N Korea threatens to cut official contact with US

News of North Korea's latest Musudan missile test is broadcast at a railway station in Seoul

News of North Korea's latest Musudan missile test is broadcast at a railway station in Seoul

The harsh rhetoric by North Korea's People's Army (KPA) is the communist state's first comment on Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) since the US and South Korea announced Friday they are in the final stages of negotiation about where to deploy the missile system.

The United States put sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for numerous human rights violations, and the leader is not happy about it. Despite a new round of tough United Nations sanctions, North Korea has defiantly conducted several missile tests in the months after it staged its fourth underground nuclear test in January.

Pyongyang, on the other hand fired back at Washington after the announcement of the deployment, warning that North Korea would instantly cut off all diplomatic channels with the USA if the sanctions were not lifted.

"Because the United States did not accept our demand that the sanctions be retracted, we are taking concrete actions one by one, the first of which is to completely cut off the NY channel of communication, the only official point of contact that has existed between the two sides".

The North has also launched a long-range rocket, resulting in tough new United Nations sanctions.

The US maintains 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said that the THAAD system was not meant to target any third country.

Defense Minister Han Min-koo speaks during a plenary meeting of the Defense Committee on the National Assembly in Seoul on July 11, 2016, about Seoul and Washington's decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea.

China is North Korea's main ally.

Because it has no warheads on its missiles, instead destroying other projectiles by colliding with them, THAAD is "potentially safer, especially for dealing with nuclear missiles", said Yvonne Chiu, an expert on military policy and diplomacy at Hong Kong University.

U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, NATO's top military commander, told reporters Saturday that North Korea's latest missile test represents a serious threat, both to the region and the U.S.

It will be used by U.S. Forces Korea "to protect alliance military forces", the South and the United States said on Friday.

North Korea already has a considerable arsenal of land-based ballistic missiles and is believed to be advancing its efforts to miniaturize nuclear warheads mounted on missiles through nuclear and rocket tests.

While she added that the significance of THAAD deployment in Korea would be more geopolitical than military, Chiu said that China was understandably concerned "about having a US made, USA run missile system in its backyard".

The ministry also warned that North Korea will eventually cut off all channels of diplomatic contact with the U.S. if the latter fails to withdraw the sanctions.

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