China warns U.S., North Korea to cool growing tensions

Jay Jacobs
April 16, 2017

North Korea displayed what appeared to be new long-range and submarine-based missiles on the 105th birth anniversary of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, on Saturday, as a nuclear-powered USA aircraft carrier group steamed towards the region.

Tensions would be high anyway in the run up to Saturday's "Day of the Sun", when the North Korean state celebrates the anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il-sung. U.S., South Korean and other officials are closely monitoring the North amid indications it could conduct another missile test or nuclear explosion to coincide with an important national anniversary this weekend.

The US and North Korea have thus been stuck in a position of mutual deterrence, which has stopped the outbreak of major new hostilities but not prevented Pyongyang's steady advance towards the capacity to directly threaten the continental US, and Europe for that matter, with nuclear weapons.

"North Korea is a problem", Trump said at the White House.

North Korea conducted two such tests a year ago alone, which analysts say would have taken the country a step forward in gaining the knowledge to make nuclear weapons small enough to fit on long-range missiles.

"No nation in the world develops missiles and shows the real thing during a parade, it's just too unsafe", Markus Schiller, a weapons expert with ST Analytics, told CNN that parades always involve "mock-ups".

Kim, a 30-something leader who took power in late 2011, emphasizes nuclear weapons as the foundation of his national defense strategy.

He said the North may have a handful of plutonium-based warheads it can mount on medium-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching South Korea and Japan. "So that's why. It's not the DPRK but the US and Trump that makes trouble", he said, using the abbreviation for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as North Korea is officially known. In a moment we'll hear more about North Korea's weapons capabilities.

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Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who commanded USA forces in Korea, wanted to attack the North with a nuclear weapon. In addition to flowers and fireworks, celebrations on or around April 15 are often used to show off North Korea's military might.

Choe Ryong Hae said President Donald Trump was guilty of "creating a war situation" on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching US forces to the region. "The Trump administration's policy is the most hostile ever", said Ryol.

Pang Zhongying of the School of International Studies at Beijing's Renmin University agreed that military action was unlikely, but said another North Korean nuclear test would mark "the crossing of a red line" that China was prepared to respond to.

Besides range, experts also worry about North Korea developing solid fuel for its missiles. He added that North Korea will keep building up its nuclear arsenal in "quality and quantity" and said Pyongyang is ready to go to war if that's what Trump wants.

But the first two came to pass, even if we still can't quite believe it, and now we are on to the third, most worrying of all, scenario.

Concern has grown since the US Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week, in response to a deadly gas attack. Another nuclear test would invite tougher measures from Beijing, Guo said.

Discussion this week about possible USA military action against the North has referred to the cruise missile strike against a Syrian airbase that Trump ordered last week, and the mammoth single bomb airstrike an American warplane carried out Thursday against an Islamic State bunker complex in northeastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border. And it's a day that in previous years North Korea has staged big parades and weapons tests.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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