N.Korea Threatens to Counter U.S. Warning by Force

  • By Ahn Jun-yong, Kim Myong-song

    December 05, 2019 13:17

    North Korea's army chief on Wednesday threatened to counter U.S. force with a swift response after U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned he could use military force against the North.

    Pak Jong-chon, the chief of the General Staff of the North Korean People's Army, said the U.S. would face "horrible" consequences if it uses force against North Korea and threatened to take "prompt corresponding actions at any level."

    Trump on Tuesday complained about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un still "sending rockets up," boasted about U.S. military power and added, "If we have to, we will do it."

    Pak said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was "displeased to hear" Trump's comments and added that the two sides "are still technically at war and the state of truce can turn into an all-out armed conflict any moment even by any accidental case."

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) rides a white horse with his wife Ri Sol-ju (left) on Mt. Baekdu, in this grab from the [North] Korean Central Television on Wednesday. /Yonhap

    Meanwhile, North Korean state media once again pictured Kim scaling Mt. Baekdu on horseback, the second time since October that he has staged a photo op on the mountain, which is considered sacred by North Koreans.

    The rides are usually billed as occasions for momentous decisions by Kim, and the latest one comes ahead of a year-end deadline North Korea has given the U.S. to resume stalled talks and ease sanctions.

    Earlier, Kim toured "revolutionary battle sites" and was quoted as saying the mountain demonstrates "the country's dignity and honor before the world." He added he wanted to "instill the indefatigable spirit of Mt. [Baekdu]... despite the unprecedented blockade and pressure imposed by imperialists," and help his people "to get prepared for the harshness and protracted character of the revolution."

    He was accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol-ju, with state media showing the couple sitting around a camp fire, and top brass. During his last climb up Mt. Baekdu, Kim was shadowed by his sister Yeo-jong and Workers Party officials.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) and his wife Ri Sol-ju (to his right) warm themselves around a camp fire on Mt. Baekdu, in this grab from the [North] Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday. /Newsis

    North Korea will convene a full session of the Workers Party Central Committee later this month "to discuss and decide on crucial issues in line with... the changed situation at home and abroad," state media said.

    The Central Committee normally only meets once a year to decide on major policies, but this seems to be an extra emergency meeting.

    Jeon Sung-hoon, former head of the Korea Institute for National Unification, said, "North Korea seems to believe that dialogue with the U.S. during Trump's term in office has ended. There is a strong chance that the North will blame South Korea and the U.S. for all failures and embark on provocations next year."

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