Korea installs parts of contentious US missile defense

Cheryl Sanders
April 26, 2017

As my colleague Jennifer Williams noted, Trump has so far taken only the relatively modest steps of beginning the deployment of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system to South Korea while pressuring China - North Korea's most important ally - to do more to rein in Pyongyang.

Now, after 25 years of "misguided notions that we can talk North Korea out of its nuclear weapons, it appears the chickens are coming home to roost, and a threat to the United States is as real as these things go, and imminent". "If not, we will solve the problem without them!"

Trump has been known to be hard on the United Nations in the past.

In the call with Mr Xi, "the two leaders reaffirmed the urgency of the threat posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, and committed to strengthen coordination in achieving the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula", a White House statement said.

The North Korean leader did not issue a message on the day of the anniversary, most recently making an appearance at a pig farm, according to KCTV on Sunday.

(Stand-up) "Instead of a direct provocation that would have violated several United Nations resolutions, South Korea's military intelligence determined that North Korea conducted a massive artillery drill near the regime's eastern coast city of Wonsan".

Analysts say any North Korean counter strike would draw a quick response from the United States, South Korea and Japan that could further escalate the conflict, draw in China, and lead to a second Korean war.

North Korea on Tuesday reportedly conducted a huge live-fire drill that involved up to 400 artillery pieces, which may have been supervised by the country's leader, Kim Jong Un.

It may be that President Trump has decided that the cost of North Korea eventually getting nuclear weapons that could strike the USA means that the risk of war has to be taken. Kim, unlike Saddam Hussein, has already tested nuclear weapons, and is believed to be moving toward having a workable hydrogen bomb-a thermonuclear weapon with a thousand times the explosive power of his earlier designs. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is to chair a ministerial-level Security Council meeting on the North on Friday.

The South Korean military was monitoring the situation and "firmly maintaining readiness".

But she elaborated on what that threshold is: "If you see him attack a military base, if you see some sort of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), then obviously we're going to do that". "And I don't think it's inflammatory rhetoric", McCain said.

South Korea's envoy, Kim Hong-kyun, said they had also discussed how to get Russia's help to press North Korea.

Its deployment was met with threats by the North Koreans.

In addition to Trump hosting the Security Council luncheon, Washington is engaging in a series of diplomatic actions to up pressure on Pyongyang this week.

On Wednesday, Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford, are to hold a rare briefing on North Korea at the White House for the entire U.S. Senate. The U.S. has one of the world's largest military budgets accounting for gross domestic product, spending roughly $618 billion a year on arms and other military capabilities.

Instead of a nuclear blast or a big missile test, North Korea marked Tuesday's 85th anniversary of the founding of its military by deploying a large number of long-range artillery units on its east coast for a live-fire drill, South Korea's military said.

McCain said a North Korean nuclear missile capable of striking an American city was "an imminent danger".

China has shown off its growing military strength by launching a new aircraft carrier, amid rising global tensions over North Korea.

This stokes fears that North Korea might be preparing for another nuclear test, given that recent satellite imaging shows activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear testing grounds - where Pyongyang has carried out its previous nuclear trials. And while it is believed that North Korea has yet to produce a missile that can carry a nuclear warhead to the USA, it is steadily moving closer to that target.

Other reports by iNewsToday