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War Threats Have Become Background Noise in South Korea
15 Agosto 2017, 05:10 | Bibiana Flor
War Threats Have Become Background Noise in South Korea
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un has received a report from his army on its plans to strike the area around Guam and says he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision, the North's official news agency says.
The North Korean Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) is "seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the United States", the statement said. But it also reported that leader Kim Jong Un would watch USA conduct before giving his orders for the test.
The North then came out with a threat to lob four intermediate-range "Hwasong-12" missiles near Guam, a tiny US territory some 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) from the North's capital, Pyongyang.
The tentative interest in diplomacy follows unusually combative threats between President Donald Trump and North Korea amid worries that Pyongyang is nearing its long-sought goal of accurately being able to send a nuclear missile to the USA mainland.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday there would be no military action without Seoul's consent and his government would do anything to prevent war.
Mr. Underwood, a former Guam delegate to Congress, said Guam should find a way to take advantage of its relationship with the federal government if the island continues as the platform to project the United States' military power in Asia.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appeared intent Thursday on easing the tension, describing the prospect of war as "catastrophic" and saying diplomacy remained the priority. It is easy to tell whether the USA is conducting military exercises with South Korea; it is much harder to ensure that North Korea is not engaging in underground research and development activities.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., welcomed Trump's pugnacious approach, arguing that numerous president's critics failed to stop North Korea from developing a nuclear weapon that could hit the United States. "If South Korea really wants no war on the Korean Peninsula, it should try to stop this military exercise".
The statement came just hours after Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged Trump in a separate phone call to avoid rhetoric that could inflame tensions with Pyongyang.
With Guam's safety in the balance, Trump assured the territory's Governor Eddie Calvo: "We are with you 1000%, you are safe".
"If they were to mobilize at this point in time, it would have a serious impact upon food collection, harvesting and then subsequently food distribution", said Bermudez. But because of its key strategic role in the Pacific, Guam is also a target for North Korea.
Where Pyongyang has consistently surprised, under Kim Jong Un, is in the exponential technical progress resulting from a barrage of missile and nuclear tests, and the bewildering variety of delivery systems now under development in North Korea.
Trump, vacationing at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort, again referred to North Korea's leader in his latest bellicose remarks.
Calvo, who noted that this is not the first time North Korea has threatened the island, bluntly told Guam residents to simply conduct their daily business "as usual". During the same press conference, Trump also hinted at his strong commitment to negotiations: "We'll always consider negotiations...it's about time [for talks]".
If North Korea does launch a missile strike, there is a public warning system in place and a 14-minute window to react, Guam Homeland Security said.
"He stressed that North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs threaten the entire global community and endanger peace and stability in the region", Navy Captain Darryn James said.
Indeed, most of North Korea's R&D, not least its enrichment of fissile materials, occurs in secret facilities inaccessible to outside inspectors.
"When President Trump says, 'Go ahead and do what you're gonna do on Guam and see what happens subsequently, ' it causes you to think well, would he say that if Anchorage had that same threat?"
Experts said North Korea also is about to enter the harvest season so a war-like mobilization of the population could have negative implications on the country's already low food supplies. "But, if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade, a lot differently towards trade", he said.
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