North Korea vows response to ‘reckless’ US Navy move
SEOULNorth Korea denounced the U.S. deployment of a naval strike group to the region on April 11, warning it is ready for “war” as Washington tightens the screws on the nuclear-armed state.
The strike group - which includes the Nimitz-class aircraft supercarrier USS Carl Vinson - cancelled a planned trip to Australia this weekend to head to the Korean peninsula in a show of force.
“This goes to prove that the U.S. reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase,” a spokesman for the North’s Foreign Ministry said according to state news agency KCNA, AFP reported.
“The DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S.,” he said, using the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The statement came just after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack carry a message for any nation operating outside of international norms.
He did not specify North Korea, but the context was clear enough.
“If you violate international agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be undertaken,” Tillerson told ABC’s “This Week,” The Associated Press reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump, fresh from ordering a missile strike on Syria that was widely interpreted as a warning to North Korea, has asked his advisors for a range of options to rein in Pyongyang, a top U.S. official said April 9.
Trump has previously threatened unilateral action against Pyongyang if China - the North’s sole major ally - fails to help curb its neighbor’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
But Pyongyang’s response suggested the reclusive state is determined to continue on its current path, despite repeated rounds of United Nations sanctions.
“We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
“We will hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions.”
On April 11, Trump said that the United States was ready to solve the North Korean “problem” without China if necessary.
“North Korea is looking for trouble,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
“I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!” Trump wrote in an earlier tweet, in reference to the leaders’ meeting last week in Florida.
On April 11, North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the country was prepared to respond to any aggression by the United States.
“Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theatre but also in the U.S. mainland,” it said.