By: Frances Martel
Following a series of condemnations from American officials over its latest missile test–and a bizarre affirmation that “we are not your enemy” from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson–the North Korean government has responded in its state media, demanding America keep its “stinky face” out of Asia.
The state newspaper of North Korea, the Rodong Sinmun, has published a series of articles threatening the United States with military force in response to the Trump administration’s repeated condemnations of its violations of international law. One article cites an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry, who promised to use “strategic nuclear force” to “teach the U.S. some manners.”
“If the U.S. is stupid enough to shove its stinky face on this land again and keep brandishing its nuclear club despite our repeated warnings, the DPRK will teach the U.S. some manners with the strategic nuclear force that it had so far shown to the world,” the spokesman is quoted as saying. “Any form of military threat or blackmail by the U.S. can never scare the DPRK and, on the contrary, it will only redouble the resolve of the Korean army and people to annihilate the enemy.”
Another article warns that America “is on the crossroads of life and death.”
“Through the successful second test-launch of Hwasong-14, the DPRK seriously warned the U.S. once again that if it keeps running amuck in its bid to stifle the DPRK in disregard of the radically changed strategic position of Juche Korea, the mainland of the U.S. will suffer unimaginable calamities,” this article warns. “If the U.S. persists in the hostile policy toward the DPRK, in defiance of the realistic demand, just to save its face, it will only be made to receive unexpected ‘gifts’ the DPRK delivers in succession.”
North Korea appears particularly incensed by the global condemnation of its latest missile test, the semi-successful launch of a Hwasong-14 rocket. Experts in South Korea and the United States believe the rocket is intended to function as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and may have the ability to reach the continental United States. If North Korea’s engineers find a way to fit a nuclear warhead on it, they would pose an existential threat to some of America’s largest cities.
President Donald Trump responded to the test by condemning China on Twitter. “I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk,” he wrote following the missile test. “We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”
American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley also expressed frustration with China’s behavior at the UN Security Council, where it enjoys a veto as a permanent member. Haley rejected the idea of more Security Council deliberations: “There is no point in having an emergency session if it produces nothing of consequence.”
Tillerson, in contrast, told reporters this week that he hopes “to sit and begin to have a dialogue with [North Korea] about the future that will give them the security they seek,” remarks that inspired praise in China’s state-run media outlets.
Tillerson will fly to the Philippines this weekend to attend the Association of Southeastern Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Regional Forum, to which his North Korean counterpart, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, has also been invited. The State Department has insisted “there will not be a huge sit-down” and they do not expect this forum in particular to yield any more proximity between the two states.