Waking up to the North Korean nuclear nightmare
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 18, 2017,
Mar 18, 2017, 17:25
The X-band radar, a core element of the US missile defense system dubbed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), will arrive in South Korea on March 16, a local broadcaster KBS reported on Wednesday.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told a joint news conference the missile system was only meant to defend against North Korea, not any other country.
Tillerson was speaking after visiting the heavily militarized border between the rival Koreas. These discussions will be closely watched, since North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the ocean off Japan just last week.
China resents United States pressure to do more on North Korea and says it is doing all it can but will not take steps to threatened the livelihoods of the North Korean people.
The communist state has accelerated its weapons development, violating multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and appearing undeterred by tough global sanctions.
Also Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted: "North Korea is behaving very badly".
Instead, Tillerson will test Chinese receptiveness to the idea of tougher measures on North Korea, while attempting to calm fears of an imminent trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.
Tillerson, who had dinner with Trump at the White House on Monday, will fly without the normal press contingent on his plane that has traditionally accompanied US secretaries of state since the days of Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. Park had been in lockstep with Washington's efforts to isolate North Korea. -China tensions, particularly over USA policy vis-à-vis Taiwan, had abated for the time being.
Beijing has not said it is targeting South Korea over THAAD, but all signs point to South Korea's defense plans with the U.S.as the reason behind China's actions.
A 63-year-old human rights lawyer, Moon has said he will extend an olive branch to North Korea if elected and visit Pyongyang before making a trip to the United States.
US and South Korean military chiefs warned on Tuesday that the North might conduct further "provocative actions" over Foal Eagle, while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday urged the soothing of tensions and a return to dialogue.
Adding to the combustible mix of military tension and the region's historic rivalries is another factor-confusion about USA foreign policy under the Trump administration. During last year's election campaign, Trump asked whether allies like Japan and South Korea contribute enough for their own defense or should get their own nuclear weapons.
For the moment, however, relations do appear to still be following the trajectory set by Obama, who focused on exerting pressure on the North through strengthening regional alliances, tougher economic sanctions in response to nuclear tests or missile launches and a flat refusal to talk without Pyongyang first taking concrete moves toward denuclearization.
However, the premier did indicate that China was growing tired of the constant tensions and threats of conflict surrounding its formerly close communist neighbor. With the exception of a single tweet responding to an exaggerated North Korean claim that Pyongyang can reach the continental US with an intercontinental ballistic missile, he has been sober and focused. The State Department Correspondents' Association expressed disappointment Wednesday that Tillerson was traveling to Asia without a full contingent of the diplomatic press corps or even a pool reporter on his plane-although he did take a reporter from the conservative-leaning website the Independent Journal Review. In November, the U.S. Forces Korea expected to finish the deployment between June and August.
That could range from pre-emptive attacks on its nuclear facilities and precision strikes aimed at killing its leaders to negotiation-based diplomatic engagement.
Tillerson touched down at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, 70 miles south of the capital, Friday morning for his second of three-leg trip in Asia.
The environmental pollution resulting from a failure to control a nuclear explosion in a small country like North Korea will nearly be an apocalypse, he said. A March 2 editorial in the Communist Party newspaper Global Times characterized the Korean Peninsula as "probably at its most risky time and as close to being out of control since the end of the Korean War".