thought to date back to the eighth century B.C. And Icelandic archaeologists might consider the Sagas of Iceland, written in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries A.D.
"We try to create an objective historical archaeology," Levy said.
THOMAS LEVY: Most scholars had assumed that it was traderoutes that stimulated the rise of the Edomite kingdom, but I thought that metal production and mining might be a key factor.
NARRATOR: The local people called it Khirbet en Nahas
THOMAS LEVY: Khirbet en Nahas, in Arabic, means "the ruins of copper." As you can see around us, the site is just covered with heaps of black industrial slag.
NARRATOR: Tom has been excavating this site for almost 10 years. He has shown how ancient smelters separated pure copper from the ore in which it's found, then spewed out slag, the molten waste product of the process. The layers of slag reveal an astonishing record of hundreds of years of ancient copper production.
THOMAS LEVY: I'm really excited about this. Look, right before us we have industrial-scale metal production; layer after layer, almost like a book that, page by page, would reveal the history of metal production at this site.
NARRATOR: Tom believes that metal production played a key role in the evolution of not only Edom but of ancient Israel, too. For ritual and prestige, weapons and tools, metals helped turn simple agrarian societies into kingdoms.
Ancient peoples discovered that, from blue rocks like these, a mysterious new substance could be created. When heated, it was soft and malleable; when mixed with tin, cooled and polished, it had a magical luster. The Stone Age was over. The age of metals had begun.

Tom's student, Erez Ben-Yosef, has been trying to find out how those first copper-producing techniques evolved.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017











US deploys stealth fighters and supersonic bombers for live-fire drill with South Korean forces - but North Korea dismisses it as a 'wild military act'

  • The U.S. flew two bombers and four fighter jets alongside South Korean forces on Thursday in a live-fire drill
  • The display was in response to North Korea, which launched a midrange ballistic missile over Japan earlier this week 
  • The drill also came a day after the U.S. tested it's missile defense off the coast of Hawaii 

  • The US and South Korea conducted bombing drills along the border on Thursday, in a clear warning to North Korea following another ballistic missile launch earlier this week.
However, the rogue-nation dismissed the joint training exercise and said it will not deter them from continuing their nuclear program.
'The wild military acts of the enemies are nothing but the rash act of those taken aback,' said the Korean Central News Agency - which acts as the mouthpiece of dictator Kim Jong-Un.
Two U.S. B-1B supersonic bombers and four F-35B stealth fighter jets joined four South Korean F-15 fighters in live-fire exercises at a military field in eastern South Korea.
The training mission simulated precision strikes against the North's 'core facilities,' according to the U.S. Pacific Command and South Korea's Defense Ministry.
The B-1Bs were flown in from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam while the F-35Bs came from a U.S. base in Iwakuni, Japan.
The United States flew some of its most advanced warplanes in bombing drills with ally South Korea on Thursday, a clear warning to North Korea. Above, two U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighter jets participating in the live-fire drill 
The United States flew some of its most advanced warplanes in bombing drills with ally South Korea on Thursday, a clear warning to North Korea. Above, two U.S. Marine Corps F-35 fighter jets participating in the live-fire drill 
 Two U.S. B-1B supersonic bombers and four F-35B stealth fighter jets joined four South Korean F-15 fighters in live-fire exercises at a military field in eastern South Korea that simulated precision strikes against the North's 'core facilities'
 Two U.S. B-1B supersonic bombers and four F-35B stealth fighter jets joined four South Korean F-15 fighters in live-fire exercises at a military field in eastern South Korea that simulated precision strikes against the North's 'core facilities'
The B-1Bs were flown in from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam while the F-35Bs came from a U.S. base in Iwakuni, Japan
The North, which claims Washington has long threatened Pyongyang by flaunting the powerful U.S. nuclear arsenal, describes the long-range B-1Bs as 'nuclear strategic bombers' although the United States no longer arms them with nuclear weapons. 
