North Korea missile launch attempt fails, US, South Korea say

Yolanda Curtis
March 24, 2017

In exchange, the USA and its partners would offer, besides direct talks, the easing of sanctions.

"We are at the juncture of whether we will go to war or return to dialogue", Wang said in a speech in Beijing on the day after North Korea's announcement of the engine test.

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has given indications that the Trump administration has adopted a new, tougher policy against North Korea in an effort to control the North's nuclear weapons program.

One option would be simply to accept as inevitable continued increases in the quantity and quality of North Korea's nuclear and missile inventories.

Tillerson admitted the failure of the USA efforts to denuclearize the DPRK for 20 years and end of Obama's policy of "strategic patience" during his recent tour, ' the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in the dispatch on Monday, quoting the unnamed Foreign Ministry official.

North Korea's development of nuclear weapons in spite of U.N. Security Council sanctions has been a source of heightened regional tensions.

Americans lived for years with Soviet and Chinese missiles pointing in our direction. Lotte, which provided the land for the THAAD missile defense system, has become a primary target for China's economic retaliation. For the same reason, any limits on USA forces in the country or region would be unacceptable.

Analysts can read Tillerson's comments in different ways.

John Wolfsthal, a senior director for non-proliferation and arms control at the U.S. National Security Council under former President Barack Obama, said it was hard to pinpoint the cause of the missile test failures, but that North Korea's quality-control limitations were a likely factor. Earlier this month, North Korea fired four ballistic missiles that landed in waters off Japan, triggering strong protests from Seoul and Tokyo. If this is the only line Tillerson meant to draw, he should have saved the ink and not made news with the threat.

It was published after a statement was released by North Korea in response to continued military drills carried out by the US and South Korea.

The U.S. bomber had reportedly left from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and performed training exercises with Japanese F-15J fighters before joining the South Korean drills.

North Korea also issued a rare condemnation of China's behavior in halting North Korean coal imports in February. North Korea has been under sanctions for "half a century" but the communist state survives by placing an emphasis on "self-sufficiency". At the height of the Cold War, the number of Soviet weapons - counting tactical and strategic weapons deployed in silos, on submarines and aboard bombers -reached 30,000 or so. Recently, however, the US president has considerably walked back that stance, saying that such an occasion is a long way off. "Eventually they will be able to make it work".

North Korea is believed to be developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike the USA, and has previously claimed it had successfully miniaturised nuclear warheads so they can fit on missiles. So the real alternative to war is a negotiated settlement that addresses the threat. If they do, we might be in trouble. That was still a deal worth making, and the next one will have to be better.

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