Motives of North Korea’s Leader Baffle Americans and Allies

TOKYO — What does Kim Jong-un want?

That remains far harder to answer than the technical questions about Mr. Kim’s bombs and the reach of his missiles that have preoccupied American, Japanese and South Korean intelligence officials for years.

After North Korea’s underground test on Sunday, more is now known about the power of his nuclear arsenal, even if mystery remains about the veracity of the North’s claim that it detonated a hydrogen bomb.

Yet six years after Mr. Kim took power and began executing those who challenged his rule — sometimes with an antiaircraft gun — there is no issue that confounds analysts more than the motives of a 33-year-old dictator whose every move seems one part canny strategy, one part self-preservation, and one part nuclear narcissism.

The conventional wisdom has always been that Mr. Kim, like his father and grandfather before him, is mostly motivated by a deep desire to preserve the family business — a small country that is an improbable, walled-off survivor of Cold War.

But inside the Trump administration, many have begun to question the long-held assumption that his nuclear buildup is essentially defensive, an effort to keep the United States and its allies from finding the right moment to try to overthrow him.

Mr. Kim’s real goal may be blackmail, they argue — the sort that would be possible as soon as North Korea can put Los Angeles or Chicago or New York at risk.

It may be splitting the United States away from two allies — Japan and South Korea — who wonder whether the United States would really protect them, and half-expect Mr. Trump to make good on his campaign threat that he might pull American troops from the Pacific.

Or it may be about making Mr. Kim a power broker, a man Mr. Trump and Xi Jinping — leaders of the two superpowers Mr. Kim is fixated on — must treat as an equal.

Maybe it is about all three.

Very few people outside of North Korea have met Mr. Kim, including his supposed protectors, the Chinese.

Defectors periodically appear in London or Seoul, and offer insights, but few are true insiders. Documents revealed by Edward J. Snowden show that American intelligence agencies broke into the computer systems of the Reconnaissance General Bureau — the North Korean C.I.A. — but they learned more about operations than intentions.

“Anybody who tells you what North Korea wants is lying, or they’re guessing,” said Jon Wolfsthal, a scholar in the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former senior director for arms control and nonproliferation in the National Security Council under President Barack Obama. “We don’t know what Kim Jong-un has for breakfast, so how can we know what his real end game is? We just don’t have great intelligence into his personal thinking.”

In public statements, the country has made clear that it wants to be accepted as a full member of the international community and that it wants to develop its economy alongside its nuclear program. It has also maintained as a longtime goal the desire to reunify with South Korea — on the North’s terms. Although Mr. Kim makes repeated bellicose threats against the United States and South Korea, such statements are always conditioned on the Americans or South Koreans continuing their “hostile policy’’ against the North.

But none of that explains the pace at which Mr. Kim — more technically savvy and more brutal than his father — has raced in the past year to develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons that can hit multiple targets in the continental United States.

“He wants to demonstrate his ability to put a U.S. city at risk of nuclear attack,’’ Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the C.I.A., said on “Face the Nation” on CBS on Sunday. “That is where he is driving.’’

He has nearly achieved that goal.

The most commonly heard explanation is that Mr. Kim believes that once he can hit Los Angeles, or maybe New York and Washington, the United States would never risk doing to him what it helped do to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the now-deceased Libyan leader.

Mr. Qaddafi gave up all the elements of his nascent nuclear weapons program in 2003, in return for promises of economic integration with the West. That never fully materialized. And as soon as there was an uprising against him, the United States, European allies and some Arab states bombed him. He was found by rebel forces and executed.

But perhaps more than a self-preservation strategy is at work here. Mr. Kim, some of Mr. Trump’s advisers and outside experts believe, thinks he may be able to force the United States to withdraw sanctions and pull back its troops from South Korea, where they are a perennial irritant to Pyongyang.

Where analysts diverge is what he might do if the United States really did withdraw some or all of its forces, as Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, suggested that Washington consider doing. One fear is that it could use its nuclear arsenal as a shield for a military invasion of South Korea in an attempt to reunify the peninsula by force.

The worry, say those who fear the North is considering that option, is that its ability to strike the United States with nuclear missiles could undermine Americans’ ability to guarantee that it would protect South Korea, as well as Japan, from attack.

“If the Americans face a choice between San Francisco and Seoul, they will choose San Francisco,” said Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Kookmin University in Seoul.

