Published: Fri, August 18, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

North, South Korea ready wartime infrastructure along DMZ

North, South Korea ready wartime infrastructure along DMZ

Tensions on the Korean peninsula eased slightly yesterday as South Korea's president said resolving Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions must be done peacefully, and key USA officials played down the risk of an imminent war with North Korea.

"Moon is telling Kim Jong Un, and possibly the Trump administration, that North Korea-US negotiations can not happen without South Korea at the table", Zachary Keck, an Asia security expert at the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, told me.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during a press conference marking his first 100 days in office on Thursday.

The article took a softer tone on North Korea than the president, who warned Pyongyang last week of "fire and fury" if it launched an attack.

More important, Kim's apparent decision not to fire a missile salvo toward Guam does not alleviate the larger US concern: North Korea's surprising progress in developing a long-range missile powerful enough to reach California, although not yet with a nuclear warhead. While reaffirming the Berlin Declaration that he announced last month, Moon once again urged North Korea to respond to his proposal for dialogue.

"We can not rely only on our ally for our security", Moon said in his speech.

If the USA carries out its "planned fire of power demonstration", North Korea's official news agency warned, North Korean "artillerymen will wring the windpipes of the Yankees and point daggers at their necks".

The United States and South Korea remain technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. "We do not expect that the president of the United States would make that kind of statement", the South Korean ambassador-at-large for worldwide security told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mr Trump yesterday reaffirmed in a call that it was imperative for the global community to halt Pyongyang from conducting further ballistic missile launches.

Japan set up a missile-defense system in western areas of the country, following a threat by North Korea to fire missiles over Japan toward the US territory of Guam.

The United States is focusing on diplomatic efforts and economic pressure in dealing with the regime of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un even though it is also prepared for decisive military action, according to Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. "We think the American government has moved from "strategic patience" of the Obama administration into strategic confusion". None of my South Korean relatives called me about the North Korean threat.

"The significance of the exercise for a large-scale nuclear war is crystal clear, at this time of an extremely worsening situation on the Korean peninsula". It's not making our allies in Seoul or Tokyo-or Guam for that matter-sleep well at night, despite the assurances of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other Cabinet secretaries.

Moon also insisted that "any military action to be taken on the Korean Peninsula requires South Korea's consent unless it is taken outside the peninsula".

She said China hopes that all parties concerned will accept China's "suspension for suspension" proposal which requires the DPRK to suspend its missile and nuclear activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale military drills between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

Appearing on the Sunday shows, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said "an attack from North Korea is not something that is imminent".

The Chinese commerce ministry said on its website that all imports of coal, iron, iron ore and seafood will be "completely prohibited" from Tuesday.

Speaking at a daily press briefing, Hua said that China hopes to see concrete policies by the USA side towards the DPRK that reflect the views of the two senior officials.

Dandong in Liaoning Province, China links to North Korea over the Yalu River.

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