Pyongyang threatens to destroy US
‘Super-mighty’ nuke warning
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”.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un addresses units of the Korean People’s Army.