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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
North Korea

Minister: 'No immediate threat' to Ireland amid US-North Korea nuclear tensions

Minister Charlie Flanagan says Ireland must however remain vigilant.

trump Evan Vucci / AP/Press Association Images US President Donald Trump Evan Vucci / AP/Press Association Images / AP/Press Association Images

Updated 6.30pm

IRELAND’S JUSTICE MINISTER has said that there is no “immediate threat” to Ireland amid ratcheting tensions in the Korean peninsula.

Charlie Flanagan, who until recently held the government’s foreign affairs brief, said that Ireland must nonetheless be aware that it is “not immune” to international conflicts.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, Flanagan was asked about Ireland’s preparedness for any kind of strike from the United States or North Korea.

“Well, I’m not sure the extent to which Ireland would be involved in that equation,” the minister said, before adding that Irish intelligence services are constantly monitoring terror threats.

While there isn’t any evidence of any immediate threat to Ireland, it’s always important to remain vigilant. It’s always important to continue to regard ourselves as not being immune to any international threat.

Last night, US President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” amid claims the secretive state had produced a nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

South Korea US North Korea Nuclear Lee Jin-man / AP A man at Seoul Train Station walks by a TV screen showing an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Lee Jin-man / AP / AP

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to de-escalate tensions today by saying that Trump was simply using language “that Kim Jong-un would understand”.

“What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand, because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson was talking to journalists aboard his plane en route to the US territory of Guam, where North Korea had warned it was considering missile strikes.

Earlier today, Trump began tweeting about modernising the US’s nuclear arsenal, saying: “Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

In response to Trump’s “fire and fury” threat, North Korea said it is considering strikes near US strategic military installations in Guam in the Pacific Ocean

Pyongyang said it’s “now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12″, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The plan will be finalised “and will be put into practice in a multi-concurrent and consecutive way any moment once Kim Jong-un, supreme commander of the nuclear force of the DPRK, makes a decision”, it added.

Trump’s warning came after US media reported that Pyongyang has successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead.

North Korea-Guam AP / PA Images Locals walk around Hagatna, Guam AP / PA Images / PA Images

Speaking about the back-and-forth of bellicose language between the US and North Korea, Minister Charlie Flanagan said that the tone has been “worrying” and “quite scary”:

The fact of the matter is the rhetoric needs to be dialled down. As Minister for Foreign Affairs for some time I was always conscious of the need to ensure that language is diplomatic and to ensure that issues of international difference are dealt with around the table. We have a number of forums that can deal with these international tensions, not least the United Nations.

“I think it would be unhelpful for Ireland to become involved in the blame game, the stakes are high,” he added.

With reporting by © – AFP 2017

Read: Explainer: Why on earth is North Korea threatening to bomb the tiny Pacific island of Guam?

Watch: Donald Trump threatens North Korea with ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen’

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