2017 North Korea crisis

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In 2017, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests that demonstrated the country's ability to launch ballistic missiles beyond its immediate region and suggested that North Korea's nuclear weapons capability was developing at a faster rate than had been assessed by the U.S. intelligence community.[2][3][4] This, coupled with a regular joint U.S.–South Korea military exercise undertaken in August as well as U.S. retaliatory threats, raised international tensions in the region and beyond.[5]

Background

North Korea's nuclear weapons program

In his New Year’s Day speech on 2 January 2017, Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, said that the country was in the “last stage” of preparations to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).[6]

On 3 May, North Korea issued a rare and harshly worded criticism of its chief ally, China, stating that "One must clearly understand that the D.P.R.K.'s line of access to nukes for the existence and development of the country can neither be changed nor shaken[...] And that the D.P.R.K. will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China, risking its nuclear program which is as precious as its own life, no matter how valuable the friendship is... China should no longer try to test the limits of the D.P.R.K.'s patience[...] China had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the D.P.R.K.-China relations." The harsh commentary also accused the Chinese media (which is tightly controlled by the government) of dancing to the tune of the U.S.[7]

In early August 2017, The Washington Post reported an assessment, made by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency in July 2017, which said that North Korea had successfully developed nuclear warheads for missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland (a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles).[3]

Sanctions on North Korea; trade with China

Since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006, the UN Security Council had passed a number of resolutions that imposed various sanctions on NK, including restrictions on economic activity. Nevertheless, North Korea's gross domestic product grew by an estimated 3.9 percent in 2016, to about $28.5 billion, the fastest pace in 17 years; the progress was largely attributed to continued trade with China, which accounted for more than 90% of North Korea's international trade.[8][9]

In late February 2017, following NK′s 12 February test of the Pukguksong-2 medium-range ballistic missile, China, which regards its trade with NK and the putative missile threat to the U.S. as separate issues,[10] said it would comply with UN Resolution 2321[11] and halt all coal imports (North Korea's main export) from North Korea.[12] The halt notwithstanding, in April 2017, China said that its trade with NK had expanded.[13] In July 2017, China’s trade with North Korea, while the ban on NK coal was said to have slowed imports from NK, was worth $456 million, up from $426 million in July 2016, the year-to-date trade being up 10.2 percent at $3.01 billion.[14]

China has been opposed to secondary sanctions that may be imposed on Chinese firms that do business with North Korea.[13][15]

Imprisonment of U.S. persons

American university student Otto Warmbier was freed from North Korea in June 2017, while in a coma after nearly 18 months of captivity.[16] Warmbier died without regaining consciousness on June 19, 2017, six days after his return to the United States.[17] Some U.S. officials blamed North Korea for his death.[18] In July 2017, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson authorized a "Geographical Travel Restriction" which banned Americans from entering North Korea.[19]

THAAD in South Korea

Ostensibly to counter North Korea′s missile threat, United States Forces Korea (USFK) had been planning deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea, which is designed to detect and destroy intermediate- and medium-range ballistic missiles (not intercontinental ballistic missile).[20] The deployment had faced strong oppositions from China, Russia, and North Korea.[21][22] In late April 2017, it was reported that while THAAD had originally been scheduled to become operational by the end of 2017, this could occur sooner.[23] According to U.S. Forces Korea′s announcement, THAAD stationed in South Korea had reached initial operating capability (IOC) on 1 May 2017.[24]

Timeline

USS Carl Vinson's movements: April 2017

Following North Korea′s test-firing of a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan on 5 April, which came a month after four ballistic missiles were fired towards the Sea of Japan, tensions increased as U.S. president Donald Trump had said the U.S. was prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea.[25][26] On 9 April, the U.S. Navy announced it was sending a navy strike group headed by the USS Carl Vinson supercarrier to the West Pacific (″to sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific Ocean after departing Singapore April 8″), but due to apparent miscommunication inside the U.S. administration, the naval move was presented as one towards the Korean peninsula.[27][26][28][29] This information was backtracked by the U.S. government a few days later.[30][31]

