World War 3: The Danger Mounts
The US has deployed a fleet in the vicinity of North Korea, and Trump has said that a “major, major conflict” with Kim’s regime is possible. At the same time, the US has been calling for “painful” sanctions against North Korea and asked other countries to suspend diplomatic relations with the hermit state, which is contravening UN Security Council resolutions by continuing to develop its nuclear program and missile capability.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte was speaking in his role as chairman of ASEAN, a group of ten South-East Asian countries that is meeting in the Philippines’ capital over the weekend against a backdrop of yet another failed ballistic test that Pyongyang launched on Saturday morning. It is thought to be the country’s sixth missile test this year.
“The guy (Kim) simply wants to end the world, that is why he is very happy. He is always smiling. But he really wants to finish everything and he wants to drag us all down,” Duterte said.
“I would say ‘Mr. President, please see to it that there is no war because my region will suffer immensely,’” proposed Duterte, who previously appeared to pivot away from his country’s long-standing alliance with the US in favor of closer ties with China.
“I will just communicate to him – ‘Just let him play… do not play into his hands,’” he added.
“I am sure President Trump is cautioning his military to just maybe… not to start something which they cannot control,” said Duterte.
“We have to caution everybody, including those who’d give the advice to the two players, because you have nuclear warheads, to just show restraint. One miscalculation of a missile, whether or not a nuclear warhead or an ordinary bomb, one explosion there that would hit somebody would cause a catastrophe.”
Israel Under Attack
North Korea has accused Israel of being the “only illegal possessor” of nukes and threat to peace in the Middle East, and threatened Tel Aviv with a “thousand-fold punishment” after Israeli Defense Minister called Pyongyang’s leadership a “crazy and radical group.”
Pyongyang promised a “thousand-fold punishment to whoever dares hurt the dignity of its supreme leadership,” calling Lieberman’s “sordid and wicked” remarks a part of Israel’s smear campaign to cover up its own crimes.
Firing back at the perceived hypocrisy, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that, unlike Israel, which is a “disturber of peace” in its neighborhood, their country is full entitled to seek deterrence against “US aggression.”
“Israel is the only illegal possessor of nukes in the Middle East under the patronage of the US. However, Israel vociferated about the nuclear deterrence of the DPRK, slandering it, whenever an opportunity presented itself,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, as cited by state-run agency KCNA.
The US State Department has approved a request from Israel for an arms deal estimated to be worth $440 million, a statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on Friday. Israel wants to purchase 13 76mm naval guns, as well as a variety of maintenance materials, tools, and related services for its navy. Most of the guns will be installed on Israel’s SA’AR 4.5 and SA’AR 6 Missile Patrol Boats, the statement said.
France condemned a ballistic missile test conducted on Saturday by North Korea and called for a “firm” and “determined” reaction towards Pyongyang. “In spite of its failure, this test confirms the willingness of the North Korean regime to obtain an operational nuclear capacity and constitutes a threat to international peace and security,” a spokesman with the French ministry of foreign affairs said in an emailed statement.
North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that failure to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes could lead to “catastrophic consequences”, sparking condemnations worldwide. US and South Korean officials said the test, from an area north of the North Korean capital, appeared to have failed, in what would be the North’s fourth straight unsuccessful missile test since March.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the test as a grave threat to the international order.
“I urged Russia to play a constructive role in dealing with North Korea,” Abe told reporters in London. “Japan is watching how China will act in regard to North Korea.”
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the North Koreans had probably tested a medium-range missile known as a KN-17 and it appeared to have broken up within minutes of taking off.
The South Korean military said the missile reached an altitude of 71 km (44 miles) before disintegrating. It said the launch was a clear violation of U.N. resolutions and warned the North not to act rashly.
With North Korea acting in defiance of the pressure, the United States could conduct new naval drills and deploy more ships and aircraft in the region, a U.S. official told Reuters.