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US steps up military pressure on North Korea

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 Feb 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Beijing, Feb 9: The US is leading a drive to exert military pressure on North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s satellite launch which could escalate regiol tension. US defence officials on Monday said Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would meet his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Hawaii this week to discuss Pyongyang’s launch, Xinhua reported. Lee Sun-jin, South Korean Army General and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Katsutoshi Kawano, head of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces, would participate in the meeting, which was scheduled after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on January 6. Moreover, the US and South Korea have begun negotiations on the deployment of Lockheed Martin’s Termil High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile defence system to the Korean peninsula in response to Pyongyang launch on Sunday, the Pentagon said separately on Monday.

“The goal of the formal consultations is to bilaterally explore the feasibility of THAAD deploying to and operating on the Korean peninsula at the earliest possible date,” Peter Cook, spokesman for the US Department of Defence, said. Cook stressed the negotiations underscored the “ironclad” commitment of the US to defend South Korea and would be “focused solely” on North Korea. Chi, as a key regiol stakeholder, has expressed deep concerns over the proposed THAAD deployment, which it says could worsen the already fragile situation in Northeast Asia. “Chi holds a consistent and clear stance on the anti-missile issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Sunday. “When pursuing its own security, one country should not impair others’ security interests.” Pyongyang on Sunday said it had successfully launched a Kwangmyongsong-4 Earth observation satellite into orbit in less than 10 minutes after the liftoff at 9.00 a.m. (local time). The launch, which took place about a month after Pyongyang claimed it had successfully tested its first hydrogen bomb, caused serious concern around the world and may lead to further sanctions against North Korea. The country is banned from rocket launches using any ballistic missile technologies, according to multiple UN Security Council resolutions. (IANS)

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