After bombing Syrian airfields and caves in Afghanistan, where will US President Donald Trump drop his next mother of all bombs? North Korea?
Diplomatic circles are agog with speculations that US President Donald Trump is polishing his `Mother of all Bombs’ of another use. That may be an exaggeration, but the Trump administration is itching for a head-on conflict with North Korea.
Speculations of a major outbreak of war came when China issued a warning that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could spin out of control.
Thumbing its nose at the US, North Korea said it could test a nuclear weapon at any time even as an American naval group neared the peninsula flexing its muscles at the rogue nation.
“The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent, and there have been storm clouds gathering. One has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment. I think that all relevant parties should be highly vigilant with regards to this situation,” ,” China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, said in Beijing.
Yi’s comments were seen as the bluntest from China so far. Beijing has been trying to steer between the Trump administration’s demands for it to do more to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme and its longstanding reluctance to risk a rupture with the North, its neighbour and longtime partner. In a phone conversation with Trump on Wednesday, China’s president, Xi Jinping, also called for restraint.
Adding to Chinese unease, Trump said on Thursday that “the problem of North Korea” would be “taken care of”. “If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
However, US officials were quoted as saying that the Trump administration was focusing more on raising pressure on North Korea with the help of China rather than using military force.
But the North Korean military issued a statement threatening to attack major American military bases in South Korea, as well as the presidential Blue House, warning that it could annihilate those targets “within minutes.“ The statement also denounced what it called the Trump administration’s “maniacal military provocations.”
North Korea’s vice minister Han Song-ryol said the US was “becoming more vicious and aggressive“ under President Trump and that “we will go to war if they choose.”
North Korea has warned “to hit back with nuclear attacks”.
“We’re prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war,” said Choe Ryong-hae, believed to be the country’s second most powerful official.
The comments came as North Korea marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sung today.
A huge parade in Pyongyang was held amid speculation that current leader Kim Jong-un could order a new nuclear test. But that did not happen even as Kim Jong-un was seen relaxed and jovial at the parade.
Among the hardware on display appeared to be new intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Weapons analysts said there also appeared to be two new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles in canister launchers, but it remains unclear whether they have been tested.
North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches. Experts and government officials believe it is working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the US.