The 8 April announcement by the Navy led to a "glitch-ridden sequence of events".[32] On 17 April, North Korea's deputy United Nations ambassador accused the United States of "turning the Korean peninsula into "the world's biggest hotspot" and the North Korean government stated "its readiness to declare war on the United States if North Korean forces were to be attacked."[33] In reality on April 18, the Carl Vinson and its escorts were 3,500 miles from Korea engaged in scheduled joint Royal Australian Navy exercises in the Indian Ocean.[32][34][35] On April 24 the Japanese destroyers Ashigara and Samidare participated with the USS Carl Vinson in tactical training drills near the Philippines; North Korea threatened to sink her with a single strike.[36] The Carl Vinson aircraft carrier had been in the South China Sea in 2015 and again in February 2017 on routine patrols.[37] In late April 2017, Trump stated that "[t]here is a chance that we [the United States] could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea".[38]

On 24 April, North Korea marked the 85th anniversary of the Korean People's Army by what was said to be ″its largest ever military drill″, conducted in Wonsan.[39] The following day, it was reported that the United States and South Korea had begun installing key elements of the THAAD missile defense in South Korea′s Seongju County.[40]

ICBM test-flight on 4 July

On 4 July[i] North Korea conducted the first publicly announced flight test of its ICBM Hwasong-14, timed to coincide with the U.S. Independence Day celebrations. This flight had a claimed range of 933 kilometres (580 mi) eastwards into the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea) and reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometres (9,193,000 ft) during a 39-minute flight.[41][42] The U.S. government experts classified the missile launch as a big step in Pyongyang's quest to acquire a nuclear-tipped weapon capable of hitting the U.S.[43] North Korea declared it was now "a full-fledged nuclear power that has been possessed of the most powerful inter-continental ballistic rocket capable of hitting any part of the world".[44][45]

USFK said in a statement dated 4 July 2017: ″Eighth U.S. Army and Republic of Korea (ROK) military personnel conducted a combined event exercising assets countering North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions on July 4.″[46] South Korea′s Hyunmoo-2B and U.S. Army Tactical Missile System missiles were launched during the drill.[47][48]

Rhetorical escalation in August 2017

On August 8, 2017, President Donald Trump warned that North Korean nuclear threats would "be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before", after the mass media reported that a US intelligence assessment had found that the country had successfully produced a miniaturised nuclear warhead capable of fitting inside its missiles.[3] President Trump also remarked of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un: ″He has been very threatening beyond a normal state."[49] Within hours, North Korea responded by announcing that it was considering attacking U.S. military bases in the US territory of Guam.[50]

On August 10, 2017, North Korean Lt. Gen. Kim Rak-gyom responded to Trump's speech of "fire and fury", saying his words were "nonsense" and asserting that "reasonable dialogue" wasn't possible with Trump as president of the US. The North Korean governmental news agency KCNA reported that Kim Jong-un's military was considering a plan to fire four ICBMs, type Hwasong-12, into the Philippine Sea just 30–40 kilometres away from the island Guam. The flight time of missiles was estimated to be exactly 17 minutes and 45 seconds. A report by the KCNA suggested the plan would be put into operation in mid-August.[51] U.S. officials stated that Joseph Y. Yun, the US envoy for North Korea policy, and Pak Song-il, a senior North Korean diplomat at the country’s UN mission, were making regular contact during this dispute, through a conduit of communication they called the New York channel.[52]

On 11 August, Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that ″military solutions″ were "fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely".[53]

On August 14, Ukraine's Chairman of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksandr Turchynov denied that it had ever supplied defense technology to North Korea, responding to an article in the New York Times that said North Korea might have purchased rocket engines from Ukrainian factory Yuzhmash, who have also denied the report.[54]

On August 15, the North Korean leader said he was delaying a decision on firing missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam while he waits to see what Trump does next.[55]