The dueling military displays open up the risk that things will get worse as each side seeks to show it won't be intimidated.
North Korea has made it clear that it sees its weapons program, which demands regular testing to perfect, as the only way to contest decades of U.S. hostility, by which it means the huge U.S. military presence in South Korea, Japan and the Pacific. 
U.S. bombers fly over Korean peninsula after latest N Korea launch
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In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, U.S. Air Force F-35 stealth fighter jets and South Korean F-15 fighter jets fly over the Korean Peninsula on Thursday 
In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, U.S. Air Force F-35 stealth fighter jets and South Korean F-15 fighter jets fly over the Korean Peninsula on Thursday 
A U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber drops a bomb over the Korean Peninsula, South Korea on Thursday 
A U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber drops a bomb over the Korean Peninsula, South Korea on Thursday 
The dueling military displays open up the risk that things will get worse as each side seeks to show it won't be intimidated. Above, U.S. Air Force F-35 stealth fighter jets and South Korean F-15 fighter jets fly over the Korean Peninsula on Thursday  
The dueling military displays open up the risk that things will get worse as each side seeks to show it won't be intimidated. Above, U.S. Air Force F-35 stealth fighter jets and South Korean F-15 fighter jets fly over the Korean Peninsula on Thursday  
Washington, in turn, seeks with its joint drills with Seoul and bomber flights to show that it will not be pushed from its traditional role of supremacy in the region. More missile tests, more bomber flyovers and three angry armies facing each other across the world's most heavily armed border raises the possibility that a miscalculation could lead to real fighting.
The U.S. Pacific Command said the exercises were conducted in direct response to North Korea's recent missile launch. Over the course of a 10-hour mission, the B-1Bs, F-35Bs and two Japanese F-15 fighters first flew together over waters near Kyushu, Japan. 
The U.S. and South Korean warplanes then flew across the Korean Peninsula and participated in the live-fire training before returning to their respective home stations, according to the Pacific Command.
'North Korea's actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilizing actions will be met accordingly,' Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, said in a statement. 
'This complex mission clearly demonstrates our solidarity with our allies and underscores the broadening cooperation to defend against this common regional threat. Our forward-deployed force will be the first to the fight, ready to deliver a lethal response at a moment's notice if our nation calls.'In Beijing, North Korea's ally China warned that war is not an option in finding a solution to Pyongyang's growing nuclear capabilities.
Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Ren Guoqiang told reporters that all parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that escalate tension.
The bombing exercise came as the United States and South Korea wrapped up their annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military drills that involved tens of thousands of soldiers. North Korea condemns the annual U.S.-South Korea war games as rehearsals for an invasion and described Tuesday's launch over Japan as a countermeasure against the drills. Washington and Seoul faced calls to postpone or downsize this year's drills.
The live-fire drill came a day after the U.S. tested its missile defense system off the coast of Hawaii. A missile was launched from a base in Hawaii (above) and then shot down by a destroyer  
The live-fire drill came a day after the U.S. tested its missile defense system off the coast of Hawaii. A missile was launched from a base in Hawaii (above) and then shot down by a destroyer  
The United States often sends its warplanes to South Korea, mostly for patrols, when animosity rises on the Korean Peninsula, which is technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
North Korea on Tuesday flew a potentially-nuclear capable Hwasong-12 intermediate range missile over northern Japan and later called it a 'meaningful prelude' to containing the U.S. territory of Guam. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the launch was a 'curtain-raiser of its resolute countermeasures' against the U.S.-South Korea war games and called for his military to conduct more ballistic missile launches targeting the Pacific Ocean.
North Korea has been maintaining a torrid pace in weapons tests this year as it openly pursues an arsenal of nuclear-armed, intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching deep into the U.S. mainland. Experts say Kim wants a real nuclear deterrent against the United States to ensure the survival of his government and likely believes that it will strengthen his negotiating position when North Korea returns to talks.
