Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
 | 
Last updated 1 hour, 38 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
HOME LOCAL MIDEAST ASIA WORLD BUSINESS SPORT OPINION WRITERS
Kim vows North will mass-produce nukes
January 02, 2018
 Print    Send to Friend

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un warned the United States on Monday he has a “nuclear button” on his table but offered an apparent olive branch to South Korea in a New Year message, saying he was prepared for talks and may send a team to the Winter Olympics there.

Kim struck a generally defiant note after a year of rising tensions marked by the North’s multiple missile launches and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test − purportedly of a hydrogen bomb.

“We must mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and speed up their deployment,” he said in his annual televised address to the nation.

He reiterated his claim that his country had achieved its goal of becoming a nuclear state but insisted the expansion of the weapons programme was a defensive measure.

“We should always keep readiness to take immediate nuclear counter-attacks against the enemy’s scheme for a nuclear war.”

The North claims it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself from a hostile Washington and has striven to create a warhead capable of targeting the US mainland with an atomic warhead.

US President Donald Trump has responded to each test with his own amplified declarations, threatening to “totally destroy” Pyongyang and taunting Kim, saying he was on “a suicide mission.”

But far from persuading Kim to give up his nuclear drive, analysts say Trump’s tough talk may have prompted the North Korean leader to push through with his dangerous quest.

“(The North) can cope with any kind of nuclear threats from the US and has a strong nuclear deterrence that is able to prevent the US from playing with fire,” Kim said Monday.

“The nuclear button is always on my table. The US must realise this is not blackmail but reality.” When asked for a response to Kim’s claim that he had a nuclear button on his desk, Trump said “We’ll see, we’ll see,” in comments to reporters during the New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Kim also sugared his speech Monday with a conciliatory tone towards Seoul, indicating for the first time that the North is considering taking part in the South’s Winter Olympics next month.

“(The Olympics) will serve as a good chance to display our Korean people’s grace toward the world and we sincerely hope the Games will be a success,” he said.

The North and the South should “depart from the past, improve relations and take decisive measures to make a breakthrough in efforts to achieve reunification”, he said.

South Korea’s presidential Blue House welcomed the dialogue offer.

“Should the Olympics be staged succesfully, it will contribute to peace not only on the Korean peninsula but in the region and the world as well,” it said in a statement.

Some analysts said Kim may be trying indirectly to lower the temperature with Washington.

At a time when the risk of a US pre-emptive strike is “higher than ever”, Koh Yu-Hwan, political science professor at Dongguk University, said the speech indicated Kim was using the Olympics gesture to “shift from confrontation to peaceful coexistence with the United States”.

“When he said a nuclear launch button is always on his desk, he is hinting it is not necessary for the North to stage nuclear or ICBM tests in the foreseeable future,” Koh told reporters, adding however that Kim also wanted to build “massive nuclear retaliation capabilities.”

Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said Kim “is extending an olive branch toward the South as the US is expected to keep up with pressure and sanctions on the country throughout this year... as a whole the emphasis is on peace rather than confrontation.”

Pyongyang has always said it will only deal with the US from a position of equality as a nuclear state. Washington has long insisted that it will not accept a nuclear-armed North.

Agence France-Presse

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Comments
 
Post a comment
 
Name:
Country:
City:
Email:
Comment:
 
    
    
Related Stories
S.Korea ‘clear-eyed’ about North talks
SEOUL: North and South Korea’s plan to march together under the same blue-and-white Korean peninsula flag at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics next month marks the revival ..
Don’t fall for N.Korea ‘charm offensive’
SEOUL: North Korea will send a 230-strong cheering squad to the Winter Olympics in the South next month, Seoul said on Wednesday after both sides held talks amid a thaw i..
S.Korea’s ‘kimchi deficit’ hits record high
SEOUL: South Korea’s trade deficit in kimchi, its proud traditional side dish of fermented cabbage, reached an all-time high last year as low-priced Chinese imports flood..
N.Korea says Trump N-button tweet ‘spasm of lunatic’
SEOUL: North Korea on Tuesday denounced President Donald Trump’s tweeted message that he has a bigger nuclear button than its leader Kim Jong-Un as the “spasm of a lunati..
Koreas begin talks on Olympic art troupe
SEOUL: North and South Korea began talks on Monday on performances by Pyongyang’s state artistic troupes at next month’s Winter Olympics in the South, after the North agr..
FRONTPAGE
 
GALLERY
 
PANORAMA
 
TIME OUT
 
SPORT
 
 
Advertise | Copyright