Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 1 News List

US consultation would precede action: Seoul

PYONGYANG EVENT:The KCNA reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had guided a military game that saw its ‘tigers crossing’ into the ‘southern half’

Reuters, SEOUL and PYONGYANG

Military trucks yesterday carry soldiers through Pyongyang as North Korea prepares to mark tomorrow’s 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding father, Kim Il-sung.

Photo: reuters

South Korea yesterday said that it believed it would be consulted by the US before any possible pre-emptive US strike against Pyongyang, where foreign journalists gathered for “a big and important event.”

With a US aircraft carrier group steaming toward the area, tensions on the Korean Peninsula grew this week amid concern that the reclusive North could soon conduct its sixth nuclear test or more missile launches in defiance of UN sanctions.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally and benefactor, has called for a peaceful resolution after a sharp rise in rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.

While US President Donald Trump has put North Korea “clearly on notice” that he would not tolerate provocative actions, US officials have said that his administration was focusing its strategy on tougher economic sanctions.

Trump has diverted the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group toward the Korean Peninsula, which could take more than a week to arrive, in a show of force aimed at deterring North Korea from conducting another nuclear test or launching more missiles to coincide with major commemorative events.

South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se said he believed Washington would consult Seoul if it was considering a pre-emptive strike against the North.

“Under the South Korea-US alliance, any important measure on the North is taken under consultation with the South Korean government and it will continue in the future,” Yun told a parliamentary hearing.

A Washington-based think tank that monitors North Korea, 38 North, said that satellite images taken on Wednesday showed continued activity around the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site on the east coast that showed it was ready for a new test.

South Korean officials yesterday said there were no new signs to indicate a North Korean nuclear test was more likely, although they also said the North has maintained a state of readiness to conduct such a test at any time.

North Korea tomorrow marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il-sung.

In 2012, it tried but failed to launch a long-range rocket carrying a satellite to mark the date and tested a newly developed intermediate-range missile last year.

About 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang for North Korea’s biggest national day, called “Day of the Sun.”

The North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had guided training of the army’s special operation forces jumping from aircraft to strike at targets.

“Watching the brave combatants mercilessly blow up the enemy targets, he said with pleasure that the commanding officers made correct decisions, adding those combatants carrying out their duties independently and proactively were reminiscent of fierce tigers crossing the mountain ranges in the southern half,” KCNA reported.

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