China welcomes USA saying it's open to talks on North Korea

Nick Mcbride
April 28, 2017

South Korea's military said Tuesday that North Korea held major live-fire drills in an area around its eastern coastal town of Wonsan as it marked the anniversary of the founding of its military.

"North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority", said the statement, issued by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

There's also a chance that, instead of a nuclear test, North Korea would attempt to send another satellite into space, as it did in 2012 and again previous year.

China on Thursday welcomed an apparently softer tone by the United States on the North Korean nuclear and missile crisis but stressed its opposition to a USA missile defence system being deployed in South Korea.

In an unusual move, Mr Tillerson and security officials briefed the entire Senate and House separately on Wednesday on the North Korea issue. Asked how long the administration is prepared to wait for positive signs from Pyongyang, she said: "We would want to see some results from this campaign in a matter of months, not a matter of years".

"There was a definite degree of resolve that we've got a bad situation on our hands and they're ratcheting up the importance of this", said one Republican senator, who spoke on condition of anonymity to candidly discuss a private meeting. The Obama administration attempted to resurrect them in 2012, but a deal to provide food aid in exchange for a nuclear freeze soon collapsed.

President Donald Trump aims to "pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners", the statement read.

The US and North Korea have stepped up warnings to each other over North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missiles in defiance of United Nations resolutions.

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A statement released Wednesday says Japanese aircraft are integrated with ongoing training by the USS Carl Vinson's air wing. It made no specific mention of military options, though it said the US would defend itself and friends.

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But several members of Congress said the Administration remained vague and unclear about its efforts to confront Pyongyang beyond tougher talk from Trump. "I wouldn't bet my farm on it".

The South also said the deployment of a USA anti-missile defence system was moving ahead effectively a day after angry protests against the battery and fierce opposition from China.

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

Harris said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system being deployed in South Korea would be operational in the coming days, bolstering the ability to defend the US ally and the 28,500 USA troops stationed there.

Harris said he has adequate forces to "fight tonight" against North Korea if that were to become necessary.

South Korea has accused China of discriminating against some South Korean companies operating in China because of the deployment.

The US signal of a willingness to exhaust non-military avenues came as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group approached Korean waters, where it is to join the USS Michigan nuclear submarine.

"We do not have those kinds of weapons that can counter those rockets once they're launched", Harris said in response to a question from the committee's Republican chairman, Sen.

Other reports by VgToday

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