On 21—31 August, the U.S and South Korea conducted the 2017 Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise that was billed by U.S. Forces Korea as slightly smaller than the previous year’s, with 17,500 U.S. troops participating;[56] an editorial carried by North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper condemned the drills as ″the most explicit expression of hostility against us″.[57][58]

On August 25, North Korea fired three missiles from Kangwon Province in the southeastern part of the country. According to Cmdr. Dave Benham of US Pacific Command, one of the missiles exploded on launch while the other two suffered critical failures in flight, splashing down in the Sea of Japan after flying a distance of 250 kilometers.[59]

Missile test over Japan on 29 August

On 29 August, just before 6:00 AM JST, North Korea launched a missile which flew over Hokkaido, Japan. The missile reached an altitude of 550 km and flew a total distance of around 2,700 km before crashing into the Pacific. The missile was not shot down by the Japanese military.[60] This was the third time, with two prior events in 1998 and 2009, that a North Korean missile had passed over Japanese territory. However, in both of those prior cases, North Korea had claimed that they were launching satellites.[61] The missile prompted activation of the J-Alert warning system in Tohoku and Hokkaido, advising people to seek shelter.[62][63] The launch was scheduled on the 107th anniversary of the Japan-Korea annexation treaty, and KCNA said that it was "a bold plan to make the cruel Japanese islanders insensible on bloody August 29".[64] The missile launched was said to have followed a much flatter trajectory than those tested earlier in 2017.[65]

An emergency UN Security Council meeting was called for later that day to discuss the event.[66] In a statement issued by the White House in response to the launch, US President Donald Trump said that "All options are on the table" regarding North Korea.[67]

U.S. response at the end of August

On 30 August, President Trump issued a statement via Twitter saying "The U.S. has been talking to North Korea and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!".[68] However, when asked by reporters at a meeting with South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-Moo whether diplomacy was off the table, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis stated that "We're never out of diplomatic solutions" and "We always look for more. We're never complacent".[69]

On 31 August, the US flew a squadron of bombers, including two nuclear-capable B-1B's and four F-35's, and conducted bombing drills in what US Pacific Command described as a "direct response to North Korea's intermediate range ballistic missile launch", referring to North Korea's IRBM launch on August 29.[70]

Sixth nuclear test (since 2006) and aftermath: September 2017

On 3 September, at 3:31 AM UTC, the United States Geological Survey reported that it had detected a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in North Korea near the Punggye-ri test site. Given the shallow depth of the quake and its proximity to North Korea's primary nuclear weapons testing facility, experts concluded that the country had conducted a sixth nuclear weapon test since the country first exploded a nuclear device in 2006.[71] North Korea claimed that they had tested a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted on an ICBM.[72] The independent seismic monitoring agency NORSAR estimated that the blast had a yield of around 120 kilotons.[73] An official KCNA statement of 3 September, also claimed North Korea’s ability to conduct a “super-powerful EMP attack”.[74]

On the same day, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis speaking on behalf of the White House, warned there would be "a massive military response" to any threat from North Korea against the United States, including Guam, or its allies.[75]

Early on 4 September, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) conducted a ballistic missile exercise that involved the South's Hyunmoo ballistic missile and the F-15K fighter jets, which was billed to be in response to North's detonation. The state news agency Yonhap said the South's military had carried out a live-fire exercise simulating an attack on the North's nuclear site, hitting "designated targets in the East Sea".[76][77]

On the same day, the UN Security Council convened to discuss further measures against North Korea;[78] the leaked draft the relevant UNSC resolution prepared by the U.S. was said to call for an oil embargo on North Korea, ban on the country's exports of textiles, on the hiring of North Korean workers abroad as well as personal sanctions against Kim Jong-un.[79] Despite resistance from China and Russia, the United States on 8 September formally requested a vote of the United Nations Security Council on the U.S. resolution.[80] UNSC 2375 passed on 11 September as a significantly watered-down version of the United States' request.[81]

