North Korea rolls out missiles

Alvin Kelly
April 20, 2017

US President Donald Trump held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort last Friday to push his case for China to do more to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions. The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the results of the policy review and requested anonymity.

North Korea has warned the US not to take provocative action in the region, saying it is "ready to hit back with nuclear attacks", according to BBC News.

The Global Times said Trump's decision to drop the "mother of all bombs" on Afghanistan was clearly "a new gimmick in United States military deterrence" created to intimidate Kim Jong-un. The ICBMs would be the largest weapons the country has produced.

But the most significant revelation was what the South Korean military believes is new type of ICBM, which the North claims to possess but has never successfully tested.

"The bottom line is that North Korea has an improving nuclear weapons arsenal", said David Albright, the institute's president.

China issued a stern warning on Friday that a conflict over North Korea could break out "at any moment", as Pyongyang vowed a "merciless" response to any US military action.

Military analysts say the missiles could one day be capable of hitting targets as far as the continental United States, although the North has yet to flight test them.

As for the Trump administration's policy, the USA officials emphasized that no engagement of North Korea is now taking place.

The officials said the goal of engagement would have to be North Korea's denuclearization.

Pyongyang has also expressed anger over the ongoing annual spring military exercises the US holds with South Korea, which it considers a rehearsal for invasion.

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The North regularly launches short-range missiles, but is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target USA troops in Asia and, eventually, the US mainland.

Beijing's decision earlier this year to cut off coal imports from North Korea also are being seen as a hopeful sign.

"Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was so fascinated by his personality as to say that Kim Il Sung is greater than that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln put together, eulogizing him as the great sun god of human destiny." it said. "China is willing to give support to all of them", he said.

North Korean soldiers also rolled out another large rocket that appeared to be the size of an ICBM, but what a South Korean military analyst said hasn't been seen before.

Trump, who last week acted unilaterally in ordering a cruise missile strike on Syria, has been using America's military might to send a message to Kim.

Amid the elevated tensions, the United States a few days ago dispatched what Trump called an "armada" of ships in a show of force, including an aircraft carrier, into waters off the Korean Peninsula.

Beijing has long opposed dramatic action against the North, fearing the regime's collapse would send a flood of refugees across its borders and leave the US military on its doorstep.

North Korea showed off its military might during a parade in Pyongyang on Saturday, in celebration of its founder's birthday.

China's Global Times newspaper, which is published by the People's Daily, the Communist Party's official paper, said North Korea must have felt the shockwave from the 11-ton "mother of all bombs" dropped by US forces on Islamic State-linked fighters in Afghanistan on Thursday.

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