US Ramps Up South Korean Defense, North Korea Calls It ‘War’

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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The U.S. announced June 7 it will be sending its most advanced missile defense system to South Korea, the day after it also announced direct sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea said it was tantamount to a “declaration of war.”

“Now that the U.S. declared a war on the DPRK, any problem arising in the relations with the U.S. will be handled under the latter’s wartime law,” the North Korean foreign ministry said in response. The foreign ministry elaborated, “every lever and channel for diplomatic contact between the DPRK and the U.S. will be cut off at once.”

The U.S. and South Korea decided to deploy the missile system to South Korea to better protect the South Korean military and nearly 30,000 U.S. troops from an increasingly hostile North Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Ukraine July 7 it was important “that all North Korean officials know and understand going forward that at all levels there are consequences for actions and they hopefully might consider the implications of those actions.”

The Department of State issued an annual report to Congress detailing repeated North Korean human rights abuses. The State Department said the detailed record of abuses was meant to shame mid- and lower-level officials within the North Korean regime, and discourage them from abusing human rights. The targeted sanctions have not historically curbed the North Korean regime’s behavior.

Kim Jong-un has reportedly ballooned to nearly 300 pounds since taking office, due in no small part to the constant fear of assassination. He fears reprisals for executions of high level North Korean officials. The murders have reportedly included using flamethrowers, poison, ravenous dogs, and in one case he used an anti-aircraft gun to obliterate the former North Korean defense minister (though these reports are notoriously unreliable). Kim justified the execution, citing the defense minister’s tendency to take naps in official meeting as “disrespectful behavior.”

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