Pyongyang had earlier threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam, which is home to key U.S. military bases and strategic long-range bombers the North finds threatening. It also flight tested a pair of developmental ICBMs in July.
South Korean analysts said that the North's threat against Guam and the launch over Japan on Tuesday are likely attempts to make launches over Japan an accepted norm and win itself greater military space in a region dominated by enemies.
The U.S. and South Korean militaries say the Hwasong-12 the North fired over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido flew for about 2,700 kilometers (1,677 miles). South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk told lawmakers on Thursday that the North might have fired the missile at about half its maximum range.
The bombing test came a day after the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Navy conducted a successful missile defense test off the coast of Hawaii.
The test, scheduled well in advance, was done from the USS John Paul Jones.
A missile was fired from Hawaii and Standard Missile-6 guided missiles were shot off from the John Paul Jones to intercept the target.All options are on the table'. But which would neutralise Kim without risking a world war?


  • North Korea's test launch saw a ballistic missile fly over northern Japan in an act of outrageous provocation
  • South Korea then responded to the show of force with a display of firepower near its border with the North
  • Mr Trump said he’d received Kim Jong-un’s message ‘loud and clear’ and added: 'All options are on the table’
  • Kim Jong-un has missiles that have the potential to reach a wide arc of the Western Pacific, including Guam

Just when simmering tensions over North Korea’s nuclear missile programme seemed to be easing, its unpredictable dictator yesterday upped the ante in brazen style — sending a missile capable of bearing a nuclear warhead over Japan.
It was an act of outrageous provocation.
As we have seen, South Korea responded with a display of firepower near its border with the North, while President Trump announced he’d received Kim Jong-un’s message ‘loud and clear’ and repeated that ‘all options are on the table’.
His words didn’t have the impact of that ‘fire and fury’ speech aimed at Pyongyang earlier this month, but the threat is implied. Which begs the question: just how long can the White House go on sabre-rattling?
Washington had persuaded itself that Kim was backing down. The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, believed that China’s willingness to back new, tougher UN economic sanctions against its old ally were a restraint on Pyongyang.
But the latest launch not only flouts Japan’s sovereignty with utter contempt, it confirms that Kim Jong-un has missiles with the potential to reach a wide arc of the Western Pacific, including U.S. bases such as Guam. Major Chinese cities are also within range.A small, poor but reckless and belligerent nuclear-tipped country is testing not only Donald Trump and the United States, but the UN Security Council, which met in emergency session yesterday, too.
It is one thing for global leaders to say ‘all options are on the table’, quite another to choose a line of action that stops North Korea without setting off a nuclear war in East Asia — and, quite probably, World War III.
But at some point, President Trump — and remember, there are four generals in his top team now — must act to teach North Korea and any other rogue regime with nuclear capabilities or aspirations not to push it too far.
Show of force: South Korea launched military drills which included dropping eight bombs on a training field near the northern border, within hours of the North's missile test
Show of force: South Korea launched military drills which included dropping eight bombs on a training field near the northern border, within hours of the North's missile test
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House in Washington, U.S., on their way to view storm damage in Texas
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House in Washington, U.S., on their way to view storm damage in Texas
The Kim dynasty has invested everything it has to obtain nuclear weapons to safeguard its regime. This latest launch is yet another warning that it will stop at nothing to stay in power.
To counter such a high-risk mentality, some in Washington are beginning to think the unthinkable. But for the moment, other options that stop short of triggering Armageddon are more likely.
Option 1: DIPLOMACY 
For some analysts, Kim Jong-un’s provocative actions are what a psychiatrist might call a ‘cry for recognition’. He is a small boy behaving very badly so that the biggest boy on the block, the U.S., will take him seriously.
Treat North Korea as an equal not a rogue, say these analysts.
The problem is that both Kim’s grandfather (Kim Il-sung, who led the invasion of South Korea that started the Korean War of 1950-1953) and father (Kim Jong-il who turned North Korea into a nuclear power) charmed delegations from Washington into reporting back on their plans for reform, when what they were actually doing was pursuing their nuclear agenda relentlessly.
