North Korea is moving an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) towards its west coast, according to a report by South Korea’s Asia Business Daily on Tuesday, citing an anonymous source. According to the report transporting the rocket began on Monday night, to avoid being spotted by Western surveillance satellites.
South Korea’s defense ministry said it was unable to confirm the report.
The 15-member United Nations Security Council’s emergency meeting on Monday failed to take action against North Korea for its hydrogen bomb test on Sunday, as both China and Russia refused to cooperate with the Western members.
North Korea on Sunday announced it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb which would be loaded onto an ICBM. The announcement came a few hours after scientists in South Korea and Japan had detected unusual seismic activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Seismological data from the US Geological Survey showed a 6.3-magnitude tremor in the country’s northeast.
Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya told the UN Security Council emergency meeting on Monday that the risk of the confrontation on the Korean Peninsula developing into a critical phase is “as high as never before,” warning against attempts at trying to resolve the Korean Peninsula’s problems by military means and calling on all parties to “retain self-control” and to “refrain from any actions that might bring about further escalation of tensions.”
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “begging for war.” She urged the UNSC to impose the “strongest possible” sanctions against his trading partners.
President Trump spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the phone on Monday, and later released a statement saying “all options to address the North Korean threat are on the table.”
Haley said the US would is preparing a new Security Council resolution on North Korea, and requested a vote on it next Monday. “War is never something the United States wants,” she said, adding, “We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory.”
Meanwhile, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young Moo said he had asked US Secretary of Defense James Mattis last week for US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and B-52 bombers be sent to South Korea more often. “I told him that it would be good for strategic assets to be sent regularly to the Korean Peninsula and that some South Korean lawmakers and media are strongly pushing for tactical nuclear weapons [to be deployed],” Song told a parliamentary committee on the North Korean nuclear threat.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush withdrew some 100 nuclear-armed weapons, including short-range artillery, which were stationed in South Korea. The same president also began the chain of events that resulted in the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the emergence of a domineering Iran in the Middle East. That’s the same US president who, when asked where he wanted to take the country, said, “Oh, the vision thing.”