US possible on N/Korea unsettles China

Tillerson did not offer specifics on what those actions might be, but said in Seoul last month that the U.S. would consider military action against North Korea if it was provoked.

President Donald Trump, fresh from a missile strike on Syria that was widely interpreted as a warning to North Korea, has asked his advisors for a range of options to rein in its ambitions, a top U.S. official said on Sunday.

Monday's meeting in Seoul between China's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei and his South Korean counterpart Kim Hong-kyun also came as a U.S. naval strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson headed to the region in a show of force. "We feel the increased presence is necessary", the official said.

The meeting is being held at a time when North Korea is undergoing irreversible domestic changes, including the rapid growth of marketplaces where privatization is becoming the main source of livelihood for ordinary North Koreans.

Wu Dawei, China's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, will meet with his South Korean counterpart later today to discuss the nuclear issue, Seoul's foreign ministry said.

Media outlets have, in the past, reported that China has moved troops to the border after various incidents, such as the assassination of Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-nam.

It was also the first visit to South Korea by a senior Chinese official since the planned deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system led to a diplomatic row between Beijing and Seoul.

China on Monday called on all parties to "show self-restraint" and avoid worsening the situation, two days after a group of United States warships were ordered to change course and head to the waters off the Korean peninsula.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the East China Sea last week ahead of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

The North has long claimed the preparing some kind of assault against it and justifies its nuclear weapons as defensive in nature.

"Some forces are loud-mouthed that the recent USA military attack on Syria is an action of warning to us", the statement continued. "If America says it is going to attack, both Japan and South Korea will probably put a stop to it", said the source who declined to be identified.

The 45-minute talks were requested by the USA government to explain the Syria attack.

South Korean and US forces are also involved in annual joint military drills that run until the end of April.

Fudan University professor of global relations Shen Dingli pointed out that Trump would not have ordered an attack on Syria if it had nuclear weapons like North Korea.

China had some fiery criticisms against President Donald Trump's missile strike on Syria, although it first waited for Chinese President Xi to leave the US before it delivered its statements.

  • Leroy Wright