Posts Tagged ‘Thaad’

Major nations responsible for keeping world peace: China vice premier says, “China’s door to the world is open, and it will only be opened wider.”

March 25, 2017

Reuters

Sat Mar 25, 2017 | 6:20am EDT

The world’s major nations are responsible for maintaining global peace, and all countries should remain committed to a road of stable and peaceful development, China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Saturday.

His comments followed media reports this week that North Korea was in the final stages of preparing for another nuclear test. Earlier this month, Pyongyang launched four ballistic missiles in response to joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises, which it regards as preparation to war.

“Large countries have the responsibility to maintain global peace, should increase strategic dialogue, increase mutual trust, and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns,” Zhang said at the opening of the Boao Forum for Asia in southern China’s Hainan province.

He did not identify the large countries.

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since the beginning of 2016. Washington has been pressing Beijing to do more to stop North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. China has called for a dual-track approach, urging North Korea to suspend its tests and the United States and South Korea to halt military drills, so that both sides can return to talks.

Beijing has also been angered by the U.S. deployment of the THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, missile defense system in South Korea, which it says will both harm China’s own security and do nothing to ease tensions.

“All parties should stick to dialogue to settle disputes and problems in a peaceful manner,” Zhang said, without specifying what disputes and problems.

Zhang’s comments also came ahead of a milestone meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump in the United States next month.

During a recent visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Xi said China and the United States must strengthen coordination of hot regional issues, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and protect the broad stability of ties.

Trump has previously threatened a 45 percent tariff on China’s exports and frequently said on the campaign trail that he would label China a currency manipulator. Trump has not followed through on either move yet.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has also complained about China’s excess industrial capacity, unfair subsidies for state-owned enterprises and a lack of access for foreign firms to major sectors of the Chinese economy.

“China remains committed to the strategy of opening up,” Zhang said. “China’s door to the world is open, and it will only be opened wider.”

(Reporting by Elias Glenn; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Robert Birsel and Christian Schmollinger)

North Korea attempts missile launch, fails

March 22, 2017

Reuters

North Korean missile launch fails: U.S. military says

By Ju-min Park | SEOUL

A North Korean missile launch failed on Wednesday, with the rocket exploding within seconds, the U.S. military said, the latest in a series of North Korean weapons tests to rattle its neighbors and raise tension in the region.

South Korea said the apparent test launch of one missile by nuclear-capable North Korea, from the city of Wonsan on its east coast, had failed. South Korea’s defense ministry said it was conducting an analysis to determine more details.

The U.S. military statement shed more light.

“U.S. Pacific Command detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt … in the vicinity of Kalma,” Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in the statement, referring to an air field in Wonsan.

“A missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch,” Benham said, adding that work was being carried out on a more detailed assessment.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the missile may have exploded as it was launched, before reaching an altitude at which it could be detected by South Korean radar.

The launch comes as the U.S. envoy for North Korea nuclear program, Joseph Yun, met his South Korean counterpart in Seoul to discuss a response to the North’s weapons programs.

Just last week U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Japan, South Korea and China and how to handle North Korea was a major issue in his talks.

Speaking in Seoul on Friday, Tillerson said a policy of strategic patience with North Korea had ended and all options, including a military one, were on the table if North Korea threatened South Korean or U.S. forces.

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since the beginning of last year in defiance of U.N. resolutions. It is believed to be working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States.

The initial reports of North Korea’s tests on Wednesday came from Japan’s Kyodo news agency, which cited a Japanese government source saying North Korea may have launched several missiles from an area on its east coast. Kyodo also said the launch may have failed.

Last year, North Korea launched several intermediate-range missiles from the same area but only one of the tests was successful.

BROAD REVIEW

North Korea launched four ballistic missiles from near its west coast on March 6 and this week conducted a rocket engine test that its leader, Kim Jong Un, said opened “a new birth” of its rocket industry.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday criticized Kim, saying the North Korean leader was “acting very, very badly”.

