- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Bullying tactics by North Korea strengthen U.S., South Korean resolve
SEOUL | Leaders here and in Washington offered cautionary responses Tuesday to North Korea’s latest threat that “thermonuclear war” is imminent, as Japan announced deployment of ballistic-missile interceptors to key locations around Tokyo in preparation for a possible test or attack launch by Pyongyang.
South Korea’s foreign minister asserted that “North Korea must understand that there is nothing — absolutely nothing — to be gained by threats and provocations,” as the nation’s president, Park Geun-hye, lamented the ongoing and seemingly “endless vicious cycle” in which Seoul and others respond gently only to be met by more antagonism from Pyongyang.
The remarks dovetailed with assertions in Washington by White House spokesman Jay Carney that Pyongyang’s rhetoric is serving “only to escalate tensions” and “further isolate” North Korea from the international community.
There were no reports of a military buildup Tuesday in Pyongyang, but the North Korean government made international headlines by urging foreign companies and tourists to evacuate South Korea and claiming the two nations are on the verge of a nuclear war.
”The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermonuclear war due to the ever more undisguised hostile actions of the United States and the South Korean puppet warmongers and their moves for a war against” the North, said a statement by the North Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, a state-run organization.
With the rhetorical tit-for-tat by both sides appearing to reach a new apex, the top American military commander in the Pacific said that if North Korea launches a ballistic missile, U.S. forces in the region are fully capable of intercepting it.
Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, who overseas U.S. forces from Guam to South Korea and Japan, responded in the affirmative Tuesday when Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, asked him during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether the U.S. has the “capability to intercept a missile if the North Koreans launch within the next several days.”
Adm. Locklear and other leaders have stressed that Pyongyang’s threats are likely just the bluster of 28-year-old North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as he attempts to shore up his power base in the nation, but the exchange in the Senate underscored how seriously the militaries of the U.S. and its allies are taking the rhetoric.
Earlier Tuesday, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a speech that the “umbrella” of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and missile defense remains firmly in place over America’s allies in Asia, regardless of North Korea’s provocations.
“We will continue to provide the extended deterrence offered by the U.S. nuclear umbrella and will ensure that all of its capabilities remain available” to U.S. allies, Mr. Carter told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, according to prepared remarks posted on the Pentagon’s website.
He also reiterated America’s determination “to strengthen our missile defenses in order to keep ahead of North Korean ballistic missile development,” noting the recent deployment of sea- and land-based U.S. missile defenses in the region, “where they are poised to respond to any missile threats to our allies or our territory.
”Despite such reassurances, South Korea and Japan have been deploying their own missile defenses, a move likely to be watched closely in China, which relies on its nuclear missiles for strategic deterrence.Japanese leaders deployed Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile air-defense units to three locations in and around Tokyo on Tuesday, although the nation’s chief Cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, declined to offer specifics of the action.
“We’d like to refrain from explaining further because it would give away details of the cards we hold,” Mr. Suga said, according to a report by The Japan Times.
Last week, South Korea deployed two Aegis destroyers — one on each side of the peninsula — that can detect, track and intercept ballistic missiles, according to Arirang TV News. South Korea’s ground-based Green Pine radar and Peace Eye early warning and control aircraft are also being deployed to watch for a launch, Arirang reported.
On Tuesday, leaders in Seoul mostly emphasized to North Korea that if it abandons its threats, the international community will respond positively.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor is the National Security Team Leader at The Washington Times, overseeing the paper’s State Department, Pentagon and intelligence community coverage. He’s also a frequent guest on The McLaughlin Group and C-SPAN.
His series on political, economic and security developments in Mexico won a 2012 Virginia Press Association award.
Prior to rejoining The Times in 2011, his work was ...
- U.S. urges direct talks between Russia, new Ukraine government
- Israelis had U.S. help in intercepting Iranian missile shipment to Palestine
- Special congressional panel to investigate FBI contact with bin Laden
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI had human source in contact with bin Laden as far back as 1993
- Ambassador denies reports Iraq has weapons deal with Iran
Latest Blog Entries
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- Game players don't think peace has a chance in Syria
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Malaysia Airlines says plane on route to Beijing missing
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again