North Korea will not be hesitant to risk nuclear war, even going so far as to use nuclear weapons preemptively in response to the United States’ “reckless” aggression, the Asian nation’s vice foreign minister has said. In a 40-minute interview, Han Song Ryol blamed the U.S. for the escalation toward military confrontation, pinpointing President Donald Trump’s “aggressive tweets” and America “making trouble” in the region. At the same time, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, seemed to predict a possible World War 3 — or at least a regional war — when he stated that if the two countries went to war, it could embroil other nations and “no one will win.”
War rhetoric has intensified and tensions have mounted between the U.S. and North Korea in the past few days as Pyongyang readies for yet another nuclear weapons test and the Trump administration awaits developments after warning that something would be done if North Korea continued its pursuit of increasing its nuclear weapons arsenal. North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Han Song Ryol, told the Associated Press that the United States should beware of provoking the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).
“We will go to war if they choose.”
After several ballistic missile tests that saw at least five of the missiles ultimately splash down in the Sea of Japan (the latest occurring on April 4), President Donald Trump ordered an aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, to the waters off the Korean peninsula. At the same time, the U.S. and South Korea are conducting military exercises in the region.
President Trump took to Twitter this past week to say that North Korea was “looking for trouble.”
North Korea, for its part, made comments concerning nuclear retaliation in mid-March about the joint military exercises, the largest coordinated maneuvers ever held between the two allies. As the Inquisitr reported, Foreign Ministry statement declared that Pyongyang was ready to use nuclear weapons “in case the U.S. and the South Korean puppet forces fire even a single bullet at the territory of the DPRK.”
Vice Foreign Minister Han Song Ryol warned, “If the U.S. comes with reckless military maneuvers then we will confront it with the DPRK’s pre-emptive strike. We’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. pre-emptive strike.”
Relations between the U.S. and North Korea have deteriorated since before Trump was president, especially after what appeared to be the then president-elect’s mocking of the DPRK’s nuclear ballistic missile tests. Trump also floated the idea during his campaign that perhaps Asia allies like South Korea and Japan should be allowed to build their own nuclear arsenals as an added defensive line against potential future aggression from China and North Korea.
The tipping point seemed to occur when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the United States would be pursuing a “new approach” in dealing with North Korea (as opposed to the policies of the preceding Obama administration) during his trip to Asia in March. Tillerson made it clear that all options, including military — and the possible use of nuclear weapons — options, were on the table going forward.
China has attempted to play the mediator in the growing war of words between the U.S. and the DPRK but has had little success in prevailing upon the parties to show restraint and come together for talks. The escalating bellicosity has reached the point to where China’s foreign minister Wang Yi warned all concerned that the increasingly harsh statements issued by those involved could cause “irreparable damage” that could lead to war.
“On the Korean Peninsula issue, it is not the one who espouses harsher rhetoric or raises a bigger fist that will win,” Wang said Friday, USA Today reported. “If war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, multiple parties will lose and no one will win.”
[Featured Image by Wong Maye-E/AP Images]