A senior U.S. official in Washington told Reuters on Monday that the Trump administration was considering sweeping sanctions as part of a broad review of measures to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat.

The United States is also deploying an advanced missile defense system in South Korea. But China objects to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, saying its powerful radar can penetrate deep into its territory, undermining its security.

Undaunted by the possibility of even tougher sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system, a North Korean diplomat said his government would pursue an “acceleration” of its nuclear and missile programs.

This includes developing a “pre-emptive first strike capability” and an inter-continental ballistic missile, said Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the DPRK (North Korean) mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

Japan’s Nikkei index and South Korean stocks extended losses slightly after news of the North Korean launch broke but trade was steady overall.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali in WASHINGTON, Kaori Kaneko and Chris Gallagher in TOKYO, Jiwon Choi and Christine Kim in SEOUL; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Kim Jong-Un releases propaganda video where North Korea ‘blows up’ an US aircraft carrier

March 21, 2017

No automatic alt text available.

  • North Korea media published a video depicting the bombing of a US air carrier
  • The country has threatened to use ‘rockets tipped with nuclear warheads’
  • It warned it could reduce the US to ‘ashes’ if ‘even a single bullet at the country’
  • Chilling threat came before Pyongyang carried out tests on new rocket engines

Kim Jong-Un released a military propaganda video depicting North Korean troops blowing up a US aircraft carrier.

The strange clip posted on Saturday by state media shows fictional footage of North Korean troops joyously destroying American planes and bombers.

A female narrator gleefully exclaims over the war footage ‘a knife will be stabbed into the throat of the carrier, while the bomber will fall from the sky after getting hit by a hail of fire’ according to Yonhap News Agency.

North Korea ‘blows up US carrier’ in new propaganda video
The military propaganda video shows North Korean troops targeting American planes 

The military propaganda video shows North Korean troops targeting American planes

The female narrator says 'a knife will be stabbed into the throat of the carrier, while the bomber will fall from the sky after getting hit by a hail of fire'

The female narrator says ‘a knife will be stabbed into the throat of the carrier, while the bomber will fall from the sky after getting hit by a hail of fire’

Hoards of North Korean troops are seen cheering on the destruction of American air carriers in the propaganda video 

Hoards of North Korean troops are seen cheering on the destruction of American air carriers in the propaganda video

The video shows ‘Foal Eagle’ military drills with America and South Korea which have long angered the North Korean government according to Newsweek.

Uriminzokkiri, the YouTube page where the video was published, has hosted other controversial clips which depict North Korean troops bombing America.

In 2013 it published a video showing a North Korean man dreaming of missiles raining down upon Washington, D.C. and New York.

The video comes as Kim threatened to reduce the US ‘to ashes’ with nuclear weapons if American fires ‘even a single bullet’ at North Korea.

Pyongyang said it would use its ‘invincible Hwasong rockets tipped with nuclear warheads’ to defend its territory as tensions with South Korea continued to escalate.

It comes as Seoul insisted North Korea’s latest rocket-engine test showed ‘meaningful’ progress and as an an analyst said the secretive state had taken a dangerous step towards its goal of developing a rocket that could hit the United States.

Kim Jong-Un has threatened to reduce the US 'to ashes' with nuclear weapons if American fires 'even a single bullet' at North Korea. He is pictured yesterday inspecting the ground jet test of newly developed high-thrust engine at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in North Korea

Kim Jong-Un has threatened to reduce the US ‘to ashes’ with nuclear weapons if American fires ‘even a single bullet’ at North Korea. He is pictured yesterday inspecting the ground jet test of newly developed high-thrust engine at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in North Korea

Pyongyang said it would use its 'invincible Hwasong rockets tipped with nuclear warheads' to defend its territory as tensions with South Korea continued to escalate. Pictures show rocket engine tests yesterday

Pyongyang said it would use its ‘invincible Hwasong rockets tipped with nuclear warheads’ to defend its territory as tensions with South Korea continued to escalate. Pictures show rocket engine tests yesterday

The statement, from Kim Jong-Un’s Foreign Office, was released earlier this month before the latest tests.

