Nu­clear war in­evitable, N. Korea says

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - WORLD | WORLD REPORT - By Kim Tong-Hyung

SEOUL >> North Korea says a nu­clear war on the Korean Penin­sula has be­come a mat­ter of when, not if, as it con­tin­ued to lash out at a mas­sive joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cise be­tween the United States and South Korea in­volv­ing hun­dreds of ad­vanced war­planes.

In com­ments at­trib­uted to an un­named For­eign Min­istry spokesman, North Korea also claimed high-ranked U.S. of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing CIA Di­rec­tor Mike Pom­peo, have fur­ther con­firmed Amer­i­can in­tent for war with a se­ries of “bel­li­cose re­marks.”

Pom­peo said Satur­day U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies be­lieve North Korean leader Kim Jong Un doesn’t have a good idea about how ten­u­ous his sit­u­a­tion is do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. The North’s spokesman said Pom­peo pro­voked the coun­try by “im­pu­dently crit­i­ciz­ing our supreme lead­er­ship which is the heart of our peo­ple.”

“The large-scale nu­clear war ex­er­cises con­ducted by the U.S. in succession are cre­at­ing touch-and-go sit­u­a­tion on the Korean penin­sula and se­ries of vi­o­lent war re­marks com­ing from the U.S. high-level politi­cians amid such cir­cum­stances have made an out­break of war on the Korean penin­sula an es­tab­lished fact. The re­main­ing ques­tion now is: when will the war break out,” the spokesman said.

“We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it, and should the U.S. mis­cal­cu­late our pa­tience and light the fuse for a nu­clear war, we will surely make the U.S. dearly pay the con­se­quences with our mighty nu­clear force which we have con­sis­tently strength­ened.”

The com­ments were car­ried by the of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency late Wed­nes­day, hours af­ter the United States flew a B-1B su­per­sonic bomber over South Korea as part of a mas­sive com­bined aerial ex­er­cise.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Guam-based bomber sim­u­lated land strikes at a mil­i­tary field near South Korea’s eastern coast dur­ing a drill with U.S. and South Korean fighter jets.

“Through the drill, the South Korean and U.S. air forces dis­played the al­lies’ strong in­tent and abil­ity to pun­ish North Korea when threat­ened by nu­clear weapons and mis­siles,” the South Korean mil­i­tary said.

B-1B fly­overs have be­come an in­creas­ingly fa­mil­iar show of force to North Korea, which af­ter three in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests has clearly moved closer to­ward build­ing a nu­clear arse­nal that could vi­ably tar­get the U.S. main­land.

The five-day drills that be­gan Mon­day in­volve more than 200 air­craft, in­clud­ing six U.S. F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fight­ers.

North Korea hates such dis­plays of Amer­i­can mil­i­tary might at close range and typ­i­cally uses strong lan­guage to con­demn them as in­va­sion re­hearsals. It has been par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive about B-1B bombers, de­scrib­ing them as “nu­clear strate­gic.”

SOUTH KOREA DE­FENSE MIN­ISTRY

A U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber, right top, flew over the Korean Penin­sula with South Korean and U.S. fighter jets dur­ing the com­bined aerial ex­er­cise Wed­nes­day.

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