The nuclear war rhetoric between the United States and North Korea has moved to new levels after Donald Trump warned Pyongyang would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen”.
On Tuesday, Trump responded to news of North Korea’s expanded nuclear capability by stating that: “North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” After Trump’s warmongering, US Defense Secretary ‘mad dog’ James Mattis issued a dramatic ultimatum to North Korea on Wednesday to “cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people”.
As was expected, North Korea responded to the belligerent remarks by top US officials with more saber-rattling, threatening to blow up Guam, a US territory that is within range of its missiles.
Pyongyang says dialogue not possible
A statement attributed to General Kim Rak Gyom, the head of the country’s strategic forces, declared: “Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him”. The general outlined a plan to carry out a demonstration launch of four intermediate-range missiles that would fly over Japan and then land in the sea around Guam, “enveloping” the island.
“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimani, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures of Japan,” the statement said. “They will fly for 3,356.7 km for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40km away from Guam.”
The statement said the plan for this show of force would be ready by the middle of this month and then await orders from the commander-in-chief, Kim Jong-un.
The current tensions on the Korean Peninsula started following increased provocations by the US which includes military drills and deployment of warships and submarines in the region.
Pyongyang insists that developing its military defenses including nuclear weapons is important to counter incessant provocations by the US including a possible nuclear aggression.
Specter of a nuclear war
Amid the nuclear war drums between Washington and Pyongyang, experts say a Third World War involving nuclear weapons is not imminent.
Pundits generally believe that the US President’s statements are just empty threats, although many emphasize the fact that such bellicose remarks might leading to war. Trump has in a way emulated the North Korea bellicosity approach and thus raising the stakes.
However, other analysts say Trump’s shift to outright belligerence towards North Korea raises the prospect of a major global nuclear conflict which will certainly lead to the destruction of large parts of the world. The situation remains fluid especially due to the unpredictability of American and North Korean leaders and thus if war would break out by it would be accident, not by design.
The US was the first country to manufacture nuclear weapons, and is the only country to have used them in combat, against North Korea’s neighbor, Japan and now seven decades later, the world faces the specter of another nuclear war ignited by the US.
Stopping the war
US allies in the region, namely South Korea and Japan have sided with Washington in the ongoing tensions. Europe has adopted a more diplomatic approach with Damian Green, the UK’s first secretary of state, urging the Trump administration to use UN processes to resolve the crisis. Meanwhile, Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, urged Donald Trump’s administration to avoid provoking North Korea adding that a military solution is not an option anyway. China’s official news agency Xinhua has said in a commentary that a way out of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula cannot be found in the latest exchange of tough words between Washington and Pyongyang. China has always advocated a return to the six-party talks to seek a peaceful solution.