Trouble is brewing in North Korea, with its “taking hostage” of Malaysian citizens and the US starting to deploy the first elements of its advanced anti-missile defence system to South Korea.
- North Korean citizens in Malaysia barred from leaving
- US military action in response to North Korea’s missile tests
- Danger of triggering nuclear war/World War III
Trouble is brewing in North Korea, with its “taking hostage” of Malaysian citizens and the US starting to deploy the first elements of its advanced anti-missile defence system to South Korea after North Korea’s latest test of four ballistic missiles.
In a tit-for-tat move, Malaysia is barring all North Korean citizens in Malaysia from leaving the country until the safety of all Malaysians in North Korea is assured. North Korea’s exit ban affects 11 Malaysians while Malaysia’s affects a reported 1,000 North Koreans working in Malaysia.
The latest development in the Malaysia-North Korea fracas is the surfacing of a YouTube video where a man claiming to be Kim Han-sol, the son of Kim Jong-Nam, said that he, his mother and sister were safe in an undisclosed location.
In a separate diplomatic row, the US Pacific Command has announced that the US has started deploying the first elements of its advanced anti-missile defence system to South Korea in response to North Korea’s test of four ballistic missiles, which North Korean state media said had been personally overseen by Kim Jong-un. The US views the test as increasing threats against Washington as US troops conduct joint military exercises with South Korea.
This move by the US military is likely to deepen the brewing conflict between South Korea and China, which says that the deployment destroys the regional security balance.
The four ballistic missiles fired by North Korea landed in the sea off Japan’s north-west, sparking the anger of Seoul and Tokyo, days after North Korea promised retaliation over the military drills that it sees as preparation for war.
US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the launches during a phone call.
“Japan and the US confirmed that the latest North Korean missile launches were clearly against UN resolutions and a clear provocation against the regional and international community,” Abe told reporters, adding that North Korea’s threat has entered a new phase.
Trump has also discussed the matter with South Korea’s acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn. Hwang’s office said.
The missile test was undertaken by an army unit that has been commissioned with attacking US military bases in Japan, reported the North’s official KCNA news agency.
“In the hearts of artillerymen…there was burning desire to mercilessly retaliate against the warmongers going ahead with their joint war exercises,” KCNA said.
North Korea further announced that these military exercises were driving the Korean Peninsula and north-east Asia towards “nuclear disaster”.
“It may go over to an actual war,” said North Korean ambassador to the UN, Ja Song Nam, warning that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is again inching to the brink of a nuclear war.
Is this how World War III will start? We may know soon.
Related report: Feb 16, A Peek into Secretive North Korea