N.Korea, US should not jeopardize peace efforts

North Korea’s plan to launch a missile strike on Guam could force the US to abandon negotiations, but the two sides should avoid further provocations which would threaten hopes for a peaceful solution in the Korean Peninsula, said experts.

“The Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) is seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through the simultaneous firing of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic missiles in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the US,” said a statement released by General Kim Rak-gyom, commander of the Strategic Force of the KPA, on Wednesday, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

“The Hwasong-12 missiles to be launched by the KPA will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi Prefectures of Japan. They will fly 3,356.7 kilometers for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 kilometers away from Guam,” the agency added.

Guam is an unincorporated US territory in the Western Pacific Ocean, more than 3,000 kilometers to the southeast of North Korea, and has a US Navy installation equipped with a submarine squadron, a Coast Guard group and an air base.

North Korea’s Hwasong missiles have the ability to reach Guam if the US and its allies do nothing. But in combat, the US and its allies would destroy its missiles before their launch, Song Zhongping, a military expert who served in the PLA Rocket Force, told the Global Times.

This photo taken on Wednesday and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on Thursday shows a rally in support of North Korea’s stance against the US in Kim Il-sung square in Pyongyang. Photo: AFP

“Hwasong missiles need a lengthy preparation time, including pumping liquid fuel and entering launch position. So in this period, a US spy satellite would be able to locate it and be destroyed by an air strike,” Song said.

The US is not intimidated by North Korea’s plan. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the US,” Trump said. “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Guam governor Eddie Calvo said, “there was some concern among the public on Guam but no panic, and the authorities were ‘very confident’ that there was no heightened threat,” Reuters reported.

Raising tensions

It doesn’t matter how long North Korean missiles can fly or how accurate they are. The point is North Korea’s plan does not help negotiations and peace, Lü Chao, a Korea expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

“North Korea’s tough message can only undermine hopes for a peaceful solution. Those making efforts to restart negotiations, whether from the US or other countries, will be very disappointed. In other words, Pyongyang gives hardliners in the US an excuse to push for a military solution to the crisis,” Lü said.

The fact is joint US-South Korea drills cannot intimidate North Korea from further provocation, and North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests also cannot force the US to restart negotiations, so both Washington and Pyongyang are wasting time and money, and it would be better for them not to risk regional stability, Lü stressed.

North Korea makes such provocations because it believes countries in this region, including China and Russia, are afraid of military conflict, and they will try their best to protect North Korea from the US, so Pyongyang can provoke the US and ruin regional stability as much as it wants, said Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University.

“It’s time to tell North Korea that China doesn’t want war in the peninsula, but we are not afraid of war if anyone sparks the conflict and we are capable of controlling the situation. But North Korea will face serious destruction. Therefore, for its own good, North Korea should stop making trouble for the region,” Zheng said.

Source: Global Times

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