Posts Tagged ‘Thaad’

Trump Warning on North Korea: ‘Better Get Their Act Together’

August 11, 2017

U.S. leader issues fresh warning to Pyongyang over nuclear and missile programs

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President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before a security briefing at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Evan Vucci, AP
Trump: Maybe ‘Fire and Fury’ Comments Weren’t Tough Enough
President Donald Trump on Thursday said his ‘fire and fury’ comments from earlier in the week may not have been tough enough. Photo: Getty

Updated Aug. 10, 2017 11:50 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump, facing defiance from North Korea and resistance from China after his threat to unleash “fire and fury” at Pyongyang, said Thursday that his statement “maybe wasn’t tough enough” and warned of more to come.

Mr. Trump rejected criticisms that his words had been too inflammatory, repeated his exhortation to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to stop issuing threats and vowed to invest billions of dollars more in missile defense.

“They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries,” Mr. Trump said at his New Jersey golf course, referring to North Korea’s threats. “So, if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”

Asked what statement would be tougher, Mr. Trump said: “Well, you’ll see. You’ll see.”

The president’s comments escalated an exchange of threats between the U.S. and North Korea that have rattled markets and unnerved world leaders concerned about a nuclear-armed confrontation. U.S. stocks fell by nearly 1% on Thursday, for a third straight session.

Mr. Trump pledged to ease his stance on trade with China if Beijing offers more help on North Korea. He said the U.S. loses hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. “It’s not going to continue like that,” Mr. Trump said. “But if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade, a lot differently toward trade.”

The war of words with Pyongyang—which responded to Mr. Trump’s latest comments Friday morning local time by saying U.S. “would suffer a shameful defeat and final doom” if it persisted in threatening the country—lays bare the U.S.’s choices.

Some argue the U.S. at this stage must tolerate North Korea as a nuclear power and try to manage it, as the U.S. did with the Soviet Union and China before it, because a war would be catastrophic. Others argue that would be a dangerous approach, leaving the U.S. and its allies vulnerable, and potentially allowing Mr. Kim to extend his influence in the region by threatening nuclear strikes.

Mr. Trump’s more aggressive approach to North Korea has won plaudits among supporters who saw previous administrations as too soft on Pyongyang and think China’s leadership will cooperate on North Korea if faced with a U.S. president willing to pursue military action.

But China’s state media has criticized Mr. Trump’s fiery rhetoric and its government has urged restraint. And Mr. Trump’s critics say the U.S. president runs a risk of alienating the Chinese leadership and stumbling into a war with threats and ultimatums.

More than 60 House Democrats, in a letter on Thursday addressed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said: “These statements are irresponsible and dangerous, and also senselessly provide a boon to domestic North Korean propaganda.”

The escalation began earlier in the week after Pyongyang defied pressure from United Nations sanctions, rejected American entreaties to consider talks and threatened to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. if militarily provoked. Mr. Trump responded with his warning that the country to stop making threats or face “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

The exchanges have overshadowed a U.S. diplomatic effort that led to the unanimous passage of the sanctions at the U.N. last weekend and continued with Mr. Tillerson’s visit to Asia this week. Mr. Trump’s threats have drowned out the more conciliatory rhetoric of Mr. Tillerson, who has said Washington doesn’t seek regime change and wants to pressure North Korea into disarmament talks.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis sought to draw attention to those efforts on Thursday, emphasizing that the U.S. wants a diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis. Mr. Mattis, speaking in California after Mr. Trump, said the diplomatic efforts were showing results and warned that war would be catastrophic.

In his Thursday remarks, Mr. Trump said negotiations between Pyongyang and previous U.S. administrations on nuclear disarmament had proven fruitless. While he cheered sanctions passed by the U.N., he questioned whether they would work. “Probably, it will not be as effective as a lot of people think it can be, unfortunately,” he said.

If diplomatic efforts to pressure North Korea into disarmament talks fail, the White House will face a policy question dreaded by previous administrations: Is it better to accept a North Korea capable of hitting the U.S. with nuclear arms or risk military actions on the Korean Peninsula and the outbreak of war?

Is North Korea Close to Being a Nuclear Weapons State?
Recent news reports indicate North Korea may have succeeded in building a nuclear warhead that can fit atop of one of the regime’s intercontinental missiles. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib examines what that means for the U.S. Photo: AP
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Mr. Trump declined to say whether his administration was considering a pre-emptive strike on North Korea to roll back the country’s nuclear program, after his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, voiced the possibility of “preventive war” last weekend.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear weapons tests since 2006, but the country long lacked a demonstrated ability to carry those weapons to U.S. cities. That changed in July when North Korea conducted two intercontinental ballistic missile tests, putting North America within range.

U.S. officials believe North Korea possesses a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop such a missile. But the country has yet to demonstrate that the warhead can withstand travel on the missile through the earth’s atmosphere.

Mr. Trump on Thursday said Americans should be calm despite the tensions. “The people of our country are safe. Our allies are safe,” he said. “And I will tell you this: North Korea better get their act together, or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world, OK?”

Mr. Trump also attacked Mr. Kim directly. “He has disrespected our country greatly. He has said things that are horrific. And with me he’s not getting away with it​,” Mr. Trump said, noting that the North Korean leader and his family had evaded consequences previously. The president warned: “This is a whole new ballgame.”

U.S. policy makers are divided over whether it’s worth risking the outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula to prevent Pyongyang from obtaining nuclear weapons that can strike U.S. cities.

The alternative is to live with a North Korean regime harboring such weapons and shift to a Cold War-style standoff. The U.S. would then focus diplomatic efforts on pressuring the regime to disarm, while vowing to destroy North Korea if it ever used a nuclear weapon or transferred them abroad.

HOW MIGHT THE U.S. STOP A MISSILE?

Policy experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies say it probably would go something like this:

  • First: The Space-Based Infrared System—something of a satellite system would likely detect any initial blast from a missile launch from within North Korea.
  • Second: Three radar systems in South Korea and Japan then could angle up toward the sky to see what types of missiles have launched and get a better read on their trajectory.
  • Third: The U.S. could then use that information when using missile-interceptor systems to attempt to shoot down a missile.

The Obama administration studied the specter of military action to stymie North Korea’s progress but found war on the Korean Peninsula could lead to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of casualties in South Korea, Japan and elsewhere, former national security adviser Susan Rice said Thursday in an op-ed in the New York Times .

“[W]ar is not necessary to achieve prevention, despite what some in the Trump administration seem to have concluded,” Ms. Rice wrote. “History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea—the same way we tolerated the far greater threat of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War.”

In its public statements, however, the Trump administration has disagreed. For months, Mr. Trump and his top advisers have said that the administration refuses to abide a North Korea in possession of nuclear weapons that can hit the U.S.—a red line that American officials predict Mr. Kim will soon cross, absent a diplomatic breakthrough.

Mr. McMaster reiterated the position in an interview Saturday on MSNBC, saying that a North Korea with nuclear weapons that can threaten the U.S. is “intolerable from the president’s perspective.”

Christopher Hill, former senior U.S. diplomat in both Republican and Democratic administrations, agreed the program must be stopped. He characterized any approach that accepts a North Korea with nuclear capabilities as a mistake that will help Pyongyang drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul.

He warned that North Korea could attack South Korea and then threaten to launch a nuclear attack on an American city if U.S. forces came to South Korea’s defense. That would force Washington to choose between defending the homeland and its ally, he said.

Mr. Hill said it’s unclear whether a military strike would retard the North Korean program. “There needs to be much more exploration of the space between war and peace, whether cyber or other efforts to sabotage the program,” he said. “I think that offers a more fruitful approach.”

Already, the Central Intelligence Agency has established a special North Korea mission center. CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon last month that the agency is looking at all its activities to tackle the North Korea threat, including covert operations. ​

The U.S. military understands the consequences of using force to stop the advance of North Korea’s program are too grave, said Robert Einhorn, former State Department special adviser for​nonproliferation and arms control under the Obama administration. He said the military realizes the U.S. will likely have no choice but to tolerate the situation and focus on preventing North Korea from intimidating or attacking the U.S. and its allies.

“The best outcome is what the Trump administration is trying to do, which is to impose irresistible pressures on North Korea until it recognizes that it has to abandon its nuclear and missile programs altogether and soon,” Mr. Einhorn said. “But I believe it’s not going to happen, it’s not realistic. Also I don’t believe preventive military action is realistic, nor is regime change at this point realistic.”

He said the two most practical and realistic approaches, should the current round of diplomacy fail, are to pursue a phased plan to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons, starting with certain interim limitations, and “a long-term strategy of pressure, deterrence and containment.”

Write to Paul Sonne at paul.sonne@wsj.com and Louise Radnofsky at louise.radnofsky@wsj.com

Appeared in the August 11, 2017, print edition as ‘Trump Steps Up Rhetoric.’

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From FT (Financial Times)
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By Shawn Donnan and Katrina Manson in Washington

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Donald Trump stepped up his threats against North Korea on Thursday, declaring that he may not have been “tough enough” in his earlier warning to Pyongyang that the US would deploy “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if the country did not abandon its nuclear ambitions.
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“If anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” Mr Trump told reporters ahead of a national security briefing at his New Jersey golf club, where he is on what the White House says is a working vacation. But he also said his administration would “always consider negotiations”.
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After the remarks, the 10-year Treasury yield dipped 4 basis points to a two-month low of 2.2 per cent as investors sought the safety of US government debt. The S&P 500 ended down 1.45 per cent at a one-month low of 2,438. .
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Investors moved out of Asian stocks at a quicker pace, and Korea’s won came under mounting pressure on the currencies markets. Seoul’s Kospi fell a further 1.7 per cent, taking its decline over the week to 3.5 per cent and leaving the index back at a level last seen in May. The Hang Seng fell 1.8 per cent in Hong Kong to an 11-session low.
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Mr Trump’s stepped-up rhetoric came as concerns grow across Asia and among many in the Washington foreign policy establishment that the US president’s escalating rhetoric is raising the possibility of conflict on the Korean peninsula. North Korea, which is seeking to develop a nuclear missile that could reach the US, rose to the bait, escalating its own rhetoric and making retaliatory threats.
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Tension between the two countries is traditionally heightened in August as the US conducts joint military exercises with South Korea, which Pyongyang views as a direct threat.
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North Korea better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
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In a statement issued on KCNA, its state news agency, North Korea said the US “would suffer a shameful defeat and final doom if it persists in extreme military adventure, sanctions and pressure”.
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The warning, which was issued on Thursday ahead of Mr Trump’s comments, is in line with verbose threats it has made in the past to “mercilessly” wipe out the US.
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“This is standard fare for North Korea,” said Jenny Town at the US-Korea Institute, but she warned Mr Trump was “egging” the situation on, saying his repeated threats play into North Korea’s hands by convincing it of the need for nuclear deterrent.
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The US is attempting to squeeze North Korea’s economy in an effort to change its direction.
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It secured the passage of the strongest UN economic sanctions yet against the nuclear aspirant at the weekend, banning exports worth $1bn a year. Officials say it will take “some time” for those to bite, however, raising questions over why Mr Trump is needlessly upping the ante before they have a chance to act.
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In a separate encounter with reporters after that meeting Mr Trump said Kim Jong Un had “disrespected our country greatly” and for the first time responded directly to threats North Korea had made towards the Pacific territory of Guam, home to a major US base.
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“[If] he does something in Guam it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before what will happen in North Korea,” Mr Trump said.
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“It’s not a dare. It’s a statement. He’s not going to go around threatening Guam and he’s not going to threaten the United States.”
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The president on Thursday also defended his administration from charges that it had issued mixed messages on North Korea after Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, played down fears that any war was imminent.
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“There were no mixed messages,” Mr Trump said.
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“The people of our country are safe. Our allies are safe. And I will tell you this, North Korea better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.”
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US secretary of defence Jim Mattis this week also made his strongest comments yet against North Korea, saying it should be wary of actions that “would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people”.
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On Thursday Mr Mattis, who has said war with North Korea would be “catastrophic”, visited a nuclear submarine base in the west of the country, a reminder of his warning that the nuclear aspirant would be grossly outmatched by the US.
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“The American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results and I want to stay right there right now,” Mr Mattis said.
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He added: “The tragedy of war is well-enough known it doesn’t need another characterisation beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic.”
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Mr Trump also urged again China to do its part in reining in the regime in Pyongyang, which depends on its relationship with Beijing for its economic survival.
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“I think China can do a lot more . . . And I think China will do a lot more. Look, we have trade with China. We lose hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It’s not going to continue like that. But if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade, a lot differently toward trade.”
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The Trump administration was poised last week to launch a new investigation into China’s intellectual property regime with the view of increasing its trade pressure on Beijing, which now has a surplus worth more than $300bn annually with the US.
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It chose, however, to delay that move as it sought China’s backing for new UN sanctions that were approved by the Security Council last weekend.
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Latest Korean Standoff May Lack an Off-Ramp

August 10, 2017

History says Pyongyang will back down, but experts worry this time is different; ‘neither side has any incentive to make the first concession’

South Korean and U.S. Marines drilling together in March of 2016. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula reliably rise during the two militaries’ joint exercises—such as the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, expected to start around Aug. 21—which Seoul and Washington say are defensive and Pyongyang says are rehearsals for an invasion.
South Korean and U.S. Marines drilling together in March of 2016. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula reliably rise during the two militaries’ joint exercises—such as the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, expected to start around Aug. 21—which Seoul and Washington say are defensive and Pyongyang says are rehearsals for an invasion. PHOTO: KIM JUN-BUM/ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Updated Aug. 10, 2017 11:01 a.m. ET

SEOUL—When North Korea has made military threats in recent times, it has usually sought an off-ramp before tensions could spill over into armed conflict.

But the current standoff—U.S. President Donald Trump warning North Korea of “fire and fury,” Pyongyang declaring its intention to send missiles into the waters off Guam, site of a U.S. military base—could extend for weeks or months, security experts and scholars say.

Unlike in the past, North Korea is near having the plausible ability to strike the U.S. mainland with nuclear weapons.

The exchange of threats comes at a particularly delicate moment on the Korean Peninsula, less than two weeks before a planned joint military exercise by the U.S. and its allies in South Korea. The annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, expected to start around Aug. 21 and usually lasting about two weeks, incense North Korea. A spokeswoman for the U.S. military in South Korea declined to comment on the exercises beyond saying they are “regularly scheduled” drills.

On the North Korean side, the general leading the country’s missile program is set in “mid-August” to present leader Kim Jong Un with a specific plan for the simultaneous launch of four intermediate-range missiles toward Guam, according to a North Korean state media report on Thursday. Separately, there are concerns that Pyongyang could answer the latest United Nations Security Council sanctions with another nuclear test or a long-range missile launch.

“Neither side has any incentive to make the first concession,” said Jung Kim, a professor of political science at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “At least for one or two months, we’ll see this game of chicken continue.”

While the U.S. and South Korea say that the drills are defensive, meant to fine-tune operations between the two allied militaries, North Korea calls them rehearsals for invasion. That perception could heightened if the U.S. deploys strategic assets such as aircraft carriers or sends nuclear-capable bombers to the Korean Peninsula. Tensions spiked during the countries’ springtime joint exercises, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, after Mr. Trump said that he was sending an “armada” to the Korean Peninsula.

“I’m concerned about inadvertent escalation as we enter into the season of planned U.S.-South Korea military exercises,” said John Park, director of the Korea Working Group at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. Another round of threats of force from Mr. Trump and North Korea’s state news agency—so presumably from Mr. Kim—would make miscommunication and miscalculation much more likely, he said.

“Almost 24 hours elapsed before we saw a concerted effort in the Trump administration to dial back and qualify the president’s ‘fire and fury’ comment,” Mr. Park noted.

North Korea’s neighbor China, its most important ally, frequently calls on the U.S. and South Korea to desist with the drills to lower tensions.

Usually expressed via threatening public statements from both sides, tensions have flared many times in the past, only to subside.

In 2013, North Korea suspended work at a joint inter-Korean industrial park and warned foreign diplomats to leave Pyongyang as it threatened missile strikes on U.S. Pacific bases, including in Guam and Hawaii. In August 2015, Pyongyang told Seoul it would attack in 48 hours unless South Korea ceased propaganda broadcasts over loudspeakers at the demilitarized zone separating the two countries. Seoul had resumed the broadcasts after two of its soldiers were maimed in a mine explosion that it blamed on the North.

Recent news reports indicate North Korea may have succeeded in building a nuclear warhead that can fit atop of one of the regime’s intercontinental missiles. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib examines what that means for the U.S., where President Donald Trump Tuesday threatened Pyongyang with ‘fire and fury.’ Photo: AP

Both times, North Korea backed down.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha University in Seoul, said launching missiles toward Guam would be so provocative that Pyongyang is unlikely to deliver on that threat.

Still, this time could be different. With less certainty about the U.S. approach under President Donald Trump, scholars and security experts see a higher possibility of miscalculation on either side.

North Korean missiles landing in Guam’s territorial waters would sow chaos. “Is that an act of war? This is pretty frightening. What would be the response at that point?” said Don Manzullo, president and chief executive officer of the Korea Economic Institute in Washington and a former U.S. congressman.

“The added risk this year is at the rhetorical level—how the perennial North Korean provocations are perceived in the White House,” said Adam Mount, senior fellow with the left-leaning Center for American Progress think tank in Washington. “At that level, there is again a serious risk of escalation.”

North Korea may also be trying new tactics, now that it has missiles capable of reaching prominent U.S. military targets. The threat to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam may be aimed at persuading the U.S. to stop sending its B-1B bombers stationed there on flyovers of the Korean Peninsula, as it has several times this year.

“It’s interesting to me that this threat was aimed at the B-1B flights rather than the exercises,” Mr. Mount said. “My guess is they’re testing out this new model of coercive threat.”

Corrections & Amplifications 

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Don Manzullo is a former U.S. congressman and president and chief executive officer of the Korea Economic Institute in Washington. An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled his last name. (Aug. 10)

Write to Jonathan Cheng at jonathan.cheng@wsj.com

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/latest-korean-standoff-may-lack-an-off-ramp-1502372561

North Korea forms plans to target Guam within days as it dismisses Donald Trump’s threats as ‘nonsense’

August 10, 2017

People walk by a TV screen showing a local news program reporting with an image of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday.
People walk by a TV screen showing a local news program reporting with an image of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday. PHOTO: LEE JIN-MAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Nick Allen, Nicola Smith and Julian Ryall

North Korea declared on Thursday it would have a plan ready by “mid-August” to launch four missiles into waters near the US territory of Guam, as it branded Donald Trump’s threats as “nonsense”.

With tensions between the US and Kim Jong-un’s rogue state escalating,  critics accused Mr Trump of inflaming the situation with “reckless” sabre-rattling.

Dismissing his threats as “a load of nonsense”, the rogue state ridiculed the US president as a “guy bereft of reason” and said only “absolute force can work on him”.

The statement from North Korean General Kim Rak Gyom said North Korea would produce a plan to fire four Hwasong-12 rockets more then 2,000 miles over Japan to “hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam”.

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North Korean General Kim Rak Gyom

The plan would be presented to leader Kim Jong-un who would make a decision on whether to proceed. The statement added: “We will keep closely watching the speech and behaviour of…

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/09/tillerson-downplays-threat-north-korea-says-trumps-tough-talk/

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North Korea details Guam missile plan, calls Trump’s warning a ‘load of nonsense’

Reuters

SEOUL/GUAM (Reuters) – North Korea dismissed as a “load of nonsense” warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that it would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States, and outlined on Thursday detailed plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam.

North Korea’s apparently rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland has fueled tensions that erupted into a war of words between Washington and Pyongyang this week, unnerving regional powers and global investors.

Trump’s unexpected remarks prompted North Korea to say on Thursday it was finalizing plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land 30-40 km (18-25 miles) from Guam, adding detail to a plan first announced on Wednesday.

Guam, more than 3,000 km (2,000 miles) to the southeast of North Korea, is home to about 163,000 people and a U.S. Navy base that includes a submarine squadron and a Coast Guard group, and an air base.

“Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him,” a report by the North’s state-run KCNA news agency said of Trump.

The army will complete its plans in mid-August, ready for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s order, KCNA reported, citing General Kim Rak Gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army.

While North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States and its allies, the report was unusual in its detail.

Masao Okonogi, professor emeritus at Japan’s Keio University, said before the latest KCNA report that Pyongyang may be issuing a warning or advance notice of changes to its missile testing program rather than threatening an attack.

“I believe this is a message saying they plan to move missile tests from the Sea of Japan to areas around Guam,” he told Reuters. “By making this advance notice, they are also sending a tacit message that what they are going to do is not a actual attack.”

Experts said the detail provided by North Korea made it likely it would follow through with its plans to avoid being seen as weak or lacking in resolve.

AVOIDING MISCALCULATION

Guam Governor Eddie Calvo said there was no heightened threat from North Korea.

“They like to be unpredictable, they’ll pop a missile off when no one is ready and they’ve done it quite a few times,” he told Reuters in an interview.

“They’re now telegraphing their punch, which means they don’t want to have any misunderstandings. I think that’s a position of fear,” he said.

Lee Choon-geun, senior research fellow at South Korea’s state-run Science and Technology Policy Institute, said there was a risk that any missile could land much closer to Guam than planned.

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“The United States will consider it an apparent attack if it lands within its territorial waters and, given the risks involved, will most likely try to shoot them down before they land anywhere close to Guam and its territorial sea,” Lee told Reuters.

“This could elevate the threats to an unprecedented level.”

The U.S. Seventh Fleet currently has six Aegis ballistic missile defense ships in the region capable of targeting North Korean missiles, and Japan has a further four. Guam also has a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, similar to the that recently installed in South Korea.

Japan could legally intercept a North Korean missile headed toward Guam, its defense minister said on Thursday, but experts believe Japan does not currently have the capability to do so.

The United States and South Korea remain technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Slideshow (26 Images)

Tension in the region has risen since North Korea carried out two nuclear bomb tests last year and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. Trump has said he will not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a stark warning on Wednesday, telling Pyongyang it would lose any arms race or conflict.

“The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people,” Mattis said in a statement, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Washington has warned it is ready to use force if needed to stop North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs but that it prefers global diplomatic action. The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday.

HEADING FOR CONFRONTATION

In a video of a rally in Pyongyang released by KCNA, Pak Hyong Ryol, the manager of a Pyongyang cornstarch factory, said North Koreans did not mind any kind of sanctions.

“They cannot stop our advance. This is the answer of our heroic Kim Il Sung-Kim Jong Il working class which has been grown up under the warm care of the Party,” Pak said, referring to North Korea’s first two leaders.

North Korea accuses Washington of devising a “preventive war” and has said any plans to execute this would be met with an “all-out war, wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the U.S. mainland”.

China, North Korea’s main ally, has consistently urged both sides to work to lower tensions.

Influential Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times said the North Korean nuclear issue was heading toward confrontation and it was time for the United States to respond to Pyongyang’s security concerns.

“North Korea has almost been completely isolated by the outside world. Under such extreme circumstances, Pyongyang will weigh all its possible options,” it said in an editorial on its website on Thursday. “Washington should stimulate Pyongyang’s desire to engage with the outside world and return to the international community.”

Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Susan Heavey and John Walcott in WASHINGTON, Soyoung Kim in SEOUL, William Mallard, Tim Kelly, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Linda Sieg in TOKYO, and John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Paul Tait

United Nations bans key North Korea exports over missile tests — China’s sanctions support shows recognition of gravity of North Korea threat: U.S. official

August 6, 2017

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday that could slash by a third the Asian state’s $3 billion annual export revenue over its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.

The U.S.-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.

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North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 on a Chinese made truck (TEL)

“We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close. The North Korean threat has not left us, it is rapidly growing more dangerous,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.

“Further action is required. The United States is taking and will continue to take prudent defensive measures to protect ourselves and our allies,” she said. Washington would continue annual joint military exercises with South Korea, Haley said.

Image result for Korea Kwangson Banking Corp, photos

North Korea has accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills.

China and Russia slammed U.S. deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defense system in South Korea. China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi called for a halt to the deployment and for any equipment in place to be dismantled.

Image result for THAAD in South Korea, Photos

THAAD ballistic missile defense system

Liu also urged North Korea to “cease taking actions that might further escalate tensions.”

U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the vote in a Twitter message on Saturday evening.

“The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!” Trump wrote.

Trump “appreciates China’s and Russia’s cooperation in securing passage” of the resolution, the White House said in a later statement. The U.S. president “will continue to work with allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to ends its threatening and destabilizing behavior,” it said.

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One of China’s banks found to be laundering money for North Korea

U.S. PRESSURE ON CHINA

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said he hoped recent remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “were sincere – that the U.S. is not seeking to dismantle the existing situation or to forcibly unite the peninsula or to militarily intervene in the country.”

While the Security Council has been divided on how to deal with other international crises like Syria, the 15-member body has remained relatively united on North Korea. Still, negotiating new measures typically takes months, not weeks.

North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The new measures came in response to five nuclear weapons tests and four long-range missile launches.

The United States negotiated with China for a month on the resolution, then expanded negotiations to the full council on Friday.

Washington, frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea, has threatened to exert trade pressure on Beijing and impose sanctions on Chinese firms doing business with Pyongyang.

“We had tough negotiations this week,” Haley told reporters. “I think that the Chinese realized that the United States was going to push, but they responded and we appreciate how they cooperated with us during these negotiations.”

Liu, asked about U.S. negotiating pressure, said China has been consistent on trying to achieve denuclearization, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and “to re-launch negotiations to achieve this end.”

He told reporters China was “opposed to any unilateral sanctions outside the agreed framework set by the U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

Sung Kim, the US ambassador to the Philippines, meets US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson upon his arrival in Manila late Saturday night. Courtesy of the US Embassy’s Facebook page

RUSSIA/U.S. COOPERATION

It had been unclear whether strained U.S.-Russia relations would hamper negotiations on North Korean sanctions. On Wednesday, Washington imposed unilateral sanctions on Moscow to punish Russia over accusations of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.

“We are not hostages to our relations when we have to work together on issues which are far more important,” Russia’s Nebenzia told Reuters.

The new U.N. resolution adds nine individuals and four entities to the U.N. blacklist, including North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank, subjecting them to a global asset freeze and travel ban.

Image result for Korea Kwangson Banking Corp, photos

“I would think China and Russia signed on the sanctions hoping that they would force North Korea back to the negotiating table,” said Thomas Byrne, president of the New York-based Korea Society. “However, North Korea will try to evade the new sanctions.”

The new resolution completely bans North Korean exports of coal. In November, the Security Council capped the North’s coal exports at $400 million annually. China, its largest buyer, halted imports in February.

A U.N. diplomat said North Korea had been expected to earn an estimated $251 million from iron and iron ore in 2017, $113 million from lead and lead ore, and $295 million from seafood. The diplomat said it was difficult to estimate how much North Korea was earning from sending workers abroad.

A United Nations human rights investigator said in 2015 that North Korea had forced more than 50,000 people to work abroad, mainly in Russia and China, earning between $1.2 billion and $2.3 billion a year for the government.

Joseph DeThomas, a former State Department official who worked as an adviser on Iran sanctions and on previous rounds of North Korea sanctions, said freezing foreign labor would be difficult to enforce.

“Overall I doubt that $1 billion number. I doubt it will hit that hard in terms of economic damage,” he said. “You cannot expect North Korea to buckle for anything less than the sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990.”

These sanctions, he said, remain “a very long way” from there.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols,; addtional reporting by David Brunnstrom and Valerie Volcovici; Editing by David Gregorio and Paul Tait

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MANILA (Reuters) – China’s support for sweeping sanctions on North Korea under a new United Nations Security Council resolution show Beijing recognizes the gravity of the threat of Pyongyang’s nuclear program and missile tests, a top U.S. official said on Sunday.

It was important for all parties to have dialogue to de-escalate the issue, and it was also incumbent on China to ensure that the sanctions on North Korea were fully implemented, said Susan Thornton, acting Assistant Secretary of State East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Thornton made the comments to reporters during an international meeting of foreign ministers in Manila.

Reporting by Karen Lema; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Paul Tait

US says ‘no point’ in UN meeting on North Korea amid show of force

July 31, 2017

AFP

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© Kim Won-Jin / AFP | People watch as coverage of an ICBM missile test is displayed on a screen in a public square in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-31

The United States said Sunday the time for talk over North Korea was “over,” spurning a UN response to Pyongyang’s latest ICBM launch in favour of bomber flights and missile defence system tests.

Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, said there was “no point” in holding a fruitless emergency Security Council session, warning that a weak additional council resolution would be “worse than nothing” in light of the North’s repeated violations.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un boasted of his country’s ability to strike any target in the US after an intercontinental ballistic missile test Friday that weapons experts said could even bring New York into range — in a major challenge to Trump.

US strategic bombers on Saturday flew over the Korean peninsula in a direct response to the launch, and on Sunday American forces successfully tested a missile interception system the US hopes will be installed on the Korean peninsula.

Under Kim’s leadership, North Korea has accelerated its drive towards a credible nuclear strike capability, in defiance of international condemnation and multiple sets of UN sanctions. The US Senate passed new bipartisan sanctions on Pyongyang on Friday.

Haley urged China, Japan and South Korea to tighten the screws on Pyongyang.

“An additional Security Council resolution that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value,” she wrote.

“It sends the message to the North Korean dictator that the international community is unwilling to seriously challenge him.

“China must decide whether it is finally willing to take this vital step. The time for talk is over.”

‘They do NOTHING’

Earlier, US President Donald Trump warned that he would not allow China — the impoverished North’s sole major ally and economic lifeline — to “do nothing” about Pyongyang.

In two tweets, Trump linked trade strains with the Asian giant — marked by a trade deficit of $309 billion last year — to policy on North Korea, after Seoul indicated it could speed up the deployment of a US missile defense system that has infuriated China.

“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk,” Trump wrote.

“We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”

Trump has repeatedly urged China to rein in its recalcitrant neighbor, but Beijing insists dialogue is the only practical way forward.

Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of US treaty ally Japan, also urged Beijing to act — along with Moscow — after telephone talks with Trump on Monday Tokyo time.

The North had “trampled all over” efforts to seek a peaceful solution to the situation and “unilaterally escalated” tensions.

“The international community including China and Russia must take it seriously and step up pressure,” he told reporters.

‘Stern warning’

Pyongyang lauded the developers of the missile at the weekend, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

The US-led campaign only provided “further justification” for the North’s resolve to maintain its weapons programs, Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said in a statement carried by KCNA.

The ICBM test “is meant to send a stern warning to the US making senseless remarks, being lost to reason in the frantic sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK,” it said, using an acronym for the North’s official name.

Independent experts say it brings Los Angeles and Chicago within range, and could travel as far as Boston and New York.

Pacific Air Forces commander General Terrence O’Shaughnessy called Pyongyang “the most urgent threat to regional stability.”

“If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing,” he said.

In a 10-hour joint mission at the weekend US B-1B bombers along with fighter jets from the South Korean and Japanese air forces practiced intercept and formation drills.

It was followed by the successful test of the missile defense system, with the launch of a medium-range missile over the Pacific that was “detected, tracked and intercepted” in Alaska.

In a standard response to the test, Beijing urged restraint by all sides, after the US and South Korea conducted a live-fire exercise using surface-to-surface missiles.

(AFP)

Related:

South Korea to Deploy More THAAD Units After North Korea ICBM Launch

July 29, 2017

SEOUL — South Korea said on Saturday it will proceed with the deployment of four additional units of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense system after North Korea’s latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The deployment of the additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) units had been delayed after the initial two units, after South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered an environmental assessment.

China has been notified of the move to speed up the deployment, the South’s presidential Blue House said.

China has angrily objected to the THAAD deployment, saying it does little to deter the North’s missile threat while destabilizing regional security balance. It believes the THAAD’s radar can penetrate deep into its territory.

(Reporting by Jack Kim and Christine Kim; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Secretary of State Tillerson: North Korea Must Come to the Table With a Plan to Roll Back, Not Just Freeze, Its Nuclear Program

July 8, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. (AP Photo by Evan Vucci)

Image may contain: 5 people

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is at left, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is at right. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. (AP Photo by Evan Vucci)

Question:  We note China and Russia recently said — they asked North Korea to stop the — to freeze, actually, the nuclear activities, and also they asked the U.S. to stop the deployment of THAAD system.  So did President Putin bring up his concern about the deployment of THAAD system?  And also, what’s the expectation of President Trump on tomorrow’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, other than the DPRK issue?  Thank you.

SECRETARY TILLERSON:  The subject of THAAD did not come up in the meeting with President Putin.

In terms of the progress of North Korea and this last missile launch, again, those are some of the differences of views we have between ourselves in terms of tactics — how to deal with this.  President Putin, I think, has expressed a view not unlike that of China, that they would support a freeze for freeze.

If we study the history of the last 25 years of engagement with various regimes in North Korea, this has been done before.  And every time it was done, North Korea went ahead and proceeded with its program.

The problem with freezing now — if we freeze where they are today, we freeze their activities with a very high level of capability.  And we do not think it also sets the right tone for where these talks should begin.  And so we’re asking North Korea to be prepared to come to the table with an understanding that these talks are going to be about how do we help you chart a course to cease and roll back your nuclear program?  That’s what we want to talk about.  We’re not interested in talking about how do we have you stop where you are today.  Because stopping where they are today is not acceptable to us.

From the White House Press Briefing from the G20 in Germany, July 7, 2017

See it all:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/07/press-briefing-presidents-meetings-g20-july-7-2017

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By Jeff Mason | HAMBURG
Reuters
Fri Jul 7, 2017 | 6:37pm EDT

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday there would not be many good options left on North Korea if the peaceful pressure campaign the United States has been pushing to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs failed.

“We have not given up hope,” Tillerson told reporters after U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of a G20 summit, just days after North Korea conducted what it said was its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Tillerson said the U.S. approach of stepping up pressure on North Korea through sanctions required patience.

“I call it the peaceful pressure campaign … This is a campaign to lead us to a peaceful resolution because if this fails, we don’t have very many good options left,” he said. “It’s one that requires calculated increases in pressure, allow the regime to respond to that pressure, and it takes a little time to let these things happen.”

The United States, Japan and South Korea agreed on Friday to push for a quick U.N. Security Council resolution to apply new sanctions on North Korea. U.N. diplomats said the United States had given China a draft sanctions resolution.

But Washington faces an uphill struggle to convince Russia and China to give quick backing to new U.N. sanctions.

Experts say North Korea’s ICBM launch on Tuesday was a major step forward in its declared intent to create nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States. Some U.S. experts say the missile appeared to have the range to hit Alaska, Hawaii and parts of the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Washington has warned it is ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea’s weapons programs but the consequences of that could be catastrophic and it prefers global diplomatic action.

Russia has said further sanctions will not resolve the issue and on Thursday objected to a U.N. Security Council condemnation of North Korea’s launch because the U.S.-drafted statement labeled it an ICBM, a designation Moscow disagrees with. Diplomats said on Friday that negotiations on the statement had stalled.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Tillerson said Trump and Putin held differing views on how to deal with North Korea but that Washington would continue to press Moscow to help.

“We’re going to continue those discussions and ask them to do more. Russia does have economic activity with North Korea,” he said.

TRUMP TO MEET CHINESE LEADER

Trump is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country is North Korea’s main trading partner, on the sidelines of the G20 on Saturday. Trump has warned Beijing it could face U.S. economic and trade pressure unless it does more to rein in North Korea.

Tillerson said China’s responses to U.S. calls for it step up pressure on North Korea had been uneven.

“China has taken significant action and then I think for a lot of different reasons, they’ve paused and didn’t take additional action,” he said.

Referring to a U.S. decision last week to impose unilateral sanctions on two Chinese individuals and a shipping firm and to accuse a Chinese bank of money laundering, he said:

“We’ve continued to make that clear to China that we would prefer they take the action themselves and we’re still calling upon them to do that.”

Tillerson said a Chinese and Russian proposal for the United States and South Korea to suspend joint military exercises in return for a freeze in North Korean weapons testing was unacceptable as it would freeze North Korea’s programs at too high a level of capability.

“We’re asking North Korea to be prepared to come to the table with an understanding that these talks are going to be about how do we help you chart a course to cease and roll back your nuclear program. That’s what we want to talk about.

“We’re not interested in talking about how do we have you stop where you are today.”

North Korea on Friday described Tuesday’s missile test as a “gift package” and vowed to deliver more.

“The U.S. will receive more ‘gift packages’ of different sizes from the DPRK (North Korea) in endless succession, as it tries harder to destroy, by means of sanctions and pressure, the overall national power and strategic position of the DPRK which have been drastically boosted,” the official KCNA news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on Wednesday she would propose new sanctions to the 15-member U.N. Security Council in coming days.

Traditionally, the United States and China have negotiated new sanctions on North Korea before formally involving other council members.

Following a nuclear weapons test by North Korea in September it took the U.N. Security Council three months to agree strengthened sanctions.

(Reporting by Tim Ahmann, David Alexander and David Brunnstrom in Washington and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by David Brunnstrom; Editing by James Dalgleish and Bill Trott)

Chinese official warns U.S. not to use North Korea as excuse for imposing sanctions — Talk of cutting off all U.S. companies from doing business with China due to North Korea mess

July 6, 2017

Reuters

China’s vice-finance minister said Beijing would implement all sanctions imposed on North Korea as a result of its missile tests, but warned the U.S. not to use them as an excuse to impose sanctions against China’s financial institutions.

“As a Security Council permanent member, China will of course implement all relevant resolutions,” he said. “But the U.S. should not use their domestic laws as excuses to levy sanctions against Chinese financial institutions.”

Speaking ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Zhu Guangyao also called on leading economies to cooperate on global steel overproduction rather than engage in finger-pointing, since overcapacity could harm global growth.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; editing by Andrew Roche)

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On Fox News Channel on Wednesday, July 5, 2017, Kirk Lippold, a news analyst on Neil Cavuto’s afternoon program, suggested that the White House needs to be discussing cutting off all U.S. companies from doing business with China due to North Korea missile test….

Image result for Scott Lippold,Fox news, photos

Kirk Lippold on the Fox News Channel

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U.S. Prepared To Use Force On North Korea ‘If We Must’: U.N. Envoy

People watch a TV broadcast of a news report on North Korea's ballistic missile test, at a railway station in Seoul
People watch a TV broadcast of a news report on North Korea’s ballistic missile test, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, July 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

July 6, 2017

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States cautioned on Wednesday it was ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea’s nuclear missile program but said it preferred global diplomatic action against Pyongyang for defying world powers by test launching a ballistic missile that could hit Alaska.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that North Korea’s actions were “quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution” and the United States was prepared to defend itself and its allies.

“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction,” Haley said. She urged China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to rein in Pyongyang.

Speaking with his Japanese counterpart on Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis underscored the “ironclad commitment” of the United States to defending Japan and providing “extended deterrence using the full range of U.S. capabilities,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.

Mattis’ assurances to Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada came during a phone call to discuss the North Korean test, the statement said.

Taking a major step in its missile program, North Korea on Tuesday test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

North Korea says the missile could carry a large nuclear warhead.

The missile test is a direct challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile.

He has frequently urged China to press the isolated country’s leadership to give up its nuclear program.

Haley said the United States would propose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea in coming days and warned that

if Russia and China did not support the move, then “we will go our own path.”

She did not give details on what sanctions would be proposed, but outlined possible options.

“The international community can cut off the major sources of hard currency to the North Korean regime. We can restrict the flow of oil to their military and their weapons programs. We can increase air and maritime restrictions. We can hold senior regime officials accountable,” Haley said.

Diplomats say Beijing has not been fully enforcing existing international sanctions on its neighbor and has resisted tougher measures, such as an oil embargo, bans on the North Korean airline and guest workers, and measures against Chinese banks and other firms doing business with the North.

“Much of the burden of enforcing U.N. sanctions rests with China,” Haley said.

The United States might seek to take unilateral action and sanction more Chinese companies that do business with North Korea, especially banks, U.S. officials have said.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, told the Security Council meeting that the missile launch was a “flagrant violation” of U.N. resolutions and “unacceptable.”

“We call on all the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions and belligerent rhetoric, demonstrate the will for unconditional dialogue and work actively together to defuse the tension,” Liu said.

TENSIONS WITH U.S.

The United States has remained technically at war with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty and the past six decades have been punctuated by periodic rises in antagonism and rhetoric that have always stopped short of a resumption of active hostilities.

Tensions have risen sharply after North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests last year and carried out a steady stream of ballistic missile tests

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the ICBM test completed his country’s strategic weapons capability that includes atomic and hydrogen bombs, the state KCNA news agency said.

Pyongyang will not negotiate with the United States to give up those weapons until Washington abandons its hostile policy against the North, KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

“He, with a broad smile on his face, told officials, scientists and technicians that the U.S. would be displeased … as it was given a ‘package of gifts’ on its ‘Independence Day,’” KCNA said, referring to the missile launch on July 4.

Trump and other leaders from the Group of 20 nations meeting in Germany this week are due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea’s weapons program, which it has pursued in defiance of Security Council sanctions.

Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy said on Wednesday that military force should not be considered against North Korea and called for a halt to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

He also said that attempts to strangle North Korea economically were “unacceptable” and that sanctions would not resolve the issue.

The U.S. military assured Americans that it was capable of defending the United States against a North Korean ICBM.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis noted a successful test last month in which a U.S.-based missile interceptor knocked down a simulated incoming North Korean ICBM.

“So we do have confidence in our ability to defend against the limited threat, the nascent threat that is there,” he told reporters. He acknowledged though that previous U.S. missile defense tests had shown “mixed results.”

The North Korean launch this week was both earlier and “far more successful than expected,” said U.S.-based missile expert John Schilling, a contributor to Washington-based North Korea monitoring project 38 North.

It would now probably only be a year or two before a North Korean ICBM achieved “minimal operational capability,” he added.

Schilling said the U.S. national missile defense system was “only minimally operational” and would take more than two years to upgrade to provide more reliable defense.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Phil Stewart and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney)

http://www.oann.com/north-korea-launches-projectile-into-sea-south-korea-military/

Xi Jinping and Putin join forces to halt North Korean crisis — “May have misjudged what is necessary to satisfy Trump”

July 5, 2017

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, meeting in Moscow, reiterate their own proposal for a freeze in North Korean missile tests and a matching one on US and South Korean military drills and for dialogue to resume

By Stuart Lau and Zhenhua Lu

The South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 July, 2017, 2:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 July, 2017, 4:29pm

The presidents of China and Russia called on North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile programmes and also urged the US and South Korea to halt large-scale military drills, as they sought to quell rising tensions over the Korean peninsula.

 The joint call came as Chinese President Xi Jinping met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow late on Tuesday, hours after Pyongyang said it had successfully launched for the first time an intercontinental ballistic missile, and ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on Friday.

“We believe that the world is turbulent, local conflicts are emerging constantly, and issues such as the Korean peninsula problem and the Syrian question remain very complex,” Russia Today television reported Xi as saying after the meeting, the third between the two presidents this year.

Putin added his voice to the call for calm, offering the two countries’ own solution.

“We have agreed to promote our joint initiative, based on Russian step-by-step Korean settlement plan and Chinese ideas to simultaneously freeze North Korean nuclear and missile activities, and US and South Korean joint military drills,” RT quoted him as saying.

 Russian President Vladimir Putin (front) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Moscow on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

A separate joint statement by the foreign ministers of China and Russia criticised North Korea’s test launch as “unacceptable” and a grave violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The missile, a Hwasong-14, has a minimum range of 5,600km and would be capable of hitting the US state of Alaska.

The statement said that military means to solve the issue should not become an option. Instead, the UN resolutions should be fully implemented, North Korea’s reasonable concerns should be respected, and all countries should make efforts to make the resumption of dialogue possible.

 Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Russia’s Vladimir Putin at a signing ceremony in the Kremlin during Xi’s latest visit to Moscow. Photo: AFP

The UN Security Council, of which China holds the presidency this month, will hold an emergency meeting later on Wednesday.

Beijing and Moscow also used their joint statement to call on Washington to immediately halt deployment of its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, a move Washington has said is necessary because of the North Korean missile threat.

“It’s discouraging that the Chinese (and Russians) are still calling for ‘restraint by all sides’, despite the fact that their client state, North Korea, has cast aside all restraint and is sprinting for the finish line in demonstrating a nuclear-armed ICBM capability,” said Daniel Russel, formerly Washington’s top diplomat for East Asia, now diplomat in residence at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

US President Donald Trump meanwhile responded to the latest North Korean missile launch in a Twitter post: “Hard to believe South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”

 A US missile test launch in South Korea, in response to North Korea’s firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Photo: AFP

Trump is set to meet Xi, as well as Putin for the first time since he assumed office, on the sidelines of the G20 summit. The US has been pressing China to do more to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambition by leveraging its economic ties with the nation.

“The most important and urgent issue [between US and China] is still North Korea, and I think the Chinese have misjudged what is necessary to satisfy Trump and keep US-China on a positive, co-operative trajectory,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

China will “have to address US concerns through deeds not just words,” she said.

Additional reporting by Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2101359/chinese-and-russian-presidents-urge-peaceful-solution

Related:

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 (Mister President: China is not your friend)

 (Includes links to several related articles)