Tuesday 18 April 2017

North Korea Says It Will Conduct Missile Test On 'Weekly Basis'

North Korea

North Korea warned last night it will launch a “pre-emptive nuclear strike” to deter an attack by US military forces and missile tests will be conducted on a ‘weekly basis’.

Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC an “all-out war” would result if the US “was reckless enough to use military means”.

The senior official also warned that Pyongyang will continue its programme of regular missile tests, despite growing military tensions with the US.

‘Weekly, monthly and yearly basis’

“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” he said in defiance of warnings from the US over North Korea’s shows of military aggression.

Mr Han added: “If the US is planning a military attack against us, we will react with a nuclear pre-emptive strike by our own style and method.”

In a further heightening of tensions, North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador, Kim In Ryong, blamed the US for creating “a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment.”

He also accused the US of using “gangster-like logic that its invasion of a sovereign state is ‘decisive, just and proportionate’” and warned that North Korea “is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US”.

Pence warning: US ‘patience’ is over

Earlier, US Vice-President Mike Pence warned Pyongyang not to test the US, saying his country’s “era of strategic patience” was over.

In a trip full of Cold War symbolism, Mike Pence travelled to the zone dividing North and South Korea and warned Pyongyang that the US would be prepared to act, militarily, in the event of another nuclear test.

In a joint statement alongside South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, Mr Pence said that “all options are on the table” to deal with the threat and said any use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang would be met with “an overwhelming and effective response”. He said the American commitment to South Korea is “iron-clad and immutable”.

Pointing to Donald Trump’s recent military actions in Syria and Afghanistan, Mr Pence said, “North Korea would do well not to test his resolve”.

Mr Pence arrived in Seoul on Sunday, hours after North Korea carried out a failed missile launch. He made an unannounced visit to the Demilitarised Zone yesterday, peering at North Korean soldiers from afar and staring directly across a border marked by razor wire.

Mr Pence told reporters near the DMZ that President Trump was hopeful China would use its “extraordinary levers” to pressure the North to abandon its weapons program.

Russian foreign minister warns of risk

In Moscow, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said he hoped the US would not carry out “unilateral actions like those we saw recently in Syria”. Such a move, he was reported as saying, would be “very risky”.

Meanwhile, China made a plea for a return to negotiations. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said tensions must be eased to bring the escalating dispute to a peaceful resolution.

In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking to a parliamentary session on Monday, said: “Diplomatic effort is important to maintain peace. But dialogue for the sake of having dialogue is meaningless.” He also urged China and Russia to play more constructive roles on the issue.

Mr Trump said on Sunday that China was working with the US on “the North Korea problem”.

Yesterday, he tweeted: “The first 90 days of my presidency has exposed the total failure of the last eight years of foreign policy!”



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