South Korea On Heightened Alert As North Prepares For Major Army Event
As Reuters reports, top envoys from the United States, South Korea and Japan on North Korea are due to meet on Tuesday, South Korea's foreign ministry said, to "discuss plans to rein in North Korea's additional high-strength provocations, to maximize pressure on the North, and to ensure China's constructive role in resolving the North Korea nuclear issue". South Korea and the United States have also been conducting annual joint military exercises, which the North routinely criticizes as a prelude to invasion.
"It is a situation where a lot of exercise equipment is amassed in North Korea and also a lot of strategic assets are situated on the Korean peninsula because of the South Korea-U.S. military drills," Lee told a briefing adding that "we are closely watching the situation and will not be letting our guards down."
On Thursday Donald Trump praised Chinese efforts to rein in "the menace of North Korea", after North Korean state media warned the United States of a "super-mighty preemptive strike".
Trump told a news conference "some very unusual moves have been made over the last two or three hours", and that he was confident Chinese President Xi Jinping would "try very hard" to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs. Trump did not provide details of what the moves might be.
Fanning speculation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang referred questions about the air force to the Defence Ministry, which has yet to publicly comment. Asked about Trump's comment about Xi trying hard, Lu said Xi and Trump had had a full and deep discussion about North Korea when they met this month.
"I can only say that via deep communications between China and the U.S. at various levels including at the highest levels, the U.S. now has an even fuller and more correct understanding of China's policy and position and has a more rounded understanding of China's efforts. We feel very gratified about this."
An official Chinese newspaper said there was optimism about persuading the North to end its pursuit of a nuclear program without the use of force, "now that even the once tough-talking Donald Trump is onboard for a peaceful solution".
"Beijing has demonstrated due enthusiasm for Washington's newfound interest in a diplomatic solution and willingness to work more closely with it," the state-run China Daily said in an editorial.