Saturday 29 April 2017

Trump says North Korea must 'behave' as crisis escalates with threats of weekly missile tests and 'all-out war'

'If the US is planning a military attack against us, we will react with a nuclear pre-emptive strike'

Sam Lister

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence today reassured Japan of American commitment to reining in North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions on Tuesday, after warning that U.S. strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed the strength of its resolve.

Pence arrived in Tokyo from South Korea, where he assured leaders of the "iron-clad" alliance with the United States. He also warned the reclusive North, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions, that the "era of strategic patience" was over.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States and it showed no let-up in its defiance after a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles in Pyongyang.

"The era of strategic patience is over and while all options are on the table, President (Donald) Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region and with China to achieve a peaceable resolution and the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" Pence said in Tokyo before lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers marching through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. AFP/ STR/AFP/Getty Images
Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers marching through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. AFP/ STR/AFP/Getty Images

"... We appreciate the challenging time in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocation across the Sea of Japan. We are with you 100 percent," he said.

North Korea's deputy representative to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, accused the United States on Monday of creating "a situation where nuclear war could break out an any time" and said Pyongyang's next nuclear test would take place "at a time and at a place where our headquarters deems necessary".

He told the BBC: "We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis."

Warning of "all-out war" if the US takes military action, he 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."

US President Donald Trump told North Korea it has "gotta behave" when he answered questions from a reporter in the White House as the crisis escalated.

Vice-president Mike Pence, meanwhile, said the "era of strategic patience is over" during a visit to Seoul and he told South Korea the US is with the nation 100pc.

"President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out and we want to see change," he said.

"We want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path of the development of nuclear weapons, and also its continual use and testing of ballistic missiles is unacceptable."

This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People's ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. / AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS / STR /
This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People's ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. / AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS / STR /

He warned Pyongyang "would do well not to test" the resolve of Mr Trump.

The UK has urged North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to stop "these belligerent acts and comply with UN resolutions", but No 10 refused to be drawn on reports that Prime Minister Theresa May has privately urged Mr Trump not to launch air strikes on North Korea.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov warned the US against "unilateral actions like those we saw recently in Syria" and urged the US to "follow the line that president Trump repeatedly voiced during the election campaign".

Mr Trump has ordered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and several warships to the area to highlight American concern at the situation, as China expressed fears war could erupt "at any moment".

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday diplomatic means must be used to resolve tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Wang, speaking at a news conference in Beijing, urged all sides to find a peaceful solution.

Press Association

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