Pence warns North Korea of U.S. resolve shown in Syria, Afghan strikes
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence warned North Korea on Monday that recent American military strikes in Syria and Afghanistan showed President Donald Trump's resolve should not be questioned, but Pyongyang vowed to continue missile and nuclear tests, APA reports quoting Reuters.
After a huge display of missiles in Pyongyang and a failed North Korean missile test during the weekend, U.S. officials praised China for stepping up efforts to rein in North Korea, Beijing's neighbor and ally.
But Pence and South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, said they would proceed with the early deployment to South Korea of the U.S. THAAD missile-defense system, in spite of Chinese objections.
At a White House Easter celebration on Monday, Trump was asked if he had a message for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and replied: “Gotta behave.”
But senior North Korean officials remained defiant.
North Korea's deputy representative to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, accused Washington of creating “a situation where nuclear war could break out an any time” and said Pyongyang's next nuclear test would take place "at a time and at a place where our headquarters deems necessary."
North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-Ryol told the BBC that missiles would continue to be tested on "a weekly, monthly and yearly basis."
Kim Song Gyong, director general of the European Department of North Korea's Foreign Ministry, told Reuters in Pyongyang that if Washington made "the slightest movement" to make a nuclear strike on North Korea, Pyongyang would strike first and "destroy the aggressors without any mercy.”
He went on to clarify that the approach of a U.S. naval strike force led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to Korean waters would not be considered enough to constitute “the slightest movement”.
Korean tensions have escalated following repeated North Korean missile tests and concerns that Pyongyang may soon conduct a sixth nuclear bomb test in defiance of U.N. sanctions. Washington is increasingly worried about North Korean efforts to develop a nuclear-tipped missile that could hit the U.S. mainland.
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