Domingo, 22 Julio, 2018

China warns war over North Korea could 'break out at any moment'

Eleena Tovar | 15 Abril, 2017, 09:04

With Washington weighing on Beijing for additional sanctions, China's General Administration of Customs announced on April 13 that first-quarter North Korean coal imports were down 51.6% from the same period in 2016. "No one can become a victor", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday. "We've just given China the opportunity to engage".

Trump added to the growing war of words with a tweet on Tuesday that said the North is "looking for trouble".

Alongside the United States, Pyongyang views its neighbors South Korea and Japan as its two other main enemies.

North Korea has warned that a "big event" is near, and USA officials say signs point to a nuclear test that could come as early as this weekend.

A White House foreign policy advisor said Friday that the U.S.is assessing military options in response to the North's weapons programs, saying another provocative test was a question of "when" rather than "if". "At a time and at a place where the headquarters deems necessary, it will take place".

North Koreans are preparing for the country's biggest holiday - the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country's late founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang tested a newly developed intermediate-range missile on the anniversary past year, although the launch also failed.

A Washington-based think tank that monitors North Korea, 38 North, said satellite images on Wednesday showed activity around the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site on the east coast that indicated it was ready for a new test.

It said North Korea will face strong punishment it will find hard to withstand if it makes a significant provocation, such as another nuclear test or an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

Trump has repeatedly said he will prevent Pyongyang from developing a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States. But it's doubtful the North is now able to build reliable, survivable warheads for an intercontinental ballistic missile that can strike the USA mainland, he said.

Asked if there was hope that China would do more to slow or suspend its nuclear programme, he replied: "I'm counting on it".

In response to the most recent missile test, the USA routed a naval strike group to the Korean peninsula as a show of force.

North Korea for its part denounced the United States for bringing "huge nuclear strategic assets" to the region.

According to the New York Times, this potential launch would be North Korea's sixth nuclear weapons test, which typically coincide with significant dates for the nation.

Wang warned that history would hold any instigator to account. It's a reflection of the mood in Beijing, which is officially opposed to "war or chaos" on the Korean Peninsula and wary of the possibility of U.S. military force unsettling the peninsula's political climate. "We've got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a USA pre-emptive strike".

In Pyongyang, retired soldier Ho Song Chol told Reuters that North Korea would win should there be any conflict with the United States.

Media in Japan said the government confirmed it would take all precautions in the face of possible North Korean provocations. "The US dream to topple the socialist system in North Korea will never become a reality", he stressed.

The U.S have sent a navy strike to the Korean peninsula warning it would attack if there were any signs of aggression. It can not lead to an arms control agreement or reduction of the North's atomic arsenal that would imply American acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear power. Many believe a war is coming between the United States and North Korea despite Chinese interference.

"China is willing to build on the good relations with the U.S. and may impose harsher sanctions on North Korea", Shi said.

He says another nuclear test would invite tougher measures from Beijing, possibly including new restrictions on Chinese companies' investments in North Korea and cuts in the number of Chinese tourists allowed to visit.