Published: Fri, September 22, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

United States mulls shooting down North Korean missiles that don't pose direct threat

United States mulls shooting down North Korean missiles that don't pose direct threat

Mattis said that the US has military options available to counter North Korea that wouldn't necessarily create a grave risk of retaliation against Seoul.

In his address, the U.S. president noted his country was ready and able to destroy North Korea, but said, "hopefully this will not be necessary". This test was also sending a message to Guam, a US territory.

Meanwhile, the presidents of the United States and China committed to "maximising pressure" on the North through vigorous enforcement of UN resolutions.

Pyongyang also test-fired a missile over Japan on August 29 and two intercontinental ballistic missiles into the sea off its eastern coast in July. The North conducted its sixth nuclear test on September 3 and was subsequently hit with tough, fresh United Nations sanctions.

"The bottom line is: The missiles, were they to be a threat - whether it be to USA territory, Guam, [or] obviously Japan's territory - that would elicit a different response from us", he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Trump and Xi spoke on the phone days after Trump and his aides publicly discussed potential military action against North Korea.

Pyongyang has warned the US and South Korea that ground and bombing drills by the two allies could spark a nuclear war.

Border control, trade and global agreements that are unfavorable to the United States represented threats to USA sovereignty, the official said.

Aircraft involved in the exercise included two U.S. B-1B bombers, four U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning advanced fighters and four South Korean F-15K fighters. He previously said the idea should be "deeply considered" by the allies, inflaming already-heated debate on the issue.

China's Communist Party newspaper, the People's Daily, has criticized the United States for demanding that Beijing put more pressure on North Korea to rein in its weapons programs. China in turn favors an global response to the problem. Protesting the sanctions Japan imposed following the nuclear test, North Korea unilaterally chose to cancel the reinvestigation and disband the probe committee.

China is North Korea's most important ally, biggest trading partner, and main source of food and energy and accounts for 90% of North Korea's total trade volume.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster expressed hope sanctions and diplomatic pressure would work but said military options were ready if needed.

"Developments in the peninsula nuclear issue up to this point prove that, no matter whether it is military threats in words or in action, they can not promote and advance a resolution", the foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said.

"These kinds of actions don't help solve the problem but further complicate the situation", he said.

The UN Security Council last week imposed a fresh set of sanctions, though Washington toned down its original proposals to secure support from China and Russian Federation.

North Korea has conducted a number of missile launches recently in the region, prompting the United States to consider if shooting down any Pyongyang-launched missile is the best way to address the threat, CNN reported.

Like this: