N. Korea: U.S. has crossed red line, declared war
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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N. Korea: U.S. has crossed red line, declared war

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Han Song Ryol, director-general of the U.S. affairs department at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, talked during an interview with the Associated Press in Pyongyang, North Korea on Thursday. Han said that Washington “crossed the red line” and effectively declared war by putting leader Kim Jung Un on its list of sanctioned individuals and said a vicious showdown could erupt if the U.S. and South Korea hold annual war games as planned next month.

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PYONGYANG, North Korea » North Korea’s top diplomat for U.S. affairs told The Associated Press on Thursday that Washington “crossed the red line” and effectively declared war by putting leader Kim Jong Un on its list of sanctioned individuals, and said a vicious showdown could erupt if the U.S. and South Korea hold annual war games as planned next month.

Han Song Ryol, director-general of the U.S. affairs department at the North’s Foreign Ministry, said in an interview that recent U.S. actions have put the situation on the Korean Peninsula on a war footing.

The United States and South Korea regularly conduct joint military exercises south of the Demilitarized Zone, and Pyongyang typically responds to them with tough talk and threats of retaliation.

Han said North Korea believes the nature of the maneuvers has become openly aggressive because they reportedly now include training designed to prepare troops for the invasion of the North’s capital and “decapitation strikes” aimed at killing its top leadership.

Han says designating Kim himself for sanctions was the final straw.

“The Obama administration went so far to have the impudence to challenge the supreme dignity of the DPRK in order to get rid of its unfavorable position during the political and military showdown with the DPRK,” Han said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The United States has crossed the red line in our showdown,” he said. “We regard this thrice-cursed crime as a declaration of war.”

Although North Korea had already been heavily sanctioned internationally for its nuclear weapons and long-range missile development programs, Washington’s announcement on July 6 was the first time Kim Jong Un has been personally sanctioned.

Less than a week later, Pyongyang cut off its final official means of communications with Washington — known as the New York channel. Han said Pyongyang has made it clear that everything between the two must now be dealt with under “war law.”

Katina Adams, State Department spokeswoman for East Asia and the Pacific, said the U.S. continues to call on North Korea “to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further destabilize the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations.”

She said the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises are “defense-orientated” and have been carried out regularly and openly for roughly 40 years, and are designed to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula. “These exercises are a clear demonstration of the U.S. commitment to the alliance,” she said.

South Korea’s unification, defense and foreign ministries did not immediately comment.

Kim and 10 others were put on the list of sanctioned individuals in connection with alleged human rights abuses, documented by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, that include a network of political prisons and harsh treatment of any kind of political dissent in the authoritarian state. U.S. State Department officials said the sanctions were intended in part to highlight those responsible for the abuses and to pressure lower-ranking officials to think twice before carrying them out.

Pyongyang denies abuse claims and says the U.N. report was based on fabrications gleaned from disgruntled defectors. Pointing to such things as police shootings of black Americans and poverty in even the richest democracies, it says the West has no moral high ground from which to criticize the North’s domestic political situation. It also says U.S. allies with questionable human-rights records receive less criticism.

Han took strong issue with the claim that it not the U.S. but Pyongyang’s continued development of nuclear weapons and missiles that is provoking tensions.

“Day by day, the U.S. military blackmail against the DPRK and the isolation and pressure is becoming more open,” Han said. “It is not us, it is the United States that first developed nuclear weapons, who first deployed them and who first used them against humankind. And on the issue of missiles and rockets, which are to deliver nuclear warheads and conventional weapons warheads, it is none other than the United States who first developed it and who first used it.”

He noted that U.S.-South Korea military exercises conducted this spring were unprecedented in scale, and that the U.S. has deployed the USS Mississippi and USS Ohio nuclear-powered submarines to South Korean ports, deployed the B-52 strategic bomber around South Korea and is planning to set up the world’s most advanced missile defense system, known by its acronym THAAD, in the South, a move that has also angered China.

