China Cracks Down on Coal, but Continues to Feed North Korea Oil

James Mattis U.S. secretary of defense right reassures Itsunori Onodera Japan's defense minister of the United States North Korea strategy after confusion was caused by U.S. officials contradicting statements

US joint military drills with South Korea to go ahead

"The U.S.is still daring provoke [North Korea] by relying on its strength, a reckless act bereft of even the elementary judgment of how the situation changes and who its rival is, and a foolish act of those unable to estimate gains and losses", the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary. North and South Korea are technically still at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Pyongyang has often staged provocations as a show of force against past military drills, such as missile launches or movements of its arsenal and troops along the tense border. For example, we are not afraid that France and the United Kingdom might one day bring us doomsday, even though their nuclear capabilities far exceed that of North Korea.

"We can not stand the fact the enemy tries to form schemes to assassinate our leadership", North Korea's state news agency, KCNA, said in July.

Impoverished North Korea hates the drills in part because it must frequently respond with its own expensive displays of military might.

Animosity between the two countries spiked this month after North Korea warned it might fire missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam in response to warlike rhetoric from Donald Trump.

But that possibility worries some, who say it would send the wrong message to both North Korea and the South, where there are fears that the North's advancing nuclear capabilities may eventually undermine a decades-long alliance with the United States. No matter how unlikely, if Kim Jong-un is in fact willing to press the red button, our assuming that he never will may lead to irreversible consequences.

The ongoing war of words between the United States and North Korea is being described as a crisis that threatens to erupt into a full-blown nuclear conflict.

North Korea, for its part, threatened to launch missiles toward the American territory of Guam.

"North Korea must understand that it is because of its repeated provocations that South Korea and the US have to conduct defensive exercises, which in turn keeps the vicious cycle going", Moon was quoted as saying at a Cabinet meeting on Monday by Yonhap News Agency.

Military officials took the unusual step of halting the UFG while emergency talks were held between the North and South. The US has long said it would agree to talk only if North Korea agrees to denuclearisation - something many analysts believe is unlikely.

He quoted historian Bruce Cumings: "Most Americans are completely unaware that we destroyed more cities in the North then we did in Japan or Germany during World War II".

"Miniaturisation for ballistic missiles is only one of the many challenges of targeting the USA with an ICBM", said David Albright, a physicist and founder of the non-profit Institute for Science and International Security in Washington. As a former North Korean counter-intelligence officer, Jang Jin-sung, notes in his book Dear Leader, North Korea is calculating all of its moves, even though to us they may seem random and erroneous.

There will be no field training during the current exercise, according to U.S. Forces Korea. And North Korea does want dialogue.

Moon said North Korea had not stopped its efforts to advance its nuclear and missile technologies, even as the global community strengthened pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang.

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