3 Must Read Stories: North Korea Attack on US 'inevitable', NZ Election Inconclusive, Merkel Humbled

3 Must Read Stories: North Korea Attack on US 'inevitable', NZ Election Inconclusive, Merkel Humbled

The war of words between Washington and Pyongyang continued over the weekend, with North Korea’s foreign minister warning that a missile attack on the U.S. mainland was’inevitable’.

North Korea foreign minister Ri Yong Ho’s remarks at the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday came just hours after eight U.S. bombers flew off the east coast of North Korea in an explicit show of force.  Here’s the Wall Street Journal with the details:

On Saturday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho suggested at the annual General Assembly gathering that military strikes by his country are inevitable. North Korea has been steadily advancing in both its missile and nuclear-warhead programs and is considered close to possessing the capability of an intercontinental strike.

“Trump might not have been aware what is uttered from his mouth, but we will make sure that he bears consequences far beyond his words, far beyond the scope of what he can handle, even if he is ready to do so,” Mr. Ri said.

“He committed an irreversible mistake of making our rockets’ visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more,” he said.

U.S. officials watched as Mr. Ri spoke, but the U.S. mission to the U.N. didn’t comment on Mr. Ri’s speech.

The general election in New Zealand proved inconclusive, and it could be weeks before a new government is formed. Prime Minister Bill English’s ruling National Party had a 46% share of the vote and won 58 seats, while Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party had 42% of the vote and won 45 seats – both short of the necessary 61 to form a government in the 120-seat parliament. This leaves Winston Peters of the New Zealand First Party as potential king or queen maker. As the ABC reports, Peters appears in no rush to decide who he will back :

He said he needed more time to decide on who he would back, adding it was the “most difficult” outcome since the introduction of the Mixed Member Proportional system in the mid-1990s.

“I do believe we have the balance of political responsibility and we’re not going to be hasty with that – we’re not going to rush out and make decisions and make all sorts of statements,” Mr Peters said.

The former National MP and one-time Labour ally said his party proved critics wrong but would not indicate who he intended to back.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel, often dubbed the’leader of the free world’, has won a fourth term as the Chancellor of Germany, but with the authority of her Christian Democrat party diminished as support for the far-right Alternative for Germany party surged. Here’s Reuters with the details :

Describing the far right’s success as a test for Germans, Merkel insisted she had a mandate to govern – a formidable challenge as she has little choice but to cobble together a three-way coalition with a pro-business group and the Greens.

“Of course we had hoped for a slightly better result,” a humbled Merkel said after her conservative bloc slumped to 32.9 percent of the vote – down from 41.5 percent at the last election in 2013.

But she added: “We are the strongest party, we have the mandate to build the next government – and there cannot be a coalition government built against us.”

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