North Korea Seek­ing Mil­i­tary Equilib­rium With U.S.

Iran News - - FRONT PAGE -

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said on Satur­day it aims to reach an “equilib­rium” of mil­i­tary force with the United States, which ear­lier sig­nalled its pa­tience for di­plo­macy is wear­ing thin af­ter Py­ongyang fired a mis­sile over Ja­pan for the sec­ond time in un­der a month.

“Our fi­nal goal is to es­tab­lish the equilib­rium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about mil­i­tary op­tion,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was quoted as say­ing by the state news agency, KCNA.

Kim was shown beam­ing as he watched the mis­sile fly from a mov­ing launcher in pho­tos re­leased by the agency, sur­rounded by sev­eral of­fi­cials.

“The com­bat ef­fi­ciency and re­li­a­bil­ity of Hwa­song-12 were thor­oughly ver­i­fied,” said Kim as quoted by KCNA. Kim added the North’s goal of com­plet­ing its nu­clear force had “nearly reached the ter­mi­nal”.

North Korea has launched dozens of mis­siles un­der Kim’s lead­er­ship as it ac­cel­er­ates a weapons pro­gram de­signed to give it the abil­ity to tar­get the United States with a pow­er­ful, nu­clear-tipped mis­sile.

Af­ter the lat­est mis­sile launch on Fri­day, White House Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser H.R. McMaster said the United States was fast run­ning out of pa­tience with North Korea’s mis­sile and nu­clear pro­grams.

“We’ve been kick­ing the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” McMaster told re­porters, re­fer­ring to Py­ongyang’s re­peated mis­sile tests in de­fi­ance of in­ter­na­tional pres­sure.

“For those ... who have been com­ment­ing on a lack of a mil­i­tary op­tion, there is a mil­i­tary op­tion,” he said, adding that it would not be the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pre­ferred choice.

Also on Fri­day, the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil con­demned the “highly provoca­tive” mis­sile launch by North Korea.

It had al­ready stepped up sanc­tions against North Korea in re­sponse to a nu­clear bomb test on Sept. 3, im­pos­ing a ban on North Korea’s tex­tile ex­ports and cap­ping its im­ports of crude oil.

The U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Nikki Ha­ley, echoed McMaster’s strong rhetoric, even as she said Wash­ing­ton’s pre­ferred res­o­lu­tion to the cri­sis is through di­plo­macy and sanc­tions. “What we are see­ing is, they are con­tin­u­ing to be provoca­tive, they are con­tin­u­ing to be reck­less and at that point there’s not a whole lot the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil is go­ing to be able to do from here, when you’ve cut 90 per­cent of the trade and 30 per­cent of the oil,” Ha­ley said.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said that he is “more con­fi­dent than ever that our op­tions in ad­dress­ing this threat are both ef­fec­tive and over­whelm­ing.” He said at Joint Base An­drews near Wash­ing­ton that North Korea “has once again shown its ut­ter con­tempt for its neigh­bours and for the en­tire world com­mu­nity.”

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