It said: ‘The Korean People’s Army will reduce the bases of aggression and provocation to ashes with its invincible Hwasong rockets tipped with nuclear warheads and reliably defend the security of the country and its people’s happiness in case the US and the south Korean puppet forces fire even a single bullet at the territory of the DPRK.’

Last night, the North’s KCNA news agency said its new rocket engine would help the state achieve world-class satellite-launch capability, indicating a new type of rocket engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The North’s announcement of a successful engine test came as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Beijing at the end of his first visit to Asia for talks dominated by concern about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

‘Through this test, it is found that engine function has made meaningful progress but further analysis is needed for exact thrust and possible uses,’ Lee Jin-woo, deputy spokesman for the South Korean defence ministry, told a regular briefing.

Kim Jong-Un grins after watching new rocket engine launch
It comes as Seoul insisted North Korea's latest rocket-engine test showed 'meaningful' progress and as an an analyst said the secretive state had taken a dangerous step towards its goal of developing a rocket that could hit the United States. Kim Jong-UN is pictured, centre, with his officials yesterday

It comes as Seoul insisted North Korea’s latest rocket-engine test showed ‘meaningful’ progress and as an an analyst said the secretive state had taken a dangerous step towards its goal of developing a rocket that could hit the United States. Kim Jong-UN is pictured, centre, with his officials yesterday

State-run North Korean media reported that leader Kim Jong Un had hailed the successful test of a new high-thrust engine at its rocket launch station (pictured) as 'a new birth' of its rocket industry

State-run North Korean media reported that leader Kim Jong Un had hailed the successful test of a new high-thrust engine at its rocket launch station (pictured) as ‘a new birth’ of its rocket industry

State-run North Korean media reported that leader Kim Jong Un had hailed the successful test of a new high-thrust engine at its rocket launch station as ‘a new birth’ of its rocket industry.

Lee said the test featured a main engine supported by four supplementary engines.

However, he did not elaborate on the progress the test showed the North had made, nor comment on whether the engine could be used for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), saying the South Korean military was conducting analysis.

U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters he held meetings on North Korea at the weekend at his Florida resort. While he did not refer specifically to the rocket-engine test, he said Kim Jong Un was ‘acting very, very badly’.

A South Korean analyst said the test was an ominous development.

‘This was a comprehensive test for the first-stage rocket for an ICBM, and that is why it was dangerous,’ said Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies.

‘It appears that North Korea has worked out much of its development of the first-stage rocket booster.’

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches in defiance of U.N. sanctions, and is believed by experts and government officials to be working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that could reach the United States.

North Korean leader Kim said in January his country was close to test-launching an ICBM. That would put parts of the United States in range.

Last week, Tillerson issued the Trump administration’s starkest warning yet to North Korea, saying in Seoul that a military response would be ‘on the table’ if it took action to threaten South Korean and U.S. forces.

North Korean leader Kim said in January his country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile. That would put parts of the United States in range

North Korean leader Kim said in January his country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile. That would put parts of the United States in range

The United States has long called on China to do more to rein in its ally, North Korea. China resents being pressed to do more, saying the problem is between North Korea and the United States, although it too objects to the North’s nuclear programme.

No formal agreements were announced during Tillerson’s visit to China although the two sides said they would work together to try to make North Korea take ‘a different course’.

China has called for a dual-track approach on North Korea, urging it to suspend its tests and the United States and South Korea to suspend military exercises so both sides can return to talks.

Beijing has also been infuriated by the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea, which it says will both harm China’s own security and do nothing to ease tensions.

