Chinese Bombers 'On High Alert' For Possible 'North Korea Contingency'

Japan seeks to salvage TPP after US withdrawal from trade deal

Yuya Shino Reuters

With North Korean state media threatening to launch a "super-mighty preemptive strike", that would reduce South Korea and the United States "to ashes", Gordon Chang, author of the 2006 bestseller "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World", says there are "bad signs" going forward.

North Korea has also made such threats before as well but now China's patience with their one-time ally in Pyongyang is "wearing thin" and escalating the situation, according to TJ Pempel, a political science professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

North Korea has constantly threatened to destroy Japan, South Korea and the United States and never softened its belligerent stand after a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after putting on a huge display of missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.

It would also demand an immediate end to the North's nuclear and missile tests, threaten to take "further significant measures"-U.N. code for new sanctions-and state that North Korea's illegal activities "are greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond".

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said during a visit to London the military option must be part of the pressure brought to bear.

"In my opinion, the most plausible explanation for this is that North Korea blinked", Everard writes.

Meanwhile, China is also opposed to the United States military's presence in South Korea, protesting the recent decision to begin deploying elements of the THAAD missile defense system.

The Pentagon has also dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson strike group to the Korean Peninsula. "Although it is possible the extensive preparations around its nuclear test site were intended only to wind up the global community, it seems more likely that the North Koreans did indeed plan a nuclear test Saturday but desisted, probably because they assessed the risks of serious retaliation were too great".

Such statements by the 15-member council have to be agreed by a consensus.

The statement also welcomed worldwide efforts to find a "peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue". The latest draft statement dropped "through dialogue" and Russian Federation requested it be included again.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China opposed words or actions that could further raise tension.

"Speaking with one voice is extremely important to the Security Council appropriately responding to the relevant issue on the peninsula", he told reporters.

He told a news conference with the visiting prime minister of Italy on Thursday that the United States was "in very good shape" on North Korea and that China's Xi, whom he met this month for a summit in Florida, was working hard to help. "A lot of things have happened over the last short period of time". It was now heading for the Western Pacific as ordered, it said.

The Trump administration has repeatedly said in recent weeks that all options are on the table, including military strikes, if necessary.

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