Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Donald Trump: North Korea will be met with 'fire and fury'

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley votes during a Security Council meeting on a new sanctions resolution on North Korea on 5 August US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley votes during a Security Council meeting on a new sanctions resolution on North Korea on 5 August
Howard Terry | 09 August, 2017, 00:14

North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, has expressed no interest in walking away from his nuclear and ballistic missile program, and the country has survived past sanctions.

In June, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for allegedly helping North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and accused a Chinese bank of laundering money for Pyongyang.

The Post story, citing unnamed US intelligence officials, said the confidential analysis was completed last month by the US Defence Intelligence Agency.

But it is impossible to say whether the $1 billion slap will slow the most serious national security crisis facing President Donald Trump: Pyongyang's race to top an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit U.S. soil with a nuclear warhead.

Earlier on Tuesday, Japan's Defence Ministry said "It is conceivable that North Korea's nuclear weapons programme has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturisation of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads". According to USA intelligence experts, the tests show that North Korea is close to achieving success with long-range delivery systems.

The CCGA said 62 percent of those questioned support deploying US forces in that scenario - compared to just 47 percent who answered that way in 2014 and 2015.

There are significant differences between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to the use of force against North Korea. At other times President Trump seemed to think that China could be easily induced to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

The sanctions are the toughest of the seven Security Council resolutions adopted since 2006 aimed at curbing North Korea's nuclear militarisation.

The U.N. Security Council this weekend slapped its toughest sanctions yet on North Korea over its latest test of a ballistic missile that could be used to deliver a nuclear weapon.

The push for sanctions, while the result of a coordinated administration effort, also followed a period of confusion and mixed diplomatic messages over North Korea policy.

". If the USA does not retract its attempt to crush us to death and behave prudently, we will be ready and not hesitate to take ultimate measures", Pyongyang said in a statement published by the state-run KCNA news agency. This measure would cost Pyongyang close to $1 billion annually in economic activity.

Trump, who receives daily intelligence briefings, would presumably be in a position to know whether US intelligence officials have reason to believe Kim Jong Un's regime in fact did load cruise missiles onto a patrol boat recently.

The Post said a separate intelligence assessment concluded the North has built up to 60 nuclear warheads, a number far larger than independent experts' estimates.

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