China Say America and North Korea are Headed to War
China has warned that North Korea and the United States are like two trains racing toward a head-on collision, calling on both sides to apply the brakes and avert a security crisis.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s warning came after a cascade of events that has sent regional tensions soaring, including provocative North Korean missile tests and annual US-South Korean wargames that infuriate Pyongyang.
Beijing is particularly concerned over an American missile-defense system being rolled out in South Korea as a shield against the North Korean threat, but which Wang said also undermines China’s strategic security.
He called on North Korea to suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the United States and South Korea halting the military exercises.
“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way,” Wang said yesterday at a press conference.
“The question is: are the two sides really ready for a head-on collision? Our priority now is to flash the red light and apply the brakes on both trains.”
Pyongyang blasted at least four missiles toward Japan on Monday, three of which splashed down in waters within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, saying they were tests for a possible strike on US bases in Japan.
Wang said China’s proposal could help bring the United States and North Korea back to negotiations on ending Pyongyang’s weapons programs.
But it mirrors past North Korean offers that were rejected by the United States, which said Pyongyang had no right to demand concessions in return for abiding by United Nations resolutions. Six sets of UN sanctions since Pyongyang’s first nuclear test in 2006 have failed to halt its drive for what it insists are defensive weapons. It held its most recent nuclear test last September.
The UN Security Council on Tuesday strongly condemned the launches as a grave violation of its resolutions barring North Korea from developing missile technology, and denounced Pyongyang’s increasingly destabilizing behavior. It vowed further measures.
Wang continued China’s hammering of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile-defense system, repeating Beijing’s strong opposition and calling on Seoul to cease and desist.
THAAD is designed to intercept and destroy short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.
Since the launches, US President Donald Trump has reiterated Washington’s “iron-clad commitment” to Japanese and South Korean security and threatened dire consequences for Pyongyang.
The US State Department said yesterday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Japan, South Korea and China starting next week, his first trip to the region, with talks to focus on the North Korean threat.
The South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group has come under growing pressure in China for providing a site for the THAAD system, triggering concerns of a broader backlash in China against Seoul.
Chinese authorities have shut down 39 of the 99 Lotte Mart retail outlets in the country over supposed fire-safety concerns, a Lotte spokesman has said, and Chinese travel agencies have said they were ordered to stop arranging Chinese tourist trips to South Korea.