North Korea says nukes aimed only at US

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

NORTH Korea’s For­eign Min­is­ter, Ri Hong-Yo, said yes­ter­day that his coun­try had no in­ten­tion of us­ing nu­clear weapons against any coun­try ex­cept the US.

Ri, in Manila to at­tend the Asean Re­gional Fo­rum, said North Korea “is a re­spon­si­ble nu­clear power and (In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile) state”.

“We have no in­ten­tion to use nu­clear weapons or threaten with nu­clear weapons against any other coun­try ex­cept the US, un­less it joins ac­tion of the US against (North Korea),” Ri said.

He lam­basted the US for “try­ing to in­ter­na­tion­alise the is­sue of Korean Penin­sula by abus­ing the UN” by claim­ing that Py­ongyang’s pos­ses­sion of nu­clear weapons is a “global threat”.

He also said that the nu­clear is­sue on the Korean Penin­sula had been cre­ated and de­vel­oped into the present phase to­day by the US.

Mean­while, a large ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans con­sider North Korea’s nu­clear weapons pro­gramme a crit­i­cal threat to­wards the US, ac­cord­ing to a new poll.

How­ever, they re­main di­vided on which pol­icy would best con­tain that threat – and for the first time in al­most 30 years, the ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans were found to sup­port mil­i­tary ac­tion if North Korea at­tacked South Korea.

The poll, con­ducted by the Chicago Coun­cil on Global Af­fairs, of­fers a glimpse of how Amer­i­cans are re­spond­ing to the rapidly evolv­ing cri­sis on the Korean penin­su­lar. Just two years ago, 55% of Amer­i­cans listed North Korea as a crit­i­cal threat fac­ing the US. Now 75% do, mak­ing it among the great­est per­ceived threats in the poll.

And notably, while many an­a­lysts now sug­gest that con­vinc­ing North Korea to give up its nu­clear weapons may be im­pos­si­ble, few Amer­i­cans think that should be an op­tion. Only 21% say they would sup­port an agree­ment that saw North Korea halt its nu­clear pro­gramme but not give up its ex­ist­ing weapons.

Even fewer – 11% – say they would be willing to ac­cept a deal that would al­low North Korea more nu­clear weapons.

De­spite the ques­tion­able suc­cess rate of sanc­tions al­ready in place, 76% of Amer­i­cans favour in­creas­ing sanc­tions on North Korea, with strong bi­par­ti­san agree­ment, while 68% sup­port plac­ing sanc­tions on banks and other busi­nesses that do busi­ness with North Korea.

On Sat­ur­day, the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved tough new sanc­tions on Sat­ur­day to pun­ish North Korea for its es­ca­lat­ing nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grammes in­clud­ing a ban on coal and other ex­ports.

The find­ings of the new poll largely echo those from a re­cent poll con­ducted for The Wash­ing­ton Post and ABC News.

In that poll, 66% of Amer­i­cans were found to be­lieve North Korea posed a “se­ri­ous threat” to the US, though four out of 10 said they did not trust Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to han­dle the is­sue “at all”.

PIC­TURE: AP

Vis­i­tors watch the North side from the uni­fi­ca­tion ob­ser­va­tory in Paju, South Korea. The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved tough new sanc­tions on Sat­ur­day to pun­ish North Korea for its es­ca­lat­ing nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grammes, in­clud­ing a ban on coal and other ex­ports.

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