Author: Wang Tianmi and Bai Tiantian
Posted on: Global Times, April 15th, 2017
The world is holding breath to see whether North Korea will conduct the sixth nuclear test as China has warned tensions over the Korean Peninsula should be prevented from becoming irreversible.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday warned that no one would win if there were war on the Korean Peninsula, advising against anything that would escalate the situation.
“We urge all parties to refrain from inflammatory or threatening statements and deeds to prevent the situation on the Korean Peninsula from becoming irreversible,” Wang said when meeting with the press following talks with visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
“There has been heightened tensions between the US, South Korea and North Korea. The precarious situation deserves our attention and concern,” Wang said, adding that China has always opposed any rhetoric or actions that escalate tension, and historically dialogue has proved to be the only solution.
In Pyongyang, Jong Hyon-u, director of the First Asian Affairs Bureau under the North Korean foreign ministry, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Friday that “due to escalated provocations from the US, a war is on the verge of breaking out on the Korean Peninsula,”
Jong repeatedly called the US the “source of tensions” and the “perpetrator” during the interview. “The US conducted the largest-scale military drills, dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group to the peninsula and threatened to conduct decapitation strikes. All these have led to continuous deterioration of the situation on the peninsula, causing the situation to become uncontrollable.”
Jong said keeping nuclear weapons is a matter of life and death for North Korea. “It is true that we have used all means to strengthen our nuclear force. We can only rely on our own power. We will never beg for peace,” Jong said. “If the US dares to use the aircraft carrier strike group or other means to even fire a single bullet at us, our military and people will react with a full-blown war. This is no empty talk.”
North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol told the Associated Press in Pyongyang on Friday that North Korea will conduct a nuclear test whenever the supreme headquarters sees fit.
The US is prepared to launch a pre-emptive strike on North Korea if it is certain that the country is about to follow through with its sixth nuclear test, NBC News reported, citing multiple senior intelligence officials.
The unidentified officials were quoted as saying that the US has positioned two destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles in the region, one of them just 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site.
Lü Chao, a research fellow on North Korea at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, warned that if North Korea insisted on conducting the sixth nuclear test, the next UN Security Council resolution might surpass any other previous resolutions and bring existential threat to North Korea.
“China and Russia, the two traditional partners of North Korea, have voiced severe opposition toward the nuclear test. It’s time for North Korea to assess the entire situation,” Lü said.
“It is unlikely for North Korea to conduct another nuclear test on the Day of the Sun, as many had speculated. Pyongyang may demonstrate intercontinental ballistic missiles at the military parade, which is not seen as a serious provocation,” he said.