Under Kim Jong-un (pictured on Saturday), Pyongyang has made rapid strides in its ballistic missile technology in violation of UN resolutions and threats of 'fire and fury' from Trump
Under Kim Jong-un (pictured on Saturday), Pyongyang has made rapid strides in its ballistic missile technology in violation of UN resolutions and threats of 'fire and fury' from Trump
Living in fear: South Koreans watch  file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul after the North fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean
Living in fear: South Koreans watch file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul after the North fired a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean
Appeasement has a poor track record in Pyongyang.
In any case, the Trump administration would demand a verifiable halt to further missile development — and Kim won’t give up his only card willingly.
Option 2: SANCTIONS
If Kim can’t be sweet-talked into seeing sense, then even tougher economic sanctions would force him to choose between North Korea’s economic viability and its nuclear prowess. The UN Security Council, which includes China and Russia, has backed sanctions repeatedly since Pyongyang started its nuclear and missile tests a decade ago.
Earlier this month, the UN beefed up existing sanctions with an international ban on key exports from North Korea amounting to $1billion. China and Russia are North Korea’s lifeline to the outside world and could strangle the regime if they acted in tandem to cut all trade and transport links.
However, with more than 90 per cent of North Korea’s trade going through China, the Chinese would take a hit financially, while a chaotic economic collapse in North Korea could see millions of refugees heading for the Chinese border.
Response: U.S. President Donald Trump said he had received Kim Jong-un's message 'loud and clear' after North Korea's ballistic missile launch over Japan today
Response: U.S. President Donald Trump said he had received Kim Jong-un's message 'loud and clear' after North Korea's ballistic missile launch over Japan today
Response: A bomb hits a mock target at the Pilseung Firing Range  in Gangwon-do, South Korea near the border to the North after  on Tuesday as the South continues military drills 
Response: A bomb hits a mock target at the Pilseung Firing Range in Gangwon-do, South Korea near the border to the North after  on Tuesday as the South continues military drills 
A desperate Kim might even, in a last act of defiance, turn his fire on Beijing and Moscow itself.
Even if prepared for that outcome, Presidents Xi and Putin would demand a high price from Trump for that kind of high-risk help. And remember, the U.S. has just imposed mandatory sanctions of its own on Russia. Would Congress swallow its pride and repeal them to get Putin on board?
In reality, sanctions are slow to deliver. Decades of sanctions were needed to prod Iran into doing a deal, which Trump and Israel still don’t trust. Would a North Korean deal be any more believable?
Option 3: A LIMITED STRIKE
The U.S. had a range of airbases in South Korea, Japan and on the Pacific island of Guam from which to strike, with B1 bombers, cruise missiles, bunker-busting bombs, plus its fleet of nuclear aircraft carriers (each with more attack planes than the entire RAF).
Warning: Colonel Lee Kuk-no of South Korea made it clear that Seoul would respond with full force is North Korea threatened the South
While this firepower would, ultimately, destroy much of North Korea’s military nuclear infra-structure and 10,000 artillery sites, the country is more prepared than ever against an air attack.
It has mobile launchers to move and hide missiles, while the newer North Korean missiles are solid-fuelled (not liquid-fuelled) so can be launched much more quickly in retaliatory strikes at Seoul, the capital of U.S. ally South Korea, where 10 million people live.
There is no foolproof way to neutralise Kim Jong-un’s nuclear warheads by a massive airstrike. Simultaneous special forces’ attacks would be required — and all-out war might well result.
Option 4: FULL INVASION
Despite being far better-equipped than North Korea, the U.S. would require the bulk of its military manpower to be deployed to Korea to ensure a rapid and decisive win, leaving it exposed elsewhere in the world.
War in Korea would tie down the U.S. army and marines — unless South Korea’s 650,000 troops also took part. But South Korea is reluctant to engage in a pre-emptive war that would threaten Seoul with instant destruction.