Based on that calculation, Mr. Lankov said, North Korea “can provoke a conflict in South Korea and then they can just basically put an ultimatum to the United States telling the Americans that if they get involved, they are going to basically get a North Korean retaliation strike.”

Such a conflict would be catastrophic for Asia, and could lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. But it would also undercut every assurance the United States has made to other allies, from NATO to New Zealand, about coming to their defense.

The probability that the North intends to use force to reunify the peninsula, Mr. Lankov said, is “low, but real.”

It is also one of the regime’s stated goals, though one that — in the absence of nuclear weapons — it has never had a realistic hope of achieving. Many believe it is a fantasy, with or without a nuclear arsenal.

“North Korea does not have the power to carry out an all-out war that could last a long time for unification by force,” said Cho Han-bum, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, a South Korean government-funded think tank. “There is no way North Korea, while suffering from food shortages, can liberate South Koreans by force.”

Mr. Kim, Mr. Cho said, “has no intention of putting his words into action.”

He may well be right, but given the miserable track record of anticipating Mr. Kim’s intentions, neither American nor South Korean leaders seem eager to make that assumption. (One senior Trump administration official noted that in 1950, everyone assumed the North was too weak to invade the South, and were wrong.)

“It is important to take Pyongyang’s threat seriously,” said Mo Jongryn, dean of the graduate school of international studies at Yonsei University in Seoul.

There is another, less dramatic interpretation of Mr. Kim’s intentions. The combination of his developing nuclear program and his increasingly impressive cyberprogram may allow the North to effectively get away with smaller provocations without fear of military retaliation.

Mr. Kim paid very little price for the cyberattack that took out 70 percent of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer systems three years ago. There was no retaliation for its attacks on South Korean banks and media companies; its suspected theft of money from the Bangladesh central bank; or its role in a recent attack that hit Britain’s hospitals with ransomware demands. It might try to expand its cyberattacks for profit, or blackmail countries for economic aid.

Another possibility is that the regime will use its nuclear weapons to gain the upper hand in any future negotiations with the United States and its allies.

In the past, negotiators assumed North Korea might be prepared to trade away its nuclear program in exchange for economic support or a peace treaty with the United States, which would mean a final settlement of the seven-decade old conflict on the peninsula. (Under the United Nations armistice that suspended the Korean War in 1953, North Korea is still technically at war with South Korea, and its allies.)

But now the hope that sanctions will lead North Korea to give up an arsenal in which it has invested so heavily seems almost a fantasy. Instead, there is talk of whether, as an interim step, Mr. Kim might consider a freeze of its programs at their current level.

If so, the huge buildup of the past few years may have an easy explanation: Before negotiating a freeze, Mr. Kim may want a nuclear capability too big to dismantle. In short, he wants to be treated like Pakistan, or India, which have made clear they will never trade away their nuclear arsenals. By and large, the world has stopped demanding that they do so.

Domestic politics are also at work. Keeping nuclear weapons is also how the Kim regime can best engender fear and loyalty in the country’s populace.

“In order to justify what they’ve been doing all these years, they need an enemy of the United States to continue to exist,” said Suzanne DiMaggio, a director and senior fellow at the New America research group who has been involved in unofficial talks with North Korea. “Once that enemy is gone, then they don’t have the rationale any longer to keep this society in complete isolation.”

That is not to say that the North Koreans don’t have a list of wants if and when they are offered a seat at the negotiating table.

The North has repeatedly called for the suspension of annual war games conducted by the United States and South Korea and an eventual withdrawal of American troops from the peninsula. It is likely to want a guarantee that the United States will never again station tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea. It will surely want sanctions lifted, and some economic aid, as well as diplomatic recognition.

Critics of past negotiations with North Korea say it will never be satisfied. “It’s just this endless slippery slope of demands,” said Bruce Klingner, a Korean and Japanese specialist at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Some analysts say that what North Korea most wants is respect.

“There is a certain universality of wanting to be recognized and respected,” said Cameron Munter, former United States ambassador to Pakistan and now president of the EastWest Institute. “And because Americans take this for granted, they don’t see just how deeply motivating that search for respect can be.”

But granting that wish can be difficult for politicians who do not want to appear to be bowing to a dictator. The farthest President Trump went recently was to say at a rally in Phoenix last month that he respected the fact that Kim Jong-un “is starting to respect us.”

If that was ever true, it didn’t last long.

