North Korean nuclear bomb test threat over Pacific 'shocking': Mattis
US Defense Minister James Mattis
Islam Times - US Defense Secretary James Mattis has said it would be “a shocking display of irresponsibility” for North Korea to go ahead with its threat to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.
Mattis made the remarks on Monday as the war of words between US and North Korean top officials escalated to dangerous levels over US military build-up on the Korean peninsula and in response to Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said that his country could carry out a nuclear bomb test over the Pacific if the US continued to threaten the country.
"This would be a shocking display of irresponsibility for global health, towards stability, towards non-proliferation," Mattis told reporters on his flight to India.
During a fiery speech before the General Assembly earlier on Saturday, the North Korean minister had warned that it was “inevitable” that Pyongyang would launch a missile toward the mainland United States in revenge for Trump’s insults against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Mattis did not comment when asked if the United States would consider a nuclear bomb test over the Pacific by the North an act of war.
Speaking at the General Assembly on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump denounced North Korea’s leader as a “Rocket Man” who is on a “suicide mission.” Trump also warned that the US would “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people if necessary.
In a letter to international leaders on Sunday, a North Korean parliamentary committee said Trump’s threat constitutes a declaration of war against Pyongyang.
The letter described Trump’s comments as an “intolerable insult to the Korean people, a declaration of war against North Korea and grave threats to the global peace.”
“If Trump thinks that he would bring North Korea, a nuclear power, to its knees through nuclear war threat, it is a big miscalculation and ignorance,” read the letter.
Analysts say Trump’s threats against North Korea are counterproductive and justify Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs that it insists are for self-defense. They say Trump's speech could have an opposite effect, intensifying the deteriorating situation in the Korean Peninsula.
Story Code: 672018