Beijing says it is “deeply committed" to implementing tough new sanctions against the North; Pyongyang says it is a "proud nuclear power" and warns US that it will strike back if attacked
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  • Reports noted an unnamed senior South Korean official as stating that the only way North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons is if China finally abandons its decades-long support1. He added that there were enough sanctions in place to force Pyongyang to come to the negotiating table, if Beijing gave active support in enforcing those sanctions. China on its part has indicated to the US that it is "deeply committed" to implementing tough new sanctions against the North2.

    Meanwhile, North Korea stated that it was a "proud nuclear power" and warned the US that it will strike back if attacked. The North’s statement was in response to US President Obama’s statement that Washington was "fully prepared" for a possible North Korean missile test3. South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak has asserted that his nation and its allies will not be intimidated by nuclear threats from North Korea4.

    Reports suggested that North Korea will likely fire short-range missiles or ground-to-ship missiles off its east coast in the Sea of Japan from an area over which it had banned shipping. The North had warned Japanese ships to stay clear of the area, measuring 110 by 450 kilometres, for 16 days starting June 25, because of unspecified military exercises5.

    An official daily of the DPRK - Rodong Sinmun, has accused the US of attempting to provoke a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula. It stated that the US commitment to provide a nuclear umbrella to South Korea under the pretext of "inexistent threats from the DPRK," shows its "gangster logic" to attempt to dismantle the DPRK's nuclear program while providing South Korea with a nuclear umbrella and attempting to "launch a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK6."

    US President Obama on his part warned North Korea that its "belligerent, provocative behaviour" will only lead to tougher enforcement of sanctions. He added that the regime's aggressive posture on nuclear weapons will no longer be rewarded with concessions7.

    US Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn told a briefing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the DPRK's missiles could be able to hit the US homeland in three years, if the country continues to accelerate its weapons development8. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has meanwhile confirmed that the US has deployed missile defense weapons around Hawaii as a precautionary measure against a possible missile launch by the DPRK9.