Tiller­son down­plays North Korea threat on Guam

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO HUANXIN in Wash­ing­ton

bomb drop­pings on DPRK strate­gic tar­gets, DPRK’s of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency said on Wed­nes­day.

Guam be­came a US ter­ri­tory in 1898, and the US main­tains a naval and air force base there.

On Tues­day, the KCNA quoted a spokesman of the Strate­gic Force of the Korean Peo­ple’s Army as say­ing that DPRK leader Kim Jong-un has “rec­om­mended ex­am­i­na­tion of a pow­er­ful and ef­fec­tive ac­tion plan for con­tain­ing the US im­pe­ri­al­ists’ ag­gres­sion hard­ware, as the US forces are re­sort­ing to in­ap­pro­pri­ate and reck­less mil­i­tary ac­tions in the sen­si­tive area”.

This came on the same day when US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump threat­ened the DPRK with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if, he said, the DPRK does not stop mak­ing threats with nu­clear and mis­sile weapons.

Tiller­son said the Amer­i­cans “should have no con­cerns about this par­tic­u­lar rhetoric of the last few days”.

“I think what the pres­i­dent was just reaf­firm­ing is the United States has the ca­pa­bil­ity to fully de­fend it­self with any at­tack, will de­fend our al­lies, and we will do so,” he said. “So the Amer­i­can peo­ple should sleep well at night.”

How­ever, US Sec­re­tary of De­fense Jim Mat­tis on Wed­nes­day con­tin­ued to ratchet up the rhetoric, say­ing, “The DPRK should cease any con­sid­er­a­tion of ac­tions that would lead to the end of its regime and the de­struc­tion of its peo­ple.”

China urged calm on Wed­nes­day, say­ing such rhetoric could es­ca­late tensions on the Korean Penin­sula.

In a state­ment, the Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry called on all par­ties to avoid any words or ac­tions that might es­ca­late tensions and make a greater ef­fort to re­solve the issue via talks.

Richard C. Bush, se­nior fel­low of for­eign pol­icy at the John L. Thorn­ton China Cen­ter of the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion, also down­played the dan­ger from the DPRK.

“But even when —not if — North Korea has the abil­ity to strike the United States, that does not mean it will use that ca­pa­bil­ity against us,” Bush said in a blog posted at the Brook­ings web­site on Wed­nes­day.

Xinhua con­trib­uted to this story.

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