'Strong and Resolute': South Korea, Japan Issue 'Stern Warning' to North Korea
22:51 10.08.2017(updated 01:30 11.08.2017)
South Korea and Japan reaffirmed their support for the US on Thursday following North Korea's announcement that they are considering a ballistic missile attack against Andersen Air Force Base on the US island territory of Guam in Micronesia.
An attack on Guam would be met with a "strong and resolute retaliation" from South Korea's military, a South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman told reporters. "If North Korea commits provocations despite our stern warning, it will face a strong response from South Korea's military and the US-South Korea alliance," the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Japan can legally intercept North Korean missiles aimed at Guam if they pass over Japanese territory, and that Tokyo reserves the right to invoke collective self-defense to ensure Japan's security.
"If bombers attacked us or warships bombarded us, we would fire back," the defense minister said in March, adding that "striking a country lobbing missiles at us is no different."
Trump's declaration that North Korea will endure the "fire and fury" of the US military arsenal was "one of the most bellicose remarks made in public by a US president since the atom bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were announced back in 1945," Asia political expert Keith Bennett told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Wednesday.
"It's worth noting," Bennett said, "Trump made this remark on Nagasaki Day, the 70th anniversary of when a US atomic weapon slaughtered around 100,000 civilians in that Japanese city."
Bennett described the ongoing rhetorical battles between Washington and Pyongyang as a game of tit-for-tat that "certainly" won't intimidate Pyongyang's leadership. Whatever verbal arrows are directed at North Korea will probably to be launched right back at Washington, he noted.
"Predictably, [North Korea has] done that" with their statement about a possible strike on Guam, Bennett said, "which was very much seen as paying the US president back."
Lisa Collins, a fellow with the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Politico Magazine on Thursday, "the rhetoric has been heightened, but I don't think that it changes the actual reality of the North Korean threat. North Korea is used to giving and relaying this kind of rhetoric, and North Korea is very used to these responses."
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|