“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump told Fox. “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”
The U.S. is looking forward to working with China to solve the North Korean nuclear threat, it says. But while Washington is mustering its forces in the Korean peninsula, Beijing insists on finding a peaceful solution to Pyongyang’s “denuclearization.”
Less than a week after U.S. President Donald Trump met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the two leaders once again engaged on April 12, where among other things they discussed the North Korean threat. “President Xi wants to do the right thing. We had a very good bonding, I think we had a very good chemistry together, I think he wants to help us with North Korea,” Trump said after a meeting with NATO’s chief in Washington.
“We talked trade, we talked a lot of things, and I said the way you’re going to make a good trade deal is to help us with North Korea, otherwise we’re just going to go it alone, that’ll be all right too, but going it alone means going with lots of other nations,” Trump said.
The Chinese leader says China is committed to the “denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula but “insists on preserving peace and stability.”
“China advocates to resolve the issue through peaceful means, and is willing to maintain communication and coordination with the U.S. on the Korean Peninsula issue,” President Xi’s readout said, as quoted by the Times magazine.
China has already begun to apply economic pressure on the North by refusing to import Pyongyang’s coal.
“I really think that China’s going to try very hard and has already started. A lot of the coal boats have already been turned back,” Trump told Fox Business Network on Wednesday, adding that “that’s a big step.”
China’s official Global Times daily said Beijing would support harsher UN sanctions against North Korea, including “strictly limiting” oil exports to Pyongyang.
U.S.-China rapprochement on the Korean issue comes after a series of Trump statements which explicitly stated that Washington might act alone if China refuses to participate in an American campaign against North Korea.
Following the U.S. surprise strike on a Syrian airbase on Friday, April 7– the first American action undertaken directly against President Bashar Assad – many expressed fears that Washington may opt to strike North Korea too. U.S. military buildup in the region suggests that direct military action against the North could be a real option for the new administration.
When asked by Fox on Wednesday of what his strategy is with the North, Trump said he doesn’t reveal those things. “I’m not like Obama,” the U.S. president said, criticizing the former administration for announcing plans to strike the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said earlier it is deeply concerned with U.S. policy over North Korea. “We are really worried about what Washington has in mind for North Korea after it hinted at the possibility of a unilateral military scenario,” the ministry said in a statement.
Unease over North Korea is growing with fears that Pyongyang may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test, possibly to coincide with Saturday’s 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founding father and grandfather of the current ruler.
While China insists on a peaceful solution, Washington continues to flex its muscles in the region. Last week Washington rerouted its Carl Vinson towards the Korean peninsula in a show of force. “We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump told Fox. “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”
Trump said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, that “he is doing the wrong thing.”
The U.S. president’s comments came the day after Pyongyang once again threatened to retaliate against the U.S. and its allies. “Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the U.S. mainland,” North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.
To exacerbate regional tensions even further, Japan is reportedly preparing to send several of its warships to join the U.S. armada, informed sources told both Reuters and the Kyodo news agencies. [Report below.]
Furthermore, Washington has sent a nuclear detection plane, the WC-135 Constant Phoenix to Kadena Air Base last Friday evening, Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the U.S. Armed Forces reported. The military plane specializes in radiation detection and collects air samples and debris after nuclear detonations using external flow-through devices.
Washington has allegedly sent Seal Team 6 – which killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011 – to participate in the Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises being conducted in the region from March 7 to April 30, JoongAng Daily reported Wednesday, citing South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense.
The Seal Team 6 will also be joined by the American Delta Force, which specializes in hostage rescue and counterterrorism. As part of the multinational force operation, both U.S. special forces teams will lead a rehearsal of removing Kim Jong-un and destroying of North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
“It will send a very strong message to North Korea, which is constantly carrying out military provocations,” a ministry official told JoongAng Daily.
Japan plans joint show of force with U.S. carrier headed to Korean peninsula: sources
TOKYO – Japan’s navy plans joint drills with the U.S. Navy’s Carl Vinson carrier strike group as it steams towards the Korean peninsula in a display of military power aimed at deterring the North Korean regime from further missile tests, two sources said.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (MSDF) may conduct helicopter landings on each other’s ships, as well as communication drills, as the USS Carl Vinson and its escort ships pass through waters close to Japanese territory, the sources said. “Japan wants to dispatch several destroyers as the Carl Vinson enters the East China Sea,” said one of the sources.
One of the people who spoke to Reuters has direct knowledge of the plan, while the other has been briefed on the exercises. MSDF officials did not respond immediately when asked to comment.
The display of U.S.-Japan naval power close to China could upset Beijing, which is locked in a territorial dispute with Tokyo in the region over uninhabited islets close to Taiwan.
The show of naval force by Tokyo comes as concern grows in Japan over the rapid pace of North Korea’s ballistic missile development and U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat of unilateral action to solve the North Korean problem.
North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression.
Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbor, said on Twitter that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.
South Korea’s acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, has warned of “greater provocations” by North Korea and ordered the military to intensify monitoring and ensure close communication with Washington.
Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive [sic] North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test.
North Korea fired a liquid-fueled Scud missile this month, the latest in a series of tests that have displayed the Pyongyang regime’s ability to launch attacks and use hard-to-detect solid-fuel rockets and tracked launch vehicles.
North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, have indicated an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming, possibly as soon as Saturday, the 105th birthday of North Korea’s founding president. Also In World News
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North Korea remains technically at war with the United States and its ally South Korea after the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. It regularly threatens to destroy both countries.
The Carl Vinson strike group, which canceled a planned visit to Australia, is sailing from Singapore. The 100,000 ton Nimitz-class vessel is powered by two nuclear reactors and carriers almost 100 aircraft.
Under Third Fleet command, it has been patrolling Asia for several months as the Seventh Fleet’s forward-deployed carrier in Yokosuka, Japan, undergoes scheduled maintenance.
Japan’s navy, the second largest in Asia after China, is made up mostly of escort destroyers, but includes four large helicopter carriers.
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