10, August 2017
North Korea has announced that it will develop plans by mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles at the US territory of Guam. North Korea’s state media made the announcement on Thursday, noting that the plans will be presented to the country’s leader Kim Jong-un who will decide on whether to launch the missiles.
“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA (Korean People’s Army) will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan,” said the report, citing KPA Commander General Kim Rak-gyom.
“They will fly 3,356.7 kilometers for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 kilometers away from Guam,” added the report. The KPA commander was cited in the reported as saying that US President Donald Trump was “bereft of reason” and only “absolute force can work on him.” He added that Trump’s recent “fire and fury” comments were a “load of nonsense.”
“They will be met with the fire and fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” said Trump speaking in New Jersey on Tuesday. Meanwhile, North Koreans took part in a mass rally arranged by Pyongyang authorities in protest at recent sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council. The UN Security Council on Saturday passed a resolution slapping sweeping sanctions on the North over its first test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The council members, including Pyongyang’s traditional allies Beijing and Moscow, voted 15-0 for a partial ban on exports, aimed at slashing the North’a $3 billion foreign revenue by a third.
The sanctions ban all exports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, as well as fish and seafood from the country. They also block North Korea from increasing the number of workers it sends abroad, and prevents new joint ventures with Pyongyang or increasing investments in current ventures.
During the Wednesday rally, the protesters gathered in Pyongyang’s central square where senior North Korean officials delivered speeches to the crowd. Also on Wednesday, France urged all the concerned parties in the North Korean crisis to act responsibly and towards de-escalating the situation.
“France’s position is that it’s preoccupied by what is happening. You all know like me that today North Korea is capable of firing an intercontinental ballistic missile with missiles which can cross distances of 6,000 to 9,000 kilometers. And then, the American media have reported these past days about the North’s capacity to nuclearize its ballistic missiles,” said French government spokesman Christophe Castaner. “We call on all parties to act responsibly and de-escalate the situation,” He added.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric also told reporters that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is deeply worried over the surge in aggressive rhetoric by parties to the North Korea crisis.
“The secretary general remains extremely concerned by the ongoing situation and is troubled by the increase in confrontational rhetoric,” said Dujarric.
In a relevant development on Wednesday, Russia’s UN envoy, Vassily Nebenzia (seen below), expressed hopes that the US would keep “calm” in the crisis with Pyongyang.
“A military solution is not an option anyway,” he said.
“Our strong wish is that the United States keeps calm and refrains from any moves that would provoke another party to actions that might be dangerous,” he added.
North Korea has been under UN sanctions over its missile and nuclear development programs since 2006. The sanctions have, however, failed to dissuade the country from pursuing its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
Pyongyang says it needs to continue developing its missile force as a deterrent against the US and its regional allies’ aggression and expansionism. Since early July, the North has tested two ICBMs, which it says can hit the US mainland.