Correction: September 4, 2017
An earlier version of this article misspelled the given name of the Chinese president. He is Xi Jinping, not Jingping.

South Korea Simulates Attack on North Korea’s Nuclear Site After Test

Following U.S. warnings to North Korea of a “massive military response,” South Korea on Monday fired missiles into the sea to simulate an attack on the North’s main nuclear test site.

A day after Pyongyang detonated its largest ever nuclear test explosion, South Korea’s Defense Ministry also said Monday that North Korea appeared to be planning a future missile launch, possibly of an ICBM, to show off its claimed ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons.

The Associated Press reported that Chang Kyung-soo, an official with South Korea’s Defense Ministry, told lawmakers that Seoul was seeing preparations in the North for an ICBM test but didn’t provide details about how officials had reached that assessment. Chang also said the yield from the latest nuclear detonation appeared to be about 50 kilotons, which would mark a “significant increase” from North Korea’s past nuclear tests.

However, a South Korean military official later told NBC News that Chang’s briefing “was pointing out that North Korea is always ready for the next ballistic missile launch and this does not mean that the South Korean military is expecting another ballistic missile launch at a given set time.”

China also warned North Korea against launching another ballistic missile, saying it should not worsen tensions.

South Korea’s military said its live-fire exercise was meant to “strongly warn” Pyongyang. The drill involved F-15 fighter jets and the country’s land-based “Hyunmoo” ballistic missiles firing into the Sea of Japan.

The target was set considering the distance to the North’s test site and the exercise was aimed at practicing precision strikes and cutting off reinforcements, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

North Korea is thought to have a growing arsenal of nuclear bombs and has spent decades trying to perfect a multistage, long-range missile to eventually carry smaller versions of those bombs.

Kim Jong Un has been very open about his regime’s ambitions. North Korea regularly issues apocalyptic warnings to the U.S. and its allies. Last month, the regime’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the U.S. would be “catapulted into an unimaginable sea of fire” if it imposed more sanctions or threatened military action. In May, the paper said the North was “waiting for the moment it will reduce the whole of the U.S. mainland to ruins” after President Donald Trump dispatched a naval strike group to the region.

Such threats have been a staple of Kim’s regime since he took power after his father’s death in 2011.

In October, top North Korean official Lee Yong Pil told NBC News that “a preemptive nuclear strike is not something the U.S. has a monopoly on.” He added: “If we see that the U.S. would do it to us, we would do it first.”

Related: They Fled N. Korea but Are Paying a Heavy Price

Asked by a reporter on Sunday if he would attack the North, Trump said: “We’ll see.” No U.S. military action appeared imminent, and the immediate focus appeared to be on ratcheting up economic penalties, which have had little effect thus far.

In briefs remarks after a White House meeting with Trump and other national security officials, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that America does not seek the “total annihilation” of the North, but then added somberly, “We have many options to do so.”

Some experts say the president now finds himself boxed in with only one real option: negotiate with a brutal dictatorship that’s one of the world’s most oppressive human-rights abusers.

“This looks like the only option here,” according to Professor Hazel Smith at the School of Oriental and African Studies, a university in London more commonly known as SOAS. “There needs to be some very brave diplomacy — diplomacy with a regime that for good reason is considered abhorrent.”

Whether the colorful characters leading Washington and Pyongyang have the appetite for this course of action remains to be seen.

Certain members of Trump’s administration have appeared more open to the idea of talks, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying last month that “we’re trying to convey to the North Koreans, ‘We are not your enemy, we are not your threat.'”

But Trump and Kim have more often favored threats and demands over nuance and olive branches.

Trump’s tweet following Sunday’s test exemplified his approach, saying: “appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

John Nilsson-Wright, a senior research fellow at the London-based Chatham House think tank, said that “there’s no evidence that North Korea is ready to talk and not much from Donald Trump either.”

In fact, North Korea did actually appear to suggest last month that it was open to getting rid of its nukes and rockets “if the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat to [North Korea] are definitely terminated.”

But all the while, the threats and missile tests and fiery propaganda have kept coming.

So how did we get to a place where the world’s biggest economy and most powerful military has so few options in dealing with an impoverished pariah state with few allies?

Firstly, a military strike against North Korea would be chaotic and bloody. If the U.S. launched an offensive, the North would almost certainly provoke a devastating retaliation against America’s ally of South Korea.