China is a factor, too. It is vehemently hostile to the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defence system that was recently deployed in South Korea.
Drills: South Korea's F-15K fighter jets drop bombs during a training at the Taebaek Pilsung Firing Range on Tuesday morning in Gangwon-do, South Korea
Drills: South Korea's F-15K fighter jets drop bombs during a training at the Taebaek Pilsung Firing Range on Tuesday morning in Gangwon-do, South Korea
Beijing’s fear is that the real target of any American military action in the region is ultimately China. For the U.S. to act without being sure of Chinese neutrality runs the risk of a wider and far more perilous conflict.
Even if China was ready to accept the fall of the Pyongyang regime, a conventional invasion would not be swift enough to stop Kim Jong-un’s regime launching some kind of nuclear strike, as well as firing off his stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.
According to U.S. intelligence, North Korea has between 20 and as many as 60 nuclear bombs. If only a couple were successfully launched at South Korean cities, the scale of the casualties would be horrendous.
Option 5: ASSASSINATION
Taking out Kim Jong-un and his key commanders in a so-called decapitation strike is arguably the cheapest and least devastating option in terms of military and civilian casualties.
Unfortunately, a successful assassination wouldn’t stop a barrage of artillery and rockets being fired in instant retaliation against South Korea and Japan.
It might also require a U.S.-South Korean occupation of North Korea that would be faced by guerilla resistance deploying Kim’s stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. Nor would China — faced with the prospect of millions of refugees heading to its territory — be pleased by a speedy collapse of Kim’s regime.
And if it failed, Kim’s revenge would be indiscriminate attacks aimed at South Korea, Japan and any U.S. bases within range. In reality, a decapitation strike would probably mean all-out war.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would do all in his power to protect the Japanese public
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would do all in his power to protect the Japanese public
Option 6: A U.S. NUCLEAR STRIKE
The ‘first strike’ option is the ‘unthinkable’ that some in Washington are now considering, using America’s massive nuclear superiority to ‘eliminate’ North Korea.
But such an attack would kill millions of North Koreans, alarm America’s European allies, and trigger massively increased defence spending by nuclear superpowers China and Russia.
Option 7: PRESSURE ON CHINA
China’s rivalry with the U.S. has been a key determining factor in its relationship with North Korea in recent years.
North Korea has served a useful purpose because its nuclear antics required Washington to go cap in hand to Beijing in the hope it would restrain its protégé and stop the region from exploding into war.
And China has done well out of its dealings with North Korea. In return for hard currency — which it uses to buy components and expertise for its nuclear programme — North Korea provides cheap labour and raw materials to Chinese businesses.
China, however, has been finding increasingly that the Kim dynasty is not a cosy client. The grisly slaughter of Kim Jong-un’s uncle — reportedly fed to dogs — who had been the regime’s point-man with Beijing back in 2013, was a warning that there were limits to what China could make Kim do.

SK Colonel says they 'will exterminate' North Korean leadership
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Without the Chinese support, Kim Jong-un’s militarised economy would suffocate quickly, so why doesn’t China do more than cut oil supplies and stop buying Kim’s coal?
The truth is that Beijing is wary. Kim’s nuclear deterrent can be pointed at China, too; while a regime collapse would mean a flood of refugees into Chinese territory.
Worse still, an American invasion of North Korea might advance to the Yalu River border with China, as it did briefly in 1950. Such a humiliation could turn Chinese nationalist sentiment against their Communist rulers.
Nor does China want U.S. bases in North Korea. It wants a neutral Korean peninsula and for the U.S. to back off from challenging Beijing’s claims to big swathes of the South China Sea.
Only if Washington can offer China a cast-iron deal would Beijing risk pulling the plug on Pyongyang. But can Washington swallow such concessions?
Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State, has hinted he could live with some concessions. But can he persuade Trump? Kim is betting there will be no deal with China.
