Py­ongyang threat­ens to de­stroy US

‘Su­per-mighty’ nuke warn­ing

The Star Late Edition - - WORLD -

NORTH Korean state me­dia have warned the US of a “su­per-mighty pre-emp­tive strike” af­ter US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said Wash­ing­ton was look­ing at ways to bring pres­sure to bear on North Korea over its nu­clear pro­gramme.

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

The Rodong Sin­mun, the of­fi­cial news­pa­per of the North’s rul­ing Work­ers’ Party, said: “In the case of our su­per-mighty pre-emp­tive 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.”

North Korea reg­u­larly threat­ens to de­stroy Ja­pan, South Korea and the US 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,” Tiller­son said.

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

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

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

The de­fence 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.

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 De­fence (THAAD) anti-mis­sile sys­tem, which has an­gered China.

On Mon­day, 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 US, but of­fi­cials and ex­perts be­lieve it is some time away from mas­ter­ing the nec­es­sary tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing minia­tur­is­ing a nu­clear war­head.

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

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.

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

The US mil­i­tary’s Pa­cific Com­mand ex­plained that the USS Carl Vin­son strike group first had to com­plete a shorter-than-planned pe­riod of train­ing with Aus­tralia.

China’s in­flu­en­tial Global Times news­pa­per, which is pub­lished by the Peo­ple’s Daily, the Com­mu­nist Party’s of­fi­cial pa­per, won­dered whether the mis­di­rec­tion was de­lib­er­ate and ac­cused the US mil­i­tary and pres­i­dent of cre­at­ing “fake news”.

PIC­TURE: REUTERS/KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ad­dresses units of the Korean Peo­ple’s Army.

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