07:07 GMT +314 December 2019
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    US Mounts Pressure on China by Inflating N Korean Threat

    © AFP 2019 / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI
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    Prior to talks between United States President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on April 6-7 in Florida, Washington is increasing pressure on Beijing, including fueling tensions around the North Korean nuclear problem.

    Earlier, South Korean media reported that Pyongyang fired a projectile presumed to be a missile in the Sea of Japan as Japanese, South Korean and US forces hold drills in the region. Later, the US Pacific Command said that the projectile was a ballistic missile, probably a KN-15 medium-range missile.

    South Korean troops are on full combat alert in order to respond to any provocations by North Korea following recent missile tests carried out by Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday in a statement.

    On Tuesday, a White House official said "time has run out" regarding North Korea's nuclear development, adding that "all options are on the table."

    In an interview with Sputnik Korea, Kwak Tae-Hwan from the Korea Institute for National Unification pointed out that American and South Korean media outlets have expressed unprecedented concerns over Pyongyang’s maneuvers.

    According to him, the missile launch on April 5 can be regarded as a response to the US and South Korean joint naval drills. Earlier, US and South Korean media reported that North Korea may carry out a preemptive nuclear strike. Reports described the launch as a provocation.

    "By giving the impression of a tense military situation prior to talks with China, the US wants to fuel tensions in East Asia and, possibly, hopes that if tensions remain steady they could have an advantage during the talks," Kwak Tae-Hwan suggested.

    According to him, taking into account the fact that nuclear weapons are needed only to prevent nuclear war, the chance of a nuclear conflict between the US and China as well as the US and North Korea is extremely low.

    He added that due to the complexity of the matter, during the upcoming talks Washington and Beijing will focus instead on economic issues and are likely to make progress on trade differences.

    "The North Korean issue is unlikely to be resolved at the talks. It is too complicated. Progress will be possible only after a new government comes to power in South Korea in May," the expert said.

    Emanuel Pastreich, an associate professor at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, assumed that the current situation is mostly due to the uncertainty of Washington’s foreign policy after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    "This is in the style of Trump. The US and North Korea will not sit around doing nothing. Each of the sides will try doing something it has not done before," Pastreich told Sputnik Korea.

     

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    Tags:
    tensions, talks, media, Donald Trump, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), South Korea, China, United States
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