Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Trump Vows to 'Fix the Mess' as US Targets North Korea Banks

Reuters Reuters
Ben Pena | 27 September, 2017, 15:49

When he wasn't mad at NFL players for taking a knee during National Anthem protests, the president was busy escalating the rhetoric with North Korea and that country's leader Kim Jung-un.

China said on Wednesday the North Korean nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue, and that military means were not an option, after U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea that any U.S. military option would be "devastating".

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday that the United States has not declared war on North Korea, adding, "Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd".

The denial comes post North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho's words.

On Saturday, US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers and F-15C Eagle fighter escorts flew in global airspace over waters east of the DPRK, the Pentagon said.

"This mission is a demonstration of USA resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat", White said in a statement. The most recent test was made on September 15, when North Korea launched a ballistic missile, which flew over Japan before falling into the northern Pacific some 20 minutes after the launch.

President Donald Trump says it's time for all nations "to join forces to isolate to the North Korean menace".

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North Korea's authoritarian government doesn't allow most of its 24 million people to travel overseas, except in special cases such as for jobs that bring in foreign currency or participation in sporting events.

He said that North Korean nuclear weapons and missile development threaten the entire world with unthinkable loss of life.

He blamed previous United States presidents for failing to deal with the North Korean threat, declaring: "I will fix this mess".

"We should assume today that North Korea has that capability and has the will to use that capability", he said.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Monday accused Trump of declaring war on the North and threatened that Pyongyang would shoot down US warplanes flying near the Korean Peninsula after American bombers flew close to it last Saturday. He also decried the situation there, saying he was left a "mess" by previous administrations. On Tuesday Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford told Congress Washington should assume that North Korea already has the capability to attack the United States with a nuclear weapon and plan accordingly.

The U.S. also used an additional designation to emphasize that two banks in North Korea are actually part of Kim's government: the Foreign Trade Bank of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Central Bank of Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

China, North Korea's sole major ally and largest trading partner, has called for calm and dialogue, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed the only solution to the crisis was a political one.

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