Even with conventional, non-nuclear weapons, North Korea could launch a barrage of missiles against the South’s capital of Seoul, and the wider conflict could see “millions of casualties and probably millions of deaths,” according to Smith at SOAS, author of “North Korea: Markets and Military Rule.”

These dire consequences caused Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to conclude last month that “there’s no military solution [to North Korea], forget it.”

While Trump has certainly talked tough — threatening North Korea with “fire” and “fury” among other things — these ultimatums have rarely if ever been backed up with action.

And some analysts say these hollow warnings have only emboldened North Korea.

“The United States has not mounted a coherent and visible response to several thresholds that have been crossed,” Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told MSNBC on Sunday.

When North Korea achieved several important milestones in its weapons program, such as test-firing two intercontinental ballistic missiles, this “did not provoke a specific response from the Trump administration,” Mount said. “That’s been a mistake and quite frankly it’s allowed these missile tests to continue.”

Nilsson-Wright, who is also a senior lecturer at Cambridge University, agreed.

“It seems that Donald Trump’s tactic of using rhetorical brinkmanship is not working and failing pretty dramatically,” he said.

The other option open to the international community is more sanctions.

But as Smith at SOAS pointed out, “sanctions are not a policy in and of themselves. The question is, what do you want them to actually achieve?”

Judging by North Korea’s increasing nuclear and missile capabilities, the measures imposed so far have been unsuccessful in halting the regime’s technological advance. In addition “any food sanctions would be directly affecting 25 million people who are living in one of the poorest countries in the world,” Smith said.

Military conflict and sanctions aside, that leaves the option of negotiation.

Despite North Korea’s appalling human-rights record, any talks would be “a good thing and an important thing to consider,” according to Nilsson-Wright.

North Korea is unlikely to launch a preemptive attack on the U.S. or its allies, but its weapons program worries analysts because of the scope for miscalculation and miscommunication from both sides.

Entering into diplomatic talks with historical enemies is nothing new. In 1997, British Prime Minister Tony Blair started negotiations with the Irish Republican Army, a banned terrorist group that committed waves of attacks against civilians and the U.K. government.

There’s also precedent between the U.S. and North Korea. In 1994, three years before Blair shook the hands of IRA leaders, former President Jimmy Carter flew to Pyongyang to persuade the regime to negotiate with Bill Clinton over its nuclear program.

“These gestures at the 11th hour can sometimes work, but I haven’t seen any sign that Donald Trump is willing to do something as bold as that,” Nilsson-Wright said.

Alexander Smith reported from London. Stella Kim reported from Seoul, South Korea. Daniella Silva reported from New York.

What the Latest North Korean Nuclear-Test News Looks Like from Seoul

On Sunday morning, Americans woke to the news that North Korea had apparently tested a hydrogen bomb in the northeast of the country—just days after the country fired a ballistic missile across Japan. Donald Trump, as usual, responded to this development on Twitter. “North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States,” he wrote. Then, inexplicably, he directed some of the blame at South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, and threatened to pull out of the countries’ bilateral free-trade agreement: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”

Later in the day, I called Dae-Han Song, a thirty-eight-year-old English teacher and community organizer who’s lived in Seoul for the past decade. Song grew up in Germany and the U.S., and is more left-wing than the typical South Korean—he participated in the mass protests that led to the impeachment of the conservative President Park Geun-hye and to Moon’s election, earlier this year—but he understands the country’s casual resignation toward the official state of war. (No peace treaty was ever signed after the Korean War, of 1950 to 1953.) Song’s neighborhood, called Yongsan, sits next to a U.S. military base.

He was preparing for a Monday class—his students are middle-aged businessmen—when reports of North Korea’s latest nuclear detonation popped up on his laptop. He talked to me about his reaction, and about the context in which this news is being received in South Korea. This interview has been edited and condensed.

“We’ve got to dispel the idea that North Korea is crazy. The leaders are very logical; they navigate diplomacy well—that’s how they’ve been able to survive this long. North Korea is not suicidal. Even if you look at it from a very cynical point of view, of regime survival, war with the U.S. is not an endgame.

“My connection with North Korea is the desire for Korean reunification. The division has stunted South Korean democracy: the National Security Law has been used to repress, torture, and kill students, workers, and farmers. All the red-baiting created a bloc in Korea’s population—something like thirty to forty per cent of the Korean War generation—that often votes against its class interests, like people in rural areas that would not benefit from a conservative coming into power. My mother, she comes from Pohang, a very conservative area of Korea. She can be liberal—she has compassion for poor people in the United States, because she was an immigrant—but, being from the equivalent of Mississippi in Korea, she thinks Korean liberals are all Commies.