On 6 September, Donald Trump, after a telephone conversation with China′s Xi Jinping, said that the United States would not tolerate North Korea′s provocations, although military action was not his "first choice".[79]

Missile test over Japan on 15 September

On 14 September, North Korea issued a threat to "sink" Japan, and turn the US to "ashes and darkness". The statement drew strong condemnation from Yoshihide Suga, who described the speech as "extremely provocative and egregious".[82] The next day, an IRBM was fired from near Pyongyang and flew over Hokkaido, Japan before splashing down in the western Pacific about two thousand kilometers off Cape Erimo at about 7:16 AM local time.

The missile traveled 3,700 kilometres (2,300 mi) achieving a maximum apogee of 770 kilometres (480 mi) during its 19 minute flight. It is the furthest any North Korean IRBM missile has gone above and beyond Japan. [83] On 18 September, North Korea announced that any further sanctions would only cause acceleration of their nuclear program.[84]

U.S. and China agree on ″pressure″

On 18 September, the White House said president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping had discussed North Korea’s continued nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests and committed to “maximising pressure on North Korea through vigorous enforcement” of UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea; North Korea said the sanctions would accelerate its nuclear programme.[85]

Donald Trump's speech at UN General Assembly and Kim Jong-un's response

On 19 September, Donald Trump, in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, said that the United States: “if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man [Kim Jong-un] is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”[86][87] Also, without mentioning it by name, Donald Trump criticised China for maintaining relations with NK, calling it “an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict”.[87][86]

On 20 September, U.S. president Donald Trump signed an executive order that further toughened U.S. sanctions against North Korea: the U.S. Treasury was thereby authorised to target firms and financial institutions conducting business with NK.[88][89] Commenting on the executive order, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, "Foreign financial institutions are now on notice that going forward they can choose to do business with the United States or North Korea, but not both."[90][91]

On 21 September, responding directly for the first time to President Trump’s threat in a war of words,[92] North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un in his capacity of Chairman of State Affairs of DPRK[93] called Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and vowed the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”[94] (The ad hominem insults aside, no reference was made to the "hostile policy" of the United States, a staple of North Korean statements otherwise.)[95] Foreign minister Ri Yong-ho likewise alluded to Trump as a barking dog,[96] and furthermore remarked that North Korea might be considering the largest test of a hydrogen bomb ever in the Pacific Ocean,[94] which would constitute the first atmospheric nuclear test in the world since 1980 (last performed by China).[95]

Reactions

States of the region (not involved directly)

 People's Republic of China: In an interview on 4 September, following the dramatic escalation of rhetoric in August 2017, Liu Jieyi, China′s ambassador to the United Nations, called for dialogue to deal with the North Korean threat, saying that the issue needed to be resolved "peacefully". He said, "China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula."[97]

 Russia: President Vladimir Putin speaking to the Chinese press on 5 September 2017, described U.S. proposals for further sanctions on Pyongyang as “useless”; he said, “Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end.”[98]

A plan proposed by both China and Russia calls for a joint freeze (freeze-for-freeze) — of North's missile tests, and U.S. and South Korean military exercises; the next step would be starting talks.[99][81] The joint initiative of Russia and China envisages the involved parties′ commitment to “four nos”: concerning regime change, regime collapse, accelerated reunification, and military deployment north of the thirty-eighth parallel.[100][not in citation given]

