Wed, May 03, 2017 - Page 1 News List

US pushing Korean Peninsula to brink of war: Pyongyang

THAAD:The anti-ballistic missile system has started operating in South Korea, but it will not be fully operational for some months, US officials said

Reuters, SEOUL and BEIJING

North Korea yesterday accused the US of pushing the Korean Peninsula to the brink of nuclear war after a pair of strategic US bombers flew training drills with the South Korean and Japanese air forces in another show of strength.

The two supersonic Rockwell B-1 Lancer bombers were deployed amid rising tensions over North Korea’s pursuit of its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of UN sanctions and pressure from the US.

The flight of the two bombers on Monday came as US President Donald Trump said he would be “honored” to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the right circumstances.

South Korean Ministry of National Defense spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told a briefing in Seoul that Monday’s joint drill was conducted to deter provocations by the North.

Pyongyang said the bombers conducted “a nuclear bomb dropping drill against major objects” in its territory at a time when Trump and “other US warmongers are crying out for making a preemptive nuclear strike” on the North.

“The reckless military provocation is pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula closer to the brink of nuclear war,” the North’s Korean Central News Agency said yesterday.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been high for weeks, driven by concerns that the North might conduct its sixth nuclear test in defiance of pressure from the US and Pyongyang’s sole major ally, China.

The US military’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system has reached initial operational capacity in South Korea, US officials said, but added that it would not be fully operational for some months.

China has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the system, whose powerful radar it fears could reach inside Chinese territory.

Denouncing the THAAD, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) yesterday said: “We will resolutely take necessary measures to defend our interests.”

Asked about Trump’s suggestion he could meet Kim, Geng said China had noted the US comments that it wanted to use peaceful means to resolve the issue.

Trump has been full of praise of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) efforts to rein in its neighbor.

“China has always believed that using peaceful means via dialogue and consultation to resolve the peninsula’s nuclear issue is the only realistic, feasible means to achieve denuclearization of the peninsula and maintain peace and stability there, and is the only correct choice,” Geng told a daily news briefing.

Trump drew criticism in Washington on Monday when he said he would be honored” to meet Kim.

“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump said.

Trump did not say what conditions would be needed for such a meeting to occur or when it could happen.

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