“When I heard about the test, it wasn’t, like, ‘Oh, my god!’ For Koreans, if you haven’t become desensitized to this by now, you’re gonna die of a heart attack.

“The new President is not a progressive. He’s a liberal. He’s supporting a missile-defense system that will actually cause more conflict. For Korea to have full democracy, you need at least a peace treaty with North Korea. There will be a generation—it may not be mine or my children’s—but there will be a generation born after a peace treaty, who’ll grow up not in war but in peace. Germany’s reunification was through collapse, but Korean reunification will be through peace.

“I think people limit their imagination as to what reunification can look like. Nobody’s paying attention. People just go about their lives. There have been more tense moments than this. People are concerned about jobs, about having full-time work, not contract work. Things have been improving under President Moon. Despite his limitations, he’s a good person, and he has to do right: he’s the President who came after the Candlelight Revolution, where millions of people came into the streets and deposed a President. Unless you want to get deposed, you have to live up to the dream.

“It would be good for people in the U.S. to stop being hysterical, and think a little bit logically. I wish people knew that North Korea was born out of U.S. action and division. The U.S. military base near my apartment is prime real estate. Koreans are living in such highly concentrated apartments surrounding the base, and then you go in, and it’s the suburbs of Los Angeles. It’s spread out—there are lawns and two-story homes. There’s a complete wall. It’s a fortress, just like the U.S. Embassy is a fortress. People are so used to it that they don’t think about a foreign military occupying the country.”

  • E. Tammy Kim is a member of The New Yorker’s editorial staff and the co-editor of “Punk Ethnography: Artists & Scholars Listen to Sublime Frequencies.”

North Korea preparing more missile launches, says South

BBC – South Korea says it has seen indications that the North is preparing more missile launches, possibly an intercontinental ballistic missile.

It said it was strengthening its controversial US-made Thaad missile defence system after the North’s test of a nuclear bomb at the weekend.

The South has carried out live-fire exercises in response to the test.

The US has warned that any threat to itself or its allies will be met with a “massive military response”.

The North says it tested a hydrogen bomb that can fit on to a long-range missile.

Pyongyang has repeatedly defied UN sanctions and international pressure by developing nuclear weapons and testing missiles, and the provocations have only intensified.

In the past two months it has conducted intercontinental ballistic missile tests, sending one over mainland Japan into the Pacific Ocean. It has also threatened to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam.

The United Nations Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting later on Monday to discuss its response.

  • How should Trump handle North Korea?
  • What are the military options?
  • What’s at North Korea’s nuclear site?
  • Can we work out the power of the tested bomb?

Ahead of that meeting, South Korea and Japan’s leaders had agreed to push for a stronger UN resolution on North Korea, said a South Korean presidential palace spokesman.

The Security Council last imposed sanctions in August, targeting North Korean exports.

What has the South said?

Chang Kyung-soo, a defence ministry official, told parliament: “We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches. We also forecast North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).”

The ICBM could be fired into the North Pacific, officials said.

No timeframe was given for any launches but this Saturday, the anniversary of the foundation of the North’s regime, or 10 October, the establishment of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, were possible dates.

The ministry also told parliament the US would seek to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to seas off the peninsula.

It said it would temporarily deploy four more launchers of the US Thaad (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence) missile defence system to join the two already at the site in Seongju, south of Seoul.

Both China and Russia are strongly opposed to the Thaad deployment.

The South’s Defence Minister Song Young-moo said it was now presumed the North had reduced its nuclear warhead in size to below 500kg (1,100lbs), and would be able to fit one on an ICBM.

However, analysts have said the North’s claims about miniaturisation should be treated with considerable caution.

The ministry said there would be more live-fire drills in the South this month, involving Taurus air-to-surface missiles mounted on F-15 jets.

Monday’s drills simulated the targeting of the Punggye-ri nuclear site in Kilju County, where North Korea carried out its bomb test.

  • N Korea: China’s ‘nightmare neighbour’?
  • The most powerful nuclear blasts ever

South Korea and the US had also agreed “in principle” to revise current guidelines so that the South could double the maximum payload of its ballistic missiles, the Yonhap news agency also reported.