China says the system’s powerful radar will extend into the country’s northeast and potentially track Chinese missile launches, and maybe even intercept them. Russia also opposes the system, for the same reasons.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4333616/Kim-Jong-releases-anti-American-propaganda-video.html#ixzz4bwuQBOGS
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NORTH Korea has pledged to launch a nuclear strike on the US if a “single bullet is fired” as US forces flood the Korean Peninsula.

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Vietnam seeks South Korean support in South China Sea

March 20, 2017

Reuters

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se is welcomed by Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi, Vietnam March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

Vietnam’s Prime Minister sought support for the nation’s stance in the South China Sea when he met South Korea’s foreign minister in Hanoi on Monday.

Vietnam is the country most openly at odds with China over the waterway since the Philippines pulled back from confrontation under President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The Prime Minister proposed that South Korea continue its support over the position of Vietnam and Southeast Asia on the South China Sea issue and to help the country improve its law enforcement at the sea”, the government said in a statement on its website after the meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.

The statement did not say whether South Korea backed Vietnam’s position on the South China Sea.

Yun did affirm his country’s willingness to promote ties despite instability in South Korea after the ousting of President Park Geun-hye over a graft scandal.

South Korea is Vietnam’s biggest foreign investor thanks to companies like Samsung.

South Korea and China are currently in dispute over deployment of the U.S. anti-missile defense system. South Korea on Monday has complained to the World Trade Organization about Chinese retaliation against its companies over the deployment.

Last week, Vietnam demanded China stop sending cruise ships to the area in response to one of Beijing’s latest moves to bolster its claims to the strategic waterway.

China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan lay claim to parts of the route, through which about $5 trillion of trade passes each year.

(Reporting by My Pham; Editing by Julia Glover)

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Kim Jong-Un beams as he watches a ‘revolutionary’ new rocket being tested despite a ban on North Korea developing missiles

March 19, 2017

  • North Korea conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine
  • Kim was beaming from ear to ear as he and his generals applauded the test
  • He called it ‘an event of historic significance’ for the country’s rocket industry

North Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un is calling a revolutionary breakthrough for the country’s space program.

Kim was beaming from ear to ear as he and his generals applauded the successful test at the Sohae launch site yesterday.

The trial was intended to confirm the engine’s thrust power and gauge the reliability of its control system and structural safety.

Kim hailed it ‘a great event of historic significance’ for the country’s rocket industry.

Scroll down for video 

Beaming: Kim celebrated with his generals who applauded the test at the launch site

Beaming: Kim celebrated with his generals who applauded the test at the launch site

Having a blast: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the country's Sohae launch site yesterday

Having a blast: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the country’s Sohae launch site yesterday

Kim called the test 'a great event of historic significance' for the country's indigenous rocket industry

Kim called the test ‘a great event of historic significance’ for the country’s indigenous rocket industry

Kim watched the rocket being fire from afar as he celebrated what he called a great day in his country's history

Kim watched the rocket being fire from afar as he celebrated what he called a great day in his country’s history

He also said the ‘whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries’ and claimed the test marks what will be known as the ‘March 18 revolution’ in the development of the country’s rocket industry.

The engine is to be used for North Korea’s space and satellite-launching program.

North Korea is banned by the United Nations from conducting long-range missile tests, but it claims its satellite program is for peaceful use, a claim many in the U.S. and elsewhere believe is questionable.

North Korean officials have said that under a five-year plan, they intend to launch more Earth observation satellites and what would be the country’s first geostationary communications satellite – which would be a major technological advance.

Getting that kind of satellite into place would likely require a more powerful engine than its previous ones. The North also claims it is trying to build a viable space program that would include a moon launch within the next 10 years.

The test was conducted as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in China on a swing through Asia that has been closely focused on concerns over how to deal with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

He also said the 'whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries'

He also said the ‘whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries’

North Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine

North Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine

It’s hard to know whether this test was deliberately timed to coincide with Tillerson’s visit, but Pyongyang has been highly critical of ongoing U.S.-South Korea wargames just south of the Demilitarized Zone and often conducts some sort of high-profile operation of its own in protest.