Kim Jong-un launches new North Korean ballistic missile which flies over panicked Japan as citizens are warned to 'evacuate to a sturdy building or basement'


  • Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile which passed over
  • But people in the northern regions of Japan were advised to take precautions
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would do all in his power to protect people 
  • South Korea warned North Korea may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test
  • Detected signs of it preparing another test at its Punggye-ri underground site 
  • US, Japan and South Korea have requested a UN Security Council meeting
The government's J-Alert text message warning system and sirens advised people in the area to take precautions and move to a 'sturdy building or basement'.
The Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile, which passed over its territory around 6.06am local time. 
It broke into three pieces off the coast of Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific Ocean, around 700 miles east of Cape Erimo, after travelling 1,700m in eight minutes.
It is the first time North Korea has fired a projectile over Japan since 2009. Kim Jong Un has been conducting a series of test launches and recently threatened the US territory of Guam.
Previous launches by the dictator have always avoided Japan. But any launch towards Guam such flights would have to pass over the Asian island nation.
The launch, from Pyongyang, comes after Seoul's National Intelligence Service (NIS) told South Korean lawmakers at a closed door parliamentary session that it has detected signs of the secretive state preparing for another nuclear test at its Punggye-ri underground test site. 
North Korea has fired a missile that passed over northern Japan today (file photo)
North Korea has fired a missile that passed over northern Japan today (file photo)
The missile broke into three pieces off the coast of Hokkaido and landed in the North Pacific Ocean, around 700 miles east of Cape Erimo
 Under Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang has made rapid strides in its ballistic missile technology in violation of UN resolutions
 Under Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang has made rapid strides in its ballistic missile technology in violation of UN resolutions
Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, described it as an 'unprecedented, grave threat'
Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, described it as an 'unprecedented, grave threat'
The warning text to citizens said: 'A missile was fired from North Korea. Please evacuate to a sturdy building or basement.'
The warning text to citizens said: 'A missile was fired from North Korea. Please evacuate to a sturdy building or basement.'
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would do all in his power to protect the Japanese public
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would do all in his power to protect the Japanese public
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would do all in his power to protect the Japanese public.
'We will make utmost efforts to firmly protect the lives of the people,' Abe told reporters in brief remarks as he entered his office for emergency meetings on the missile firing. 
The country's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, described it as an 'unprecedented, grave threat'.
The United States, Japan and South Korea have requested a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss North Korea’s actions, diplomats said.
It was not immediately clear when the meeting of the 15-member Security Council would be held.
The warning text to citizens said: 'A missile was fired from North Korea. Please evacuate to a sturdy building or basement.' 
The Pentagon responded, confirming that they were aware of the launch.A statement read: 'We assess North Korea conducted a missile launch within the last 90 minutes. 
'We can confirm that the missile launched by North Korea flew over Japan. We are still in the process of assessing this launch. 
'North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America. 
'We are working closely with Pacific Command, Strategic Command and NORAD and will provide an update as soon as possible.'
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said he is ‘outraged’ by the ‘reckless provocation’ of North Korea’s latest missile launch. 
North Korea launched a rocket over Japan in 1998 and then a satellite payload in 2009.   
Sirens sound for potential North Korea attack in Japan
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Kim Jong Un has conducted a series of test launches to develop its missile capability and recently threatened to send missiles over western Japan and into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam
Kim Jong Un has conducted a series of test launches to develop its missile capability and recently threatened to send missiles over western Japan and into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam
The missile broke into three pieces off the coast of Hokkaido and landed in the North Pacific Ocean, around 700 miles east of Cape Erimo
The missile broke into three pieces off the coast of Hokkaido and landed in the North Pacific Ocean, around 700 miles east of Cape Erimo
North Korea has previously conducted dozens of missile test. Pictured: The launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location
North Korea has previously conducted dozens of missile test. Pictured: The launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location
North Korea may be preparing for its sixth nuclear weapon test, South Korean officials have warned 
North Korea may be preparing for its sixth nuclear weapon test, South Korean officials have warned 
Kim Jong Un has conducted a series of test launches to develop its missile capability and recently threatened to send missiles over western Japan and into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.