Echoing earlier state-media reports, Han ridiculed Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, for a flight on a U.S. Air Force F-16 based in South Korea that he said was an action “unfit for a diplomat.”

“We regard that as the act of a villain, who is a crazy person,” Han said of the July 12 flight. “All these facts show that the United States is intentionally aggravating the tensions in the Korean Peninsula.”

Han warned that Pyongyang is viewing next month’s planned U.S.-South Korea exercises in this new context and will respond if they are carried out as planned.

“Nobody can predict what kind of influence this kind of vicious confrontation between the DPRK and the United States will have upon the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” he said. “By doing these kinds of vicious and hostile acts toward the DPRK, the U.S. has already declared war against the DPRK. So it is our self-defensive right and justifiable action to respond in a very hard way.

“We are all prepared for war, and we are all prepared for peace,” he said. “If the United States forces those kinds of large-scale exercises in August, then the situation caused by that will be the responsibility of the United States.”

Last year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises involved 30,000 American and 50,000 South Korean troops and followed a period of heightened animosity between the rival Koreas sparked by land mine explosions that maimed two South Korean soldiers. In the end, the exercises escalated tensions and rhetoric, but concluded with no major incidents.

Han dismissed calls for Pyongyang to defuse tensions by agreeing to abandon its nuclear program.

“In the view of cause and effect, it is the U.S. that provided the cause of our possession of nuclear forces,” he said. “We never hide the fact, and we are very proud of the fact, that we have very strong nuclear deterrent forces not only to cope with the United States’ nuclear blackmail but also to neutralize the nuclear blackmail of the United States.”

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    • Allie, war is not a game. Training to maintain military readiness is absolutely necessary to prevent a nut job like Kim Jong Un from starting a war.

    • Sad…your potus is prolly on the golf course unbeknownst to him, because of his standing in the world (punk level), is getting sand kicked in face…again 🙁

      • What an idi0tic retort. So President Obama is on the golf course, but doesn’t know he’s on the golf course? You can’t even put a cogent thought together, and you want to go around insulting a man who can get more real work done during 18 holes of golf than you’ve cobbled together in a lifetime? Please. Go back to the gutter of faux information whence you crawled out of….

        • Thin skinned aren’t we? I understand your irribility…Defending the Indefensible is a daunting task….for almost 8 years no less.

        • Nothing to do with thin skin. Just pointing out the obvious. And learning how to spell would be something you should focus on. Not sure what “irribility” is. Also, the only thing that’s been “indefensible” for the past 8 years is the GOP’s purposeful — and self-proclaimed, mind you — sabotage of this nation.

        • Aren’t the Dems getting a bit sensitive? Bernie took Hillary to the edge and Donald will finish the job.

        • They are just an utterly rookie poster with no clue as to what they are posting. Just trying to look good while the rest of us are laughing at them. Laughable.

      • Keoni, I ask, just I did with Sarge, what are you like 6? And I’m not saying that just because your statement is nonsensical and a grammatical disaster. But really a playground reference? Really though, what’s your idea, start a war?

        • Exactly what he’s already doing: conduct large-scale military exercises right on North Korea’s doorstep. It’s not only great training, but just as importantly, it’s a huge show of force. That show of force is not meant for Kim. It’s meant for his military leadership and advisers. They really see how undefeatable a force the US + South Korea is when they see the scope of these exercises. You can’t change the mind of a crazy person, but you can sway the people who can either help change his mind or take over for him.

  • We’ve been doing these military exercises for years! C’mon North Korea “Declaring War on the US”? don’t make me laugh. “We are “all” prepared for War and we are “all” prepared for Peace”…..now my sides are spliting.lol
    So let’s get it together Kim Jong Un,give your nukes up and abide by the Nuclear Agreement you signed. then we “all” can enjoy the party. Maybe you too could be invited to the Party of Military Excercises. China is. Oh, Oh, Careful i said too much.

