Xi tells Trump to use re­straint

N. Korea: Mil­lions keen to fight U.S.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - On the Web North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gram nwadg.com/ northko­rea

BEI­JING — Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping urged Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to ex­er­cise re­straint over ten­sions with North Korea dur­ing a phone call Fri­day night, Chi­nese state me­dia out­lets re­ported.

Af­ter a week of threats and coun­terthreats be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Py­ongyang, Xi urged both sides not to do any­thing that would ag­gra­vate ten­sions, China’s

CGTN state tele­vi­sion net­work re­ported.

But North Korea con­tin­ued to fuel ten­sion Sat­ur­day, with the Rodong Sin­mun news­pa­per re­port­ing that al­most 3½ mil­lion peo­ple, in­clud­ing stu­dents and re­tired sol­diers, have asked to join or re­join the

North Korean mil­i­tary to fight against the United States over the lat­est sanc­tions it en­cour­aged through the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.

“All the peo­ple are ris­ing up across the coun­try to re­tal­i­ate against the U.S. thou­sands of times,” said the news­pa­per, the mouth­piece of the rul­ing Work­ers’ Party. The re­port was likely blus­ter rather than fact, but it showed that the North Korean regime is not back­ing down in the face of Trump’s threats.

Mean­while, Japan fin­ished in­stalling sur­face­toair mis­sile in­ter­cep­tors in the western pre­fec­tures that North Korea said would be in the flight path of any mis­siles launched to­ward Guam, where North Korea is threat­en­ing an “en­velop­ing strike.”

The de­ploy­ment of four Pa­triot in­ter­cep­tors in the Shi­mane, Ehime, Hiroshima and Kochi pre­fec­tures be­gan Fri­day and in­stal­la­tion had been ex­pected to be com­pleted Sat­ur­day, a spokesman for Japan’s Min­istry of De­fense said.

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe told me­dia out­lets ear­lier on Sat­ur­day that he would “do his best” to pro­tect the lives and prop­erty of the Ja­panese peo­ple.

In South Korea, the gov­ern­ment be­gan the en­vi­ron­men­tal sur­vey needed to com­plete the in­stal­la­tion of the Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fense mis­sile de­fense sys­tem — a sign that the lib­eral gov­ern­ment is now try­ing to ex­pe­dite the de­ploy­ment.

In his phone call with Trump, Xi said China hoped the par­ties con­cerned would ex­er­cise re­straint and re­frain from tak­ing any ac­tion that will ag­gra­vate ten­sions on the penin­sula, ac­cord­ing to CGTN. Di­a­logue, ne­go­ti­a­tions and a po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment are the fun­da­men­tal ways of solv­ing the Korean Penin­sula’s nu­clear is­sue, Xi said dur­ing the call, which took place Sat­ur­day Bei­jing time.

“The Chi­nese leader ex­pressed Bei­jing’s will­ing­ness to main­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the U.S. to ap­pro­pri­ately re­solve the Korean Penin­sula nu­clear is­sue,” the net­work re­ported.

Trump has pushed China to pres­sure North Korea to halt a nu­clear weapons pro­gram that is near­ing the ca­pa­bil­ity of tar­get­ing the United States. China is the North’s big­gest eco­nomic part­ner and source of aid, but says it alone can’t com­pel Py­ongyang to end its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams.

The White House said in a state­ment that Trump and Xi “agreed North Korea must stop its provoca­tive and es­ca­la­tory be­hav­ior.” It also said that the two “re­it­er­ated their mu­tual com­mit­ment to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula.”

Trump, who is sched­uled to visit China later this year, on Tues­day threat­ened to re­spond to fur­ther threats from North Korea by un­leash­ing “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Py­ongyang in turn said it could strike the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Guam in the Western Pa­cific with bal­lis­tic mis­siles. In his lat­est salvos in the war of words, Trump said Fri­day that the U.S. mil­i­tary was “locked and loaded” and that North Korea would “truly re­gret it” if it at­tacked Guam.

NEW TALKS URGED

China has viewed the ris­ing ten­sions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Py­ongyang with some alarm, and has re­peat­edly urged di­a­logue to lower ten­sions. Al­though China sup­ported stiffer United Na­tions sanc­tions last week­end af­ter re­peated North Korean mis­sile tests, Chi­nese of­fi­cials also want a restart of six-party talks, which stalled in 2009. Those talks would in­volve North and South Korea, the United States, China, Rus­sia and Japan.