How did the nuclear test unfold?

On Sunday, seismologists started picking up readings of an earth tremor in the area where North Korea had conducted nuclear tests before.

The US Geological Survey put the tremor at 6.3 magnitude. North Korea later confirmed its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

  • Stages of an underground nuclear test

Pyongyang then released pictures of leader Kim Jong-un with what state media said was a new type of hydrogen bomb.

  • Kim inspects ‘nuclear warhead’: A picture decoded
  • ‘Tunnel collapse’ at nuclear site may provide clues

Officials in China said they were carrying out emergency radiation testing along the border with North Korea.

What has the reaction been?

The nuclear test prompted an angry response from US President Donald Trump who denounced it as “hostile” and “dangerous”, and called the North a “rogue nation”.

He added that the US was considering stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea, which relies on China for about 90% of its foreign trade.

  • Is Trump’s trade threat for real?

US Defence Secretary James Mattis later told reporters that while the US would respond to any threat “with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming”, it was “not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea”.

A White House statement also said that Washington would defend itself and its allies “using the full range of diplomatic, conventional, and nuclear capabilities at our disposal”.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the test an “absurd strategic mistake” and urged for the “strongest possible” response, including new UN Security Council sanctions to “completely isolate” the country.

China said on Monday that it had lodged a diplomatic protest with North Korea over the test.

Both China and Russia said any solution to the crisis could only come through talks.

What does the test tell us?

Estimations of the power of the tested device have varied widely, from 50 kilotons to 120 kilotons. A 50kt device would be about three times the size of the bomb that struck Hiroshima in 1945.

Hydrogen bombs are many times more powerful than an atomic bomb.

They use fusion – the merging of atoms – to unleash huge amounts of energy, whereas atomic bombs use nuclear fission, or the splitting of atoms.

  • Can the world live with a nuclear North Korea?
  • Have North Korea’s missile tests paid off?

 

Posted in BBC

Kate pregnant again! Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child – Kensington Palace

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child, Kensington Palace has announced.

The Queen is “delighted” with the news, the Palace said in a statement.

The Duchess is suffering from severe morning sickness, as she did with her previous pregnancies, forcing her to cancel a public engagement she had later today, the Palace added.

The statement said: “Their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child.

“The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.

“As with her previous two pregnancies, the Duchess is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

“Her royal highness will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road Children’s Centre in London today.

“The Duchess is being cared for at Kensington Palace.”

The latest addition to the Cambridge family will be a great-grandchild of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

He or she will be fifth in line to the throne, pushing uncle Prince Harry into sixth place.

:: George prepares to start school

But it is unlikely that, as a third born royal in direct succession, he or she will become king or queen.

The Prince of Wales is first in line, followed by William, Prince George and the couple’s daughter Princess Charlotte, who is two.

The news comes as the family prepares for a major milestone when Prince George starts his first day at school on Thursday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen an independent school in Battersea, south London, where fees cost from £17,604 a year, for their four-year-old son.

George’s first day at school and the baby announcement comes at an important time for the family, which is now mainly based at their Kensington Palace apartment, rather than their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall.

William is now a full-time royal having quit his job as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance in July.

The Prince is due to attend the National Mental Health and Policing Conference in Oxford tomorrow.

Speculation will begin immediately on the sex and likely name of the couple’s third child, with Alice – popular with bookmakers last time – or Alexandra possibilities for a girl and Frederick, James or Philip for a boy.

It would be a surprise, given they chose traditional royal names for their first two children, if Kate and William now went for something more modern.

In July Kate hinted at a third child on the family’s royal tour of Poland.

Given a cuddly toy meant for a newborn, she said to William, laughing: ‘We will just have to have more babies’.

The Palace has not said when Kate, 35, is expected to give birth.

Number 10 tweeted Theresa May’s congratulations, posting: “PM – This is fantastic news. Many congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

Posted in Sky

Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child

Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child, Kensington Palace has announced.

The announcement said the Queen and members of both families were “delighted” by the news.

Officials said the Duchess of Cambridge was suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a form of severe morning sickness, and would not carry out her engagements on Monday (local time).

The Duchess suffered from the sickness in her previous pregnancies and she is being cared for at Kensington Palace, the statement said.

William and Kate, both 35, already have two children: Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who are aged four and two respectively.

No details were immediately available about when the third baby is due.

