In call with Trump, China's Xi urges restraint over North Korea

Frederick Owens
August 19, 2017

The US Defence Intelligence Agency has concluded that North Korea may well have already developed a miniaturised nuclear warhead that could be delivered on such a missile.

NORTH Korea knows exactly what it wants to do to provoke the United States, and only the U.S., promptly announcing it would fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into the waters 30 to 40 kilometers from Guam.

But should it? Could it?

The contacts suggest Pyongyang, too, may be open to a negotiation even as it talks of launching missiles near the US territory of Guam.

The U.S. set up the Naval Station in Guam in 1899, designating the whole island as a base.

If the missiles landed within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Guam, as threatened, according to UN law, they would fall within the United States' exclusive economic zone although not their territorial waters.

It's not an easy call.

"North Korea is assessing its options", said Suzanne DiMaggio, a senior fellow at the New America think tank who participated in unofficial talks with North Korean officials in Oslo in May that were also attended by Yun.

"We will see what happens", Trump said.

Later this month, the United States and South Korea, a key USA ally, are expected to hold joint military exercises, which involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air. "And I think tourism, I can say this, your tourism, you're going to go up like tenfold with the expenditure of no money, so I congratulate you". Trump played that up on Friday by retweeting a U.S. Pacific Command tweet saying the bombers on Guam are ready to fulfill their "Fight Tonight" mission if called upon.

More news: There will be no war on Korean peninsula: South Korean President

Adam Mount, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told CNN the US military could use its THAAD defense system or Aegis destroyers to stop any North Korean projectiles.

In playing cat-and-mouse not only with the United States but the entire democratic world, Pyongyang has once again pushed the envelop by targeting this time the tiny American island territory of Guam (population: 160,000), in the Pacific.

"Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason, and only absolute force can work on him", KCNA said of Mr Trump. "Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path", escalating an exchange of threats between the nuclear-armed nations.

"We never do. I don't talk about it", Trump told reporters at his golf club in New Jersey when asked about a preemptive strike.

But when US President Donald Trump said the US would respond to the next North Korean threat with "fire and fury unlike the world has ever seen", he did not demonstrate similar forethought. In the case of the Philippines, no U.S. soldiers and no USA arms have found their way to the country-at least their presence here has been denied by Manila and Washington-since the Visiting Forces Agreement was signed between the Philippines and the United States. Andersen Air Force Base hosts a Navy helicopter squadron and Air Force bombers that rotate to Guam from the USA mainland.

Reacting to the threat, the President said, "We're going to do a great job here, don't worry about a thing".

In the President's words they are behind us "1000 percent."As the head of the Government of Guam, I appreciate their reassurances that my family, my friends, everyone on this island, are all safe".

"This is a system that has never been called upon to shoot down a North Korean missile before". That's how long it would take for North Korean missiles to reach the island. The U.S. military has also conducted two ICBM interceptor tests since May.

HU: There is a lot of US military might here - a major naval base, a major Air Force base.

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