Japan's military is practicing deploying anti-missile batteries at three U.S. bases in Japan.
The U.S. military says the drills will test the ability of Japanese and U.S. forces to work together and assess firing locations at the bases. They will also allow Japan to practice rapid deployment of its PAC-3 anti-missile system. 
Shinzo Abe: North Korea missile 'apparently flew over Japan'
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NORTH KOREA CALLS ICBM TEST A 'GLISTENING MIRACLE' 

'Our great leader Kim Jong Un sent a personally handwritten letter 2017, July 3rd, ordering the launch of an intercontinental ballistic rocket (Hwasong 14).
'The launch, that was personally supervised by the great leader KJU himself, will now be followed by the National Institute of Science's report.
'National Science Institute's Report: Intercontinental Ballistic Rocket Hwasong 14 was successful.
'Our dear leader KJU's strategic order was followed by a launch of an ICBM, and this was successfully processed.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un signs the order to carry out the test-fire of inter-continental ballistic rocket
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un signs the order to carry out the test-fire of inter-continental ballistic rocket
'The newly developed ICBM Hwasong-14 was launched, and this took place on July 4, 2017 at 9am, and flew for 39 minutes.
'It flew from a northwestern city, and flew precisely following the predicted trajectory. It also reached precisely the targeted point in Chosun (Korean) air.
'Our intercontinental ballistic rocket did not at all bring negative impacts to any nearby country.
'Our intercontinental ballistic rocket reached a maximum altitude of 2,802 km, and flew for 933 kilometres.
'Our dear leader KJU was there to witness the glistening miracle.'
'The success of the last stage of becoming a nuclear power state is developing an intercontinental ballistic missile. Hwason 14 shows the unwithering power of our state, our strong independence and defense in the world and will be marked as a significant mark in our history.
'North Korea, as a nuclear state capable of reaching any country in the world with our intercontinental ballistic rocket, will be able to root out the U.S's nuclear program once and for all, and bring peace and secure safety to the Chosun (Korean) peninsula.'Kim Byung-kee, a lawmaker of South Korea's ruling Democratic Party (DP) said the NIS reported North Korea 'has completed its preparation to carry out a nuclear test at Tunnel 2 and Tunnel 3 of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.'
He added the NIS had evidence to suggest Tunnel 4 was being readied for more construction work.
Meanwhile the despotic state has continued to test a variety of missiles, the US military has said.
It fired three short range ballistic missiles which revived tensions with Washington after President Donald Trump had said Pyongyang was starting to show some 'respect'.
The launches come as tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops take part in joint military drills in the south of the peninsula, which the North views as highly provocative.
North Korea has recently conducted a number of missile tests
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Following an initial US assessment saying that two of the missiles had 'failed in flight', a spokesman for the US Pacific Command later said the two weapons had not failed but 'flew approximately 250 kilometres (155 miles) in a northeastern direction'.

How far would missile have to travel from Pyongyang to reach the rest of the world?

US Naval Base in Guam: 2,114 miles (3,402 km)
Hawaii: 4,727 miles (7,670 km)
London (over mainland Europe): 5,379 miles (8,657 km)
San Francisco:  5,588 miles (8,993 km)
Los Angeles: 5,935 miles (9,551 km)
New York: 6,783 miles (10,916 km)
Washington, DC: 6,857 miles (11,035 km)
One of the three missiles blew up 'almost immediately', with none of the weapons posing a threat to either North America or the US territory of Guam, the spokesman said.
Lee Il-Woo, an analyst at Korea Defence Network, said the launches represented a 'low-level provocative act' carried out in response to the US-South Korea exercises, which are seen by Pyongyang as a rehearsal for an invasion of its own territory.
The joint exercises started on Monday at a time of heightened tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, after two successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches carried out by North Korea last month apparently brought most of the United States into range for the first time.
