N Korea delays Guam missile firing; US says dialogue up to Kim

17-Aug-2017 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM Print This Post

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards Guam while he waits to see what the United States does, the North’s state media reported on Tuesday as the United States said any dialogue was up to Kim.

The United States and South Korea have prepared for more joint military drills, which has infuriated the North, and experts warned Pyongyang could still go ahead with a provocative plan.

In his first public appearance in about two weeks, Kim inspected the command of the North’s army on Monday, examining a plan to fire four missiles aimed at landing near the US Pacific territory of Guam, the official KCNA news agency reported.

“He said that if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of the DPRK, the latter will make an important decision as it already declared,” KCNA said.

(Reuters)

The DPRK stands for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In photos released with the KCNA report, Kim was seen holding a baton and pointing at a map showing a flight path for the missiles appearing to start from North Korea’s east coast, flying over Japan towards Guam.

North Korea has often threatened to attack the United States and its bases and released similar photos in the past but never followed through.

Pyongyang’s latest threat prompted a surge in tensions in the region last week, with US President Donald Trump saying the US military was “locked and loaded” if North Korea acted unwisely.

But US officials have taken a gentler tone in recent days.

Asked by reporters on Tuesday about the North Korean delay, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was up to Kim to decide if he wants to talk to the United States.

“We continue to be interested in finding a way to get to dialogue but that’s up to him,” Tillerson told reporters.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said North Korea’s decision to hold off was not enough and Pyongyang would have to show it was “intent on denuclearising the Korean peninsula.”

“I think they would have to do quite a bit more,” Nauert said, adding, “They know what they need to do to get us to come to the negotiating table.

For an interactive graphic on North Korea’s missile capabilities clickhttp://tmsnrt.rs/2t6WEPL

For a graphic on North Korean missile trajectories, ranges clickhttp://bit.ly/2w8fdrc

PREVENT WAR

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday his government would prevent war by all means.

“Military action on the Korean peninsula can only be decided by South Korea and no one else can decide to take military action without the consent of South Korea,” Moon said in a speech to commemorate the anniversary of the nation’s liberation from Japanese military rule in 1945.

“The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means,” Moon said.

The Liberation Day holiday, celebrated by both North and South, will be followed next week by joint US-South Korean military drills.

Asian shares rose for a second day on Tuesday after Kim’s comments. The US dollar and Treasury yields climbed after solid US retail data and the easing in US-North Korean rhetoric.

North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear and missile programmes to ward off perceived US hostility, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions.

A new study by a London-based think tank and an article in the New York Times that cited it said North Korea had obtained rocket engines probably from a Ukrainian factory via illicit networks.

But US intelligence officials said on Tuesday that North Korea has the ability to produce its own missile engines and intelligence suggests the country does not need to rely on imports.

Japan will seek further reassurance from Washington in meetings between Japan’s defence chief and foreign minister and their US counterparts on Thursday.

“The strategic environment is becoming harsher and we need to discuss how we will respond to that,” a Japanese foreign ministry official said in a briefing in Tokyo.

“We will look for the US to reaffirm its defence commitment, including the nuclear deterrent.”

China, North Korea’s main ally and trading partner, has repeatedly urged Pyongyang to halt its weapons programme and at the same time urged South Korea and the United States to stop military drills to lower tensions.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/north-korea-delays-guam-missile-firing-u-says-003649635.html

 


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