Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

No sign that North Korea is 'lashing out', says US general

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The head of US forces in South Korea, General Robert Abrams, said on Thursday (Sept 10) he does not expect to see any “lashing out” from North Korea during upcoming celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the founding of Kim Jong Un’s ruling party.

“There are people suggesting that perhaps there will be a rollout of a new weapon system,” Abrams said at a conference organised online by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.

“Maybe, but we’re not seeing any indications right now of any sort of lashing out,” he added, noting that Pyongyang is grappling with the aftermath of Typhoon Maysak, international sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.

CSIS published on its website a satellite image of North Korea’s Sinpo South naval shipyard, which its experts believe shows activity that could indicate possible preparations for a test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

A new North Korean missile test would be yet another sign of the lack of progress in denuclearisation talks between the US and Pyongyang, which have been stalled despite multiple meetings between Kim and President Donald Trump.

Trump, who is seeking reelection in November, was the first sitting US leader to meet a member of the Kim dynasty, which has ruled North Korea since its founding.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted, without further explanation: “Kim Jong Un is in good health. Never underestimate him!”

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