Monday 22 January 2018

US warns North Korea of 'swift punitive measures'

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) interceptor is seen in Seongju, South Korea, this week as a helicopter takes off. Photo: Reuters
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) interceptor is seen in Seongju, South Korea, this week as a helicopter takes off. Photo: Reuters

Neil Connor, Beijing

South Korea and the United States warned Pyongyang yesterday that they would take "swift punitive measures" in the face of a threat, as North Korea released a video of the White House being destroyed in a missile attack.

The new video, which also showed an aircraft carrier being hit, was released after the US military said a navy strike group led by the supercarrier Carl Vinson was within "striking distance" of North Korea.

The North also warned yesterday that it would "never stop" carrying out tests of its military hardware, raising concerns that it was preparing a possible act which could provoke the US.

The comments from a senior North Korean official followed a top US military commander in the Pacific telling the US congress that Donald Trump wanted to bring Kim Jong-un "to his senses" but "not to his knees".

Admiral Harry Harris said the administration wants to apply a "burst" of economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang, in conjunction with China, North Korea's main trading partner.

Beijing welcomed the softer tone from Washington but Chinese media voiced anger over the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) missile system, which the US began installing in South Korea on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met in Moscow yesterday and called on North Korea and other countries to avoid increasing tensions.

Admiral Harris told Congress he believed North Korea's threats against the US needed to be taken seriously: "I don't share your confidence that North Korea is not going to attack either South Korea, or Japan, or the United States ... once they have the capability."

"In confronting the reckless North Korean regime, it's critical that we're guided by a strong sense of resolve, both privately and publicly, both diplomatically and militarily," he said.

North Korea's UN Mission said on Wednesday the government would react to "a total war" with the United States with a nuclear war.

Pyongyang will "surely win a victory in the death-defying struggle against the US imperialists", a statement said.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea "can never be frightened" by the Trump administration's effort to bring the country "into submission" by deploying a nuclear aircraft carrier strike group to waters off the Korean Peninsula, it continued. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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