• Thursday, Aug 13, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:24 pm

Kim orders stronger strike power; US still open to talks

  • Published at 09:36 pm May 10th, 2019
North Korea-Missile
File Photo: A missile is seen launching during a military drill in North Korea on May 9, 2019 AFP

im Jong Un's call for a 'full combat posture' follows the US seizure of a large North Korean cargo ship accused of illicit coal shipments in violation of UN sanctions

The leader of North Korea ordered its military to boost its strike capability as he directed another missile firing, state media said on Friday, as tensions grew over tests that appeared to show development of a new advanced missile system.

Kim Jong Un's call for a "full combat posture" follows the US seizure of a large North Korean cargo ship accused of illicit coal shipments in violation of UN sanctions.

The increased tensions come amid a gridlock in dialogue after the second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump collapsed over US demands for Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament and Kim's demands for relief from sanctions.

"Kim stressed the need to further increase the capability of the defence units in the forefront area and on the western front to carry out combat tasks and keep full combat posture to cope with any emergency," KCNA news agency reported.

He noted "genuine peace and security of the country are guaranteed only by the strong physical force capable of defending its sovereignty," KCNA said, adding he "set forth important tasks for further increasing the strike ability."

The test of two short-range missiles on Thursday and the firing of a series of projectiles on Saturday were the first missile launches by the North since an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in November 2017.

Kim later declared the building of its nuclear force was complete and went on to hold three summit meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and two with Trump.

Both Trump and Moon said the latest missile tests were not helpful but suggested they would not scupper dialogue.

"I know they want to negotiate, they're talking about negotiating. But I don't think they're ready to negotiate," Trump told reporters.

"They were smaller missiles, they were short-range missiles," he said. "Nobody's happy about it but we're taking a good look and we'll see."

South Korea's Moon said on Thursday the tests were likely a reaction to the failed second summit with Trump in Hanoi in February, but he thought North Korea remained hopeful of continuing negotiations.

Illicit shipment

The latest tests were swiftly followed by US test-launches of the intercontinental ballistic missile Minuteman III over the Pacific and the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off Florida.

They also coincided with a visit to the South by US special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun, who met his South Korean counterpart and was scheduled to hold talks with presidential Blue House and Unification Ministry officials.

During his meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Friday, Biegun said "the door is still open for North Korea to return to the negotiating table," and that it is very important for South Korea and the United States to continue communication and cooperation, the ministry said in a statement.

Thursday's missiles were fired from Kusong, northwest of the capital Pyongyang. One missile flew 420km and the other 270km, both reaching an altitude of about 50km before falling into the sea, South Korea's military said.

North Korean state media did not give details of the missiles.

South Korean and US military analysts will try to determine if the Russian-development Iskander short-range ballistic missile system was used, Ahn Gyu-baek, the defence committee chairman in South Korea's parliament, told reporters.

Japan, which is also in striking distance of North Korean missiles and saw them fly over its territory before Kim's self-declared moratorium on long-range missile launches in April 2018, said on Friday the latest missile tests violated UN resolutions.

China, the North's main diplomatic backer, said it had no firm information on the tests. State Councillor and senior diplomat Wang Yi said Korean peninsula issues should be resolved through dialogue with the goal of denuclearisation.

Analysts said the multiple tests signalled that North Korea is serious about deploying an operational fleet of the missiles, which could be used in the opening hours of any war with the United States and South Korea.

Washington has given no sign it will budge on the North's demand to lift some sanctions as it announced on Thursday the seizure of a North Korean cargo vessel that it said was involved in the illicit shipping of coal.

The Justice Department said the 17,061-tonne Wise Honest is one of the North's largest cargo ships and it was first detained by Indonesia in April 2018 but is now in the possession of the United States. The announcement has no connection with the North's missile activities, a US official said.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail