Within days of its sixth and largest nuclear test escalating tensions and rattling global financial markets, North Korea marked its founding anniversary on Saturday as is its norm. South Korea had been warning about a possible intercontinental ballistic missile from the North to show its rebel to UN sanctions and escalate the standoff between the North and the US last year, on the September 9th anniversary, North Korea had conducted its fifth nuclear test. Tension has been rising in the Korean peninsula ever since the North's leader Kim Jong Un has intensified development of weapons with a string of missile tests last year and this year including a fly over Japan and a sixth nuclear test on Sunday. Some experts fear the North is close to attaining the powerful nuclear weapon that can hit the US though President Trump had pledged to prevent it.
On its founding anniversary, Saturday's first page edition of North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun stated of their country making more high-tech Juche weapons like the miraculous victory of July 28th, the day of the intercontinental ballistic missile test. North Korea's homegrown ideology of self-reliance, Juche is a combination of Marxism and extreme nationalism and propagated by state founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather.
Friday, the South Korean nuclear experts stated of finding traces of radioactive xenon gas during a contamination check but could not verify its linkage to Sunday's explosion. Even the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) stated of conducting tests since the Sunday test by North Korea for contamination in air, water and land. It too stated of detecting xenon-133, a radioactive isotope which is not found naturally and is believed to come from North Korea's nuclear tests. For now, it is considered safe for both South Korea's territory and its population.
Trump had reiterated often that military action is the absolutely last step and if realized, it would be an extremely sad day for North Korea. Considering that any US pre-emptive strike would invoke massive North Korean retaliation, Trump's administration is all for a diplomatic solution. North Korea defends its weapons requirement as protection against US aggression especially as they are still technically at war with South Korea and the United States since the 1950-53 Korean conflict terminated with a truce and not a peace treaty.
A navy spokesman informed of the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered carrier leaving for its routine patrol of the Western pacific from its home Japanese port in areas between Japan and Korean peninsula. The patrol started in May till August. In the Sea of Japan, it was joined by another vessel, USS Carl Vinson to participate in drills with Japan's Self Defense Forces and South Korean military. With North Korea vehement opposition to it, China and Russia have also suggested its halt to lower tension.
Thursday, approving Trump's tough talk on the North, Chine felt that the United Nations should initiate more actions against it but pushed for dialogue. The UN Security Council might impose fresh sanctions though Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov felt it was too early to draw any conclusions. Friday, the US announced of calling a UN Security Council meeting on Monday for additional sanctions on the North.,/p>
The US is calling for an oil embargo on North Korea; ban on its textile exports as well as overseas hiring of North Korean laborers and issue an asset freeze and travel ban on Kim Jong Un. With North Korea allies, China and Russia's vote stance is not clear; US officials were skeptical but refused to accept anything less a ban on imports of North Korean textiles. China fears an oil embargo might lead to massive instability in the region.
However, North Korea continues promising fresh vitriol against sanctions and especially Haley whom they accused of instigating war. A North's official news agency stated that a strong nuclear state like them would never succumb to the evil pressure to overthrow their state. China is seen as North Korea's biggest trading partner with 92 percent of two-way trade last year along with making available hundreds of thousands of tons of oil and fuel to the impoverished regime.