North Korea says Trump insult ensures attack on US mainland

Ri Yong Ho, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. (UN Photo)
Updated 24 September 2017
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North Korea says Trump insult ensures attack on US mainland

UNITED NATIONS: North Korea’s foreign minister told world leaders Saturday that US President Donald Trump’s insult calling leader Kim Jong Un “rocket man” makes “our rocket’s visit to the entire US mainland inevitable all the more.”
Ri Yong Ho called the American president “a mentally deranged person full of megalomania and complacency” with his finger on the “nuclear button.” And he said Trump’s “reckless and violent words” had provoked “the supreme dignity” of North Korea and “rendered this sacred UN arena tainted.”
Ri’s highly anticipated speech to the General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting fueled the fiery rhetoric between the US president and North Korea’s young leader.
Trump threatened in his speech to the 193-member world body on Tuesday to “totally destroy” the North if provoked. Kim, in an unusual direct statement to the world, responded pledging to take “highest-level” action against the United States.
“None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission,” Ri told the assembly Saturday. “In case innocent lives of the US are lost because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible.”
Ri suggested to reporters Friday in New York that his country could conduct an atmospheric hydrogen bomb test to fulfill Kim’s vow to take action. But he did not make any mention of such a test Saturday.
He did say that North Korea’s recent successful “ICBM-mountable H-bomb test” was part of the effort to complete the country’s nuclear force.
“Our national nuclear force is, to all intents and purposes, a war deterrent for putting an end to nuclear threat of the US and for preventing its military invasion,” Ri said, “and our ultimate goal is to establish the balance of power with the US“
The foreign minister’s opening remarks reflected the deep anger in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — the country’s official name — at Trump’s derisive nickname for Kim who is revered by many people in the North.
Ri said that during his eight months in power, Trump had turned the White House “into a noisy marketing place” and now he has tried to turn the United Nations “into a gangsters’ nest where money is respected and bloodshed is the order of the day.”
The North Korean minister called Trump a “gambler who grew old using threats, frauds and all other schemes to acquire a patch of land” and said he is even derided by the American people as “Commander in Grief,” “Lyin King,” and “President Evil.”
“Due to his lacking of basic common knowledge and proper sentiment, he tried to insult the supreme dignity of my country by referring it to a rocket,” Ri said. “By doing so, however, he committed an irreversible mistake of making our rockets’ visit to the entire US mainland inevitable all the more.”


Ecuador attempted to give Assange diplomat post in Russia: document

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, in this May 19, 2017 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 sec ago
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Ecuador attempted to give Assange diplomat post in Russia: document

QUITO: Ecuador in 2017 gave Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a diplomatic post in Russia but rescinded it after Britain refused to give him diplomatic immunity, according to an Ecuadorean government document seen by Reuters.
The aborted effort suggests Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno had engaged Moscow to resolve the situation of Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy for six years to avoid arrest by British authorities on charges of skipping bail.
The incident was revealed in a letter by Ecuador’s foreign ministry to a legislator who had asked for information about Ecuador’s decision last year to grant Assange citizenship.
Ecuador last Dec. 19 approved a “special designation in favor of Mr. Julian Assange so that he can carry out functions at the Ecuadorean Embassy in Russia,” according to the letter written to opposition legislator Paola Vintimilla.
“Special designation” refers to the Ecuadorean president’s right to name political allies to a fixed number of diplomatic posts even if they are not career diplomats.
But Britain’s Foreign Office in a Dec. 21 note said it did not accept Assange as a diplomat and that it did not “consider that Mr. Assange enjoys any type of privileges and immunities under the Vienna Convention,” reads the letter, citing a British diplomatic note.
Ecuador abandoned its decision shortly after, according to the letter.
British authorities have said they will arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy, meaning he would have needed to be recognized as a diplomat in order to travel to Moscow.
Lawyers for Assange in the United States and Britain did not respond to requests for comment. WikiLeaks website did not respond to an email seeking comment. The Ecuadorean foreign ministry could not be reached for comment.
The plan to make Assange an Ecuadorean diplomat was made public last year, but the effort to send him to Moscow has not been previously reported.
US intelligence agencies in 2017 said they believed WikiLeaks was an intermediary used by Russia to publish emails hacked from top Democrats to embarrass 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
US President Donald Trump faces an investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russia to win that election. Assange denies receiving the emails from Russia, but has not ruled out having obtained them from a third party. Trump and Russia deny collusion.
The Guardian newspaper on Friday reported that Russian diplomats held secret talks in London to help Assange flee Britain through an operation tentatively scheduled for Christmas Eve, 2017.
The story, which cited unidentified sources, said “details of the plan were sketchy” and that it was aborted because it was deemed too risky.
“The Embassy has never engaged either with Ecuadorian colleagues, or with anyone else, in discussions on any kind of Russia’s participation in ending Mr.Assange’s stay within the diplomatic mission of Ecuador,” Russia’s embassy in London wrote on its web site in a response to The Guardian story.
It was not immediately evident if Ecuadorean officials had any contact with Russia as part of the Assange appointment.
Reuters was unable to obtain comment from Russia’s foreign ministry on Ecuador’s plan to make him a diplomat there.
The letter from Ecuador’s foreign ministry was a summary of 28 documents that were sent to Vintimilla in response to her request.
Among those documents is a Dec. 4 letter from Assange in which he renounced his request for political asylum from Ecuador in preparation to become an Ecuadorean diplomat. The letter, which was seen by Reuters, said he ultimately planned to travel to Ecuador.
Vintimilla, who discussed some of the documents during a Thursday press conference, said Assange should lose his citizenship as a result of that letter.
Assange sought asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questions about allegations of sex crimes, accusations that were later dropped.
Ecuador’s president Moreno has said Assange’s asylum cannot be eternal, but has also been reluctant to abruptly halt it on concerns that Assange’s human rights could be at risk.