Trump praises China on NoKor; Py­ongyang warns of strike

The Philippine Star - - WORLD NEWS -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump praised Chi­nese ef­forts to rein in “the men­ace of North Korea” on Thurs­day, after North Korean state me­dia warned the United States of a “su­per­mighty pre­emp­tive strike.”

Trump told a news con­fer­ence “some very un­usual moves have been made over the last two or three hours,” and that he was con­fi­dent Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping would “try very hard” to pres­sure Beijing’s ally and neigh­bor North Korea over its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams.

While Trump gave no in­di­ca­tion of what the moves might be, US of­fi­cials told Reuters that the United States was aware of a higher-than-usual level of ac­tiv­ity by Chi­nese bombers, sig­nal­ing a pos­si­ble height­ened state of readi­ness. The of­fi­cials played down con­cerns and left open a range of pos­si­ble rea­sons.

Those pos­si­bil­i­ties in­cluded de­fen­sive ex­er­cises or Chi­nese con­cerns over North Korea. None of the of­fi­cials, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, sug­gested alarm or sig­naled that they knew the pre­cise rea­son for such Chi­nese ac­tiv­ity.

US of­fi­cials have been say­ing for weeks that North Korea could soon stage an­other nu­clear bomb test, some­thing both the United States and China have both warned against.

Trump has taken a hard line with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has pro­ceeded with nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams in de­fi­ance of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil sanc­tions. The United States and South Korea are tech­ni­cally still at war with North Korea be­cause their 1950-53 con­flict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Ten­sions have risen sharply in re­cent months after North Korea con­ducted two nu­clear weapons tests last year and car­ried out a steady stream of bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests. Trump, who took of­fice in Jan­uary, has vowed to pre­vent North Korea from be­ing able to hit the United States with a nu­clear mis­sile.

Trump has fo­cused his ef­forts on North Korea on try­ing to per­suade China to put more pres­sure on its ally and could view any un­usual Chi­nese mil­i­tary move­ments as sup­port­ive of this.

He told a news con­fer­ence with the vis­it­ing prime min­is­ter of Italy on Thurs­day that the United States was “in very good shape” on North Korea and that China’s Xi, whom he met this month for a sum­mit in Florida, was work­ing hard to help.


North Korean sol­diers march and shout slo­gans dur­ing a mil­i­tary pa­rade mark­ing the 105th birth an­niver­sary of the coun­try’s found­ing fa­ther Kim Il-sung in Py­ongyang on Sun­day.

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