Earlier this month, it fired off four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, reportedly reaching within 120 miles of Japan’s shoreline.

Japan, which was Tillerson’s first stop before traveling to South Korea and China, hosts tens of thousands of U.S. troops.

The test was conducted as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in China on a swing through Asia

The test was conducted as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in China on a swing through Asia

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China

While building ever better long-range missiles and smaller nuclear warheads to pair with them, North Korea has marked a number of successes in its space program.

It launched its latest satellite – the Kwangmyongsong 4, or Brilliant Star 4 – into orbit on Feb. 7 last year, just one month after conducting what it claims was its first hydrogen-bomb test.

It put its first satellite in orbit in 2012, a feat few other countries have achieved. In 2013, rival South Korea launched a satellite into space from its own soil for the first time, though it needed Russian help to build the rocket’s first stage.

North Korea put its first satellite in orbit in 2012, a feat few other countries have achieved

North Korea put its first satellite in orbit in 2012, a feat few other countries have achieved

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4328086/North-Korea-tests-newly-developed-high-thrust-rocket-engine.html#ixzz4bmpfOgSf
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U.S., China soften tone, say to work together on North Korea

March 18, 2017

Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) reach to shake hands at th end of a joint press conference at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, March 18, 2017. REUTERS/ Mark Schiefelbein
By Yeganeh Torbati and Ben Blanchard | BEIJING

The United States and China will work together to get nuclear-armed North Korea take “a different course”, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Saturday, softening previous criticism of Beijing after talks with his Chinese counterpart.

China has been irritated at being repeatedly told by Washington to rein in North Korea’s surging nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, one of a series of hurdles in ties between the world’s two largest economies.

But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the talks with Tillerson as “candid, pragmatic and productive”. The two sides appeared to have made some progress or put aside differences on difficult issues, at least in advance of a planned summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Friday, Tillerson issued the Trump administration’s starkest warning yet to North Korea, saying in Seoul that a military response would be “on the table” if Pyongyang took action to threaten South Korean and U.S. forces.

Tillerson took a softer line after the meeting with Wang. He told reporters both China and the United States noted efforts over the last two decades had not succeeded in curbing the threat posed by North Korea’s weapons programmes.

“We share a common view and a sense that tensions on the peninsula are quite high right now and that things have reached a rather dangerous level, and we’ve committed ourselves to doing everything we can to prevent any type of conflict from breaking out,” Tillerson said.

He said Wang and he agreed to work together to persuade North Korea “make a course correction and move away from the development of their nuclear weapons.”

Wang said U.N. resolutions on North Korea both mapped out sanctions and called for efforts to resume efforts for a negotiated settlement.

“No matter what happens, we have to stay committed to diplomatic means as a way to seek peaceful settlement,” he said.

Wang said he and Tillerson “both hope to find ways to restart the talks”.

“Neither of us are ready to give up the hope for peace,” he said.

Tillerson had said on Friday that any talks on North Korea could only take place after it began the process of unwinding its weapons programmes.

A U.S. official had told Reuters in Washington earlier this week that Tillerson may raise the prospect of imposing “secondary sanctions” on Chinese banks and other firms doing business with North Korea in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

Trump said in a tweet on Friday that North Korea was “behaving very badly” and accused China, Pyongyang’s neighbour and only major ally, of doing little to resolve the crisis.

XI-TRUMP SUMMIT

However, the two sides appear to have toned down differences as they work on finalising a trip by Xi to the United States, possibly next month, for his first summit with Trump.

Wang said the two countries were in “close communication” on arranging the meeting, but gave no details.

The state-run Chinese tabloid the Global Times said on Saturday that it was in China’s interests to stop North Korea’s nuclear ambitions but to suggest China cut the country off completely was ridiculous as it would be fraught with danger.

“Once there is chaos in North Korea, it would first bring disaster to China. I’m sorry, but the United States and South Korea don’t have the right to demand this of China,” it said in an editorial.

