‘CHINA SHOULD STAY NEU­TRAL IF NORTH KOREA FIRES FIRST’

Com­ments on state-run China daily come amid Trump’s step up in rhetoric

New Straits Times - - News | Region -

BEI­JING and the US re­tal­i­ates, China will stay neu­tral,” the Global Times, which is widely read but does not rep­re­sent gov­ern­ment pol­icy, said in an ed­i­to­rial.

“If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to over­throw the North Korean regime and change the po­lit­i­cal pat­tern of the Korean Penin­sula, China will pre­vent them from do­ing so.”

China’s For­eign Min­istry re­it­er­ated a call for all par­ties to speak and act cau­tiously and do more to ease the sit­u­a­tion, rather than go­ing down the “old path” of ex­changes of shows of force and con­tin­u­ally ris­ing ten­sion.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency said on Thurs­day its army would com­plete plans in mid-Au­gust to fire four in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­siles over Ja­pan to land near Guam.

Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was not go­ing to get away with his “hor­rific” com­ments and dis­re­spect­ing the US.

“Let’s see what he does with Guam. He does some­thing in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which no­body’s seen be­fore, what will hap­pen in North Korea,” Trump told re­porters in New Jersey, with­out of­fer­ing specifics.

Shortly af­ter Trump spoke, US De­fence Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis said the US still pre­ferred a diplo­matic ap­proach to the North Korean threat and that a war would be “cat­a­strophic”.

Asked if the United States was ready if North Korea made a hos­tile act, he said: “We are ready.”

Ten­sion in the re­gion has risen since the reclu­sive North staged two nu­clear bomb tests last year and launched two in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests in July in de­fi­ance of world pow­ers. Trump had said he would not al­low Py­ongyang to de­velop a nu­clear weapon ca­pa­ble of hit­ting the US.

The threat from Py­ongyang prompted South Korea to beef up its mil­i­tary mus­cle amid fears of a clash along the world’s most mil­i­tarised bor­der, its fron­tier with the North. Seoul was look­ing at build­ing more pow­er­ful mis­siles and a nu­clear-pow­ered sub­ma­rine, of­fi­cials said.

The US and South Korea re­main tech­ni­cally still at war with North Korea af­ter the 1950-53 Korean con­flict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Ex­perts said if North Korea did launch in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­siles to­wards Guam, all its other mis­siles and ar­tillery would be ready for ac­tion. “We should be pre­pared too,” said Kim Dongyub, a mil­i­tary ex­pert at Kyung­nam Univer­sity’s In­sti­tute of Far Eastern Stud­ies in Seoul.

Ja­pan was also build­ing up mis­sile de­fences and con­sid­ered the ac­qui­si­tion of mu­ni­tions that would al­low it to strike at North Korean mis­sile sites. Reuters

AFP PIC

Ser­vice per­son­nel of the Min­istry of Peo­ple’s Se­cu­rity at a rally in sup­port of North Korea’s stance against the United States, in Py­ongyang on Thurs­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.