North Korea's threat against Guam makes US policy more 'unpredictable': expert

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/9 21:43:39

Two US Air Force B-1B Lancers (top left and right) fly from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, for a 10-hour mission over Kyushu, Japan and the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday. North Korea said Wednesday that it is considering strikes near US strategic military installations in Guam with its intermediate range ballistic missiles, Korean Central News Agency reported. Photo: AFP

Chinese experts said China should not drop its guard on the missile capabilities of North Korea, who vowed on Wednesday to attack the US Pacific territory of Guam.

"The Korean People's Army (KPA) Strategic Force is now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire in areas around Guam with several medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic Hwasong-12 rockets to contain the major US military bases on Guam, including Anderson Air Force Base," a spokesman for the KPA said in a statement carried by the North's state-run KCNA news agency, Reuters reported.

The governor of Guam said on Wednesday North Korea's warning of a possible missile strike on the US Pacific territory was no threat and the island was prepared for "any eventuality," with defenses strategically placed to protect its people.

"North Korea's claim goes against China's mediation efforts and those of other countries to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue through talks," Da Zhigang, director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Northeast Asian Studies, told the Global Times.

"The statement on Wednesday would intensify tensions as well as make US policy on North Korea more unpredictable," Da said.

"North Korea's ability to strike at the US remains remote because North Korea's missiles require extensive preparation, which would give the US time to react," said Song Zhongping, a military expert who served in the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force.

However, Da said that while information on North Korea's missile program is limited, it's clear the country has made substantial progress, especially in intercontinental ballistic missiles. Da added that China should not drop its guard on North Korea's missile capabilities.

North Korea and the US are engaged in an increasingly heated "war of words," and North Korea is the bigger loser, Lü Chao, a Korea expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"However, the only way for North Korea to be free from US sanctions is to sit down and negotiate instead of expressing its anger through such statements," Lü noted.

US President Donald Trump ratcheted up the rhetoric against North Korea on Tuesday, saying Pyongyang should not make any more threats against the US, Reuters reported. On Monday, two US B-1 bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula from Guam as part of its "continuous bomber presence," a US official said, in a sign of Guam's strategic importance, Reuters reported.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday that sanctions against North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and the resumption of six-party talks are important and neither should be neglected, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

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