08/09/2017, 19.02
UNITED STATES – NORTH KOREA
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As Trump threatens fire and fury, Kim prepares attack on Guam

US bombers fly over the Korean peninsula. South Korean President did not comment Trump's words but decided to boost defence. US intelligence community is still uncertain about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – US President Donald Trump yesterday issued an ultimatum against North Korea, warning Pyongyang not to make any more threats against the United States, or face America’s "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

In its response, North Korea said that it was examining operational measures to strike US military installations in Guam with its ballistic missiles.

Over the past few years, North Korea has been building up its long-range nuclear capabilities in order to threaten South Korea and Japan and discourage the United States from overthrowing the Kim regime.

Pyongyang looks at regimes like those of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Muhammar Gaddafi’s Libya, overthrown by the United States, as a reason for its nuclear brinkmanship to deter its adversaries.

Trump's latest statement comes as reports indicate that Kim Jong-un’s military have produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead that could fit on an ICBM. US intelligence is not yet certain of it. Some media report that some analysts believe North Korea could hit the US mainland; others do not.

Whilst both the US and North Korea have frequently used strong rhetoric as a strategic messaging tool, analysts warn that verbal escalations pose the risk of causing a catastrophic miscalculation.

"Complicating this delicate game is that we have two inexperienced, impulsive presidents in control of these massive military machines," Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, told CNN on Monday.

Meanwhile, the escalating threats from the US and North Korea have put North Asia on edge. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called for the country to reform and improve its defence capabilities to counter threats from North Korea.

"I believe our given task is reform of the military. It should be an intensive one. I believe we need a defence reform at a level of a complete overhaul, instead of minor improvements or modifications," Moon said today.

The South Korean president did not address Trump’s remarks or Kim’s refusal to engage in talks.

Responding to a question about Trump's comments, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said his country welcomed a strong US response.

"As the security situation in the region becomes increasingly difficult, the US's deterrence capability is extremely important to Japan. The US has said all options are on the table and Japan welcomes this," Suga told a press briefing.

Yesterday, two US B-1B strategic bombers flew over Korea as part of a regular exercise with South Korean fighter jets.

The presence of US bombers, air carriers and nuclear submarines near North Korea has fuelled tensions.

In this heated situation, calls by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, to respect UN resolutions and ceasing provocations, including missile and nuclear tests, have fallen on deaf ears.

An interfaith ceremony was held on 3 August in Seongju in which participants made an appeal for "true peace" between the two Koreas on the 64th anniversary of the end of the Korean War and the start of a truce, which is still in place.

Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists remembered that 27 July 1953 marked the end of the conflict, but not the conclusion of a peace treaty.

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