Other states or entities

  •  Australia: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that Australia would commit troops to fight if the North Korean regime launched an attack on the US by saying "America stands by its allies, including Australia of course, and we stand by the United States", and went on to say "so be very, very clear on that. If there's an attack on the US, the ANZUS Treaty would be invoked and Australia would come to the aid of the United States, as America would come to our aid if we were attacked".[101]
  •  Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a meeting with King Abdullah II in August, stated that “These are things that endanger not just regional stability but world peace. This is an issue that is of concern to us daily and we will continue day by day to continue what we need to do keep Canadians safe."[102] On September 3, Trudeau condemned the latest tests.[103] However, the latest ICBM test came under fire by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland which she stated: "Canada is gravely concerned by the escalating aggressive behaviour demonstrated by North Korea’s‎ leadership. We condemn in the strongest terms North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan – a deliberate and reckless action intended to provoke and to threaten regional and global security."[104]
  •  France: President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement voicing his "concern at the ballistic and nuclear threat coming from North Korea," adding that the international community should work with Pyongyang to "resume the path of dialogue without conditions." and that other UN Security Council members want North Korea to "proceed with the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its nuclear and ballistic programs."[105]
  •  Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel implicitly criticized President Trump’s fiery comments on North Korea and called for the crisis over Pyongyang’s missile program to be resolved through diplomacy and when asked whether Germany would stand by the US in case of war, Merkel did not respond directly but said "I consider an escalation of rhetoric the wrong answer." And added "I do not see a military solution to this conflict," and suggested that the crisis should be resolved through the United Nations Security Council and cooperation between the US and regional powers like China, South Korea and Japan.[106]
  •  Ireland: "No immediate threat to Ireland amid US-North Korea nuclear tensions" said the former Foreign Affairs Minister and now Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan who added that "Ireland must nonetheless be aware that it is not immune to international conflicts."[107]
  •  Israel: The Israeli Foreign Affairs condemned North Korea's 3 September 2017 test and called for a “firm international response” to curb Pyongyang’s rogue weapons programs. The statement reads: “The State of Israel condemns the nuclear test carried out by North Korea. The test constitutes yet another example of North Korea’s aggressive pattern of behavior,” the statement said, urging Pyongyang to adhere to UN Security Council resolutions that ban it from developing nuclear weapons. Decisive international response will prevent other countries from behaving in a similar manner.”[108]
  •  Italy: Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni stated that he was very concerned about what was happening in Korea; he also added that "the answer of the Western world to North Korean provocations must be tough and firm", but he still hope that the crisis can be resolved with diplomacy or economic sanctions, without any military intervention.[109] Foreign Affairs Minister Angelino Alfano said that the escalation will probably have unforeseeable consequences for all the world.[110]
  •  Kuwait: After several nuclear tests, Kuwaiti Foreign Affairs has expelled the North Korean ambassador within one month. Kuwait has over 3,000 DPRK citizens. In August, Kuwait stopped direct flights to and from Pyongyang as well as halting entrance visas and commercial licenses, state news agency KUNA reported, citing an official at the foreign ministry.[111]
  •  Mexico: The Foreign Ministry has stated that the tests are "a grave risk to international peace and security and represents a growing threat to the nations of the region, including key allies of Mexico such as Japan and South Korea”. President Enrique Peña Nieto also ordered the expulsion of North Korean ambassador Kim Hyong Gil from Mexico.[112]
  •  Mongolia: President Khaltmaagiin Battulga special envoy Lundeg Purevsuren lashed out at Washington's sanctions on North Korea, saying "sanctions are not good, and we condemn them". He also said that the recent sanctions imposed on North Korea as well as Russia and Iran are not friendly, adding, "We don't recognize the US sanctions because slapping sanctions are not a good way and we denounce them."[113]
  •  New Zealand: Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee re-emphasized the need for a strong diplomatic response, saying any pre-emptive action would be a mistake in a statement. "Committing to an aggressive response now while encouraging all involved to avoid escalation is not a position we want to take."[114]
  •  Philippines: While the probability of a missile from North Korea hitting the Philippines is "remote," the military is on alert for any development, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla outlined.[115]
  •  Poland: Polish Foreign Ministry lashed out at the DPRK, stated that the test “dangerously escalated tensions in the region and could lead to unpredictable consequences” and called on Pyongyang to "immediately cease provocative activities".[116]
  •  Spain: The Spanish government ordered that North Korea's embassy staff numbers be lowered on September 1, however, later on September 18, Spain declared the North Korean ambassador, Kim Hyok Chol, persona non grata.[117]
  •  Sweden: According to a diplomat, relations with North Korea remain mostly consular, and will have no role in finding a solution to the nuclear crisis. However, this is disputed by an inside source with knowledge on the depths of the Swedish-North Korean relationship. The unnamed Swedish source said "Generally, the North Koreans are very stringent. You can't just charge in and get what you want. You can't make demands of them. Sweden has been able to share information with the major players in the region and we are still doing that. We have mainly acted as a source of information and made sure that information reaches the most important actors."[118]
  •  Republic of China (Taiwan): The President of the Republic of China Tsai Ing-wen on 3 September 2017 denounced North Korea's alleged nuclear test saying that the move undermines regional security.[119]
  •  Turkey: Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said "a showdown over nuclear weapons is not a children's game" and that "the countries should start acting reasonably as soon as possible".[120]
  •  Ukraine: Ukraine government said the suggestion that advanced rocket engine might have been sold to North Korea by corrupt staff or managers at the Yuzhmash missile factor in the city of Dnipro was ill-informed and probably Russian propaganda. "This information is not based on any grounds, provocative by its content, and most likely provoked by Russian secret services to cover their own crimes", said Chairman Oleksandr Turchynov of the Security and Defence Council. "Ukraine has always adhered to all its international commitments, therefore, Ukrainian defense and aerospace complex did not supply weapons and military technology to North Korea" the council said in a statement.[121]
  •  United Kingdom: The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain was working with the United States and allies in the region to find a diplomatic solution to the stand-off between Pyongyang and Washington and that "the North Korean regime is the cause of this problem and they must fix it."[122] The First Secretary of State Damian Green has also added it is "obviously" in Britain's interests that the stand-off between Washington and Pyongyang does not lead to conflict and urged President Trump to be "sensible" and go through the UN before acting on his "fire and fury" threat.[123] Several MPs have also made statements including, Jack Lopresti who has said Britain would be under an obligation to step in and defend its Nato ally by force if necessary if Kim Jong-un follows through on his threat to launch a missile strike and Chair of the Defence Select Committee Julian Lewis who warned that an attack would be seen as a modern-day Pearl Harbor and would trigger a ferocious response by the Americans.[124]
  •   Vatican City: Italian Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said "the way of conflict is always the wrong way," and "that’s why you need to invest time, energy, money, resources in preventing the necessity of arriving at these boiling points of crisis."[125]

