Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Foreign journalists in North Korea told to prepare for 'big' event

Jeannie Matthews | 14 April, 2017, 19:09

Concern has grown since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising questions about U.S. President Donald Trump's plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations and unilateral sanctions.

Many experts believe that at its current pace of testing, North Korea could reach that potentially game-changing milestone within a few years - under Trump's watch as president.

Officials gave no details as to the nature of the event or where it would take place, and similar announcements in the past have been linked to relatively low-key set pieces.

The US-based 38 North monitoring group reported late on Wednesday that satellite images suggested Pyongyang is prepared to conduct its next nuclear test, describing the test site as "primed and ready".

The annual US-South Korean military exercises have consistently infuriated the North, which sees them as rehearsals for an invasion.

"We've got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a USA pre-emptive strike".

"Now we are comparing Trump's policy toward the DPRK with the former administration's, and we have concluded that it's becoming more vicious and more aggressive".

Mr Han has accused Mr Trump of "making trouble" with "aggressive" tweets. "There is no space, no daylight between our two countries on North Korea", he assured.

It says North Korea will face strong punishment it will find hard to withstand if it makes a significant provocation, such as another nuclear test or an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

"We will go to war if they choose", he said.

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"Once a war really happens, the result will be nothing but multiple-loss", Wang said.

He said the USA and President Donald Trump were making trouble in the region by moving an aircraft carrier strike group into Korean waters and participating in its largest-ever joint military exercises with South Korea.

Early Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi weighed in, saying there would be no winners in an armed conflict between the US and North Korea.

Though his election campaign was marked with acerbic denouncements of China's "rape" of the USA economy, Trump dropped his anti-China bombast in Florida, afterwards hailing an "outstanding" relationship with Xi. "No one can become a victor", Wang said. He said China is willing to support any such effort. "No matter who it is, if it wants to make war or trouble on the Korean Peninsula, it must take the historical responsibility and pay the due price".

North Korea's vice foreign minister says it will conduct its next nuclear test whenever its supreme headquarters sees fit.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday is was necessary to prevent the situation on the Korean peninsula from going down an irreversible route. Han Song Ryol, North Korea's vice minister of foreign affairs, arrives for an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, April 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Many experts believe North Korea could have a viable nuclear warhead and a ballistic missile capable of hitting the USA mainland within the next few years.

In 2016, for example, foreign journalists underwent hours of investigation by North Korean officials ahead of what turned out to be a pop concert to mark the finale of a ruling Workers' Party congress.

U.S. military planes have also been conducting military drills alongside Japan in the Korean peninsula.

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