Nuclear war threat grows as United States deploys THAAD to South Korea - Pyongyang

Violet Powell
March 14, 2017

Also on March 13, South Korea's air force said it had begun a week-long drill named "Soaring Eagle" that will gauge Seoul's readiness against any possible threat from the Kim Jong-Un regime.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is making his first trip to Japan, South Korea and China this week, where he is expected to address Chinese concerns over THAAD and potential steps to cope with increasing threats from North Korea.

"As North Korea's military capabilities of attack have been developed since then, the damage would be more than those causalities now", Suh said.

"It's a very precarious situation", he said.

Moon has said he strongly supports the U.S. "We have no choice but to recognize Kim Jong Un as a counterpart, whether we put pressure and impose sanctions on North Korea or hold dialogue", Moon said. The THAAD deployment in South Korea will likely, according to Weitz, "be followed by additional measures to network the ROK, Japan, and the us regional Ballistic Missile Defenses".

The Chinese government is acutely concerned at the prospect of war on its doorstep involving its ally, North Korea.

And recently, Admiral Samuel Locklear, who led the U.S. Pacific Command from 2012 to 2015, said it's crucial to consider a full range of options - including the use of military force, if necessary - to deter the growing nuclear threat from Pyongyang. That offer fell flat.

South Korea's trade dependency on China is fairly great. "You need the mother to reprimand the child".

North Korea threatened Monday to unleash nuclear attacks against South Korea and the US over Washington's plans to install an advanced missile system in South Korea and alleged rumors of a USA -led regime change effort against Pyongyang.

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While the reasons for her impeachment were domestic - a massive corruption and influence-peddling scandal - China's interest centres around her decision to allow the United States to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile shield.

"Beijing's escalating condemnation of South Korea over a USA anti-missile system", reports Louise Watt of Washington Post, "has triggered protests against a popular South Korean retail giant and a ban on Chinese tour groups visiting the country, apparent signs that Beijing plans to make Seoul pay an economic price over a move that China says threatens its security". The Chinese have threatened to essentially sever diplomatic ties with Seoul and have already pulled back on economic ties. The Constitutional Court will soon judge whether to impeach President Park Geun-hye. Beijing is not just leveraging its economic advantage as the chief buyer of South Korean products and services, but also issuing dire warnings that Thaad will be countered with a fitting military rejoinder. North Korea's multiple launches of nuclear-capable missiles were meant to signal to Washington and Seoul that Pyongyang would retaliate with a first strike created to pre-empt any such attempt and to overwhelm the Thaad system, which is created to intercept single missiles. Together we met with leaders in business, the Communist Party, the business community, the government and the diplomatic corps. Japanese and South Korean officials derided the policy as an excuse for doing nothing.

In Tokyo, Tillerson will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

The question must be asked, why is this unpopular project being continued in the face of so much widespread opposition, not only from government officials, but from the people themselves? The stakes in this case are as high as the heated contest over Thaad.

Pyongyang's fifth and latest nuclear weapons test occurred on September 9. The fall of President Park illustrates a surprising strength of institutions in South Korea's democracy - not bad for a country that isn't far removed from corporatist authoritarianism. It has launched five missiles this year.

New commercial satellite imagery of the snow-covered Punggye-ri nuclear test site indicates that North Korea is preparing for a sixth nuclear test, according to the 38north.org website affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, which tracks North Korea. China now wants the U.S.to restart nuclear talks with the North.

Some 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 US troops have begun their annual Foal Eagle joint war exercises that run through April. But U.S. officials have been vague about what their new approach might entail. Thus far, however, the Trump administration has not articulated a strategy.

The United States is committed to holding North Korea accountable for its "flagrant and repeated disregard of UN Security Council resolutions, which explicitly prohibit ballistic missile and nuclear programmes", she said, speaking at a briefing in Washington.

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