Pre­emp­tive strike to be ‘su­per-mighty’ — N. Korea

Business World - - THE WORLD -

SEOUL — North Korean state me­dia warned the United States of a “su­per-mighty pre­emp­tive strike” af­ter US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said the United States was look­ing at ways to bring pres­sure to bear on North Korea over its nu­clear pro­gram.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has taken a hard line with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has re­buffed ad­mo­ni­tions from sole ma­jor ally China and pro­ceeded with nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams in de­fi­ance of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil sanc­tions.

The Rodong Sin­mun, the of­fi­cial news­pa­per of the North’s rul­ing Work­ers’ Party, did not mince its words.

“In the case of our su­per-mighty pre­emp­tive strike be­ing launched, it will completely and im­me­di­ately wipe out not only US im­pe­ri­al­ists’ in­va­sion forces in South Korea and its sur­round­ing ar­eas but the US main­land and re­duce them to ashes,” it said.

Reclu­sive North Korea reg­u­larly threat­ens to de­stroy Ja­pan, South Korea and the United States and has shown no let- up in its bel­liger­ence af­ter a failed mis­sile test on Sun­day, a day af­ter putting on a huge dis­play of mis­siles at a pa­rade in Py­ongyang.

“We’re re­view­ing all the sta­tus of North Korea, both in terms of state spon­sor­ship of ter­ror­ism as well as the other ways in which we can bring pres­sure on the regime in Py­ongyang to re-en­gage with us, but re-en­gage with us on a dif­fer­ent foot­ing than past talks have been held,” Mr. Tiller­son told re­porters in Wash­ing­ton on Wed­nes­day.

US Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, on a tour of Asian al­lies, has said re­peat­edly an “era of strate­gic pa­tience” with North Korea is over.

US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Speaker Paul Ryan said dur­ing a visit to Lon­don the mil­i­tary op­tion must be part of the pres­sure brought to bear.

“Al­low­ing this dic­ta­tor to have that kind of power is not some­thing that civ­i­lized na­tions can al­low to hap­pen,” he said in ref­er­ence to Mr. Kim.

Mr. Ryan said he was en­cour­aged by the re­sults of ef­forts to work with China to re­duce ten­sion, but that it was un­ac­cept­able North Korea might be able to strike al­lies with nu­clear weapons.

North and South Korea are tech­ni­cally still at war be­cause their 1950-53 con­flict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

‘MAX THUN­DER’

South Korea’s act­ing pres­i­dent, Hwang Kyo-ahn, at a meet­ing with top off icials on Thurs­day, re­peat­edly called for the mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity min­istries to main­tain vig­i­lance.

The de­fense min­istry said US and South Korean air forces were con­duct­ing an an­nual train­ing ex­er­cise, co­de­named Max Thun­der, un­til April 28. North Korea rou­tinely la­bels such ex­er­cises prepa­ra­tions for in­va­sion.

“We are con­duct­ing a prac­ti­cal and more in­ten­sive ex­er­cise than ever,” South Korean pi­lot Colonel Lee Bum­chul told re­porters. “Through this ex­er­cise, I am sure we can de­ter war and re­move our en­emy’s in­ten­tion to pro­voke us.”

South Korean pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates clashed on Wed­nes­day night in a de­bate over the planned de­ploy­ment in South Korea of a US-sup­plied Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense (THAAD) anti-mis­sile sys­tem, which has an­gered China.

Fron­trun­ner Moon Jae- in was crit­i­cized for leav­ing his op­tions open be­fore the May 9 elec­tion.

On Mon­day, Messrs. Hwang and Pence reaf­firmed their plans to go ahead with the THAAD, but the de­ci­sion will be up to the next South Korean pres­i­dent. For its part, China says the sys­tem’s pow­er­ful radar is a threat to its se­cu­rity.

The North has said it has de­vel­oped a mis­sile that can strike the main­land United States, but off icials and ex­perts be­lieve it is some time away from mas­ter­ing the nec­es­sary tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing minia­tur­iz­ing a nu­clear war­head.

RUS­SIA, US AT ODDS

The United States and Rus­sia clashed at the United Na­tions on Wed­nes­day over a US-drafted Se­cu­rity Coun­cil state­ment to con­demn North Korea’s lat­est failed bal­lis­tic mis­sile test.

Di­plo­mats said China had agreed to the state­ment.

Such state­ments by the 15-mem­ber coun­cil have to be agreed by con­sen­sus.

Pre­vi­ous state­ments de­nounc­ing mis­sile launches “wel­comed ef­forts by coun­cil mem­bers, as well as other states, to fa­cil­i­tate a peace­ful and com­pre­hen­sive so­lu­tion through dia­logue.” The lat­est draft state­ment dropped “through dia­logue” and Rus­sia re­quested it be in­cluded again.

“When we re­quested to re­store the agreed lan­guage that was of po­lit­i­cal im­por­tance and ex­pressed com­mit­ment to con­tinue to work on the draft ... the US del­e­ga­tion with­out pro­vid­ing any ex­pla­na­tions can­celed the work on the draft,” the Rus­sian UN mis­sion said in a state­ment.

Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang said China be­lieved in the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil main­tain­ing unity.

“Speak­ing with one voice is ex­tremely im­por­tant to the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ap­pro­pri­ately re­spond­ing to the rel­e­vant is­sue on the penin­sula,” he told re­porters.

There has been some con­fu­sion over the where­abouts of a US air­craft car­rier group af­ter Mr. Trump said last week he had sent an “ar­mada” as a warn­ing to North Korea, even as the ships were still far from Korean wa­ters. —

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