International bodies

  •  United Nations: The UN Security Council on 4 September, after the nuclear test, held an open emergency session. During the session, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said that "the time ha[d] come to exhaust all of our diplomatic means before it's too late" and that the UN "must now adopt the strongest possible measures".[126] China said it supported the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and strongly urged Pyongyang to comply with international measures. The United States said it would circulate a resolution within the week, with the aim of having a vote on 11 September.[78] On 11 September 2017, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted the watered-down version of the U.S.-drafted resolution.[127][81] The Russian foreign ministry credited itself with having the strictest provisions of the U.S. original draft removed from the resolution.[128] Nevertheless, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley hailed the sanctions as “by far the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea” and urged ″all nations [to] implement them completely and aggressively″.[81]
  •  European Union: A spokesperson for the Council of the EU has said "the EU has implemented all UN Security Council resolutions adopted in response to the DPRK’s nuclear and nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs."[129]
    • The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini also said in August 2017 that the EU was maintaining a dialogue with South Korea who was playing a leading role and added "We believe that the solution to tensions on the peninsula lies in the peninsula itself and that Seoul has to have full ownership and leadership in the way forward, including through confidence-building measures."[130]
  •  NATO: On 10 September 2017, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with BBC television: “The reckless behavior of North Korea is a global threat and requires a global response and that of course also includes NATO”; when asked whether an attack on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam would trigger NATO’s Article 5, he said: “I will not speculate about whether Article 5 will be applied in such a situation.”[131]
  •  International Olympic Committee: An IOC spokesman has in a statement regarding the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang County "We are monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula and the region very closely. The IOC is keeping itself informed about the developments. We continue working with the Organising Committee on the preparations of these Games which continue to be on track."[132]