Analyst Yang Uk at the Korea Defence and Security Forum told AFP the latest launches by Pyongyang were 'carefully calibrated... to avoid revving up tensions too high beyond its control'.
The launches, which took place over a span of 30 minutes, came as North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw a military exercise simulating a special forces assault on South Korean border islands involving aircraft, 'multiple-missile launchers' and howitzers. A North Korea Scud-B missile (C) is displayed at the Korea War Memorial Museum on Saturday in South Korea
A North Korea Scud-B missile (C) is displayed at the Korea War Memorial Museum on Saturday in South Korea
A North Korea Scud-B missile (C) is displayed at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, after ballistic missiles were launched into the East Sea
A North Korea Scud-B missile (C) is displayed at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, after ballistic missiles were launched into the East Sea
Neither Japan nor South Korea confirmed the US military's description of the weapons fired by North Korea as 'ballistic missiles'.
South Korea's defence ministry said 'unidentified projectiles', fired at 6:49 am (2149 GMT Friday), flew some 250 kilometres towards the Sea of Japan.
'They could be ballistic missiles but they could be rockets. We are now analysing,' said Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera, adding that they did not fly on a 'lofted' trajectory.
Under Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang has made rapid strides in its ballistic missile technology in violation of UN resolutions, and it has been penalised by seven sets of sanctions.
Trump has called on China to play a more active role to rein in its neighbour, which relies heavily on the Asian giant for its economic survival.

Kim Jong-un's 70-year-old air fleet  

North Korean despot Kim Jong-un is preparing his special forces for suicide parachute missions across the border on 70-year-old Stalin era biplanes. 
The dictator has a fleet of 300 Antonov An-2 transport aircraft which are capable of flying as slow as 30 miles-per-hour and can even go backwards into a heavy headwind. 
Footage has emerged of North Korean paratroops jumping from the aged aircraft from very low levels in a show of force. 
Kim Jong-un has around 300 Antonov An-2 aircraft which were designed in 1947
Kim Jong-un has around 300 Antonov An-2 aircraft which were designed in 1947
Kim Jong-un, pictured at the controls of one of the ancient aircraft was observing drills involving his elite paratroops who jumped out of the aircraft during a training mission 
Kim Jong-un, pictured at the controls of one of the ancient aircraft was observing drills involving his elite paratroops who jumped out of the aircraft during a training mission 
The Antonov has an incredibly low stalling speed and a very low radar profile meaning it is difficult to spot at night when flown at low level
The Antonov has an incredibly low stalling speed and a very low radar profile meaning it is difficult to spot at night when flown at low level
The aircraft, which were designed in 1947, have an incredibly low radar profile - meaning they are difficult to track using conventional radar. They also fly at such a slow speed that modern anti-aircraft systems are programmed to ignore their limited returns. 
Also, the aircraft can hug the earth meaning ground-based missile systems will not pick them up and supersonic attack jets will find difficulty in detecting them from above. 
The bottom of the wings and the fuselage of Kim's fleet of aircraft have been painted blue with the top of the wings is green as a form of camouflage to prevent both ground troops and aircraft spotting them.  
The images released by North Korean media show the paratroops bailing out of the aircraft at incredibly low levels. 
If they attempted their mission at night it could be difficult for defending missile units and air-to-air fighters to successfully intercept the old-fashioned machines. 
North Korean paratroops performed for the cameras in a show of force, pictured 
North Korean paratroops performed for the cameras in a show of force, pictured 
According to The Drive, the aircraft could even land on short sections of road, allowing their troops to disembark and begin a sneak attack. 
It is feared the old aircraft could even deliver a nuclear bomb - possibly in a suicide attack into a strategically vital location. 
It is believed North Korea has at least 1,000 artillery pieces within striking range of Seoul, the South Korean capital, which is home to 25 million people.
Kim has claimed North Korea now has technology to miniaturise its nuclear weapons to fit onto an ballistic missile. 
North Korea could potentially load a bomb onto the back of an An-2 - with its one-tonne cargo capacity - and detonate it over the south.