North Korean officials stated on Monday their intent to continue missile testing amid the increasingly tense situation that’s been developing between the U.S. and its allies and Pyongyang.
“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” said Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol, adding that they’re prepared for an “all-out war” if the U.S. takes military action.
Han stated that the tiny communist dictatorship will launch a “nuclear pre-emptive strike by our own style and method” if U.S. forces make a move against them.
North Korea defiantly conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests last year, despite six United Nations Security Council (U.N.) sanctions banning any testing. The country has also conducted several missile tests this year, including one this past weekend that failed.
In a news conference, North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador Kim In Ryong accused the United States of turning the Korean Peninsula into “the world’s biggest hotspot” and creating “a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment.”
He pointed to the Trump administration’s deployment of the USS Carl Vinson nuclear carrier task group to waters off the Korean Peninsula, saying this “proves the U.S.’ reckless moves for invading the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) have reached a serious phase of its scenario.”
According to Kim, officials consider the U.S.-South Korean military exercises currently taking place to be the most “aggressive war drill” ever aimed at the DPRK. “The prevailing, grave situation proves once again that the DPRK was entirely just when it increased in every way its military capabilities for self-defense and pre-emptive attack with a nuclear force as a pivot,” he said.
Vice President Pence kicked off his 10-day Asian tour in South Korea on Monday. His first stop was to visit the demilitarized zone separating the North and South, where he warned Pyongyang, “The era of strategic patience is over.”
On Tuesday, Pence told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the U.S. wants to work with its Asian allies in the region to achieve “a peaceable resolution and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
“We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan,” said Pence, adding, “We are with you 100 percent.”
Pence emphasized to Abe that the United States has run out of patience with Pyongyang’s threatening actions, saying, “While all options are on the table, President Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region, and with China” to resolve the problem.
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