Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
South Koreans look out a bus window upon their arrival from North Korea's Kaesong at the customs, immigration and quarantine office near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. A few hundred South Korean managers, some wandering among quiet assembly lines, were all that remained Tuesday at the massive industrial park run by the rival Koreas after North Korea pulled its more than 50,000 workers from the complex. Others stuffed their cars full of goods before heading south across the Demilitarized Zone that divides the nations. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
No sense of panic in North Korean capital
First Published Apr 09 2013 10:25 pm • Last Updated Apr 09 2013 10:25 pm

Pyongyang, North Korea • Scores of North Koreans of all ages planted trees as part of a forestation campaign — armed with shovels, not guns. In the evening, women in traditional dress danced in the plazas to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the late leader Kim Jong Il’s appointment to a key defense post.

Despite another round of warnings from their leaders of impending nuclear war, there was no sense of panic in the capital on Tuesday.

Photos
At a glance

Pacific commander says U.S. could intercept North Korean missile

The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific reassured Congress on Tuesday that the U.S. military could intercept any missile launched by North Korea and aimed at American territory or its East Asian allies.

Adm. Samuel Locklear’s briefing to senators came amid growing concern that North Korea is about to test a rocket — some observers suggest as early as Wednesday — after weeks of bellicose threats.

“We have a credible ability to defend the homeland, to defend Hawaii, to defend Guam, to defend our forward deployed forces, and to defend our allies,” Locklear told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He said Pentagon agencies could quickly recognize a missile’s trajectory and knock it out of the sky with land-based or ship-based anti-missile batteries if it posed a threat.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Chu Kang Jin, a Pyongyang resident, said everything is calm in the city.

"Everyone, including me, is determined to turn out as one to fight for national reunification ... if the enemies spark a war," he added, using nationalist rhetoric common among many North Koreans when speaking to the media.

The North’s latest warning, issued by its Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, urged foreign companies and tourists to leave South Korea.

"The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermonuclear war due to the evermore undisguised hostile actions of the United States and the South Korean puppet warmongers and their moves for a war against" North Korea, the committee said in a statement carried by state media on Tuesday.

There was no sign of an exodus of foreign companies or tourists from South Korea.

White House spokesman Jay Carney called the statement "more unhelpful rhetoric."

"It is unhelpful, it is concerning, it is provocative," he said.

The warning appeared to be an attempt to scare foreigners into pressing their governments to pressure Washington and Seoul to act to avert a conflict.


story continues below
story continues below

Analysts see a direct attack on Seoul as extremely unlikely, and there are no overt signs that North Korea’s army is readying for war, let alone a nuclear one.

North Korea has been girding for a showdown with the U.S. and South Korea, its wartime foes, for months. The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula still technically at war.

In December, North Korea launched a satellite into space on a rocket that Washington and others called a cover for a long-range missile test. The North followed that with an underground nuclear test in February, a step toward mastering the technology for mounting an atomic bomb on a missile.

Tightened U.N. sanctions that followed drew the ire of North Korea, which accused Washington and Seoul of leading the campaign against it. Annual U.S.-South Korean military drills south of the border have further incensed Pyongyang, which sees them as practice for an invasion.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un enshrined the pursuit of nuclear weapons — which the North characterizes as a defense against the U.S. — as a national goal, along with improving the economy. North Korea also declared it would restart a mothballed nuclear complex.

Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on Tuesday that he concurred with an assessment by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., calling the tension between North Korea and the West the worst since the end of the Korean War.

"The continued advancement of the North’s nuclear and missile programs, its conventional force posture, and its willingness to resort to asymmetric actions as a tool of coercive diplomacy creates an environment marked by the potential for miscalculation," Locklear told the panel.

He said the U.S. military and its allies would be ready if North Korea tries to strike.

Heightening speculation about a provocation, foreign diplomats reported last week that they had been advised by North Korea to consider evacuating by Wednesday.

However, Britain and others said they had no immediate plans to withdraw from Pyongyang.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who has sought to re-engage North Korea with dialogue and humanitarian aid since taking office in February, expressed exasperation Tuesday with what she called the "endless vicious cycle" of Seoul answering Pyongyang’s hostile behavior with compromise, only to get more hostility.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.