North Korea seeks to establish ‘equilibrium of force’ with US – Kim Jong-un
“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” Kim said Friday, according to state news agency KCNA.
The North Korean leader also “stressed the need to run at full speed and straight, continuing to qualitatively consolidate the military attack capacity for [a] nuclear counterattack the US cannot cope with.”
“We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attain the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade,” he added, KCNA reports.
On Friday morning, North Korea fired another missile which flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The UN Security Council unanimously condemned the “highly provocative” missile test.
Washington has meanwhile stepped up its rhetoric, emphasizing that it was running out of patience and that a military option to resolve the crisis remains on the table.
“For those who have said and have been commenting about the lack of a military option, there is a military option,”said White House National Security Adviser H.R. 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.”
"We've been kicking the can down the road, and we're out of road," he added.
China's ambassador to the US has meanwhile urged Washington to stop threatening North Korea and do something constructive “so that there's real effective international cooperation on this issue.”
"They should refrain from issuing more threats. They should do more to find effective ways to resume dialogue and negotiation," Ambassador Cui Tiankai said.
The launch came mere days after the UN Security Council, including China and Russia, agreed on a new round of sanctions which fixed an annual cap of 2 million barrels worth of oil imports into North Korea as well as a ban on the country's textile exports.
Tensions have been steadily rising on the Korean peninsula over the past few months, with Pyongyang conducting several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of rulings by the UN Security Council, while the United States has continued to carry out joint exercises with South Korea and Japan while amplifying its rhetoric against Pyongyang.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the US. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” President Donald Trump said in August. In response, North Korea said it was “carefully examining” a plan for a missile strike near the US territory of Guam, a Pacific island some 3,400km away from the Korean peninsula.
Russia and China have proposed a “double-freeze” solution to the crisis, wherein the United States cease its drills with South Korea in exchange for the North suspending its weapons programs. However, the US has rejected these proposals, saying it has every right to carry out exercises with its allies.