The announcement came as a surprise, as there had been little indication that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant.

Their third child would be fifth in line to the British throne and if the child is a boy, his arrival will be historic because he would not displace his big sister in the line of succession.

William is a grandson of the Queen and the eldest son of Prince Charles, who is the first in line to the throne.

 

Posted in ABC

Duchess of Cambridge pregnant with third child

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a third child, Kensington Palace has announced.

The announcement was made as the duchess was forced to cancel an engagement on Monday because of extreme morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum.

In a statement, Kensington Palace said: “Their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child.

“The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.

“As with her previous two pregnancies, the duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Her royal highness will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road children’s centre in London today. The duchess is being cared for at Kensington Palace.”

The announcement comes in the same week as four-year-old Prince George is due to start school at Thomas’s Battersea, south London. Princess Charlotte is two.

Hyperemesis gravidarum can be so acute that it requires supplementary hydration, medication and nutrients.

Kate, 35, was admitted to hospital because of morning sickness during her first pregnancy.

The baby will be fifth in line to the throne – bumping William’s brother, Prince Harry, down to sixth place. Until recently, if the Cambridge’s new baby was a boy it would have leapfrogged Charlotte in the line of succession. Under the rules of male primogeniture, royal sons took precedence over female siblings.

A radical shake-up, before the birth of Prince George and affecting babies born after 28 October 2011, removed discriminatory male bias. It meant the Cambridge’s first child, regardless of gender, would be destined as monarch, and it means Charlotte retains her position even if she has a younger brother.

It is likely Kate will chose to have her baby in the Lindo wing of St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, where she has already experienced two straightforward deliveries. The couple have a live-in nanny.

Having chosen traditional royal names for their first two children, bookies’ odds are likely to be short on Alice or Alexandra for a girl, and James or Philip for a boy.

Royal observers had indicated it was likely that the couple would have three children.

Kate is one of three, with a sister, Pippa Matthews, and brother, James Middleton. On a royal tour of Poland in July 2017, Kate joked abut having a third after being given a present designed for newborns, turning to William and saying: “We will just have to have more babies”.

William, 35, who is one of two siblings, may not initially have been convinced. On an overseas tour of Singapore in 2012, when asked by a group of teenagers how many children he would like to have, he said he was “thinking about having two”.

He recently gave up his part-time job as an air ambulance helicopter pilot for East Anglian air ambulance to take up full-time royal duties as the Duke of Edinburgh stepped down from his royal work.

William and Kate, who have a property on the Queen’s Sandringham estate, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, will be based in Kensington Palace during the week.

Kensington Palace announces third royal baby on the way

THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a third child who will be fifth in line to the British throne.

Kensington Palace announced the news on Monday, saying that the Queen and rest of the Royal Family are “delighted”.

The Duchess is suffering from an extreme form of morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, as she did with previous pregnancies.

She has been forced to cancel her planned engagement at a London children’s hospital today and is being cared for an Kensington Palace.

The couple are already parents to Prince George, four, and Princess Charlotte, two. Their third child will be fifth in line to the British throne with Prince Harry forced down to sixth place.

Kensington Palace did not confirm when the baby is due.

MORE: What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

The Duchess was last seen in public last week with Prince William and Prince Harry when they visited a memorial garden dedicated to the princes’ late mother Diana. She was wearing a dress that showed no hint of a baby bump.

The announcement comes after the royal couple travelled to Poland in July and Kate dropped a hint she would like to have more children.

When presented with a gift for a newborn baby, she said “We will just have to have more babies,” raising speculation she knew she was pregnant at the time.

The news comes as Prince George is due to start his first year at school in London this week and following the twentieth anniversary of the death of the Duke’s mother, Princess Diana.

Earlier this week residents near the prestigious school where Prince George will start raised fears about security, claiming it could become a potential target.

Sarah Burnett-Moore, 54, told how she walked into Thomas’s Battersea after the front gate and a main entrance door were left open.

Mrs Burnett-Moore told The Telegraph: “I could have walked in with an IED and set it to go off on Thursday.

“I live just 200 metres from the school and myself and lots of neighbours are worried about the security implications as the prince’s presence will make the area a target for attacks.”

The news could help mark a new chapter for the family who have been at the centre of reporting around the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, that has seen the popularity of Prince Charles dip and led Prince William and Harry to speak out about her death.

In a documentary called Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, her sons revealed their sadness over their last conversation with their mother.

“Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know, ‘see you later’. If I’d known now obviously what was going to happen I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it and everything else. But that phone call sticks in my mind, quite heavily,” Prince William said.

MORE: Prince Harry defends Prince Charles over Diana’s death

Prince Harry said he struggled to recall what they talked about.

“It was her speaking from Paris. I can’t really necessarily remember what I said, but all I do remember is probably regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was,” he said in the show.

“Looking back on it now it’s incredibly hard. I’ll have to sort of deal with that for the rest of my life. Not knowing that was the last time I was going to speak to my mum, how differently that conversation would have panned out if I’d had even the slightest inkling her life was going to be taken that night.”

Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child, Kensington Palace has announced.

The Queen and both families are said to be “delighted with the news”.

As with her previous two pregnancies, the duchess, 35, is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.

She will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road Children’s Centre in London today.

Catherine is being cared for at Kensington Palace, the statement said.

The duke and duchess have one son, George, and one daughter, Charlotte, aged four and two.

With the previous two pregnancies, the couple announced them before the 12-week mark – when most women have their first scan – because of the duchess being unwell with hyperemesis gravidarum.

Her first pregnancy was revealed when she was just a few weeks pregnant with Prince George after she was admitted to hospital in December 2012.

Her second pregnancy with Princess Charlotte was announced in September 2014, when she was treated at the palace for the condition.

Hyperemesis gravidarum affects about one in every 200 pregnancies and results in severe nausea and vomiting – with one of the main dangers being dehydration.

The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the couple had “clearly been forced” to make the announcement because of the duchess’ condition.

“It is quite a significant week for them because Prince George is due to start at big school,” he told BBC News.

“Presumably his mother would be keen to take him to that, [but] whether she is going to be well enough to do that remains to be seen.

“It had also been expected that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be taking a foreign trip this autumn,” he added.

“Whether they will be able to do that or whether the duchess will be well enough to do that also remains to be seen.”

The expectant child will become the fifth in line to the throne behind Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

A change – which stops royal sons taking precedence over their female siblings in the line of succession – came into force in March 2015.

The child will be the Queen’s sixth great-grandchild.


The last third-born monarch

To become King or Queen as the third-born royal child is rare – and has yet to happen within the current House of Windsor.

But the third child of George III and Queen Charlotte, William IV, took on the task and ruled from 1830 to 1837.

The Hanoverian king acceded to the throne aged 64 when his older brother, George IV, died without an heir.

He became next in line when he was 62 and his other older brother, Frederick, Duke of York, died.


Prime Minister Theresa May has tweeted her congratulations to the couple, calling it “fantastic news”.

Posted in BBC

Trump pushing for $6 billion in Harvey recovery funding

President Trump is requesting that nearly $6 billion be made available for the Harvey recovery process.

The administration urged Congress on Thursday to approve and provide $5.95 billion for the initial response and recovery efforts related to the devastating hurricane affecting parts of Texas and Louisiana, Axios reported.

A senior administration official told the website that White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will be calling Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill this week, asking them for their support on the funding plan.

The official added that the Trump administration believes the requested amount will be more than enough to support hurricane recovery efforts until year’s end.

If approved by Congress, $5.5 billion would go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for its disaster relief operations and $450 million to the Small Business Administration to assist affected businesses.

To access the funding, the U.S. debt limit would have to be increased – a move that would aim at lowering the risk of default, Bloomberg Politics reported.

A separate official told the news site that the White House was looking to extend the limit long enough to move back the threat of default until Congress is able to draft a budget for the full federal fiscal year.

Trump has expressed his desire to move swiftly on recovery efforts and rebuild damaged areas in Houston and southeast Texas. Some Democrats have said that the area could need more than $150 billion in federal aid. The initial request is expected to be a down payment on a larger federal aid package, the Washington Post reported.

The news came on the same day that President Trump pledged $1 million of his personal money to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey in both Texas and Louisiana.

“The president is pledging a million dollars of personal money to help,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday.

Sanders said the president asked that she “check with” reporters for “suggestions” on groups and organizations that would be “best and most effective in providing aid.”

The press secretary was asked whether Trump would pay the $1 million from his personal funds, or from the Trump Organization.

“I know the president said he was going to give — I don’t know the legal part of exactly that, but he said his personal money,” Sanders answered. “So I assume that comes directly from him.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed reporting to this story.

Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych