Tag Archives: NORTH KOREA

US warns N/Korea will be ‘destroyed’ if…

Donald Trump’s administration ramped up the pressure on North Korea on Sunday ahead of a week of high-stakes diplomacy at the United Nations, warning Pyongyang will be “destroyed” if it refuses to end its “reckless” nuclear and ballistic missile drive.

With US officials and their allies scrambling to find ways to contain an increasingly belligerent Pyongyang, the US president will address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday and then confer Thursday with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting.

Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-In spoke by phone Saturday night and pledged “stronger pressure” on Kim Jong-Un’s regime, the South’s presidential office said, adding that the North must be made to realize that “further provocation” would put it on a “path of collapse.”

The Security Council last Monday imposed a new raft of sanctions on North Korea — but their impact depends largely on whether China, Pyongyang’s ally and main economic partner, will fully implement them and on Russia, which is hosting tens of thousands of North Korean workers.

Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, kept up the rhetorical pressure ahead of the upcoming meetings in New York, asserting that if the North should pose a serious threat to the US or its allies, “North Korea will be destroyed.”

Trump’s earlier warning he would rain “fire and fury” on a recalcitrant North Korea, she said, was “not an empty threat.”

“None of us want war,” Haley added in an interview on CNN. “We wanted to be responsible and go to all diplomatic means to get their attention first. If that doesn’t work, General Mattis” — the US defense secretary — “will take care of it.”

As the US and its allies emphasize the diplomatic track, South Korea is also deploying a state-of-the-art US missile defense system. In their latest call, the White House said Trump and Moon had committed to “take steps to strengthen deterrence and defense capabilities” of South Korea, offering no details of how it might do so.

Analysts say that in the event of hostilities, millions of people in the Seoul area — as well as the 30,000 US troops in South Korea — would be vulnerable to attack by the thousands of artillery pieces the North has positioned near the border, with potentially staggering casualties.

So far, every effort to persuade the North to back away from its fast-developing nuclear and missile programs — including its most powerful nuclear test yet, on September 3 — has proved futile, at times even seeming to prompt new acts of defiance from Pyongyang.

The North’s latest show of resistance came when it launched a long-range missile over Japan on Friday, just four days after the UN Security Council had passed a tough new package of sanctions.

At the request of the United States, the Security Council will hold a ministerial-level meeting Thursday on ways to enforce the latest sanctions, which include an export ban on textiles, freezing work permits to North Korean guest workers and capping oil supplies.

Haley said sanctions had already provided a “punch in the gut” to Pyongyang but that strict enforcement was crucial.

Separately, Trump’s national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, agreed that “the critical thing is going to be to get all countries, every one, to do all they can to enforce those sanctions, to do everything they can, short of a military conflict, to resolve this problem.”

But if diplomacy and economic pressure fail, he added, “We have to prepare all options.”

Pyongyang, an insular country with few outside contacts, says it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself from “hostile” US forces and is determined to build the capacity to deliver a nuclear warhead that could hit the US mainland.

North Korea said Saturday it was bent on nothing less than military “equilibrium” with the United States.

As his administration continued its efforts to rein in the North, Trump himself gave a more unbridled account of his latest diplomatic contacts.

“I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!” Trump tweeted, apparently finding a new nickname for Kim (McMaster confirmed that that was probably Trump’s intention).

Whether there are gas lines is unclear; very few people own cars in North Korea, outside military and government officials.

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Russia, China in joint naval drills near North Korea

China and Russia began naval drills near North Korea on Monday amid continuing tensions over the isolated state’s nuclear ambitions and ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting this week, where North Korea is likely to loom large.

North Korea launched a missile over Japan last Friday, its second in the past three weeks, and conducted its sixth and by far most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, in defiance of international pressure.

The official Xinhua news agency said the joint exercises will take place between Peter the Great Bay, just outside of the Russian far eastern port of Vladivostok, not far from the Russia-North Korea border, and into the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, to the north of Japan.

The drills are the second part of China-Russian naval exercises this year, the first part of which took place in the Baltic in July. The report did not directly link the drills to current tensions over North Korea.

According to TASS, Russia and China will deploy 11 ships and two submarines during the drill that will run till 26 September.

“The second stage of the international Russian-Chinese Maritime Cooperation-2017 exercise will involve 11 surface ships, two submarines, two deep-submergence rescue vehicles, four anti-submarine warfare aircraft and four shipborne helicopters,” spokesman Vladimir Matveyev said.

Russia will send the Admiral Tributs Udaloy-class destroyer, the Sovershenny corvette and the Igor Belousov rescue ship, carrying the AS-40 deep-submergence rescue vehicle and the R-11 missile corvette. In addition, the Pacific Fleet will also be represented by the Sovetskaya Gavan Grisha-class corvette, the Viktor Faleyev hydrographic survey vessel, the MB-93 sea tug and two diesel-electric submarines that were not named.

