Monday, October 16, 2017

N Korea: No Negotions With 'Hostile' U.S., Netanyahu Warns Syria Israel Prepared To Strike, Trump: 'Total Termination Of Iran Nuclear Deal Possible

North Korea: No negotiations with 'hostile' United States

North Korea on Monday made clear that it will never negotiate the dismantling of its nuclear weapons unless the United States reverses its "hostile" policy.

The country's deputy UN Ambassador, Kim In Ryong, told the General Assembly's committee on disarmament that the situation on the Korean peninsula "has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment."

"Unless the hostile policy and the nuclear threat of the U.S. is thoroughly eradicated, we will never put our nuclear weapons and ballistic rockets on the negotiation table under any circumstance," he said, according to comments quoted by the AFP news agency.

Kim's comments come a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that he would continue his diplomatic efforts vis-a-vis North Korea “until the first bomb drops.”

In an interview with CNN, Tillerson said that, despite Trump's recent tweets which appeared to indicate he was uninterested in speaking with North Korea, the president wanted to avoid war and preferred diplomacy.

Following a series of missile launches and a sixth nuclear test, the North Korean envoy said Monday his country "had passed the final gate" toward becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, with the means to deliver a nuclear strike.

"The entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range and if the US dares to invade our sacred territory, even an inch, it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe," said the North Korean diplomat, according to AFP.

The United States and South Korea on Monday began a 10-day joint naval exercise in a fresh show of force against the North.

Kim said North Korea will not target any country that does not join a U.S.-led military campaign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday warned Syria that Israel would continue to carry out airstrikes “as needed” after the Israeli Air Force destroyed a Syrian anti-aircraft battery in response to the firing of an interceptor missile at Israeli reconnaissance planes.
“Our policy is clear: Anyone who tries to hurt us, we will hurt them,” he said in a statement. “Today, they tried to hit our planes — this is not acceptable.”
“The air force acted with precision, swiftness and destroyed what needed to be destroyed,” Netanyahu added. “We will continue to act in the arena as much as needed to defend Israel’s security.”
On Monday morning, the Syrian air defense battery fired an interceptor missile at Israeli reconnaissance planes. In response, a second IAF sortie, reportedly made up of F-16 fighter jets, attacked the SA-5 missile defense system that launched the interceptor, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of the Syrian capital of Damascus.
Following the airstrike, the Syrian military warned Israel of “dangerous consequences for its repeated attempts of aggression,” in a statement published in official state media.
The Syrian military claimed the IAF aircraft entered its airspace, prompting the anti-aircraft attack. But IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said, both initially and in response to the Syrian assertion, that the reconnaissance planes “were in the skies over Lebanon, and not in Syria.”
According to the Syrians, the planes were flying near the Lebanese city of Baalbek, which is located near the Syrian border, approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Damascus.
The IDF would not confirm where the reconnaissance aircraft were flying when they were targeted.
Conricus said the reconnaissance planes were not struck by the interceptor missile, but the Syrian military claimed one Israeli plane was “directly hit” and “forced to flee.”

In response to the anti-aircraft missile, the IAF sent out a second sortie, which targeted the anti-aircraft system and “incapacitated” the offending SA-5 battery, the IDF said.

US President Donald Trump said Monday that the “total termination” of the Iran nuclear deal remains possible, after refusing to recertify the 2015 accord and leaving its fate to Congress.
Speaking to reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting, he said: “I feel strongly about what I did. I’m tired of being taken advantage of.
“It might be total termination, that’s a real possibility, some would say that’s a greater possibility.”
His comments came as the EU announced it was sending its chief diplomat to Washington next month to fight to save an accord that saw Tehran dramatically scale back its nuclear ambitions in return for an end to punishing sanctions.
Trump alarmed allies across the Atlantic with his speech on Friday in which he stopped short of pulling out of the agreement, but warned he could do so at any time, restating his belief the deal was letting Iran off the hook.
EU ministers have warned that ditching the deal when Iran has repeatedly been certified as keeping up its end of the bargain would send a signal to North Korea that negotiating with the international community is a waste of time.
There is broad support among US lawmakers for fresh pressure on Iran over its continued missile development and subversive activities in the region — factors that Trump says violate the “spirit” of the agreement.
Tehran has warned such action would mean Washington had broken its end of the bargain, and thus likely signal the end of their own compliance.

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