Aus­tralia in range soon for N. Korea

Kim Jong-un mis­siles two years off

Daily Mercury - - NEWS -

NORTH KOREA could hit Aus­tralia with a mis­sile within two years, a US act­ing am­bas­sador to Aus­tralia has warned.

James Caruso, the US charge d’af­faires based in Can­berra, told The Aus­tralian “ex­treme con­cern” was mount­ing about North Korea’s in­ten­tions af­ter the rogue state de­clared on Tues­day it was ready for “war” and had its “nu­clear sight” trained on Amer­ica over what it saw as acts of ag­gres­sion by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

North Korea tested a mid-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile last week, prompt­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to send a US naval fleet to the western Pa­cific in re­sponse.

The Amer­i­cans be­lieve North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be able to de­liver a nu­clear war­head to the US within four years, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

“(It) is very clear North Korea is a prob­lem,” Mr Caruso told the news­pa­per.

“They’ve gone from us­ing these (weapons) tests to get at­ten­tion; to now re­ally mak­ing these tests to do tests. The ques­tion has been: what do we want to do about it?”

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said yes­ter­day that North Korea was threat­en­ing the peace of the world.

“We con­tinue to call on China to ex­er­cise the un­doubted in­flu­ence it has over the North Korean regime to pull it back from fur­ther reck­less con­duct,” he said.

In a state­ment, the North Korean lead­er­ship vowed to counter Amer­ica’s “reck­less acts of ag­gres­sion” with “self­de­fen­sive and pre-emp­tive strike ca­pa­bil­i­ties with the nu­clear force at the core”.

“We will make the US fully ac­count­able for the cat­a­strophic con­se­quences that may be brought about by its high-handed and out­ra­geous acts,” the state­ment said.

Pres­i­dent Trump is not back­ing down, tweet­ing on Tues­day night that he would “solve the prob­lem” of North Korea. Mean­while, China is said to be amass­ing troops at the North Korean bor­der.

In­de­pen­dent MP An­drew Wilkie, a for­mer in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst, warned yes­ter­day that Aus­tralia needed to tread care­fully with ten­sions ris­ing over North Korea’s nu­clear threat.

“I just hope there are cool heads in Washington that ap­proach this in a sen­si­ble way,” he told Sky News.

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