North Korea rebukes ‘double-dealing’ US after missile launch

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TAIPEI: Taiwan’s air force scrambled today to warn away 10 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone, Taiwan’s defence ministry said, the day after the island announced a US$9 billion boost to military spending to counter the threat from China. Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defence zone close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands. The latest Chinese mission involved six J-16 and two2 J-11 fighters plus one anti-submarine and one reconnaissance aircraft, the Taiwan ministry said. Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the ministry said. The Chinese fighters flew in an area close to the Pratas, while the anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft flew into the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines, according to a map that the ministry issued. There was no immediate comment from China. The incident came a day after Taiwan proposed extra defence spending of US$8.69 billion over the next five years, including on new missiles, warning of an urgent need to upgrade weapons in the face of a “severe threat” from China. Speaking earlier today, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government had to take the threat from China seriously. “The Chinese Communists plot against us constantly,” he said. Taiwan’s defence spending “is based on safeguarding national sovereignty, national security, and national security. We must not relax. We must have the best preparations so that no war will occur”, he added. China’s government, for its part, criticised Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu today for comments this week in which he said Taiwan was a “sea fortress” blocking China’s expansion into the Pacific. Wu’s “aim is to deceive public opinion, to rope in and collude with anti-China foreign forces”, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in statement.

AFP

SEOUL: Pyongyang accused the US of “double-dealing” today and held Washington’s duplicity responsible for stalled nuclear talks, days after both North and South Korea carried out missile launches.

Seoul successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile on Wednesday, becoming only the seventh country in the world with the technology. Hours earlier, nuclear-armed North Korea had fired two missiles of its own into the sea.

Washington, Seoul’s treaty ally, condemned Pyongyang’s launch, saying it was “in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and poses a threat to the DPRK’s neighbours” and other nations.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency slammed Washington’s comments today for having a “double-dealing attitude” by “keeping mum about South Korea’s act”, referring to Seoul’s SLBM launch.

Washington’s “double-dealing act” is a “stumbling block in the way of solving the Korean peninsula issue and a catalyst straining the tension,” the KCNA commentary, attributed to international affairs analyst Kim Myong-chol, said.

“This is the exact reason behind the stalemate in the DPRK-US talks,” he added, using the North’s official name.

North Korea is under international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, which it says it needs to defend itself against a US invasion.

Nuclear talks with the US have been stalled since the collapse of a 2019 summit in Hanoi between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then-president Donald Trump over sanctions relief – and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return.

Washington has repeatedly stressed its willingness to use diplomacy with Pyongyang, with Sung Kim, the US special representative for North Korea, reiterating this week that the US has made multiple offers “to meet without preconditions.”

But Pyongyang’s Kim stressed “the word denuclearization can never be put on the table” unless Washington drops its “hostile policy” against the North.