North Korea on “Maximum Alert”

Military parade in Pyongyang, April 15Military parade in Pyongyang, April 15

North Korea has warned its army is on “maximum alert” after the US vice president visited the heavily militarized border between the two Koreas and reiterated Washington’s position that “all options are on the table” in dealing with Pyongyang.

Sin Hong-chol, North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, told Aljazeera in an exclusive interview on Monday that Donald Trump’s administration “should look at the world with open eyes”.

“The time of dictating orders by brandishing the US military might has gone. If those businessmen in power in the US thought of intimidating us by any military or sanction threats—as the [Barack] Obama administration used to do and failed—they will soon find out such threats are useless,” Sin said.

“If we notice any sign of assault on our sovereignty, our army will launch merciless military strikes against the US aggressors, wherever they may exist, from the remote US lands to the American military bases on the Korean Peninsula, such as those of Japan and elsewhere.”

Sin also said six-nation talks aiming to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons were “throttled at birth”.

“The nuclear weapon in our possession is not illusion; it is not a commodity that may be traded for American dollars, nor is it for sale. So it cannot be put on the negotiating table with the aim to rip it off,” he said.

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have soared in recent weeks as a series of North Korean missile tests have wrought ever-more bellicose warnings from the new US administration.

On Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence—visiting the world’s most heavily militarized border that divides the two Koreas—hinted that military options against the North have not been ruled out.


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