Most South Koreans doubt the North will start a war

Marco Green
September 14, 2017

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon admitted that the decision to deploy the THAAD was hard but necessary in order to "protect the lives and safety of the people in response to the sophistication of North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes", according to Yonhap agency. Some residents were reportedly injured, but no further details have been provided.

Pyongyang's Sunday nuclear test prompted US President Trump to respond by saying that Washington was considering cutting trade with countries that do business with Pyongyang.

Moon's government has been forced to harden its stance against the North after the communist state conducted several missile tests and a nuclear blast in recent weeks.

China and Russian Federation have advocated a "freeze for freeze" plan, where the United States and South Korea would stop major military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons programmes, but neither side appears willing to budge. "But we will not be putting up with what's happening in North Korea", Trump told reporters, although he offered no specifics.

North Korea's most influential newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, in its front page praised the country for becoming an "invincible nuclear power" after having succeeded in possessing an atomic bomb, a hydrogen bomb and even an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Soon after North Korea launched another long-range missile July 28, President Moon Jae-in ordered the "temporary" deployment of additional THAAD launchers.

It is the first time that a U.S. military official has publicly voiced opposition to recent hawkish talk in South Korea that the country should either build atomic bombs of its own to ensure a "balance of terror" with the increasingly belligerent North, or bring back United States tactical nukes once stationed here.

China has repeatedly said it will not tolerate an armed conflict on its doorstep and that there can be no military solution to the current tensions on the Korean Peninsula. On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the provocative move "will inevitably raise the question about our reaction, about our military balances".

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said last Monday that she meant to call for a vote on September 11 and then the United States circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member council on Wednesday.

The draft includes a ban on the country's textile exports and the employment of North Korean workers overseas.

North Korea offered fresh vitriol against the pending sanctions, specifically targeting Haley, who this week accused Kim of "begging for war".

It has been steadily pursuing its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of global condemnation and has threatened more action in response to any new United Nations sanctions and USA pressure.

China is by far North Korea's biggest trading partner, accounting for 92 percent of two-way trade past year.

China's economic influence has been felt by South Korea as well.

Public opposition to the deployment of US THAAD missile defense systems near a South Korean farming village has grown into major protests, with demonstrators coming out in force after the announcement the government was letting the US install four additional launchers.

South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. said its China plant halted operation due to a supply disruption on Tuesday, its second shutdown in China in less than a month.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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