South Korea, US warn of punishment for North Korea; US stresses sanctions

The US is seeking a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula but is "prepared to defend ourselves" in the face of any threat from North Korea, a security briefing has revealed.

The President's approach aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our Allies and regional partners.

China has long promoted dialogue to resolve the "Korean nuclear issue" as North Korea has repeatedly threatened to destroy the United States which in turn has warned that "all options are on the table" in ending North Korean provocations.

The Trump administration hosted senators for an extraordinary White House briefing Wednesday at a perilous moment with North Korea, marked by the unpredictable nation's nuclear threats and stern talk of military action, if necessary, from the United States.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats described North Korea as "an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority".

Harris rejected reports that the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group - converging on the Korean Peninsula as a combative North Korea is signaling possible nuclear and missile testing - is vulnerable to North Korean attacks.

-South Korean military manoeuvres and a stop to the North's nuclear development program to reduce tensions.

According to the CNN, US Pacific Command chief Adm. Harry Harris told the House Armed Services Committee that the THAAD missile defense system would be "operational in the coming days to be able to better defend South Korea against the growing North Korea threat".

State media said joint military drills being held with South Korea have sparked fury in the nation.

"Just as Thomas Edison is believed to have failed 1,000 times before successfully inventing the electric light bulb, so too, Kim Jong Un will keep trying", Harris said.

"McCain added that China must realize that the USA can not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea".

The U.S. THAAD system is deployed on a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, on April 27, 2017, in a photo provided by the Daegu Ilbo newspaper.

The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery, which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin, can target short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in flight.

South Korea's navy has said it plans to hold a joint drill with the USA strike group late this month.

Harris said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system being deployed in South Korea would be operational in the coming days, bolstering the ability to defend the USA ally and the 28,500 US troops stationed there.

Among the options are returning North Korea to the U.S. state sponsor of terrorism blacklist, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week was under consideration.

Why wouldn't North Korea use nuclear weapons against South Korea? "One of these days soon, he will succeed".

"The deployment goes against efforts made by all parties to settle the issues through discussion and severely sabotage China's security and strategic interests", Geng said. His spokesman, Mark Toner, said Wednesday that another tactic is getting nations around the world to close down North Korean embassies and consulates, or suspending them from worldwide organizations.

South Korean presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in has vowed to reconsider the deployment if he wins the May 9 election, saying that the country should consider relations with China.

"I think we have to make it clear to China that there will be penalties in our relationship with China unless they do the right thing", he said.

South Korea's trumpeting of progress in setting up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, comes as high-powered USA military vessels converge on the Korean Peninsula and as a combative North Korea signals possible nuclear and missile testing.

  • Leroy Wright