The Korea Herald


N. Korea says it doesn’t want war -- but won’t avoid one

By Kim So-hyun

Published : Dec. 15, 2017 - 16:20

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Pyongyang has warned that it won’t avoid a war with the United States although it does not want one, denouncing senior US officials’ recent hard-line remarks against the reclusive state.

US politicians’ threats of a pre-emptive war against Pyongyang and the ongoing largest-ever joint aerial drills by Seoul and Washington have made the outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula “an established fact,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said.

“The remaining question now is: When will the war break out?” the ministry’s spokesman said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency late Wednesday. 

UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman (left) meets North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho in Pyongyang on Thursday. (Yonhap) UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman (left) meets North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho in Pyongyang on Thursday. (Yonhap)

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday the possibility of war with North Korea was “increasing every day”.

US Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham urged the Pentagon on Sunday to start moving US military dependents, such as spouses and children of military personnel, out of South Korea, saying conflict with North Korea was nearing.

“These confrontational war-mongering remarks cannot be interpreted in any other way but as a warning to us to be prepared for a war on the Korean peninsula,” the KCNA reported in English.

“We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it, and should the US miscalculate our patience and light the fuse for a nuclear war, we will surely make the US dearly pay the consequences with our mighty nuclear force which we have consistently strengthened.”

The spokesman also slammed US Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo for saying that “Kim Jong-un doesn’t have a good idea about how tenuous his situation is domestically and internationally.”

Tensions have escalated on the Korean Peninsula as the North last week fired an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching Washington, claiming it has completed “state nuclear force.”

The US State Department made it clear the US would not negotiate with North Korea on recognizing it as a nuclear state.

“We certainly don’t,” US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in response to a question as to whether the US plans to hold such negotiations during a press briefing Tuesday.

“We believe in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. That is something that the Republic of Korea believes in firmly and also Japan. So we’re not changing our view. We’re not going to backtrack on this.”

She noted that the North’s latest missile launch shows that the country is not willing to have a dialogue with the US.

“We remain open to talks if they are serious about denuclearization. The activities that they’ve been engaged in recently have shown that they are not interested, that they are not serious about sitting down and having conversations,” Nauert said.

President Moon Jae-in said starting a war with a pre-emptive strike was unacceptable, and that he has made it clear to the US that there cannot be any military action on the Korean Peninsula without Seoul’s consent.

Moon made the remarks during a lunch meeting with leaders of seven religious orders on Wednesday, during which he asked for their help to start a dialogue with the North to improve inter-Korean relations.