North Korea on ‘maximum alert’ after US threats

Al Jazeera

Pyongyang tells Washington its nuclear weapons are ‘not an illusion’ following US threats.

North Korea has warned its army is on “maximum alert” after the US vice president visited the heavily militarised border between the two Koreas and reiterated Washington’s position that “all options are on the table” in dealing with Pyongyang.

Sin Hong-chol, North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview on Monday that Donald Trump’s administration “should look at the world with open eyes”.

“The time of dictating orders by brandishing the US military might has gone. If those businessmen in power in the US thought of intimidating us by any military or sanction threats – as the [Barack] Obama administration used to do and failed – they will soon find out such threats are useless,” Sin said.

“If we notice any sign of assault on our sovereignty, our army will launch merciless military strikes against the US aggressors, wherever they may exist, from the remote US lands to the American military bases on the Korean peninsula, such as those of Japan and elsewhere.”

Sin also said the six-nation talks aiming to make the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons were “throttled at birth”.

“The nuclear weapon in our possession is not illusion; it is not a commodity that may be traded for American dollars – nor is it for sale. So it cannot be put on the negotiating table with the aim to rip it off,” he said.

OPINION: Will China intervene in North Korea?

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have soared in recent weeks, as a series of North Korean missile tests have wrought ever-more bellicose warnings from Donald Trump‘s administration.

On Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence – visiting the world’s most heavily militarised border that divides the two Koreas – hinted military options against the North have not been ruled out.

“The people of North Korea, the military of North Korea should not mistake the resolve of the United States of America to stand with our allies,” Pence said, adding “the era of strategic patience is over”.

“All options are on the table as we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of South Korea,” he said from the village of Panmunjom, inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).

On Sunday, Pyongyang conducted its latest missile test, which the US and South Korea said crashed in failure after only a few seconds upon launch.

The Trump administration has indicated it will not allow North Korea to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the western United States.

Pyongyang insists it needs a powerful arsenal – including atomic weapons – to protect itself from what it says is the ever-present threat of invasion by hostile US forces.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Seoul, Korea specialist and author Donald Kirk noted the rhetoric between the rivals continues to escalate and a “violent confrontation” was a real possibility.

“Certainly the tension level is very high. Vice President Pence talked very tough today… He left open the possibility of a pre-emptive strike,” said Kirk.

READ MORE: North Korea: ‘Whatever comes, we will handle it’

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington go back to the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. But the heat has been rising rapidly since Trump took office in January.

The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier has been diverted back to the waters off the Korean peninsula after heading for Australia , and US satellite imagery suggests the North could conduct another underground nuclear test at any time.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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This entry was posted in US - North Korea relationship and tagged , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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