The United States will not use force to inspect a North Korean ship suspected of carrying banned goods, an American official was quoted as saying Friday.
An American destroyer has been shadowing the North Korean freighter sailing off China’s coast, possibly on its way to Myanmar.
Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy met with South Korean officials in Seoul on Friday as the U.S. sought international support for aggressively enforcing a U.N. sanctions resolution aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its second nuclear test last month. The North Korean-flagged ship, Kang Nam 1, is the first to be tracked under the U.N. resolution.
North Korea has in response escalated threats of war, with a slew of harsh rhetoric including warnings that it would unleash a “fire shower of nuclear retaliation” and “wipe out the (U.S.) aggressors” in the event of a conflict.
On Thursday, the communist regime organized a massive anti-American rally in Pyongyang where some 100,000 participants vowed to “crush” the U.S. One senior speaker told the crowd that the North will respond to any sanctions or U.S. provocations with “an annihilating blow.”
That was seen as a pointed threat in response to the American destroyer.
Flournoy said Friday that Washington has ruled the use military force to inspect the North Korean freighter.
“The U.N. resolution lays out a regime that has a very clear set of steps,” Flournoy said, according to the Yonhap news agency. “I want to be very clear … This is not a resolution that sponsors, that authorizes use of force for interdiction.”
Kim Jong Il is laughing his ass off.
Oh yeah, and the new Pentagon policy is to just dismiss the threat as ‘silly’:
The Pentagon shrugged off a threat from North Korea Wednesday to wipe the United States off the map.
“I don’t even know how to respond to that. It’s silliness,” said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell. “For what and with what?”
But even as the spokesman discounted the threat from the communist nation, which reportedly may fire a Taepodong-2 toward Hawaii in early July, he defended Defense Secretary Robert Gate’s decision to move the THAAD system to Hawaii along with the massive SBX radar system.
“I don’t think he would have deployed that THAAD if he didn’t think there was a reason to do so,” he said.
Tensions have been high since North Korea walked away from nuclear disarmament talks and warned it would fire a long-range missile.
U.S. officials have said it would take at least three to five years for North Korea to pose a real threat to the U.S. west coast.
A senior defense official told FOX News earlier Wednesday that the “Tapeodong 2 potentially has the range to reach Hawaii.” He said also he was “very confident” these deployed missile defenses have the capability to take out any missile the North may launch.
The isolated regime made the threat as a U.S. destroyer shadows a North Korean ship suspected of transporting illicit weapons to the military dictatorship in Myanmar in what could be the first test of U.N. sanctions passed to punish the nation for an underground nuclear test last month.
The Kang Nam left the North Korean port of Nampo a week ago with the USS John S. McCain close behind. As the Kang Nam moves South, the McCain has been replaced by the USS McCampbell, which took over monitoring on Tuesday.
There’s a new U.N. Security Council resolution that requires member states to seek permission to inspect suspicious cargo. Just great. I wonder how silly those idiots will act whenever Jong Il lobs a missile in Hawaii’s direction.
Jong Il has upped the ante:
A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was unable to discuss intelligence on the vessel, said Wednesday that the ship had already cleared the Taiwan Strait.
He said he didn’t know how much range the Kang Nam has — that is, whether or when it may need to stop in some port to refuel — but that the Kang Nam has in the past stopped in Hong Kong’s port.
North Korea has said it would consider interception a declaration of war, and on Wednesday accused the U.S. of seeking to start another Korean War.
“If the U.S. imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will … wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all,” a dispatch from the official Korean Central News Agency said.
Obama has got to be the most limp-wristed White House occupant since Jimmy Carter. Belligerent countries like Iran, China, Russia, and North Korea are taking pleasure and full advantage.
Our national security and influence on freedom around the world is going to have a deficit that rivals the economy.