A former oil executive with no prior diplomatic experience, Tillerson will meet Xi on Sunday.

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since the beginning of last year.

Last week, it launched four more ballistic missiles and is working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States.

Washington has been pressing Beijing to do more to stop North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

China has called for a dual track approach, urging North Korea to suspend its tests and the United States and South Korea to suspend military drills, so both sides can return to talks.

China has also been infuriated by the deployment of the THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, missile defence system in South Korea, which it says will both harm China’s own security and do nothing to ease tensions.

China says the system’s powerful radar will extend into the country’s northeast and potentially track Chinese missile launches, and maybe even intercept them. Russia also opposes THAAD, for the same reasons.

There are other tricky issues too, including the self-ruled island of Taiwan which China claims as its own.

The Trump administration is crafting a big new arms package for Taiwan that could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles to defend against China, U.S. officials said, a deal sure to anger Beijing.

Wang said Saturday’s talks included discussions on THAAD and Taiwan but did not give details.

(Additional reporting by Elias Glenn; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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China: Rex Tillerson urged to be ‘cool-headed’ over North Korea

March 18, 2017

BBC News

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, on 18 March2017

Relations are tense almost a month before an expected summit between the two countries’ leaders. AFP photo

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged the US to remain “cool-headed” over North Korean tensions.

The situation was at a “crossroads”, but must not be allowed to develop into a conflict, he said after hosting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Mr Tillerson spoke of “dangerous levels” of tension, a day after suggesting the US might launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea.

North Korea is working to develop nuclear missiles that can reach the US.

Last week, it launched four ballistic missiles – defying United Nations resolutions.

Mr Tillerson is in Beijing in the final leg of his East Asia tour, which has been dominated by anxieties over North Korea.

In South Korea on Friday, he said a US military response would be on the table if North Korea threatened South Korea or US forces.

President Donald Trump tweeted that North Korea was “behaving very badly”.

He added that China – Pyongyang’s main ally – had done “little to help”.

Mr Wang defended the Chinese position, saying all parties were duty-bound to implement UN sanctions against Pyongyang, but also to seek dialogue and diplomatic solutions.

“We hope that all parties, including our friends from the United States, could size up the situation in a cool-headed and comprehensive fashion and arrive at a wise decision,” Mr Wang said.

The US has deployed its Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (Thaad) in South Korea in a move it says is designed to protect against threats from North Korea.

But China has claimed the system goes “far beyond” the defence needs of the Korean peninsula.

Mr Tillerson, a former oil executive with no prior diplomatic experience, will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday.

Mr Xi is scheduled to visit the United States next month for his first meeting with President Trump.

Some commentators expect Mr Tillerson to downplay any tensions between the two countries ahead of that encounter.

The timing is hardly auspicious, says the BBC’s China editor Carrie Gracie.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-39313654

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China, U.S. Hold ‘Candid’ Talks on North Korea, Taiwan

March 18, 2017

BEIJING — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday he held “candid, pragmatic and productive” talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which included North Korea, Taiwan and bilateral trade.

Tillerson said both sides renewed their determination to convince North Korea, which has a fast-developing nuclear and ballistic missile program, to choose a better path.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Tom Hogue)

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U.S. Signals New Tack on North Korea — China not happy with the criticism

March 18, 2017

By Richard Haas

President, Council on Foreign Relations
March 17, 2017

There is a growing consensus that the first genuine crisis of Donald Trump’s presidency could involve North Korea and, more specifically, its ability to place a nuclear warhead on one or more ballistic missiles possessing sufficient range and accuracy to reach the continental United States. A crisis could stem from other factors as well: a large increase in the number of nuclear warheads that North Korea produces, evidence that it is selling nuclear materials to terrorist groups, or some use of its conventional military forces against South Korea or US forces stationed there.

There is no time to lose: any of these developments could occur in a matter of months or at most years. Strategic patience, the approach toward North Korea that has characterized successive US administrations since the early 1990s, has run its course.

