Py­ongyang seek­ing mil­i­tary ‘equilib­rium’ with Wash­ing­ton

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

SEOUL/UNITED NA­TIONS: 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 pro­gramme de­signed to give it the abil­ity to tar­get the Unit- ed States with a pow­er­ful, nu­cle­artipped 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 pro­grammes.

“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 Septem­ber 3, im­pos­ing a ban on North Korea’s tex­tile ex­ports and cap­ping its im­ports of crude oil.

- KCNA via Reuters

UP­BEAT: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides the launch of a Hwa­song-12 mis­sile in this un­dated photo re­leased by North Korea’s Korean Cen­tral News Agency on Satur­day.

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