    • Your post just exposes you not as a bobble head, but a bubble head: transparent and full of nothing but air. Our president does — and should — have a terrible relationship with an unrelenting, brutal, maniacal dictator like Kim. Not unlike both Bush’s relationship with Saddam.

  • while the north korea threat seems like it’s from a paper tiger, there is a new warfare being waged against the u.s. already: rogue terrorism.

    doesn’t take much to influence someone to commit a terroristic act of violence that results in high numbers of casualties.

    and with china dropping a missile off the coast of california, it’s time to look at the gap in missile defense over hawaii.

        • Obama creating ISIS is the biggest absolution of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and it’s born of complete ignorance or intellectual dishonesty (possibly a bit of both). If anything, Obama traded the contained growth of ISIS for thousands of saved American lives. Leaving the level of troops in Iraq that were there when he took office, instead of the withdrawal, would mean thousands more dead U.S. military members at this point. AND, leaving those troops may not have even prevented ISIS from growing anyway. ISIS formed as a result of taking Saddam out without a real, pragmatic, Iraqi population-backed solution to the power vacuum. The U.S. was NEVER going to be able to occcupy Iraq into peace without decades more time and tens of thousands of dead Americans littering the way. Look at the rate of military killed in combat in the last 8 years. See how it has dropped dramatically. Obama has saved American lives. And the “ME inferno”, as you call it, started in Tunisia. Would you care to explain how Obama created a rebellion in Tunisia?

    • Snator – that is a ridiculous comment. Has the U.S. done that in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Vietnam? The U.S. is having a hard time just bombing a terrorist’s house due to possible civilian casualties.

  • We should pay attention. The North Koreans are scared, and when people scared, they can do irrational things.

    These exercises IIRC are done in disputed waters. Why have exercises to invade N. Korea there? It’s crazy to try to provoke them. State dept should rein in the military here.

    • Not sure about the exercises being held in disputed waters but if the exercises were stopped, it would be a sign of giving in to N. Korean demands. Nobody wants to allow N. Korea to be able to threaten other countries to get what they want.

      • N. Korea demands that the US and other countries stop threatening it. We have a policy to contain and isolate the country. These exercises are part of this threat. Military thinks that it can bully N. Korea into negotiating for peace. Hasn’t worked. Never will.

        • Considering the bloodline of crazies ruling NK nothing will ever work. It is only a matter of time before un commits suicide for himself and all his people.

  • “The Obama administration went so far to have the impudence to challenge the supreme dignity of the DPRK…

    Finally, impudence on the part of the Obama administration that I agree with!

  • It’ll be interesting to see how the POTUS is going to handle this one. Past performance was dreadful with ISIS, China ‘Spratly Islands’, Russian fly-bys of our battle ships.

    Richardson diplomacy was giving them oil,rice to make up for the lack of resources.

    We’d be better off at this point to have Dennis Rodman act as an Ambassador of the US to defuse the situation.

  • In a way, NK like terrorists, has succeeded in US spending more time and money in SK than we maybe would have. In doing so, relations with China gets more strained; not to say it was great to begin with. Well, Obama didn’t want to meet with NK last year when NK asked so maybe being ignored can push an unbalanced person/country over the edge.

  • There is a lot of big war talk here. Do we really want a conflict there? Do we really want to have Seoul and maybe Tokyo devastated? The U.S. needs to establish real dialogue with North Korea – North Korea has asked for talks but the U.S. continues to refuse to talk. What not send Kerry over there and discuss the differences? At the very least, it will make North Korea feel better than being shunned which is probably part of the reason they are angry.

    Remember who backed North Korea in the last conflict there. With all the tension in that area and the South China Sea, do you think China is going to allow the U.S. to take over North Korea?

    Although the U.S. military is strong, the U.S. people are weak and cry and moan every time a U.S. soldier is killed in a war zone. The U.S. finances also cannot afford any new conflicts. Don’t let emotions take over when the stakes are so high.

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