The four-vessel Chinese task force will be led by the Shijiazhuang destroyer.

“In addition, the naval phase of the exercise will involve the training of ship-aircraft coordination. This element will involve two Il-38 planes, two Tu-142M3 planes, a Ka-27PS and a Ka-27 helicopters of the Pacific Fleet’s naval aviation. The aviation of the Chinese Navy will be represented by Z-9C and Z-9D shipborne helicopters,” Matveyev said.

Both China and Russia have repeatedly called for a peaceful solution and talks to resolve the North Korean issue.

The international community must remain united and enforce sanctions against North Korea after its repeated launch of ballistic missiles, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an editorial published in the New York Times on Sunday.

Such tests are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and show that North Korea can now target the United States or Europe, Abe said.

Diplomacy and dialogue will not work with North Korea and concerted pressure by the entire international community is essential to tackle the threats posed by North Korea, Abe wrote.

A week ago, the 15-member U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth sanctions resolution since 2006 over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

On Monday, the official China Daily said sanctions should be given time to bite but that the door must be left open to talks.

“With its Friday missile launch, Pyongyang wanted to give the impression that sanctions will not work. Some people have fallen for that and immediately echoed the suggestion, pointing to the failure of past sanctions to achieve their purpose,” it said in an editorial.

“But that past sanctions did not work does not mean they will not. It is too early to claim failure because the latest sanctions have hardly begun to take effect. Giving the sanctions time to bite is the best way to make Pyongyang reconsider.”

Pyongyang has launched dozens of missiles as it accelerates a weapons programme designed to provide the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.

North Korea said on Saturday it aimed to reach an “equilibrium” of military force with the United States.

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Trump threatens North Korea again

U.S. President Donald Trump issued another undisguised threat to irritant North Korea on Tuesday dismissing the latest U.N. sanctions as  only a very small step and nothing compared to what would have to happen to deal with the country’s nuclear program.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned China that if it did not follow through on the new sanctions, the United States would “put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar system.”

Another senior administration official told Reuters any such “secondary sanctions” on Chinese banks and other companies were on hold for now to give China time to show it was prepared to fully enforce the latest and previous rounds of sanctions.

The U.N. Security Council voted to boost sanctions on North Korea on Monday, banning its textile exports and capping fuel supplies, prompting a traditionally defiant threat of retaliation against the United States.

The U.N. move was triggered by the North’s sixth and largest nuclear test this month. It was the ninth such resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member Security Council over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.

A tougher initial U.S. draft was weakened to win the support of China, Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner, and Russia, both of which hold U.N. veto power. Significantly, it stopped short of imposing a full embargo on oil exports to North Korea, most of which come from China.

“We think it’s just another very small step, not a big deal,” Trump told reporters at the start of a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

”I don’t know if it has any impact, but certainly it was nice to get a 15-to-nothing vote, but those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen,” said Trump, who has vowed not to allow North Korea to develop a nuclear missile capable of hitting the United States.

Asked if Trump was considering other actions, including cutting off Chinese banks from the U.S. financial system, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said:

“All options are on the table. The president has also said that he wants every country involved to step up and do more. This was a small step in that process, and we’re hoping that they’ll all take a greater role and a more active role in putting pressure on North Korea.”

Washington so far has mostly held off on new sanctions against Chinese banks and other companies doing business with North Korea, given fears of retaliation by Beijing and possibly far-reaching effects on the world economy.

Trump is likely to make a stop in China in November during his first official visit to Asia. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks in Washington on Tuesday with China’s top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, at which details of the trip were expected to discussed.

The U.S. president has wavered between criticizing China for not doing enough on North Korea to heaping personal praise on the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

North Korea said its Sept. 3 test was of an advanced hydrogen bomb and it was its most powerful nuclear blast by far. It has also tested a missile capable of reaching the United States, but experts say it is likely to be at least a year before it can field an operational nuclear missile that could threaten America.

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North Korea tensions: All the latest updates

All the latest developments since the latest “toughest” UN sanctions imposed on North Korea
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/north-korea-tensions-latest-updates-170829111529560.html

U.S. TO NORTH KOREA

The US is not seeking a regime change in North Korea, the secretary of state says, amid tensions over Pyongyang’s weapons programme.

Rex Tillerson said, “We’re not your enemy,” the US wanted a dialogue at some point.

But a Republican senator said President Donald Trump had told him there would be a war with North Korea if its missile programme continued.

Pyongyang claimed its latest missile could hit the US west coast.

The second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, celebrated by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was the latest to be conducted in defiance of a United Nations ban.

“We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek the collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel,” said Mr Tillerson, referring to the border between the Koreas.

“We’re not your enemy, we’re not your threat but you’re presenting an unacceptable threat to us and we have to respond.”

BBC/TSIDKENU