China ar­gues that Wash­ing­ton’s long-stand­ing bel­liger­ence to­ward North Korea helps ex­plain why the regime has cho­sen to de­velop a nu­clear weapons pro­gram — dodg­ing its own re­spon­si­bil­ity for prop­ping up the North Korean gov­ern­ment.

Xi “stressed that China and the U.S. share the same in­ter­ests on the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and peace on the Korean Penin­sula,” CGTN said.

But China is deeply re­sis­tant to do­ing any­thing that could desta­bi­lize or top­ple the regime in Py­ongyang. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has worked to pre­vent a uni­fied Korean state al­lied to the United States, go­ing back to the 1950-53 Korean War that saw hun­dreds of thou­sands of Chi­nese sol­diers die. China re­mains North Korea’s ma­jor trad­ing part­ner, pro­vid­ing the regime’s eco­nomic life­line.

In an ed­i­to­rial Fri­day, China’s state-owned Global Times news­pa­per warned that China won’t go to North Korea’s aid if it launches mis­siles threat­en­ing U.S. soil and there is re­tal­i­a­tion — but that China would in­ter­vene if Wash­ing­ton strikes first.

“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches mis­siles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U. S. re­tal­i­ates, China will stay neu­tral,” the Global Times wrote. “If the U.S. 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.”

As ten­sion mounted last week, Japan pre­pared for the mis­sile launches, which North Korea in­di­cated could hap­pen this month.

Two events could pro­vide trig­gers. North Korea on Tues­day will cel­e­brate “Lib­er­a­tion Day,” mark­ing Japan’s de­feat in World War II and the end of its col­o­niza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula. Then the United States and South Korea on Aug. 21 will be­gin joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises.

Called Ulchi- Free­dom Guardian, the ex­er­cises are ex­pected to run un­til Aug. 31 and in­volve tens of thou­sands of Amer­i­can and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air. North Korea claims the ex­er­cises are a re­hearsal for war, but Wash­ing­ton and Seoul say they are nec­es­sary to de­ter North Korean ag­gres­sion.

GUAM TOURISM

In an­nounc­ing that it might si­mul­ta­ne­ously fire four in­ter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­siles over western Japan to­ward Guam, North Korea listed the pre­fec­tures of Hiroshima, Shi­mane and Kochi as on the flight path.

Japan’s navy al­ready has Aegis de­stroy­ers ready to shoot down any mis­siles fly­ing over, but the air force on Sat­ur­day de­ployed Pa­triot Ad­vanced Ca­pa­bil­ity-3 mis­siles, which have a range of about 12 miles, to the ar­eas in case the mis­siles fall over Japan.

“North Korea says it will tar­get Guam, but it is pos­si­ble that the mis­siles will fail to fol­low their pro­grammed tra­jec­to­ries due to an er­ror,” a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said, ac­cord­ing to the Asahi news­pa­per.

In a phone call made pub­lic Sat­ur­day, Trump told Guam Gov. Ed­die Calvo that the threat by North Korea will boost Guam tourism “ten­fold.”

The record­ing was put on the Repub­li­can gov­er­nor’s Face­book page and other so­cial me­dia ac­counts.

Trump said: “I have to tell you, you have be­come ex­tremely fa­mous all over the world. They are talk­ing about Guam; and they’re talk­ing about you.” And when it comes to tourism, he added, “I can say this: You’re go­ing to go up, like, ten­fold with the ex­pen­di­ture of no money.”

Ef­forts to reach the White House on Sat­ur­day for com­ment were not im­me­di­ately suc­cess­ful.

Mean­while, the South Korean gov­ern­ment on Sat­ur­day be­gan a for­mal en­vi­ron­men­tal sur­vey about the mis­sile-de­fense sys­tem de­ploy­ment, which has been con­tro­ver­sial in the south­ern ru­ral area where it is sta­tioned.

Lib­eral Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in, elected in May, had vowed to con­duct an en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view of the de­ploy­ment, which he had ques­tioned while on the cam­paign trail. But the events of the past few weeks, es­pe­cially North Korea’s fir­ing of two in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles last month, have caused Moon to do an about-face.

Al­though the bat­tery would not be able to shoot down long- range mis­siles, it is meant to pro­tect South Korea from North Korean rock­ets aimed at the coun­try.

In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Si­mon Denyer, Anna Fi­field and Shirley Feng of The Wash­ing­ton Post; Min Jeong Lee and Takashi Amano of Bloomberg News; Eric Tal­madge, Jonathan Lemire, Josh Le­d­er­man, Matthew Pen­ning­ton and Lolita C. Bal­dor of The As­so­ci­ated Press; and by Mar-Vic Cagurangan and Glenn Thrush of The New York Times.

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