• North Korea conducts first nuclear test in 2006
  • UN tightens sactions on North Korea after second nuclear weapons test in 2009
  • North Korea conducts third nuclear test in 2013
  • Fourth and fifth nuclear tests take place in January and September 2016, prompting US and China condemnation
  • Sixth nuclear test conducted by North Korea in April 2017

China has called on the US and North Korea to find a peaceful solution to rising tensions after a war of words erupted after the North conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests in defiance of UN sanctions.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday that the standoff between the two nations could only be resolved by diplomacy.

“I’ve seen that the United States has reiterated it is willing to use political and diplomatic means to resolve this, as this is their first choice,” he said.

“Of course I think that any country will feel that political diplomatic means are of course the first choice.”

Al Jazeera’s Divya Gopalan, reporting from Hong Kong, said that China “was very keen to see this issue resolved peacefully”.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has worked hard to oppose every U.S. initiative in the South China Sea and North Korea.

“Any kind of action on North Korea will have repercussions on China,” our correspondent said.

On Tuesday, US Vice President Mike Pence met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, following meetings in South Korea with Hwang Kyo-ahn, the acting president.

Pence has repeatedly warned that “all options are on the table” when dealing with Pyongyang.

In Tokyo, Pence reassured Japan of the US’ commitment to reining in North Korea’s nuclear and missile ambitions after warning that its own strikes in Syria and Afghanistanshowed the strength of its resolve.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States and it showed no let-up in its defiance after conducting a reportedly failed missile test on Sunday.

The time of dictating orders by brandishing the US military might has gone. If those businessmen in power in the US thought of intimidating us by any military or sanction threats – as the Obama administration used to do and failed – they will soon find out such threats are useles

Sin Hong-chol, North Korea’s deputy foreign minister

The North has warned that its army is on “maximum alert” following Pence’s visit on Monday to the heavily militarised border between the two Koreas, where he reiterated Washington’s position that “all options are on the table” in dealing with Pyongyang.

‘Threats are useless’

Sin Hong-chol, North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, told Al Jazeera that Donald Trump’s administration “should look at the world with open eyes”.

“The time of dictating orders by brandishing the US military might has gone. If those businessmen in power in the US thought of intimidating us by any military or sanction threats – as the [Barack] Obama administration used to do and failed – they will soon find out such threats are useless,” Sin said.

North Korea’s deputy representative to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, accused the United States of creating “a situation where nuclear war could break out an any time” and said Pyongyang’s next nuclear test would take place “at a time and at a place where our headquarters deems necessary”.

The North has warned of a nuclear strike against the United States if provoked.

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US officials say tougher sanctions could include an oil embargo, a global ban on North Korea’s airline, intercepting cargo ships and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang. They say greater Chinese cooperation is vital.

China banned imports of North Korean coal, its most important export, in February, and Chinese media have raised the possibility of restricting oil shipments to the North.

North Korea and South are technically still at war because their 1950-1953 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies



A senior diplomat told Peace and Freedom, “China and Russia love it that Donald Trump is trying to Make America Great Again while he has military forces tied down all over the world. China has assigned the usual Chinese idiot diplomats to help with North Korea — but they are handcuffed by the party line and not empowered by Xi Jinping to encourage progress or offer real solutions. Why should China help the U.S with North Korea while North Korea is doing such a good job annoying the West?  North Korea is not going to nuke China.  It could be that the Trump-Xi bromance was only a one night stand at Mar-a-Lago under the moon light. That could mean another U.S. president completly missing the point of China’s long-range plan.”

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U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria


 (“If you discuss the problem for 30 years and the other side breaks every agreement you may have to try not talking so much”)

7 Apr 2017

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In the “Art of War,” the ancient military philosopher Sun Tzu emphasized the importance of alliances in both times of war and peace. He observed that alliances enabled kingdoms to increase their chances of survival and even victory while diminishing those of their opponents. For Sun Tzu, it is essential for a kingdom to prevent its enemies from combining their resources and efforts to oppose its goals. This can be done by forcing them to consider the grave consequences of their opposition against its interest.

He wrote: “When a warlike prince attacks a powerful state, his generalship shows itself in preventing the concentration of the enemy’s forces. He overawes his opponents and their allies are prevented from joining against him.” Sun Tzu was emphatic that if one faces an enemy with powerful allies, it is prudent to avoid attacking the coalition until its members have been divided and separated from each other. In the 21st century geopolitics, we see how China is applying this stratagem against the Philippines and the United States (US), as it effectively unravels an emerging coalition of states opposing its expansion in the South China Sea.

China uses a strategy called “talk and take” rooted in Sun Tzu. China’s new islands and militarization of the South China Sea, where it has no legal claim, is an example of this strategy.

After 30 years of negotiations to stop North Korea from putting nuclear weapons atop long-range ballistic missiles, and North Korea breaking every agreement, the U.S. now faces a North Korea on the brink of achieving its long-held goal. Sun Tzu would undoubtedly be proud.

Peace and Freedom