North Korea continues to threaten the United States and its allies, the White House has said, urging countries like China and Russia to do everything they can in terms of sanctions, to help resolve the situation.
“There is no question that North Korea continues to threaten the United States and our allies, Japan, South Korea, and its neighbours, including both China and Russia,” the White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily news conference.
“We are calling on all of those folks in the region, particularly China and Russia, to do everything they can in terms of sanctions to help resolve the situation and bring stability to the Peninsula,” Spicer said, responding to a question regarding the threat posed by North Korea, which has been carrying out a series of missile tests in the last few weeks, in violation of the UN Security Council resolution.
Spicer said Donald Trump looks forward to having a conversation with the new South Korean President and discussing the way forward.
“But I’m not going to get ahead of that discussion at this point,” he said. Over the weekend, North Korea carried out yet another missile test.
The department of defense is still carrying out an assessment of the nature of the missile test, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters at a Washington Foreign Press Center news conference.
“It was launched from a place called Kusung, and landed in the Sea of Japan. The type of missile is still being assessed, and the flight was not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile,” he said.
“We continue to call on North Korea to refrain from provocative destabilising actions, rhetoric, and to make the strategic choice to fulfil its international obligations and commitments to return to serious talks,” he said.
Davis said this weapons program that they have is unlawful, and represents a clear grave threat to US national security.
“North Korea openly states that its ballistic missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons, to strike cities in the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan,” he said.
“As we’ve spoken about with regards to China, North Korea is a liability for China, not an asset, and China will partner with us to demonstrate to North Korea that it stands alone in its pursuit of illegal weapons of mass destruction.”
“We remain steadfast and ironclad in our commitment to our allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan,” Davis said.
As part of its effort to ramp up the defence against North Koreans, the United States has deployed THAAD — Theater High-Altitude Air Defence System — which has the ability to defeat North Korean missiles.
The US recently completed the deployment of the first battery there. “It achieved initial operating capability. That’s not the full-up, operational seamless capability that we want, but it has an initial ability to be able to defeat North Korean missiles,” he said.
Acknowledging that there is concern about this in China, Davis noted it’s perplexing why that is.
“This is a system that is 100-percent defensive in nature. It does not have an offensive capability. It is meant to defend against North Korean missiles. That should be considered a destabilising act by others is curious and incomprehensible, in my view,” he said.
“We have to maintain the capabilities there that we need to defend the Republic of Korea. Everything that we do there, every soldier on the ground, every base that’s there, every mission that we conduct, is conducted with that in mind; that the US forces are there to defend the Republic of Korea against aggression from the North, and that’s true with this,” he argued.