Tweet from war?

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NORTH KOREA -

Korea and the US could lead to a mil­i­tary con­flict with cat­a­strophic con­se­quences for the re­gion.

In a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, Xi Jin­ping urged both sides to avoid words or ac­tions that could worsen the sit­u­a­tion.

Pro­fes­sor Lu­cas said: “The Chi­nese and the US have been talk­ing be­hind the scenes for months about what to do. The US has even had be­hind- the- scenes talks with North Korea since June.

“What Trump did is try to rip apart that diplo­matic track by try­ing to im­me­di­ately wave his own mis­siles against those of North Korea.

“Had Trump not gone on Twit­ter, the fo­cus of this cri­sis, as it has been for weeks, would be on diplo­macy.”

Mean­while, Boris John­son has said the ARE we wit­ness­ing the out­break of the next world war? Is the UK at risk? Well, not quite . . . yet. At this stage it’s only talk. The timing of Pres­i­dent Trump’s com­ments and the North Korean’s state­ment was dread­ful, but largely co­in­ci­den­tal.

The state­ment from North Korea wasn’t a re­sponse to Trump’s re­marks but a re­tort to the US test­ing an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile much ear­lier this month.

In­ter­est­ingly, North Korea has been threat­en­ing to regime of Kim Jong Un is re­spon­si­ble for the cri­sis over North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gramme and must now “fix it”.

In a se­ries of postings on his Twit­ter feed, the For­eign Sec­re­tary said Bri­tain was work­ing with the United States and al­lies in the re­gion to find a diplo­matic so­lu­tion to the stand- off be­tween Py­ongyang and Washington.

“The North Korean regime is the cause of this prob­lem, and they must fix it,” he said.

“The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is shoul­der to shoul­der in en­sur­ing North Korea stops its ag­gres­sive acts.

“We are work­ing with the US and our part­ners in the re­gion to bring this cri­sis to a diplo­matic end.”

The cri­sis blew up fol­low­ing the dis­clo­sure that US in­tel­li­gence an­a­lysts launch a mis­sile at Guam since 2001.

So that threat is noth­ing new.

The cur­rent spat cen­tres on com­ments from Pres­i­dent Trump and Kim Jong Un.

But this isn’t two fight­ers trash-talk­ing be­fore a box­ing match but empty rhetoric.

The US still has rou­tine mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with South Korea and Ja­pan planned for later this month and had con­cluded North Korean sci­en­tists had de­vel­oped a nu­clear war­head small enough to fit on a bal­lis­tic mis­sile.

It prompted Mr Trump to warn that he would un­leash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it did not stop its threats.

Py­ongyang re­sponded by an­nounc­ing plans for a se­ries of mis­sile test fir­ings to­wards the US Pa­cific is­land ter­ri­tory of Guam – the home to two major US mil­i­tary bases.

De­spite the in­creas­ingly bel­li­cose state­ments, Mr Trump’s com­ments did not ap­pear to be backed by sig­nif­i­cant mil­i­tary mo­bil­i­sa­tion on ei­ther side of the Pa­cific, while a dis­creet diplo­matic back chan­nel with the regime is re­ported to re­main open.

Ter­ri­fy­ing Trump: Read our colum­nist Ali Kirker’s take on the cri­sis on page 29. there are no signs of added troop or equip­ment de­ploy­ments.

Mean­while, re­cent satel­lite im­ages and in­tel­li­gence show North Korea’s armed forces aren’t be­ing mo­bilised but are par­tic­i­pat­ing in an­nual crop har­vests at col­lec­tive farms or work­ing on con­struc­tion projects.

It should also be pointed out that Pres­i­dent Trump has yet to co­or­di­nate with other world lead­ers.

Any mil­i­tary con­flict or pre-emp­tive strike against North Korea would re­quire the sup­port of the UK and it doesn’t seem Trump has so far reached out to his friend Theresa May.

There is noth­ing to sug­gest a con­flict – let alone a pre-emp­tive at­tack – is im­mi­nent against North Korea.

This might just be the case of busi­ness as usual and signals the con­tin­u­a­tion of the West’s poli­cies of con­tain­ment with North Korea.

The UK has a vi­tal role to play in help­ing reduce ten­sions on the Korean Penin­sula and the US would be wise to rely on its clos­est ally go­ing for­ward. A WOMAN has fled cri­sis-hit Guam for the safety of Scot­land amid fears the is­land could be tar­geted in a nu­clear strike.

Michela Hen­drix had booked to travel to Scot­land to search her fam­ily tree and be­lieves her timing could not be bet­ter, amid fears the cur­rent nu­clear cri­sis could es­ca­late.

The restau­ra­teur and de­signer is fly­ing to Ed­in­burgh to track fam­ily of her late Scots gran, Louise Boyle.

She has al­ready ar­ranged to have her 77-year-old dad John Peters, a re­tired US navy man, flown to Washington from Guam while she is away but is wor­ried about her boyfriend Mark Moore who has stayed be­hind for work.

“North Korea has said it will at­tack Guam and ev­ery­one is pray­ing this won’t hap­pen,” Michela said.

“We live in a trop­i­cal par­adise and now Kim Jong Un wants to de­stroy it with nu­clear weapons – he is in­sane.

“We have had th­ese threats be­fore but most peo­ple are tak­ing this one se­ri­ously.

“The place is usu­ally very lively but in the past few days it has been quiet, like a ghost town, even the birds have stopped chirp­ing.”

Guam is 6000 miles from the US main­land and while wor­ried, lo­cals re­main de­fi­ant.

“I am con­cerned about my boyfriend stay­ing be­hind,” Michela said.

“I have asked him to leave until this all blows over but he wants to

Michela with Mark, who is stay­ing on Guam. stay for his job. I am so ex­cited about com­ing to Scot­land to find my rel­a­tives.

“I have been wait­ing for this for a long time, but this busi­ness with North Korea has af­fected my dream trip.

“The peo­ple on Guam are not scared but ev­ery­one is pray­ing.

“I want to re­main pos­i­tive that noth­ing will hap­pen.”

Michela, 44, said until last week the is­land had been busy with tourists, but many had left.

“Guam is very pop­u­lar with the Ja­panese but most of them have gone,” she said. “It is only re­ally the South Kore­ans who own a lot of the restau­rants here and some Chi­nese who are left, but maybe they are used to liv­ing with th­ese threats.”

Last night it was re­vealed of­fi­cials on Guam have is­sued res­i­dents with a chill­ing leaflet de­tail­ing what they should do in case of nu­clear at­tack amid fears of an im­mi­nent strike.

The is­lan­ders were put on red alert af­ter the lo­cal govern­ment is­sued the emer­gency fact sheet with the mes­sage: “Don’t look at the fire­ball”.

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