Panamanian vessel probed over suspected oil supplies to N. Korea

02 January, 2018, 10:35 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • South Korea's Moon says better inter-Korean relations linked to resolving North Korea nuclear issue

"The entire area of the USA mainland is within our nuclear strike range", he continued, while claiming that now the U.S.

"The olive branch of trying to reach out to the South, that's the most significant change, because up until now, they just haven't shown any interest in engaging with the South, or anyone else for that matter", he said.

This week's exercises will be the sixth drills sharing information in tracking ballistic missiles among the three nations, the defense force said.

Analysts said Kim may be trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its ally Washington as a way to ease global isolation and sanctions against North Korea. "We need to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and accelerate their deployment".

That, Kim said, was "irreversible with any force", making it impossible for the United States to start a war against North Korea.

In his address, he also called for warming relations with South Korea.

The revelation comes days after South Korea said it was holding a Hong Kong-flagged ship and crew members over transferring petroleum products to a North Korean vessel in worldwide waters in October. Yet he insisted that both North and South Korea "should make efforts".


While this is the first time Kim Jong-un has alluded to having a physical means of launching his country's nuclear weapons in his office - most likely to predetermined targets in the Northeast Asia and the continental United States - the fundamental nuclear command-and-control message from North Korea remains unchanged since 2013. The United States stations 28,500 troops in the South, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The New Year's address is an annual event in North Korea and is watched closely for indications of the direction and priorities Kim may adopt in the year ahead. He said he has a "nuclear button" on his office desk.

UNSC Resolution 2375, adopted in September, bans member countries from ship-to-ship transfers of any goods for North Korea.

"The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table", Kim said in a speech during his annual New Year address his country, The Associated Press reported Sunday night.

Daniel Russel, the top US diplomat for East Asia until last April and now at the Asia Society Policy Institute, said there was an argument to be made to encourage North Korea's Olympic participation but that it should not be taken too far.

Previous year was also notable for a war of words between Kim and Trump, who repeatedly threatened military action to stop the rogue state's nuclear program.

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