US nuclear button ‘much bigger’ than North Korea’s: Trump
US nuclear button ‘much bigger’ than North Korea’s: Trump
The president’s Tuesday evening tweet came in response to Kim’s New Year’s address, in which he repeated fiery nuclear threats against the United States. He said he has a “nuclear button” on his office desk and warned that “the whole territory of the US is within the range of our nuclear strike.”
Trump mocked that assertion, writing, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!“
Earlier Tuesday, Trump sounded open to the possibility of an inter-Korean dialogue after made a rare overture toward South Korea in a New Year’s address. But Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations insisted talks would not be meaningful unless the North was getting rid of its nuclear weapons.
In a morning tweet, Trump said the US-led campaign of sanctions and other pressure were beginning to have a “big impact” on North Korea. He referred to the recent, dramatic escape of at least two North Korean soldiers across the heavily militarized border into South Korea. He also alluded to Kim’s comments Monday that he was willing to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics, which will be hosted by South Korea next month.
“Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not — we will see!” Trump said, using his derisive moniker for the young North Korean leader.
In response to Kim’s overture, South Korea on Tuesday offered high-level talks on Jan. 9 at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic cooperation and how to improve overall ties.
North Korea did not immediately react to the South’s proposal. If there are talks, they would be the first formal dialogue between the Koreas since December 2015. Relations have plunged as the North has accelerated its nuclear and ballistic missile development that now poses a direct threat to America, South Korea’s crucial ally.
The US administration, however, voiced suspicions that Kim was seeking to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington. Pyongyang could view a closer relationship with Seoul has a way for reducing its growing international isolation and relief from sanctions that are starting to bite the North’s meager economy.
“We won’t take any of the talks seriously if they don’t do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters at the United Nations. “We consider this to be a very reckless regime. We don’t think we need a Band-Aid, and we don’t think we need to smile and take a picture.”
While Trump ratcheted up the tension Tuesday night, he doesn’t actually have a physical nuclear button.
The process for launching a nuclear strike is secret and complex, and involves the use of a nuclear “football,” which is carried by a rotating group of military officers everywhere the president goes and is equipped with communication tools and a book with prepared war plans.
If the president were to order a strike, he would identify himself to military officials at the Pentagon with codes unique to him. Those codes are recorded on a card known as the “biscuit” that is carried by the president at all times. He would then transmit the launch order to the Pentagon and Strategic Command.
North Korea has been punished with unprecedented sanctions at the UN over its weapons programs, and Haley warned Tuesday of more measures if the North conducts another missile test.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert did not express opposition Tuesday to South Korea holding talks with North Korea, but voiced deep skepticism about Kim’s intentions, saying he may be “trying to drive a wedge of some sort” between the US and its ally, which hosts 28,000 American forces.
South Korea’s liberal President Moon Jae-in has supported Trump’s pressure campaign against North Korea, but he’s less confrontational than the US president and favors dialogue to ease the North’s nuclear threats. Moon has long said he sees the Pyeongchang Olympics as a chance to improve inter-Korean ties.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the US would continue to put “maximum pressure” on North Korea to give up its nukes. She added that South Korea shares that goal.
Resurfaced Biafran separatist leader claims he is in Israel
- I owe my survival to the State of Israel: Kanu
- Kanu heads the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement
ABUJA: Missing pro-Biafran separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu gave a radio broadcast on Sunday saying he was in Israel, suggesting he owed his survival to the Jewish state.
Kanu, a former London estate agent, heads the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement and the outlawed pirate radio station Radio Biafra but has not been seen in public since September last year.
He maintains the Igbo people, who are in the majority in southeast Nigeria, are a lost tribe of Israel and it is his mission to lead them to the promised land of Biafra.
There had been fevered speculation that Kanu was in Israel after a video live-streamed on Friday via the Facebook accounts of his known associates appeared to show him praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, sparking questions over how he had managed to leave Nigeria.
Kanu is facing treason charges in his homeland and had been on bail at the time troops were deployed to his home city of Umuahia in Abia state, southeast Nigeria, in September 2017.
He then failed to show at his trial in the capital, Abuja, sparking speculation as to his whereabouts.
In Sunday’s broadcast on Radio Biafra, Kanu declared: “I’m in Israel.”
“I owe my survival to the State of Israel,” he added, referencing the country’s Mossad spy agency but without specifying what kind of support Israeli authorities may have given him.
But he vowed to return to his homeland and called on his followers to boycott upcoming elections in Nigeria.
“I will be back soon in the land of Biafra and I will bring hell with me,” he said.
“IPOB will liberate Biafra and we will not take part in any elections until we get a referendum, it is not negotiable, we will do it by any means,” he added.
A previous unilateral declaration of independence by the Igbo people in 1967 sparked a brutal 30-month civil war that left more than one million dead.
Questions have been raised about how Kanu was able to get to Israel, as he had to surrender his Nigerian and British passports after his arrest.
In Friday’s video the man at the Western Wall bore a clear resemblance to Kanu and was dressed in sandals, white trousers, a white Jewish prayer shawl and skull cap.
Kanu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, told AFP the footage was of his brother and was shot on Friday. He also spoke to him directly and said he was “fine.”