North Korea’s UN Mission has said the government will react to “a total war” with the United States with a nuclear strike. The mission said North Korea will “surely win a victory in the death-defying struggle against the US imperialists”.
The statement said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the country’s official name – “can never be frightened” by the Trump administration’s effort to bring the country “into submission” by deploying a nuclear aircraft carrier strike group to waters off the Korean Peninsula.
The mission said: “It is an unshakable will of the DPRK to go to the end if the US wants to remain unchanged in its confrontational stance.” It said the DPRK’s “heaviest counteractions” in response to “provocations of any forms and levels from the US” will include a sudden pre-emptive attack involving manoeuvres on the ground, in the seas, underwater and in the air “and various other methods.”
Meanwhile, US senators have arrived in Washington for an extraordinary briefing on the threat posed by North Korea. All 100 senators were invited to the classified briefing at a building next to the White House. President Donald Trump’s secretary of state, defence secretary, top general and national intelligence director will brief them. The team was due to speak later to House members in the Capitol.
Earlier, South Korea announced the installation of key parts of a contentious US missile defence system meant to counter the North. South Korea’s trumpeting of progress in setting up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD, came as high-powered US military vessels converged on the Peninsula.
North Korea conducted live-fire artillery drills on Tuesday, the 85th anniversary of the founding of its million-person Korean People’s Army. On the same day, a US guided-missile submarine docked in South Korea.
And the USS Carl Vinson aircraft super-carrier is also headed toward the peninsula for a joint exercise with South Korea.
The moves to set up THAAD within this year have angered not only North Korea, but also China, the country that the Trump administration hopes to work with to rid the North of nuclear weapons. China, which has grown increasingly frustrated with North Korea, its ally, and Russia see the system’s powerful radars as a security threat.
South Korea said that unspecified parts of THAAD were installed. It said that Seoul and Washington have been pushing to get THAAD quickly working to cope with North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile threats.
According to the Yonhap news agency, the parts include two or three launchers, intercept missiles and a radar.