China urges pru­dence on Korean Penin­sula is­sue

US pres­sure forces NK to de­velop nukes: ex­pert

Global Times - Weekend - - TOP NEWS - By Liu Xin

China on Fri­day urged all par­ties to act pru­dently to ease ten­sions on the Korean Penin­sula af­ter North Korea blamed the US for fly­ing a strate­gic bomber over the penin­sula.

“We have heard state­ments to ease the tense sit­u­a­tion on the Korean Penin­sula and oth­ers which es­ca­late ten­sions … China hopes all par­ties could act and speak pru­dently when the sit­u­a­tion on the penin­sula is frag­ile and com­pli­cated … [all par­ties] should make more ef­forts to en­hance mu­tual trust and ease ten­sions,” For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son Hua Chun­y­ing told a press brief­ing on Fri­day.

A for­ma­tion of B-1B nu­clear strate­gic bombers sta­tioned at An­der­son Air Force Base in Guam flew into South Korea on Thurs­day “to con­duct a nu­clear bomb sim­u­lated at­tack drill on ma­jor tar­gets in North Korea,” the of­fi­cial (North) Korean Cen­tral News Agency (KCNA) re­ported on Fri­day.

“The grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion” is that the air­craft car­rier USS Ron­ald Rea­gan re­mains in wa­ters around the Korean Penin­sula af­ter fin­ish­ing joint naval ex­er­cises with South Korea, while two other air­craft car­ri­ers, USS Theodore Roo­sevelt and USS Nimitz, are also in the US 7th Fleet’s area of op­er­a­tions, the KCNA said.

“This clearly shows that the US is ag­gra­vat­ing the sit­u­a­tion on the Korean Penin­sula and seek­ing to spark a nu­clear war,” KCNA added.

Hua also said on Fri­day now that all par­ties agreed that a peace­ful so­lu­tion of the Korean Penin­sula is­sue ben­e­fits all, “we should work to­gether to re­turn to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble to en­hance mu­tual trust and un­der­stand­ing by com­mu­ni­cat­ing and to find a bal­anced so­lu­tion to sat­isfy each party’s con­cerns.”

“The B-1B strate­gic bombers are ca­pa­ble of drop­ping nu­clear and con­ven­tional weapons on tar­gets in North Korea. This ex­er­cise is part of a US strat­egy to com­bine air and naval power in the re­gion,” Song Zhong­ping, a Phoenix TV com­men­ta­tor, told the Global Times on Fri­day.

The “con­tin­u­ous bomber pres­ence” was planned in ad­vance and was “not in re­sponse to any cur­rent event,” CNN quoted Air Force spokesper­son Cap­tain Candice Dil­litte as say­ing.

“Thurs­day’s ex­er­cise is ex­ert­ing strong mil­i­tary pres­sure. North Korea does not have the ca­pa­bil­ity to at­tack B-1B strate­gic bombers. The US has con­ducted sim­i­lar mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with B-1B strate­gic bombers in the re­gion, which shows that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is pre­par­ing to take mil­i­tary ac­tion in the re­gion,” Song said.

B-1B bombers from Guam have been seen reg­u­larly over the Korean Penin­sula – run­ning reg­u­lar train­ing flights with Ja­panese and South Korean fighter jets, CNN re­ported.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s goal is to pres­sure North Korea to give in, which would es­ca­late ten­sions in the re­gion, Jin Jingyi, a Pek­ing Univer­sity ex­pert on North Korea, told the Global Times on Fri­day.

In re­sponse to US mil­i­tary pres­sure, North Korea will speed up its devel­op­ment of nu­clear weapons, es­pe­cially on the Hwa­song-14, an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile, to di­rectly at­tack US ter­ri­tory, Song said.

Aside from putting mil­i­tary pres­sure on North Korea, Trump also needs to strengthen its part­ner­ship with South Korea and Ja­pan, Song said, adding that the North Korean nu­clear is­sue will fig­ure promi­nently in Trump’s visit to the two coun­tries.

Trump ar­rives in Asia on Sun­day, start­ing with a visit to Ja­pan be­fore head­ing to South Korea, China, Viet­nam and the Philip­pines.

Trump hopes to in­crease in­ter­na­tional sup­port for ef­forts to de­prive North Korea of re­sources as lever­age to co­erce it to give up nu­clear weapons, US of­fi­cials said.

“The president rec­og­nizes that we’re run­ning out of time [to deal with North Korea] and will ask all na­tions to do more,” White House na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser HR McMaster told re­porters at a brief­ing in Washington.

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