N Korea&’s nuclear threats
North Korea unleashed a new salvo in an escalating war of words over nuclear threats when its vice foreign minister, Pak Kil-yon, addressed the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. He said South Korea was “creating the danger of driving relations back into a destructive stage again.”
Claiming that hostile US policy was the cause of tension on the Korean Peninsula, he also accused Washington of abusing its power on the UN Security Council against North Korea. He was apparently referring to the sanctions the UN Security Council imposed on the North after it conducted its third nuclear test in February.
Contrary to Pak&’s claim that US policy must be held responsible for conflict on the Korean Peninsula, it is North Korea&’s nuclear weapons programme ~ which poses a grave threat to South Korea&’s security ~ that is escalating confrontation on the peninsula.
Under these circumstances, it is only natural for the South to lay claim to the right to launch preemptive strikes when the North is poised to launch a missile or nuclear attacks. The USA appears to have endorsed South Korea&’s strategy of detecting signs of impending missile or nuclear attacks and launching preemptive strikes. One such indication is an agreement with South Korea, as US defence secretary Chuck Hagel put on Wednesday, on “tailored deterrence against the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”
Neither Mr Hagel nor his South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin, referred to preemptive strikes in unambiguous terms when they mentioned the “tailored deterrence” strategy. Mr Hagel added the USA reaffirms its commitment to support deterrence with its full range of military capabilities, including the nuclear umbrella, conventional strikes and missile defence.
North Korea will do well to read between the lines and act accordingly, instead of exposing itself to the danger of becoming the target of preemptive strikes by taking action that may be construed as an impending nuclear threat. the korea herald