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Trump to Plan NKorea Meetings at the UN Next Week

Trump to Plan NKorea Meetings at the UN Next Week

Friday, 15 September 2017 12:51 PM

President Donald Trump will meet with the leaders of Japan and South Korea next week at the United Nations to discuss how to confront North Korea’s provocations, an administration official said, after the Pyongyang regime launched a second ballistic missile over Japan in less than a month.

The Trump administration has no new retaliation to announce against North Korea, and there’s no plan to push for a UN Security Council vote on added sanctions against the country next week after securing the council’s support for a new sanctions package on Monday, the official said.

The U.S. continues to urge China to use its oil deliveries to North Korea as leverage to change the behavior of Kim Jong Un’s regime, but the Chinese remain reluctant, according to the official who asked not to be identified discussing the White House’s internal deliberations on the matter.

The latest missile tested by Kim Jong Un’s regime flew far enough to put the U.S. territory of Guam in range. The intermediate-range missile fired from Pyongyang at 6:57 a.m. on Friday flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, reaching an altitude of 770 kilometers (478 miles) before landing in the Pacific Ocean. It traveled 3,700 kilometers -- farther than the 3,400 kilometers from Pyongyang to Guam, which North Korea has repeatedly threatened.

“The range of this test was significant since North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile, although the payload the missile was carrying is not known,” David Wright, a co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote in a blog post.

North Korea, which has fired more than a dozen missiles this year, pledged to retaliate after the UN Security Council punished the country for its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3. Investors largely shrugged off the latest launch on Friday, showing that financial markets are growing accustomed to North Korea’s provocations and the responses of the U.S. and its allies.

A North Korean foreign ministry official told reporters at Beijing’s international airport that Friday’s launch was a “normal part of strengthening our nuclear deterrent,” according to NHK.

No Tweets

The Japanese public broadcaster cited Choe Kang Il, deputy director general for North American affairs, as saying North Korea wouldn’t enter dialogue unless the U.S. stops antagonizing his nation. Choe was on his way back from Switzerland, where he attended a meeting on Northeast Asian security.

Trump was briefed on the missile launch but made no mention of North Korea in remarks at a White House dinner on Thursday night. He also said nothing about the missile test, North Korea or Kim in a series of tweets on Friday. The president has said all options -- including use of the military -- are on the table to stop North Korea from obtaining the ability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon, and he has questioned the utility of talks.

“These continued provocations only deepen North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement. He reiterated a call for China and Russia to take action against the rogue state, saying: “China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor.”

Here Are the Options for Dealing With North Korea: QuickTake Q&A

The UN Security Council approved new sanctions on Monday after the U.S. dropped key demands, such as an oil embargo, to win support from Russia and China, both of which can veto any proposals. The compromise resolution seeks to limit oil imports, ban textile exports and increase inspections of ships suspected of carrying cargo in breach of sanctions.

The council plans to convene on Friday in New York at 3 p.m. local time. China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said her nation wasn’t at the core of the North Korea problem.

China will continue to strictly implement UN resolutions on North Korea, she said, adding, “It’s irresponsible and unhelpful to unjustly blame others and shirk responsibilities in any form.”

On Thursday, North Korea had threatened to sink Japan “into the sea” with a nuclear strike and turn the U.S. into “ashes and darkness” for agreeing to the latest UN sanctions.

“We are in an ever-worsening cycle of escalation and time is on North Korea’s side,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, who said the country’s technicians are getting better. “So long as the war of words continues and the lack of communications continues, there is an increasing risk that one side or another miscalculates and we have a situation that can lead to military conflict.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in used his strongest language yet to condemn the latest test. “We have the power to smash North Korea into powder and put it beyond recovery if it provokes us or our alliance,” he said before chairing a National Security Council meeting.

Read More: Smugglers on China-North Korea Border Undercut Sanctions

South Korea’s military said it simultaneously conducted a drill in which it fired a ballistic missile into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.

Moon suggested to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the two countries refrain from overreacting to North Korea’s provocations to avoid any accidental conflict, Moon’s office said in a text message Friday. Moon said he “completely agrees” with Abe to firmly respond to the threats but the two countries should cooperate to manage the situation in a stable way to avoid “a possible accidental conflict,” his office said.

Moon also told Abe that South Korea will consider the timing of humanitarian aid it plans to provide for pregnant women and children in North Korea through international organizations, given the continued provocations, and will ensure goods will be used as intended.

Japan didn’t try to shoot down the North Korean missile on Friday, and the situation was similar to when a missile was fired over the country on Aug. 29, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters. North Korea had called that test a “meaningful prelude” to containing Guam, and threatened to launch more missiles over Japan into the ocean.

In July, North Korea fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles on steep trajectories into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan. The regime said those launches showed it could put the entire U.S. in its range.

Abe said a unified international response against North Korea was needed now more than ever, reiterating that the isolated nation had “no bright future” if it continues on its current path.

Market Reaction

Japan’s benchmark Topix index rose 0.4 at the close in Tokyo, while the yen flat-lined after an initial jump before heading lower.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say this is an escalation,” said James Soutter, a portfolio manager at K2 Asset Management in Melbourne. “This is more of a continuance of provocation. Hence markets won’t like it, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the precursor to a sustained market pullback.”

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President Donald Trump will meet with the leaders of Japan and South Korea next week at the United Nations to discuss how to confront North Korea's provocations, an administration official said, after the Pyongyang regime launched a second ballistic missile over Japan in...
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Friday, 15 September 2017 12:51 PM
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