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N. Korea: New missile defence system ready in days

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By Euronews  with Reuters
N. Korea: New missile defence system ready in days

<p>President Trump’s administration signalled that it would put sanctions and diplomacy at the heart of the <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2017/04/27/sanctions-and-diplomacy-at-centre-of-us-strategy-on-north-korea">US strategy</a> on North Korea.</p> <p>The pledge came as part of a highly unusually briefing of the entire Senate at the White House. Senators had previously called for a clear strategy to deal with what they considered to be a major national security issue after repeated missile tests by Pyongyang.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Iran?src=hash">#Iran</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/News?src=hash">#News</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Us?src=hash">#Us</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Senators?src=hash">#Senators</a> arrive at White House for classified <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/North_Korea?src=hash">#North_Korea</a> threat briefing <a href="https://t.co/iS8nRFh9do">https://t.co/iS8nRFh9do</a> <a href="https://t.co/kNrctBzBh0">pic.twitter.com/kNrctBzBh0</a></p>— iraneAzad – FreeIran (@irane_Azad) <a href="https://twitter.com/irane_Azad/status/857356415073083393">April 26, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <h3>Military solutions still on the table/h3> <p>Despite the US administration’s emphasis on a peaceful resolution, the US’s top commander in the Asia-Pacific region, told a congressional hearing that its new missile defence system would be operative in days.</p> <p>He said:</p> <p><cite>“With every test, Kim Jong Un moves closer to his stated goal of a pre-emptive nuclear strike capability against American cities, and he’s not afraid to fail in public. Defending our homeland is my top priority, so I mus assume that Kim Jong Un’s nuclear claims are true.”</cite></p> <p>He argued that all options remained on the table, saying that “we want to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses, not to his knees”.</p> <h3>South Korea welcomes US approach/h3> <p>After the briefing of the Senate, officials in Seoul welcomed the approach taken by the US. A spokesman for the South Korean Foreign Ministry said:</p> <p><cite>“This is the strongest-ever US move related to the North Korean nuclear issue. Our government is continuing a close cooperation with the US against North Korea, based on a common awareness of the urgency and gravity of this issue.”</cite></p> <h3>The missile defence system/h3> <p>The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system (<span class="caps">THAAD</span>) is capable of shooting down short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of their flight, using kinetic energy to destroy the incoming warhead.</p> <p>The system has a 200 kilometre range and can reach an altitude of 150 kilometres.</p> <p><span class="caps">THAAD</span> has, however, proved controversial in South Korea, where protesters are worried that it makes their country more of a target.</p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xfR6K5kj1bA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <h3>Chinese reaction/h3> <p>Whilst North Korea has shown no signs of backing off, China, its biggest ally, has welcomed the willingness of the US to use talks to resolve the crisis.</p> <p>Its opposition to the deployment of <span class="caps">THAAD</span> is well-known.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">China, like America, wants North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme <a href="https://t.co/Ak7bSwrcPQ">https://t.co/Ak7bSwrcPQ</a></p>— The Economist (@TheEconomist) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheEconomist/status/857534493808308225">April 27, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>