US plans to test THAAD missile defences as North Korea tensions mount

Haley Warns North Korea US Prepared to Use 'Considerable Military Forces' If Necessary
US prepared to use force on North Korea 'if we must' - UN envoy

09 July, 2017

For the second time in two days, US Air Force bombers put on a show of force in East Asia. There is a growing view that North Korea probably has done so, given the intense focus of its nuclear weapons program.

We must also accelerate our commitment to the development and deployment of robust, multi-layered theater and national missile defenses to protect USA territory and interests from North Korean missiles.

General Terrence O' Shaughnessy, the Pacific Air Forces commander, said: "North Korea's actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland".

He said the USA was working with allies to influence North Korea, while US officials are also working with China - North Korea's benefactor and the largest trading partner to place more pressure on North Korean leaders to stop the nuclear and missile programmes.

A day earlier in Poland, Trump said the US was considering "some pretty severe things" in response to North Korea's actions. "Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?"

The North has long sought to build a rocket capable of delivering an atomic warhead to the continental United States - something that Trump has vowed "won't happen", and launch marks a new phase in the country's decades-long weapons program. China buys garments and minerals such as iron ore from North Korea, while North Korea relies on the larger communist country for just about everything else - including most of its food and energy supplies.

What did Russian and Chinese officials say?

China's Foreign Ministry said it had no specific information on that flight, but added, "we are firmly opposed to saber-rattling that harms China's sovereignty and security by certain countries on the pretext of freedom of navigation and overflight". Military action would lead to damage across the region, too, he wrote.

President Donald Trump has long said China is the lynchpin to solving North Korea's saber rattling with missile tests.

But the North warned that the US will "fall into the ditch of destruction" and face a "tragic fate" if it were to launch a military attack.

Trump, Abe, and Moon also called for other nations to reduce their "economic relations" with North Korea, and asked "nations that border the DPRK to make further efforts to convince the DPRK regime to abandon its current threatening and provocative path and immediately take steps to denuclearize and to halt its ballistic missile program".

"Something will have to be done about it", Trump said, without giving more details.

Tillerson said Trump and Putin held differing views on how to deal with North Korea but that Washington would continue to press Moscow to help.

The combination of Trump's ignorance and belligerence has anxious USA and global nuclear experts from the start of his presidency.

Moon's defense of diplomacy echoed former President Roh Moo-hyun's "sunshine policy" towards Pyongyang, and his predecessor Kim Dae-jung's "Berlin Doctrine", outlined in the German capital 17 years ago. A massive amount of artillery is pointed toward Seoul, home to half of South Korea's population.

"The military remains ready in accordance with our alliance with Japan and Korea, " Mattis said during a news conference at the Pentagon. This is one of the main reasons that previous administrations have used restraint in acting against Pyongyang.

In early June, a crashed drone believed to belong to the North Korean military was discovered in a remote South Korean forest, containing photographs of the U.S. THAAD system.

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