Charles Krauthammer: Crisis With North Korea Requires Action

Nine out of 10 North Korean defectors said they were proud to be South Koreans, a survey showed Saturday.

Last week, following North Korea's announcement of preparations for another nuclear experiment, a senior-level USA official reported that military action is being examined.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday that North Korea's rhetoric was provocative, but he has learned not to trust it.

"It's a clear fact acknowledged by the global community that, for thousands of years in history, Korea has never been part of China", foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said at a briefing in Seoul on Thursday.

Tensions between the United States and the North have soared in recent weeks as a series of North Korean missile tests have wrought ever-more bellicose warnings from President Donald Trump's administration about curtailing its nuclear weapons programme.

A spokesperson for the North Korean Foreign Ministry told the ABC that Australia kept "spouting a string of rubbish" against North Korea, referencing Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's recent interview where she said that North Korea's nuclear weapons program is a "serious threat" to Australia, that it could be unsafe for us.

"The authorities of the Trump administration are spouting a load of rubbish calling for browbeating North Korea", the statement said, adding that the United States said it would deploy "a nuclear aircraft carrier and its strike groups in the waters off the Korean peninsula".

Seoul and Beijing are at loggerheads over the deployment of the U.S. missile defence system THAAD to the South to guard against threats from the North, infuriating China, which sees it as weakening its own capabilities.

"The result seems to reflect North Korean defectors' expectations and hope to start a new life in South Korea", said Chang In-sook, a researcher at the Korea Hana Foundation. The new book "North Korea and Nuclear Weapons" shows us how.

It comes as the docking of six North Korean ships at a port in northern China raised questions over a Chinese ban on coal imports.

North Korea's latest missile test fizzled last weekend, but it conducted two nuclear test explosions and 24 ballistic missile tests past year.

Mr Trump told a news conference that "some very unusual moves have been made over the last two or three hours", and that he is confident Chinese President Xi Jinping would "try very hard" to pressure North Korea. The cause of the restrictions or how long they might last were not immediately known. "The Chinese army is maintaining a normal combat readiness and training state on the border between China and North Korea".

Asked earlier about Trump's comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Xi and Trump had had a full and deep discussion about North Korea when they met this month. A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry likewise expressed "gratitude" for the Trump administration's "fuller and more correct understanding of China's policy and position".

Top U.S., South Korean and Japanese envoys are due to meet on Tuesday, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said, to "to maximize pressure on the North, and to ensure China's constructive role".

  • Joanne Flowers