Non-state actors

  • Hamas: The Palestinian-based terrorist organization praised North Korea for its support of the Palestinian cause, saying that Israel was “the leader of evil and terrorism in the world." In turn, both sides came together after Pyongyang launched a scathing attack on Israel and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, after Liberman had insulted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Sami Abu Zuhri wrote on Twitter: “Hamas appreciates North Korea statement in which it supported the Palestinian’s struggle and rejected the continuation of occupation."[133]

Commentators

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated that the standoff between the U.S. and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program was comparable to the Cuban Missile Crisis.[134][135]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ There is a 12½ hour time difference from North Korean local time to Eastern Daylight Time. The missile was launched at 9am, North Korean local time, on the morning of 4th July. This was 8:30pm Washington time on the evening of 3rd July.

References

  1. ^ http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/north-korea-threatens-australia-with-nuclear-strike-over-us-allegiance/news-story/fa28ccb9eaaff6c02f5c12bdc19bc227
  2. ^ Intelligence Agencies Say North Korean Missile Could Reach U.S. in a Year NYT, 25 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Warrick, Joby (August 8, 2017). "North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ Three things to know about North Korea's missile tests: With advances in its long-range missile programme, here are three technical milestones and why they matter. Aljazeera, 3 September 2017.
  5. ^ North Korea’s Potential Targets: Guam, South Korea and Japan NYT, 9 August 2017.
  6. ^ Kim, Jong-Un. "Kim Jong Un's 2017 New Year's Address (KCNA – speech full text)". Korean Central News Agency – National Committee On North Korea. Archived from the original on January 11, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  7. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe (May 4, 2017). "North Korean Media, in Rare Critique of China, Says Nuclear Program Will Continue". New York Times. 
  8. ^ North Korea's Secret Weapon? Economic Growth. Rising living standards will limit the effect of sanctions. Bloomberg, 14 September 2017.
  9. ^ China imposes import bans on North Korean iron, coal and seafood BBC, 15 August 2017.
  10. ^ China Has Nothing To Gain From Sanctioning North Korea Forbes, 13 August 2017.
  11. ^ Resolution 2321 (2016): Adopted by the Security Council at its 7821st meeting, on 30 November 2016
  12. ^ China bans all coal imports from North Korea amid growing tensions CNN, 20 February 2017.
  13. ^ a b China Says Its Trade With North Korea Has Increased NYT, 13 April 2017.
  14. ^ China July trade with North Korea slows from June as coal ban bites Reuters, 23 August 2017.
  15. ^ Exclusive: U.S. prepares new sanctions on Chinese firms over North Korea ties - officials Reuters, 13 July 2017.
  16. ^ "Coma-stricken student released from North Korea arrives back in US" Archived June 20, 2017, at the Wayback Machine., ABC News, June 12, 2017
  17. ^ Svrluga, Susan (June 19, 2017). "Otto Warmbier dies days after release from North Korean detainment". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 19, 2017. (subscription required)
  18. ^ "John McCain: Otto Warmbier 'murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime'" Archived June 20, 2017, at the Wayback Machine., Washington Examiner, June 19, 2017
  19. ^ Torbati, Yeganeh; Lee, Se Young (July 21, 2017). "U.S. State Department to clamp ban on travel to North Korea". Reuters. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  20. ^ U.S. Forces Korea Commander confident THAAD will enhance Alliance’s defense against North Korean Threats 주한미군 사령관, 사드 (THAAD)가 북한 위협으로부터 한미동맹의 방어력을 제고할 것을 확신 USFK, 1 August 2017.
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Further reading

  • Mecklin, John (11 September 2017). "Commentary: The North Korean nuclear 'crisis' is an illusion". Reuters. 
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