US: Mulling ways to put pressure on North Korea over nuke programme; don’t mess with us, says Pyongyang
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Washington is contemplating ways to put pressure on North Korea over its nuclear programme even as North Korean state media warned the Americans of a “super-mighty preemptive strike” if it messed with Pyongyang.
U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a hard line with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed warnings from its only key ally China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programmes in blatant defiance of U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
North Korea has constantly threatened to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States and never softened its belligerent stand after a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who is on a tour of Asian allies, has repeatedly said that the “era of strategic patience” with North Korea is over.
MILITARY OPTION ALSO A PART OF PRESSURE: US
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, on a visit to London, has said that the military option must be a part of the pressure brought to bear.
“Letting this dictator have that kind of power is not what civilised nations can allow to happen,” he said referring to Kim.
Ryan said he was glad by the results of the efforts made to collaborate with China to reduce tensions, but that it was unacceptable that North Korea might be able to strike allies with nuclear weapons.
North and South Korea are technically still at war as their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, and not a peace treaty.
In a meeting with top officials on Thursday, South Korea’s acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn repeatedly asked its military and security ministries to maintain a high level of vigilance.
South Korean presidential candidates clashed in a TV debate on Wednesday night over the planned U.S.-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system which has annoyed China, with frontrunner Moon Jae-in being slammed for leaving his options open.
Hwang and Pence on Monday reaffirmed their plans to go ahead with the THAAD, but the decision will be up to the next Korean president. For its part, China says the system’s powerful radar is a threat to its security.
North Korea has warned that it will carry out a nuclear strike against the United States if it is provoked. Pyongyang says it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but experts are of the view that it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a nuclear warhead.
US, RUSSIA CLASH OVER UNSC STATEMENT CONDEMNING NORTH KOREA
The United States and Russia clashed on Wednesday at the UN over a U.S.-drafted Security Council statement to condemn North Korea’s latest failed ballistic missile test, to which diplomats said China had agreed.
Such statements by the 15-member council have to be agreed by a consensus.
Previous statements condemning earlier 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 that it be included again.
“When we requested to restore the agreed language that was of political importance and expressed commitment to continue to work on the draft, the U.S. delegation without providing any explanations cancelled the work on the draft,” the Russian U.N. mission said in a statement.
There has been some confusion over the whereabouts of a U.S. aircraft carrier group after Trump said last week that he had sent an “armada” as a warning to North Korea even as the ships were still far from Korean waters.
The U.S. military’s Pacific Command explained that the USS Carl Vinson strike group first had to complete a shorter-than-initially planned period of training with Australia. But it was now heading for the Western Pacific as ordered, it said.
NORTH KOREA WARNS US AND ITS ALLIES
North Korea did not refer to the mix-up but said the United States and its allies “should not mess with us”.
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, did not mince its words in making Pyongyang’s warning to Washington clear, saying North Korea was fully prepared for any U.S. attack.
“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas, but also the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes.”
(WITH INPUTS FROM REUTERS)
source: India today
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