Authors: Michael Martina and Ju-min Park
Posted on: Associated Press, April 27th, 2017

China has welcomed an apparently softer tone by the United States on the North Korean nuclear and missile crisis but stressed its opposition to a US missile defence system being deployed in South Korea.

China has long promoted dialogue to resolve the «Korean nuclear issue» as North Korea has repeatedly threatened to destroy the United States which in turn has warned that «all options are on the table» in ending North Korean provocations.

The Trump administration said on Wednesday it aimed to push North Korea into dismantling its nuclear and missile programmes, which are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, through tougher international sanctions and diplomatic pressure.

«The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies,» it said in a statement.

Asked about the US comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman GengShuang said China had noted that many US officials had recently made such remarks.

«We have noted these expressions, and have noted the message conveyed in these expressions hoping to resolve the Korean nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue and consultation,» he said.

«We believe this message is positive and should be affirmed.»

South Korea and the United States agreed on Thursday on «swift punitive measures» against North Korea in the event of further provocation.

The South also said the deployment of a US anti-missile defence system was moving ahead effectively a day after angry protests against the battery and fierce opposition from China.


South Korea on Wednesday moved parts of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to its deployment site on a golf course about 250 km south of the capital, Seoul, signalling a faster installation of the system.

Several hundred South Korean villagers protested near the site, hurling water bottles at vehicles moving the parts in.

The top US Commander in the Pacific, Admiral Harry Harris, said on Wednesday the THAAD system would be operational «in coming days» bolstering the ability to defend the US ally and the 28,500 US troops stationed there.

A photograph taken of the site showed a THAAD interceptor on the back of a mobile launcher erected and pointed skywards on green lawn as a military transport helicopter hovered nearby.

China says the system’s advanced radar can penetrate deep into its territory and undermine its security. It is adamant in its opposition.

China’s Defence Ministry, asked about THAAD, said on Thursday it would conduct live fire drills and test new weapons to safeguard its national security.

The US signal of a willingness to exhaust non-military avenues came as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group approached Korean waters, where it will join the USS Michigan nuclear submarine.

North Korea, which conducted its biggest ever artillery exercise to mark the 85th anniversary of its military’s creation on Tuesday, says it needs to develop weapons to defend itself from US aggression.

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