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Kim seeks ‘equilibrium of real force’ with U.S.

Sept 18,2017
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seen clapping with officials following the launch of the Hwasong-12 IRBM. [YONHAP]
이미지뷰
The Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) North Korea launched last Friday from the Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang flew over Japan's northern territory and landed in the northern Pacific. The country's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday that the test was aimed at "calming down the belligerence" of Washington's military threat. [YONHAP]
North Korea once again pointed the finger at the United States Saturday while bragging about its latest missile launch, claiming that the test was aimed at “calming down the belligerence” of Washington’s military threat.

Leader Kim Jong-un was quoted as saying that his country’s “final goal” was to “establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” according to an English version of the dispatch, reported via the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

DPRK is short for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“And he stressed the need to run at full speed and straight,” read the report, “continuing to qualitatively consolidate the military attack capacity for nuclear counterattack the U.S. cannot cope with.”

Strongly hinting at more missile tests, Kim stressed to his missile developers that “all drills should become meaningful and practical ones for increasing combat power of the nuclear force like the current drill in the future,” adding that nuclear warheads should be prepared to be used in case a war erupts.

Also implicit in Kim’s pugnacious speech was a jab at Russia and China, two of five veto-wielding countries who approved a package of sanctions recently passed in the United Nations Security Council following North Korea’s sixth nuclear experiment on Sept. 3.

“As recognized by the whole world,” said Kim, “we have made all these achievements despite the UN sanctions that have lasted for decades but never made them from any ‘benefit’ of the UN.”

The very fact, he continued, is “very stifling for those countries styling themselves big powers keeping their minds on bringing to their knees the DPRK through UN sanctions.”

Kim stressed that he would show the “big power chauvinists” how North Korea masters its nuclear drive amid those punitive measures.

North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile at 6:57 a.m. last Friday from the Sunan International Airport north of Pyongyang, which flew over Japan and landed in the northern Pacific. It peaked at an altitude of 770 kilometers (478 miles) before landing 3,700 kilometers away.

In response, U.S. President Donald Trump said last Friday at Joint Base Andrews in Camp Springs, Maryland, an Air Force base outside the capital, that North Korea has “once again shown its utter contempt for its neighbors and for the entire world community.”

At one point, Trump told a crowd of Air Force members, “After seeing your capabilities and commitment here today, I am more confident than ever that our options in addressing this threat are both effective and overwhelming.”

That appeared to be an implication of military options, which was echoed by his national security advisor H.R. McMaster hours earlier when he told White House reporters during a daily briefing that “there is a military option” in Washington’s playbook on handling North Korea.

“For those who have said and have been commenting about the lack of a military option, there is a military option,” said McMaster. “Now, it’s not what we would prefer to do, so what we have to do is call on all nations, call on everyone to do everything we can to address this global problem short of war.”

In a statement, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council referred to North Korea’s latest launch as a “manifest violation” of the body’s resolutions, adding that the situation on the Korean Peninsula will be discussed later this month during the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]