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US to send missile defences to Guam over North Korea threat watch

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    The United States said it would soon send a missile defence system to Guam to defend it from North Korea, as the U.S. military adjusts to what Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel called a "real and clear danger" from Pyongyang.

    Hours later, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said North Korea had moved what appeared to be a mid-range Musudan missile to its east coast. It was not clear if the North planned to fire the rocket or was just putting it on display as a show of force, one South Korean government source was quoted as saying.

    North Korea also barred entry to a joint industrial complex it shares with the South for a second day on Thursday and said it would shut the zone if Seoul continued to insult it.


    Events on the Korean peninsula have begun to unnerve global financial markets long used to the rhetoric North Korea routinely hurls at Seoul and Washington.

    "The assumption remains that this is more bluster," said Rob Ryan, a strategist with RBS in Singapore. "But from here, we've reached a level of tensions that say things can't get too much worse without an actual exchange of fire."

    The broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.6 percent, dragged down by a 2 percent slump in South Korean shares, while the South Korean won slid 0.7 percent against the U.S. dollar.

    U.S. stocks sank on Wednesday after Hagel's comments and the Guam deployment news.

    North Korea also repeated its threat to launch a nuclear attack on the United States. Pyongyang said it had ratified a potential strike because of U.S. military deployments around the Korean peninsula that it claimed were a prelude to a possible nuclear attack on the North.

    Washington had been informed of the potential attack by North Korea, a spokesman for its army said in a statement carried by the English-language service of state news agency KCNA. It was unclear how such a warning was given since North Korea does not have diplomatic ties with Washington.

    The report from KCNA appeared to re-state many of the month-long fusillade of threats emanating from Pyongyang.

    Experts say North Korea is years away from being able to hit the continental United States with a nuclear weapon, despite having worked for decades to achieve nuclear-arms capability.

    North Korea has previously threatened a nuclear strike on the United States and missile attacks on its Pacific bases, including in Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific.

    Those threats followed new U.N. sanctions imposed on the North after it carried out its third nuclear test in February.

    "Some of the actions they've taken over the last few weeks present a real and clear danger," Hagel told an audience at the National Defense University in Washington.

    Despite the rhetoric, Pyongyang has not taken any military action and has shown no sign of preparing its 1.2 million-strong armed forces for war, the White House said on Monday.

    That indicates its threats are partly intended for domestic consumption to bolster young leader Kim Jong-un ahead of celebrations marking the anniversary of the April 15 birthday of Kim Il-sung, the state's founder and the younger Kim's grandfather.

    Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, criticised the latest North Korean statement.

    "It is yet another offering in a long line of provocative statements that only serve to further isolate North Korea from the rest of the international community and undermine its goal of economic development," Hayden said.

    HAGEL: TAKE THREATS SERIOUSLY

    Hagel said he had to take the threats seriously, language he has used in recent weeks as the United States has revamped its missile defence plans and positioned two guided-missile destroyers in the western Pacific.

    The United States has also flexed its muscles during annual military drills with South Korea, flying two radar-evading stealth bombers on a first-of-its-kind practice bombing run over South Korea.

    In the latest move, the Pentagon said it was deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to Guam in the coming weeks. The THAAD system includes a truck-mounted launcher, interceptor missiles and an AN/TPY-2 tracking radar.

    Last month, Hagel said the Pentagon would add 14 new anti-missile interceptors in Alaska and move ahead with the deployment of a second missile-defence radar in Japan.

    Yonhap quoted multiple government sources privy to intelligence from U.S. and South Korean authorities as saying North Korea had moved what appeared to be a Musudan missile to its east coast.

    The missile is believed to have a range of 3,000 km (1,865 miles) or more, which would put all of South Korea and Japan in range and possibly also Guam. North Korea is not believed to have tested the Musudan mid-range missiles, according to most independent experts

    South Korea's defence ministry declined to comment.

    The missile was moved to the coast by train. The North has a missile launch site on its northeastern coast, which it has used to unsuccessfully test-fire long-range rockets in the past.

    The Yonhap report did not say if the missile had been moved to the missile site.

    Russia said Pyongyang's March 9 rejection of a U.N. Security Council resolution which signalled it would pursue its goal of becoming a fully fledged nuclear weapons power was "categorically unacceptable", and meant prospects for resuming international disarmament talks were "shut off".

    The South Korean government said the North would allow 222 South Korean workers to leave the Kaesong industrial zone on Thursday. That would leave another 606 South Koreans in the complex. Seoul has urged its citizens to get out.

    North Korea has threatened to shut the complex, one of the impoverished North's few sources of ready cash.

    The industrial park, just inside the border with North Korea, has not formally stopped operations since it was inaugurated in 2000. It houses 123 companies and employs 50,000 North Koreans making cheap goods such as clothing.
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/0...9320YR20130404
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    Australia is pleased by the US's continued support in the Korean peninsula, and hopes that the region can return to its previous state of tenuous stability soon, and without bloodshed.
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    India sees a strong correlation between Kim-Jong Un and his need to bolster public and military support in North Korea. India does not expect this 'state of war' to escalate to a nuclear war. However, India supports the United States strategic positioning of its naval fleet in Guam.
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    Fiji supports the move by the Americans too. We, fortunately, do not see this escalating much further and hope that the Korean peninsula returns to normal as soon as possible.
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    The Swiss Confederation would rather see that there is diplomacy between the two sides.

    The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan also supports the strategic positioning of Guam, although we are skeptical as a Non NATO ally we support the USA's moves.
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    France and Canada support the US's moves to deploy their advanced missile defence system in Guam. We hope this will restore stability within the region and hopes the DPRK will think twice before further escalating tensions in the peninsula.
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    Italy deeply condemns North Korean actions in the last few days. We here are hoping that actions of a single world leader would not plunge world into another war. However Italy fully supports its USA allies and hopes that their presence there would in the end stop DPRK from attacking either South Korea or the rest of the region. In the end Italy puts their diplomatic, political and military power in the hands of our allies to be called if needed.
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    Libya would hope that this proves to be the end of any escalation in the region, although with Kim Jong Un's recent posturing we're not confident.
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    The US appreciates the support of our fellow UN members, and we assure the assembly that right now these are only a preliminary precaution in the event of a worst case scenario. We do not expect to see the situation escalate much more that it has but we will be on standby should our allies need us.

    We would also like to hear from China on this current issue and question why they're neglecting to help solve this crisis - as one of the only nations North Korea listens to, we call upon them as an ally to help stabilise this situation.
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    Malaysia commends the US for its supports of its allies amidst times of great tensions. We await the potential nuclear activity of North Korea and the response that the US and South Korea make with interest.
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    The UK and NZ both support the USA's movement of strategic defensive missiles to protect her and her allies interests from potential aggression.
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    Iran would like to condemn these actions as we believe they will escalate the situation on the Korean peninsula.
 
 
 
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