One option would be simply to accept as inevitable continued increases in the quantity and quality of North Korea’s nuclear and missile inventories. The US, South Korea, and Japan would fall back on a combination of missile defense and deterrence.

The problem is that missile defense is imperfect, and deterrence is uncertain. The only certainty is that the failure of either would result in unimaginable costs. In these circumstances, Japan and South Korea might reconsider whether they, too, require nuclear weapons, raising the risk of a new and potentially destabilizing arms race in the region.

A second set of options would employ military force, either against a gathering North Korean threat or one judged to be imminent. One problem with this approach is uncertainty as to whether military strikes could destroy all of the North’s missiles and warheads. But even if they could, North Korea would probably retaliate with conventional military forces against South Korea. Given that Seoul and US troops stationed in South Korea are well within range of thousands of artillery pieces, the toll in lives and physical damage would be immense. The new South Korean government (which will take office in two months) is sure to resist any action that could trigger such a scenario.

Some therefore opt for regime change, hoping that a different North Korean leadership might prove to be more reasonable. It probably would; but, given how closed North Korea is, bringing about such an outcome remains more wish than serious policy.

This brings us to diplomacy. The US could offer (following close consultations with the governments in South Korea and Japan, and ideally against the backdrop of additional United Nations resolutions and economic sanctions) direct negotiations with North Korea. Once talks commenced, the US side could advance a deal: North Korea would have to agree to freeze its nuclear and missile capabilities, which would require cessation of all testing of both warheads and missiles, along with access to international inspectors to verify compliance. The North would also have to commit not to sell any nuclear materials to any other country or organization.

In exchange, the US and its partners would offer, besides direct talks, the easing of sanctions. The US and others could also agree to sign – more than 60 years after the end of the Korean War – a peace agreement with the North.

North Korea (in some ways like Iran) could keep its nuclear option but be barred from translating it into a reality. Concerns over North Korea’s many human-rights violations would not be pressed at this time, although the country’s leaders would understand that there could be no normalization of relations (or end of sanctions) so long as repression remained the norm. Full normalization of ties would also require North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons program.

At the same time, the US should limit how far it is willing to go. There can be no end to regular US-South Korean military exercises, which are a necessary component of deterrence and potential defense, given the military threat posed by the North. For the same reason, any limits on US forces in the country or region would be unacceptable. And any negotiation must take place within a fixed time period, lest North Korea use that time to create new military facts.

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USS Carl Vinson refuels USS O’Kane

Could such an approach succeed? The short answer is “maybe.” China’s stance would likely prove critical. Chinese leaders have no love for Kim Jong-un’s regime or its nuclear weapons, but it dislikes even more the prospect of North Korea’s collapse and the unification of the Korean Peninsula with Seoul as the capital.

The question is whether China (the conduit by which goods enter and leave North Korea) could be persuaded to use its considerable influence with its neighbor. The US should offer some reassurances that it would not exploit Korea’s reunification for strategic advantage, while warning China of the dangers North Korea’s current path poses to its own interests. Continued conversations with China about how best to respond to possible scenarios on the peninsula clearly make sense.

Again, there is no guarantee that diplomacy would succeed. But it might. And even if it failed, demonstrating that a good-faith effort had been made would make it less difficult to contemplate, carry out, and subsequently explain to domestic and international audiences why an alternative policy, one that included the use of military force, was embraced.

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

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All Eyes on China as U.S. Signals New Tack on North Korea

BEIJING — Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson signaled on Friday that the Trump administration was prepared to scrap nearly a decade of United States policy toward North Korea in favor of a more aggressive effort to eliminate the country’s nuclear weapons program. Whether that means pre-emptive action, which he warned was “on the table,” will depend a great deal on how China responds.

