Anger erupts in China and Korea over U.S. missile defence system

Nick Mcbride
April 28, 2017

The senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific said Thursday that the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he's ever seen, but he declined to compare the situation to the Cuban missile crisis decades ago.

Harris scoffed at Chinese objections, saying he believed it was "preposterous" that Beijing would try to push South Korea against a system to defend itself, and suggested Beijing should focus on trying to influence North Korea.

In New York, Yun is to join a special UNSC meeting on North Korean denuclearization to be chaired by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Indeed, Cha of CSIS notes that the U.S. has long reserved the right to act defensively against North Korea's provocations - for example, to shoot down a missile or explosive headed for sea or land where it could cause catastrophic harm.

Administration officials emphasised in a pair of private briefings - one open to all senators at the White House and one for House members on Capitol Hill - that they were developing a range of new economic, diplomatic and military measures in the wake of a series of provocations from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's regime.

In another move that will likely irk China, Harris said he thought there would be more US freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea "soon", and sought to separate the issue from North Korea.

The US is to tighten sanctions on North Korea and step up diplomatic moves aimed at pressuring the country to end its nuclear and missile programmes.

During his visit to NY, the foreign minister is also expected to sit together with his American and Japanese counterparts to bolster their collaboration on the issue.

But signaling that military action remains possible, Thornton has told a Washington think tank that the administration treats North Korea as its primary security challenge and is serious that "all options are on the table".

Adm Harris said he believed that North Korea would try to attack the United States as soon as it had the military capabilities.

On Thursday the South Korean defense ministry said THAAD is being deployed ahead of schedule to meet the increased North Korea nuclear and ballistic missile threat.

In a show of military might, the US has sent a massive amount of American weaponry to the region.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) after the meeting tweeted that it was "time to re-list" North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, following a Reuters report saying that the administration was considering doing so.

Although the statement emphasized diplomacy, Democratic Senator Christopher Coons told reporters after the White House briefing that military options were discussed.

'I remain mystified about why the entire Senate had to be taken over to the White House rather than conducting it here, ' he said.

The meeting occurred as the US continued to deploy parts of a missile defense system to South Korea, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

But several members of Congress said the Administration remained vague and unclear about its efforts to confront Pyongyang beyond tougher talk from Trump. In Berlin Wednesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said North Korea must suspend its nuclear activities, but "on the other side, the large-scale military maneuvers in Korean waters should be halted". They say it is exclusively aimed at defending against North Korea.

Leading South Korean presidential contenders have criticized the rushed deployment of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile system less than two weeks before their country's election.

Other reports by VgToday

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