China urges prudence on Korean Peninsula issue
US pressure forces NK to develop nukes: expert
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.