North Korea relies on Chinese trade and aid to keep its economy afloat, and China has long been unwilling to withdraw that support. Up to 40 percent of the North’s foreign currency — essential for buying goods abroad — comes from a network of about 600 Chinese companies, according to a recent study by Sayari Analytics, a Washington financial intelligence firm.

Mr. Tillerson will be in China on Saturday, a day after saying in Seoul, South Korea, that the United States would not negotiate with North Korea on freezing its nuclear and missile programs. His interactions with his hosts in Beijing, and whether he takes a hard line with China over its support for North Korea, will be closely watched — as will be China’s response.

A sign of the administration’s stance came on Friday as President Trump criticized both North Korea and the Chinese government. “North Korea is behaving very badly,” he said on Twitter. “They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years. China has done little to help!”

The Chinese leadership is likely to bristle at such criticism, but it may be reviewing its options, given the collision course that North Korea and the United States seem to be on.

Last month, Beijing showed a new willingness to punish its longtime ally when it suspended imports of North Korean coal, saying it had reached the annual limit allowed under United Nations sanctions. Customs figures later showed that China had in fact imported only about 30 percent of the quota for 2017.

Yang Xiyu, a veteran Chinese diplomat involved with North Korea, said Mr. Tillerson may be able to persuade Chinese leaders to do more when he meets with them in Beijing this weekend, particularly against Chinese companies that do business with the North.

Mr. Yang cited as a potential model the case that United States officials built last year against a Chinese executive accused of selling North Korea a chemical that can be used in nuclear-enrichment centrifuges. While Beijing was not happy about the case, it eventually accepted it. “It wasn’t easy, but it was the right way to push the issue to a solution,” he said.

Source/Read the rest: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/world/asia/all-eyes-on-china-as-us-signals-new-tack-on-north-korea.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fasia&_r=0

Rex Tillerson begins tense China meeting with Wang Yi — US ‘policy of strategic patience has ended’

March 18, 2017

BBC News

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, on 18 March2017

Relations are tense almost a month before an expected summit between the two countries’ leaders. AFP photo

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is meeting his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing in the final leg of his East Asia tour, which has been dominated by anxieties over North Korea.

On Friday, Mr Tillerson warned Pyongyang that a military response would be on the table if it threatened South Korea or US forces.

President Donald Trump tweeted that North Korea was “behaving very badly”.

He added that China – Pyongyang’s main ally – had done “little to help”.

Beijing is likely to express its anger at being told to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea during Mr Tillerson’s visit.

Media captionHow do you solve a problem like North Korea?

It will also voice its opposition to a new US missile defence system installed in South Korea earlier this month.

Collision course: By Carrie Gracie, BBC China editor

Recent North Korean missile tests have only raised the stakes for Mr Tillerson’s talks in Beijing.

President Trump has again suggested China is not doing enough to help.

But the Chinese government insists it already observes UN sanctions against Pyongyang and bristles at the deployment of a new American anti-missile system in South Korea.

Beijing says all players on the Korean peninsula are like accelerating trains on a collision course. It warns that the only way to make North Korea disarm is through dialogue… which is something the US secretary of state has already ruled out.

As the first senior Trump administration official to visit China, Mr Tillerson will also discuss plans for a possible presidential summit next month. The timing is hardly auspicious.

China’s global gamble in era of Trump

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The US says the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (Thaad) is designed to protect against threats from North Korea.

But China has claimed the system goes “far beyond” the defence needs of the Korean peninsula.

Mr Tillerson, a former oil executive with no prior diplomatic experience, is scheduled to meet China’s two most senior diplomats on Saturday. On Sunday, he will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mr Xi is scheduled to visit the United States next month for his first meeting with President Trump.

Some commentators expect Mr Tillerson to downplay any tensions between the two countries ahead of that encounter.

However, a US official told Reuters that Mr Tillerson may raise the prospect of imposing “secondary sanctions” on Chinese banks and other firms that do business with North Korea in defiance of sanctions.

North Korea launched four ballistic missiles last week, and is working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the US.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-39313654

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