Tuesday, 22 August, 2017

China reiterates opposition to South Korea's THAAD anti-missile system

Saul Franklin | 18 April, 2017, 02:47

US Vice President Mike Pence visited the Korean demilitarized zone Monday, a day after the embarrassing failure of a North Korean missile test which the US and South Korea said exploded on launch.

"You pray for peace, but he will show real leadership", Eric Trump said, directly after being asked about the message the administration is trying to send to North Korea.

Trump's strategy isn't exactly a departure from long-standing United States policy. He instead wants to push for their long-term cooperation.

Pence declared that North Korea had tested the world's patience for two decades and "answered our overtures with wilful deception, broken promises and nuclear and missile tests". "The president has no further comment", Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Sunday.

The new and inexperienced USA president has indicated he will not allow North Korea to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the western United States.

Pence's trip to the flashpoint frontier underscored Washington's shifting policy towards the isolated state after years of nuclear and missile tests carried out in defiance of the global community.

His visit, full of Cold War symbolism, and his remarks to reporters come amid increasing tensions and heated rhetoric on the Korean Peninsula.

"On the way here, we actually saw some of the terrain my father fought on alongside Korean forces to help earn your freedom", Pence said.

This photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 16, 2017 shows North Korea's ballistic missiles being displayed through Kim Il-Sung Square during a military parade in Pyongyang.

"North Korea will do well not to test his resolve or (the) strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region", Pence said.

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Tensions have risen as Trump takes a hard rhetorical line with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed admonitions from China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programmes seen by Washington as a direct threat.

"The era of strategic patience is over", he added, referring to the former Obama administration's policy approach criticized for failing to prevent the North from furthering its nuclear program.

At the same it's increased its military footprint in the region by deploying a naval carrier strike group to waters off the Korean Peninsula.

The BBC reported Han also said North Korea believed its nuclear weapons protect it from the threat of military action by the United States.

China says its powerful radar can penetrate its territory and undermine its security and spoke out against it again on Monday.

On Sunday, Lt Gen HR McMaster, the United States top security adviser, said his country was working on a "range of options" with China, the first confirmation the two countries were co-operating to find a solution to the North Korean issue.

"Air China has not suspended operations for the Beijing-Pyongyang route", the official said.

Vice President Mike Pence toured the Korean Demilitarized Zone on Monday, warning leaders in North Korea that "the era of strategic patience is over".

US President Donald Trump held a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month, and has praised China's turning back of North Korean coal ships as a "big step" forward in the effort to enlist Chinese pressure on Pyongyang.

USA diplomats will meet with the Chinese and American allies at the United Nations later this month to discuss the way forward, Thornton said. But China has been reluctant in the past to use its leverage because its fellow communist country serves as a buffer between Chinese territory and US troops stationed in South Korea.

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