Published: Fri, April 28, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

USA pledges to use diplomacy to resolve 'threat' from North Korea

USA pledges to use diplomacy to resolve 'threat' from North Korea

The US is to tighten sanctions on North Korea and step up diplomatic moves aimed at pressuring the country to end its nuclear and missile programmes.

A top United States admiral said on Wednesday that America wants to bring North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to "his senses", as senators attended an extraordinary briefing at the White House.

Earlier, the top USA commander in the Pacific defended the deployment of an advanced missile defence system in South Korea. "However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies", the three top Trump administration officials said in a statement.

The senior US Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific has said the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he has ever seen.

Harris also said the Pentagon should weigh whether to install missile interceptors on Hawaii, which could be one of the first parts of the United States in range of an improved North Korean missile, in addition to existing interceptors in California and Alaska.

Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command, told a United States committee hearing on Wednesday that THAAD would become operational " in the coming days".

"Well North Korea thinks we're going to invade at any moment".

Magsamen said that while military options should remain on the table, they should be considered the very last resort.

"We have noted these expressions, and have noted the message conveyed in these expressions hoping to resolve the Korean nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue and consultation", he said.

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Three people were taken to hospital after protesters clashed with police as the anti-missile system was delivered on Wednesday.

The work to set up the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, within this year has angered North Korea, China and Russian Federation, which see the system's powerful radars as a security threat.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) is being shipped out to South Korea to help the country defend in case of Kim Jong-un's nuclear strikes.

More than 2,000 South Korean and American troops were involved in the drills in Pocheon, South Korea on Wednesday morning.

"The weapons that North Korea would put against the Carl Vinson strike group are easily defended by the capabilities resident in that strike group", Harris said. They said deploying the controversial THAAD missile system in preparation for the war only fueled their fear.

Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said on Thursday the USA policy was to exert maximum pressure on North Korea through sanctions and diplomatic activity "as frankly a last best way of seeing whether we can get a peaceful resolution to this problem".

South Korea and the United States agreed on Thursday on "swift punitive measures" against North Korea in the event of further provocation.

The front-runner in South Korea's May 9 presidential election has called for a delay in THAAD deployment, saying the new Seoul administration should make a decision after gathering public opinion and more talks with Washington.

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