Hundreds of North Korean students were photographed standing in line to join the country’s military as clerics on Guam have prayed for peace.
The mass enlistment took place as tensions on the Korean peninsula have reached their most critical since 1951. North Korean despot Kim Jong-un has threatened to test missiles near the Pacific island which is home to nuclear-capable B2 bombers.
Both Kim and US President Donald Trump have increased their rhetoric in the past week threatening each other. US Vice President Mike Pence has travelled to Colombia where he discussed the deteriorating situation in Venezuela and North Korea.
Hundreds of North Korean students were photographed signing up for the nation’s military amid growing tensions between the hermit state and the US with Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump threatening each other
North Korea claims hundreds of students have volunteered to join the its military amid the worsening diplomatic situation
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has threatened Guam and has warned President Trump against acting impetuously
North Korean dictator and US president Donald Trump have been sparring verbally, although both have been threatening military action leading to instability in the region.
North Korea has threatened Guam while the US has sent B2 bombers based on the Pacific Island to the peninsula as a show of force.
Catholic priests on Guam have been praying for peace with the archbishop calling for ‘prudence’.
The largely Catholic territory should pray for a ‘just resolution of differences, and prudence in both speech and action’, said Archbishop Michael Byrnes, echoing a flurry of international calls for US President Donald Trump to show greater rhetorical restraint.
A ‘prayers for peace’ lunchtime rally in the capital Hagatna drew around 100 people. But despite Guam having become the centre of a threatened showdown between the United States and nuclear-armed North Korea, many said they were unfazed.
‘I am really not scared because if it’s our time to die it is our time to die,’ added Sita Manjaras, 62, a retired teacher from Tamuning.
Father Mike Crisostomo said their response to the threat was to have faith and pray.
‘This goes to show to the other worlds, to the other nations and the countries, that Guam maybe small, our faith and our trust is big,’ he said.
At the island’s main church, the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica, Father Paul Gofigan told the congregation to be prepared in case North Korea does launch its missiles.
‘What would you do if you have only 14 minutes left? The thing to do is pray and reflect,’ he said
‘Prioritise your life. This is a wake-up call, no matter what happens’.
The images of people signing up for Kim Jong-un’s military were released by the North Korean propaganda network
Kim Jong-un has repeatedly threatened the United States, even claiming he would launch a nuclear strike
Trump has been engaged all week in verbal sparring with the North over its weapons and missile programs, declaring Friday that the US military is ‘locked and loaded.’
He has told Guam Governor Eddie Calvo that US military was prepared to ‘ensure the safety and security of the people of Guam.’
Despite the increased tensions, North Korea has released a Canadian pastor who was jailed for more than two years.
Hyeon Soo Lim, 62, was arrested in January 2015 on charges of subversive activities against the North Korean regime, an accusation denied by Ottawa.
Although sentenced to hard labour for life, he was granted ‘sick bail’ following a visit to Pyongyang by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security advisor Daniel Jean.
Canada’s foreign affairs ministry said: ‘Today, we join Pastor Lim’s family and congregation in celebrating his long-awaited return to Canada.
‘Canada has been actively engaged on Mr. Lim’s case at all levels, and we will continue to support him and his family now that he has returned,’ it added.
According to local media reports, Lim was flown to a military base in Trenton, some 100 miles east of Toronto.
His liberation came at a moment of high tensions between North Korea and the United States. Three Americans remain in the custody of the regime of Kim Jong-un.
Pyongyang has threatened to launch missiles on the island Guam, a strategic US outpost in the Pacific some 2,000 miles) from North Korea.
US President Donald Trump for his part as promised to rain down ‘fire and fury’ on Kim’s regime.
Lim, who belongs to the Light Korean Presbyterian Church, was considered at the time of his arrest one of the most influential Christian missionaries in North Korea.
He had previously traveled extensively in the country to work in orphanages and hospitals.
But some projects he worked on, including a noodle plant and flour mills, were linked to associates of Jang Song-Thaek, the purged uncle of leader Kim.
Jang was arrested and executed for treason in December 2013.
US vice president Mike Pence will meet Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos later today at the start of a weeklong trip to Latin America that is likely to be dominated by conversations about the deepening crisis in Venezuela, where the U.S. accuses President Nicolas Maduro of a power grab that has sparked deadly protests and condemnation across the region.
Trump appeared to complicate the discussions Friday with an unexpected statement that he would not rule out a ‘military option’ in response to the Venezuelan government’s attempt to consolidate power.
The statement drew immediate push-back, including from the Colombian Foreign Ministry, which condemned any ‘military measures and the use of force,’ and said that efforts to resolve Venezuela’s breakdown in democracy should be peaceful and respect its sovereignty.
Pence’s trip will also take him to Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; and Panama City, Panama, where he is expected to deliver a number of speeches, meet with the country’s leaders and tour the newly expanded Panama Canal.
In Colombia, Pence is also expected to highlight trade, business investment and other ties between the nations, including U.S. support for the country’s efforts to implement its peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
The U.S. will also likely be looking for assurances that Colombia is taking seriously the surging coca production in the country, which has been blamed partially on Santos’ decision in 2015 to stop using crop-destroying herbicides.
A July United Nations report showed that coca production in Colombia had reached levels not seen in two decades, complicating the South American country’s efforts to make its vast, lawless countryside more secure.
The Trump administration has been putting pressure on the country to curb the flow of drugs into the U.S, and Colombia has stepping up its forced eradication program and increased seizures of cocaine.