International

N. Korea seeks ‘equilibrium’ with U.S.

Going ballistic, again: The medium-and-long range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 being launched from an undisclosed location in North Korea.

Going ballistic, again: The medium-and-long range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 being launched from an undisclosed location in North Korea.   | Photo Credit: STR

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Pyongyang’s goal of completing its nuclear forces has ‘nearly reached the terminal’, says Kim

North Korea said on Saturday that it aims to reach an “equilibrium” of military force with the United States, which earlier signalled that its patience for diplomacy is wearing thin after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan for the second time in under a month.

“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was quoted as saying by the state news agency, KCNA. Mr. Kim was shown beaming as he watched the missile fly from a moving launcher in photos released by the agency, surrounded by several officials. “The combat efficiency and reliability of Hwasong-12 were thoroughly verified,” said Mr. Kim as quoted by KCNA. Mr. Kim added the North’s goal of completing its nuclear force had “nearly reached the terminal”.

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under Mr. Kim’s leadership as it accelerates a weapons programme designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.

Latest launch

After the latest missile launch on Friday, White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the United States was fast running out of patience with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” Mr. McMaster told reporters, referring to Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests in defiance of international pressure.

“For those... who have been commenting on a lack of a military option, there is a military option,” he said, adding that it would not be the Trump administration’s preferred choice.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, echoed Mr. McMaster’s strong rhetoric, even as she said Washington’s preferred resolution to the crisis is through diplomacy and sanctions. North Korea’s latest test missile flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan on Friday and landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) to the east, the Japanese government said.

It travelled about 3,700 km (2,300 miles) in total, according to South Korea’s military, far enough to reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which the North has threatened before.

“The range of this test was significant since North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile,” the Union of Concerned Scientists advocacy group said in a statement.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 9:19:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/n-korea-seeks-equilibrium-with-us/article19699827.ece

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