US shows off military might to North Korea

By Leng Shumei, Zhang Xin and Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/9 23:43:39

NK's behavior approaching China’s bottom line: analyst

A photo provided by the US Navy on Sunday shows the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (C), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain participating in an exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers on March 27, 2017 in the Philippine Sea. A US Navy strike group, including USS Carl Vinson is on its way to the Western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula on Sunday. Photo: IC

The possibility of a military confrontation has increased with a US navy strike group racing towards the Korean peninsula, but China's stance on the North Korea issue remains unchanged, Chinese analysts said on Sunday.

A US Navy strike group is on its way to the Western Pacific Ocean near the Korean peninsula as a show of force amid growing concerns over North Korea's weapons program, Reuters reported Saturday, citing a US official. The strike group includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and is making its way from Singapore toward the Korean peninsula.

The possibility of a military confrontation increased between the US and North Korea, Jin Canrong, associate dean of the Department of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"US President Donald Trump showed that the US is more determined to use military force after the US attacked Syria with 59 missiles on Friday," Jin said, adding that the purpose of the US move was to push China to cooperate with it on the North Korea issue. 

However Jin also said that China would not change its stance and policy, and may increase sanctions if North Korea could not be restrained or continue to make provocations.

Last week, North Korea launched a Scud extended-range missile, CNN reported.

Immense pressure

The US Navy's Third Fleet said in a statement late Saturday the strike group had been directed to sail north, but it did not specify the destination. The group will operate in the Western Pacific rather than previously planned port visits to Australia, according to Reuters.

"The US needs to take many things into consideration if it plans to launch a military attack on North Korea, especially whether its allies Japan and South Korea will fully cooperate and how Russia and China will respond. Otherwise, it will lead to unbearable consequences," Lü Chao, an expert on Korean studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"China's basic stance on the Korean peninsula will not change, which is to avoid wars at its door. It is very possible that China will send officials to South Korea to inform them of China's position and principles," Lü said on Sunday.

"This is the first time that the US has a military threat to North Korea, which will put immense pressure on the latter," Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies of Fudan University, told the Global Times.

The US hopes to make North Korea give up its nuclear weapons. However, its moves may only further spur the North to develop nuclear weapons, said Zheng.

A return to diplomacy

China and the US have reached some understanding on dealing with the North Korean crisis after the recent meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump. But disagreements remain, and multilateral talks are in the best interests of all parties, Chinese analysts said.

"Both China and the US agree on the severity of the North Korea nuclear problem, which is also approaching the bottom line of China. But as to how to deal with the issue, a consensus has yet to be reached," Zheng said, add that China has a big influence on how to deal with the issue, and it is time for China to adjust its North Korea strategy from a vague to a clear one.

"Both sides will fully implement the UN Security Council's resolutions on sanctions against North Korea and work together to step up diplomatic measures to persuade North Korea to return to talks," Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

He also added that the Chinese government is not surprised by the dispatch of a US naval strike group to North Korea.

South and North Korea are closely related, so they should stop irresponsible actions, including missile tests and military drills, which seriously threaten regional peace and stability, Zheng said.

China's top nuclear envoy Wu Dawei will visit South Korea on Monday to discuss North Korea's nuclear and missile threats and also meet with presidential candidates to get a glimpse of the policy direction going forward, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday, citing anonymous South Korean diplomatic sources.

All countries involved should return to the bargaining table to avoid escalating tensions, Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.


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