North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho has joined the war of words with the United States. He claimed that US President Donald Trump’s tweets – that Kim Jong Un and Ri “won’t be around much longer” if they acted on their threats – amounted to a declaration of war.
Thus, Ri said at the United Nations, North Korea would shoot down US bombers flying near the Korean peninsula. The US had earlier announced that its B-1B Lancer bombers, escorted by jet fighters, would be flying just east of North Korea in a show of force after the latest exchange of threats between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.
The White House has hastened to correct Foreign Minister Ri. “We have not declared war on North Korea,” it said. In the US, it is Congress that declares war. President Trump’s tweets are not even official government policy – like his tweet opposing LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders) in the Armed Forces, which the latter have ignored with an announcement that LGBTs may still apply.
North Korea, however, does not look like it is responding to any explanation or any appeal, answering US threats with threats of its own. The latest statement of Foreign Minister Ri has raised the level of danger that the threats may erupt into violent action.
He said “the whole world should clearly remember that it was the US who first declared war on our country” and, therefore, North Korea has “the right to self-defense” and the right to shoot down US bombers “even when they are not yet inside the airspace border of our country.”
With words like this, the world can only hope and pray against any miscalculation on either side. The US and the rest of the world are looking to China, North Korea’s top ally and largest trading partner, to exert its influence on North Korea. But China’s Ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi said “It’s getting too dangerous and it’s in nobody’s interest.” China is in the best possible position to talk to North Korea because of their close economic and political relationship, but it now seems it is not sure if it an do much about the situation.
The US itself should perhaps take steps to ease the tension, by calling off its plan to fly bombers close to the Korean coast. And President Trump can stop tweeting his own threats against North Korea and Kim Jong Un.
ASEAN NEWSPAPER OPINIONS AND EDITORIALS
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7.2. Trump can stop tweeting vs North Korea | M. Bulletin
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7.5. Dialogue works| Philippine Daily Inquirer
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Op-Ed Courtesy: Manila Standard
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