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NUKEWARS
N. Korea warns US of 'greatest pain' over sanctions; Japan eyes stronger defence
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Sept 10, 2017


Japan PM urges stronger defence amid N.Korea worries
Tokyo (AFP) Sept 11, 2017 - Japan's prime minister on Monday called for a boost to the country's defences in the face of North Korean threats, warning that Tokyo needs to be able to protect itself.

The call is a common refrain from nationalist leader Shinzo Abe, who has long advocated a stiffening of Japan's military posture, despite its officially pacifist constitution.

In a speech to senior officers of the Self-Defense Forces -- Japan's name for the military -- Abe said: "No one else will protect you if you don't have the mindset of protecting yourself."

"We have to take all appropriate measures against (incidents such as) North Korea's missile launch over Japan," added the premier, who said he had asked his defence minister to draw up a blueprint for Japan's medium-term defence strategy.

Abe, who moved quickly after the election of Donald Trump to keep the mercurial US president close, said that "strengthening the Japan-US alliance is vital" to ensure regional stability.

"We have to deter North Korea's repeated provocative acts," he said, noting recent joint drills with the United States in the Sea of Japan and defence cooperation with like-minded countries including Australia.

Abe's comments come as the US pushes for the United Nations Security Council to vote on harsher sanctions on North Korea.

Diplomats said that a new draft resolution circulated recently is slightly less tough than the original but includes a "progressive" oil embargo on Pyongyang.

Speaking at the same meeting, Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said he hoped to quickly introduce Aegis Ashore, a land-based version of the maritime Aegis missile-defence system.

North Korea warned on Monday it would inflict "the greatest pain and suffering" on the United States if Washington persists in pushing for harsher UN sanctions following Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test.

The September 3 detonation was the country's largest and prompted global outrage, with the UN Security Council set to discuss a new draft resolution presented by Washington that would be the toughest-ever imposed against the isolated regime.

The US is calling for an oil embargo on Pyongyang, an assets freeze on leader Kim Jong-Un, but also an end to textile exports and to payments made to North Korean guest workers.

Washington wants the Security Council to vote on Monday to impose the sanctions, despite resistance from Beijing and Moscow to the new measures.

In a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, North Korea's foreign ministry warned Washington that if it did "rig up the illegal and unlawful 'resolution' on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that the U.S. pays due price".

"The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history," the ministry said, using the abbreviation for North Korea's formal name.

"The world will witness how the DPRK tames the U.S. gangsters by taking (a) series of action tougher than they have ever envisaged."

The test, which the North said was a hydrogen bomb that could be fitted onto a rocket, came weeks after Pyongyang fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that appeared to bring much of the mainland US into range.

At a dinner to celebrate Pyongyang's nuclear programme, North Korean leader Kim praised the test and urged the country's scientists to develop more weapons, KCNA reported Sunday.

The North says it needs nuclear arms to protect itself, but the US has accused the country of "begging for war".

Pyongyang's drive to stage a slew of brazen tests in recent months, which contravene existing United Nations sanctions, has sparked surging tensions over the country's weapons programme.

NUKEWARS
S. Korea seeks rare talks with North to ease military tensions
Seoul (AFP) July 17, 2017
South Korea on Monday offered to hold rare military talks with North Korea, aiming to ease tensions after Pyongyang tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile. The offer of talks, the first since South Korea elected dovish President Moon Jae-In, came as the Red Cross in Seoul proposed a separate meeting to discuss reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. The Sou ... read more

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