North Korea: Talking is not the answer, says Trump

Monday, 04 Sep, 2017

Two days after North Korea flew a missile over Japan, the USA and South Korea have staged their own show of force involving the US' state of the art stealth fighters.

"The situation is extremely serious. we see North Korea setting itself as an objective to have tomorrow or the day after missiles that can transport nuclear weapons", Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio.

The minor conservative Bareun Party also demanded a "wholesale revision" to the government's policy towards the North, underscoring the importance of firming up security cooperation with the USA and Japan.

North Korea has made it clear that it sees its weapons program, which demands regular testing to flawless, as the only way to contest decades of US hostility, by which it means the huge USA military presence in South Korea, Japan and the Pacific.

The United States on Thursday flew some of its most advanced warplanes over South Korea in a show of force against North Korea, after Pyongyang fired a midrange ballistic missile over Japan earlier this week, South Korea's military said.

The UN Security Council denounced the latest missile test, unanimously demanding that Pyongyang halt its nuclear programme and "all related activities".

"I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us", Trump said of Kim then. The show of force came just hours after the USA conducted a missile defense test off the coast of Hawaii, launching a ballistic missile and then shooting it out of the sky. At the time it provoked consternation and condemnation, but there were several repetitions in the following months.

Which missile did it fire on Tuesday? Each of the missiles exploded or traveled only a short distance.

But the flight path of Tuesday's missile appears to have been carefully chosen not to go anywhere near Guam and risk provoking a physical response - KCNA went as far as declaring: "The drill had no impact on the security of the neighbouring countries".

For the Korean edition, the book was retitled Capitalist Republic of Korea, in a play on the North's official designation as a democratic republic, and its cover replaces the red star in the North's coat of arms with a dollar sign.

South Korea earlier raised its military alert level, placing all troops on high alert.

South Korea and the United States are now engaged in joint military exercises, which kicked off last week.

Options range from limited surgical strikes on nuclear targets to a pre-emptive "decapitation" attack to take out Kim and other senior leaders.

"To an extent it's as much a political as an operational development that's important to South Korean self-confidence".

By all indications, cash is continuing to flow into ventures that are changing the North Korean capital's skyline despite worldwide sanctions, helped in large part by leader Kim Jong Un's push to build a socialist utopia in the city.

The meeting, now scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. ET, was announced as UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the North Korean test as "profoundly destabilizing for regional security". China, North Korea's chief sponsor and trading partner, is unwilling to do anything that might bring down the regime in Pyongyang.

Rising tensions with North Korea come at a time when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to promote constitutional changes that would make it easier for the country's military to wage war.

Kim Jong Un "sternly" said that "the drill conducted by the (North's) Strategic Force is a curtain-raiser of its resolute countermeasures" against joint military exercises being conducted by the USA and South Korea.

But that would leave the North with capabilities seen as unacceptable by Washington, which says the proposal would reward bad behaviour. He might have assumed that since North Korea didn't drop a missile near Guam - a possibility that arose after Mr. Trump made his "fire and fury" threat three weeks ago from his New Jersey golf course - his work was done, with little more effort than it takes to type a tweet. "Talking is not the answer!".