North Korea amps up threat to Guam, vows more ballistic missile tests

UPDATE 2 — 8/31, 10:02 a.m. EDT: The Associated Press is reporting that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call Wednesday about further sanctions on North Korea.

According to a transcript of the conversation released by the Kremlim, Lavrov said more economic penalties against Pyongyang would be “counterproductive and dangerous.”

 

UPDATE — 9:45 a.m. EDT: Responding to North Korea’s latest threat against Guam, President Trump tweeted the following on Wednesday morning:

The president’s statement contradicts State Secretary Tillerson’s goal to bring down the temperature on rhetoric between the two countries so negotiations on deescalation can take place.

 

Renewing its threat to the U.S. territorial possession of Guam, the government of North Korea issued a statement Wednesday describing the purpose of its intermediate-range ballistic missile launch on Tuesday.

North Korea test launched a Hwasong-12 missile, which flew over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido Tuesday.  The projectile traveled an estimated 1,670 miles over Japan before crashing into the Pacific Ocean.

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“The current ballistic rocket launching drill like a real war is the first step of the military operation of the KPA in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” state-run KCNA news agency quoted Kim as saying on Wednesday.

KCNA also reported North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un “personally guided” the missile and offered a dark hint another motive for the missile launch was Japan’s “disgraceful” history of colonization of the Korean peninsula.

As tension boiled along the Pacific Rim, President Trump responded Tuesday:

“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.”

“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.”

Similarly, facing further condemnation in the wake of harsh sanctions imposed, the UN blasted the missile launch as “outrageous,” as the 15-member Security Council demanded Pyongyang halt its missile tests and for the enforcement of sanctions.

In addition to global censure, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated the Kremlin’s stance against Pyongyang’s missile tests, saying North Korea must obey UN resolutions, but stopped short of endorsing sanctions.

A UN statement drafted by U.S. diplomats also failed to recommend economic penalties be leveled against Pyongyang as China and Russia have the power to veto Security Council resolutions and do not support sanctions for short or medium-range missile tests.

 

[Japan Today] [The Straits Times] [BBC] [Reuters] [AP] [Politico] [Photo courtesy CNBC]