NKorea says it will speed up nuke program in response to US
- Author: Megan Austin May 03, 2017,
May 03, 2017, 0:26
US President Donald Trump has indicated he would be open to meeting with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, and would be "honoured" to do so if the circumstances were right. The potential dramatic shift in the US posture toward the Asian adversary comes as Pyongyang continues to conduct ballistic missile launches and is believed poised to conduct its sixth underground nuclear test.
Mr Trump told Bloomberg that "most political people would never say" they would meet Kim, adding: "I'm telling you, under the right circumstances, I would meet with him".
When asked if the US would have a military response to a North Korean nuclear test, Trump said "I don't know".
Bloomberg's story did not provide details on what would constitute an "appropriate" situation, but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at Monday's press briefing that the administration would have "to see [North Korea's] provocative behavior ratcheted down immediately".
North Korea's missile test on Friday came hours after Tillerson's statements at the UN.
The US military's THAAD anti-missile defence system has reached initial operational capacity in South Korea, U.S. officials told Reuters, although they cautioned that it would not be fully operational for some months.
North Korea's "measures for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum will be taken in a consecutive and successive way at any moment and any place decided by its supreme leadership", said a spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry in a statement carried by its official KCNA news agency.
The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the THAAD system was initially capable.
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That comment left the White House struggling to downplay Trump's apparent admiration.
Trump is taking it to the North Korean's offering both the threat of a strike and the olive branch of respect that Kim Jung-un desperately craves.
"South Korea with THAAD helps communicate to the North that today is not a good day to attack".
"I am asking foreign and security ministries to further strengthen military readiness in order for North Korea not to miscalculate. and drive the Korea-US alliance and cooperation from neighbouring countries such as China to put pressure on the North", Hwang said.
While this means it can not act against the type of intermediate-range missiles North Korea has been testing in recent months, THAAD also includes a sophisticated radar that will fit into an overlapping series of United States missile defense systems, including Aegis warships operating in the Pacific and Patriot missile batteries deployed to Japan.
People also debate whether the security benefits of Thaad would outweigh drawbacks if relations worsen with China, which sees the system as a threat, and have been angered by United States president Donald Trump's statement that he would make South Korea pay one billion dollars for the system.
Thae Yong Ho, a North Korean diplomat who defected from the country previous year, told CNN in January that Kim would likely be interested in such a meeting with Trump as "a good opportunity for him to open a kind of compromise with the new American administration". "And at a very young age, he was able to assume power", Trump said on CBS's "Face the Nation". Unlike the United States, Beijing has pushed for talks first and action later on North Korea.
The U.S. maintains no diplomatic relations with North Korea and the two countries are technically at war, as the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended without a peace treaty.