N Korean Diplomat Says to Take Nuclear Bomb Test Threat ‘Literally’
AP Photo/ Ahn Young-joonAsia & Pacific19:03 25.10.2017(updated 19:58 25.10.2017) Get short URL427301010
The previous nuclear bomb test conducted by Pyongyang in September was followed by international condemnation and the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution imposing severe sanctions on North Korea.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A senior North Korean diplomat told CNN that the world should take Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s threat to conduct a nuclear bomb test over the Pacific Ocean seriously.
“The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally,” diplomat Ri Yong Pil told CNN.
The statement clarified a remark previously made by North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho, who said last month that the DPRK may consider conducting “the most powerful detonation” of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean amid the unprecedented escalation of tensions with the United States.
READ MORE: North Korea’s Nuclear Testing Site Crumbling, But Far From Finished
Moreover, Kim Jong-un earlier this month praised the country’s nuclear weapons as a means of “safeguarding peace” on the Korean Peninsula amid US pressure.
Latest North Korean Nuclear Test
North Korea conducted its latest and so far most powerful H-bomb test on September 3, which prompted a unanimous UNSC vote in favor of imposing more sanctions — so far the toughest — on Pyongyang, restricting oil exports and banning imports of textile products from the Asian nation, as well as the country’s access to international markets.
The tensions in particular led to an exchange of threats between Washington and Pyongyang, with Trump threatening to take a “devastating” military option and “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend the United States, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warning Washington of the “highest level of hard-line countermeasures in history.”
When commenting on the latest successful hydrogen bomb test, the deputy speaker of the North Korean Parliament, Ahn Dong Chu, said earlier this month, “It was the US that forced the DPRK to create a hydrogen bomb,” adding that Pyongyang will continue to expand it nuclear arsenal as long as a “threat from the US” remains.
Lately, the already aggravated crisis on the Korean Penunsula has further ignited amid the US-South Korean joint drills and Washington’s military buildup in Asia-Pacific. Pyongyang has repeatedly slammed the annual war games as destablizing the security situation in the region, with the North Korean state-run news agency KNCA issuing an unprecedented warning earlier in October, claiming that “the US should expect that it would face unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time.”
Washington, it its turn, has been sending mixed signals on the issue, with US President Donald Trump hinting at a military solution being on the table, while the Pentagon chief and the US secretary of state are saying that Washington first of all relies on diplomacy.
READ MORE: Tillerson on N Korea: US to Continue Diplomatic Efforts ‘Until First Bomb Drops’
Most recently, Trump said that the US is “prepared for anything” with regard to the situation around North Korea. Moreover, the US has deployed three strike groups in the Asia-Pacific region, including the USS Nimitz, which is the largest warship in the world, a United States Navy supercarrier and the lead ship of her class.