World

N. Korea slams US for threatening peace in region

PYONGYANG: North Korea denounced the US yesterday for bringing "huge nuclear strategic assets" to the Korean peninsula as a US aircraft carrier group headed for the region amid concerns that North Korea may conduct a sixth nuclear weapon test.

Tensions have risen since the US Navy fired 59 missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising concerns about US President Donald Trump's plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations and unilateral sanctions.

NO MORE PATIENCE

The US warned that its policy of "strategic patience" is over as US Vice-President Mike Pence travels to South Korea tomorrow on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

A spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry's Institute for Disarmament and Peace issued a statement condemning the US for the attack on Syria, while also calling for "peace by strength".

"The US introduces into the Korean Peninsula, the world's biggest hotspot, huge nuclear strategic assets, seriously threatening peace and security of the peninsula and pushing the situation there to the brink of a war," North Korea's KCNA news agency said yesterday, citing the statement.

"This has created a dangerous situation in which a thermo-nuclear war may break out any moment on the peninsula and posed serious threat to the world peace and security, to say nothing of those in North-east Asia."

North Korea, still technically at war with South Korea after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, has on occasion conducted missile or nuclear tests to coincide with big political events.

Today, it marks the "Day of the Sun" - the 105th anniversary of the birth of state founder Kim Il Sung.

Mr Pence's trip to South Korea is a sign of the US commitment to its ally in the face of rising tension, aides said.

"We are going to consult with (South Korea) on North Korea's efforts to advance its ballistic missile and its nuclear programme," a White House foreign policy adviser, previewing Mr Pence's trip, told reporters. - REUTERS

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