Pence says US set on ensuring nuclear-free Korea
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 19, 2017,
Apr 19, 2017, 12:59
Pence arrived in South Korea just hours after North Korea launched its latest ballistic missile - which exploded within a few seconds - and amid a weekend of fanfare in North Korea, during which the regime showed off what appeared to be new missiles created to reach the United States.
The other called for a freeze on US-South Korean military exercises and a freeze on DPRK missile and nuclear tests.
According to the report, the option has been presented to Congress by Defense Secretary James Mattis but the military has not yet chose to act.
The official pointed out the recent engagement with the Chinese, and the stronger language calling for more Chinese pressure on North Korea, is the most immediate impact of that review.
The North Korea UN ambassador condemned the USA naval buildup in the waters off the Korean Peninsula, plus the US missile attacks on Syria.
Former South Korea nuclear envoy Chun Yung-woo, who later served as vice-foreign minister, gave a less flattering assessment, calling Wu China's "most incompetent official", citing his lack of English and stalwart adherence to China's party line, according to a 2010 U.S. diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks.
In particular, between Trump's early calls for strategic partners such Japan and South Korea to cover more of the costs of supporting USA troops on their shores, his decision to withdraw the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, and his administration's recent statements and actions in response to North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Trump has helped put the typically slow-moving and carefully managed geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific in flux.
In Tokyo, there is still hope that the core of the agreement, thrashed out between the United States and Japan and meant to counterbalance China's regional economic power, can be salvaged in some form. It has said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturising a nuclear warhead.
Meanwhile a report in the Guardian newspaper quoted unnamed officials as saying the U.S. was considering shooting down North Korean missile tests as a show of strength.
North Korea Deputy United Nations Ambassador Kim In Ryong speaks to the media at the U.N. on April 17, 2017 in New York City.
The administration's shift in tone is notable - Pence also told CNN that Pyongyang "would do well not to test Trump's resolve" - and it's possible that Trump has pushed Beijing to pressure its unpredictable ally and trade partner.
"The Chinese often express frustration with North Korea, and disappointment".
A sales manager for a Sinotruck dealer, Zhongnanhai, said the company exports about 1,000 trucks to North Korea every year under contracts that specify the vehicles are designed and manufactured for civilian use.
During lunch at the Prime Minister's residence, Pence and Abe agreed that China needs to play a bigger role to keep North Korea in check and thus prevent the onset of a nuclear war.
Pyongyang also vowed to continue its missile tests whenever it suits the country. On April 5, the South Korean military reported a North Korea missile test in Sinpho, South Hamgyong province, after which the Japanese and South Korean governments both held emergency meetings. One called for "dual-track" talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and replacing the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War with a formal peace treaty.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing on Monday that the Korean peninsula was "highly sensitive, complicated and high risk" and that all sides should "avoid taking provocative actions that pour oil on the fire". When asked about his next move, he said, "You'll see". This will undoubtedly have consequences for diplomacy, but what those consequences will be with seemingly impulsive diplomatic mavericks - like Trump and Kim Jong-un - in control is impossible to say. Likewise, in scheduled "listening sessions" with business leaders from each country - and, in particular, by formally opening the U.S.