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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

'North Korea boosts defenses' amid tensions with US

Iran Press TV

Tue Sep 26, 2017 06:26AM

A South Korean report says North Korea has been reinforcing defenses on its east coast, amid a rising risk of a military confrontation with the United States.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said in a report on Tuesday that Pyongyang had been moving aircraft to its east coast and taking other measures to boost its defenses.

Tensions have recently significantly risen between North Korea and the US. The latter flew bombers over waters east of North Korea on Saturday, and Pyongyang said afterwards that it had every right to shoot down those planes.

North Korea has said that recent remarks by US President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly constituted a declaration of war against Pyongyang.

"Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country," North Korea 's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said on Monday.

In his first speech at the UN General Assembly on September 19, Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary.

Washington is opposed to North Korea's advancing missile and military nuclear programs. Pyongyang says it needs those programs as a deterrent against hostility by the US and its regional allies, including South Korea and Japan.

The unverified report by Yonhap further claimed that Washington appeared to have revealed the flight route of the bombers on purpose.

North Korea has not commented on the report. Neither has South Korea's National Intelligence Service.

War on Korean Peninsula would have no winner: China

Meanwhile, China on Tuesday warned that there would be no winner in a potential war on the Korean Peninsula.

During a daily news briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang expressed hope that American and North Korean statesmen could realize that resorting to a military solution would never be a viable way out of the tensions.

Lu also expressed China's displeasure at the escalation of the war of words between the US and North Korea.

Russia: Conflict on Korean Peninsula "catastrophic"

Also on Tuesday, a senior Russian diplomat said a conflict on the Korean Peninsula would have "catastrophic consequences."

Mikhail Ulyanov also said that Moscow was working "behind the scenes" to find a political solution to the North Korea crisis.

Ulyanov, who is the head of the non-proliferation and arms controls department at Russia's Foreign Ministry, said Washington's approach toward North Korea was at a deadend, adding the tool of sanctions against Pyongyang had almost been exhausted.

US says diplomatic resolution attempts continue

Separately, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that Washington sought to solve the crisis "diplomatically."

"We continue to maintain the diplomatically-led efforts in the United Nations," Mattis told reporters during a visit to India on Tuesday.

He said that pressure on North Korea had increased following a United Nations sanctions resolution.

"You have seen unanimous UN Security Council resolutions passed that have increased the pressure... on the North, and at the same time, we maintain the capability to deter North Korea's most dangerous threats," he said.

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