This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People’s ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung.

This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People’s ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung.
Photo Credit: STR

War of words between North Korea and U.S. escalates

The war of words between North Korea and the United States continues to escalate as Pyongyang warned Thursday that it is ready to launch a “super-mighty preemptive strike” against the continental U.S., as well as South Korean and American forces on the divided peninsula.

The blustery statement in the mouthpiece of Pyongyang’s ruling Workers’ Party came after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear program.

Vice-President Mike Pence warned earlier that the era of U.S. “strategic patience” with the North is over.

Sailors conduct flight operations on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) flight deck, in the South China Sea April 8, 2017.
Sailors conduct flight operations on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) flight deck, in the South China Sea April 8, 2017. © U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Brown/Handout via REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a hard line with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed admonitions from sole major ally China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, did not mince its words.

“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes,” it said.

This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers marching through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung.
This April 15, 2017 picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers marching through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. © STR

To find out more about what’s driving the U.S. and North Korean policy in the region, RCI reached out to Marius Grinius, Canada’s former ambassador to both South and North Korea and a Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

(click to listen to the full interview with Marius Grinius)

Listen
Questions and answers:

Q: The U.S. administration speaks of the end of “strategic patience.” What do they mean by that?

Q: How has the North Korean regime been reacting to the Trump administration’s rhetoric?

Q: What role do China and Russia play in managing this situation?

Q: What about the U.S. and its allies in the region, what role should they play in trying to reassure North Korea that they are not aiming for regime change?

Q: How much real influence does the Chinese leadership really have over North Korea?

Q: How do you see the situation on the Korean Peninsula developing further?

Q: How much do we know about what’s really going on inside North Korea?

Q: Do you see a possibility of a Khrushchev-like figure emerging in North Korea to move the country away from its Stalinist roots?

Q: What role can and should Canada be playing in this situation?

Q: Would it make sense for Canada to open a diplomatic mission in Pyongyang?

With files from Reuters

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Posted in International, Politics

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