France to send big ship for Pacific naval drill U.S. OUT OF PATIENCE
Military action ‘on the table’ to deal with North Korea, says secretary of state
TOKYO: In a display of military power aimed at China, France will dispatch one of its powerful Mistral amphibious carriers to lead drills on and around Tinian island in the western Pacific, with Japanese and United States personnel and two troop-carrying helicopters sent by Britain, two sources told Reuters.
“Rather than just being a naval exercise, this amphibious exercise will send a clear message to China,” said one of the sources.
The exercise will take place in the second and third week of May. As China’s military strength grows, Beijing is extending its influence into the Pacific.
AUNITED States policy of strategic patience with North Korea has ended, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in South Korea yesterday, adding that military action would be “on the table” if North Korea elevated the threat level.
Tillerson began his first Asian visit as secretary of state in Japan on Wednesday, and will travel to China today with a main focus on finding a “new approach” on North Korea after what he described as two
The move worries Japan and the US, but is also a concern for France, which controls several Pacific islands, including New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
Administered by the US, Tinian is part of the Northern Mariana Islands, which include Guam, lying about 2,500km south of here.
London in October dispatched four of its Typhoon jet fighters to Japan to train with the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force.
The British aircraft flew over the disputed South China Sea on the way back to assert over-flight rights over a region most of which is claimed by Beijing. Reuters decades of failed efforts to denuclearise the insular nation.
“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson said.
He said any North Korean actions that threatened the South would be met with “an appropriate response”.
Tillerson also called on China to implement sanctions against North Korea and said there was no need for China to punish South Korea for deploying an advanced US anti-missile Thaad system aimed at defending against North Korea.
“We believe these actions are unnecessary and troubling,” Tillerson said, referring to what South Korea sees as Chinese retaliation in the form of business restrictions.
Earlier, Tillerson visited the Demilitarised Zone, and looked across the heavily fortified border at armed North Korean guards, staring back.
He met some of the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea.
Tillerson also met Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is also acting president.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying reiterated that talks were the best way to resolve the problems of the Korean peninsula.
Hua also said the Thaad missile system would “upset the regional strategic balance”.
“We do not oppose South Korean taking necessary measures to protect its security, but these measures cannot be based upon harming the security interests of South Korea’s friendly neighbour, China,” she said.
In Tokyo, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov urged an end to a “vicious circle” on North Korea, claiming tough US reactions to nuclear tests by Pyongyang escalate tensions on the peninsula.
“We suggest looking at the situation in a multi-dimensional way in order to break the vicious circle of tensions,” he told Japan’s JiJi Press in an interview posted on the ministry’s site yesterday.
He said “in response to North Korean nuclear missile ‘experiments’, the US and its allies take steps to bolster exercises and other military activity, which in turn, pushes Pyongyang to new provocative actions.” Agencies
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (second from right) visiting the Demilitarised Zone in South Korea yesterday as a North Korean guard films the event in the background.