Friday, 11 August 2017

Nuclear war impending as U.S And North Korea make threats at each other




U.S. President Donald Trump issued a new
threat to North Korea on Friday, saying
the U.S. military was “locked and loaded”
as Pyongyang accused him of driving the
Korean Peninsula to the brink of nuclear
war.
Trump kept up the war of words on
Twitter shortly after the North Korean
state news agency, KCNA, put out a
statement blaming him for the escalated
tensions.
“Trump is driving the situation on the
Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear
war, making such outcries as ‘the U.S. will
not rule out a war against the DPRK,'”
KCNA said.
The U.S. president, who is vacationing at
his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort,
described American military readiness in
stark terms.
“Military solutions are now fully in place,
locked and loaded, should North Korea act
unwisely,” he wrote on Twitter. “Hopefully
Kim Jong Un will find another path!”
Trump maintained pressure on the North
after a week of incendiary rhetoric
including his warning on Tuesday that the
United States would unleash “fire and
fury” on Pyongyang if it threatened the
United States.
U.S. allies in the region reacted with alarm
to the unusual response from Washington
and senior U.S. officials scrambled to play
down his comments.
Still, Trump amplified the warning on
Thursday, saying maybe his “fire and
fury” threat “wasn’t tough enough.” U.S.
Defense Secretary James Mattis later
tempered Trump’s harsh words, saying
the United States still preferred a
diplomatic approach to the North Korean
threat. A war would be “catastrophic,” he
said.
Asked if the United States was prepared
to handle a hostile act by North Korea,
Mattis said: “We are ready.”
As of late Thursday, two U.S. officials said
the threat with regards to North Korea
had not changed, additional assets were
not being moved into the region and
intelligence did not show indications of
North Korea preparing a missile launch.
Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph
Dunford left Washington on Thursday to
visit Japan, China and South Korea. While
the trip has been long planned, the issue
of North Korea is likely to be a priority,
officials said.
Tension in the region has risen since the
reclusive North staged two nuclear bomb
tests last year and launched two
intercontinental ballistic missile tests in
July in defiance of world powers. Trump
has said he would not allow Pyongyang to
develop a nuclear weapon capable of
hitting the United States.
As Pyongyang and Washington traded
threats, Russia and China weighed in.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that risks of a
military conflict over North Korea’s nuclear
program are very high and Moscow is
deeply worried by the threats from
Washington and Pyongyang.
Lavrov encouraged Pyongyang and
Washington to sign up to a joint Russian-
Chinese plan, under which North Korea
would freeze its missile tests and the
United States and South Korea would
impose a moratorium on large-scale
military exercises.
“The side that is stronger and cleverer”
should take the first step to defuse the
crisis, said Lavrov, speaking live on state
television at a forum for Russian students.
Earlier in Beijing, a Chinese state-run
newspaper said on Friday that China
should remain neutral if North Korea
launches an attack that threatens the
United States, sounding a warning for
Pyongyang over its plans to fire missiles
near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
Asian equity markets sank again on Friday
and European stocks looked set for their
worst week this year because of the
tensions.
“This situation is beginning to develop
into this generation’s Cuban Missile crisis
moment,” ING’s chief Asia economist,
Robert Carnell, said in a research note.
“While the U.S. president insists on
ramping up the war of words, there is a
decreasing chance of any diplomatic
solution.”
China, North Korea’s most important ally
and trading partner, has reiterated calls
for calm. Beijing has expressed frustration
with both Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear
and missile tests and with behavior from
South Korea and the United States, such
as military drills, that it sees as increasing
tensions.
“China should also make clear that if
North Korea launches missiles that
threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S.
retaliates, China will stay neutral,” the
Global Times, which is widely read but
does not represent government policy,
said in an editorial.
“If the U.S. and South Korea carry out
strikes and




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