Sat, Aug 12, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Newspaper urges Chinese neutrality regarding N Korea

Reuters, BEIJING and BEDMINSTER, New Jersey

US Navy vessel the USS Emory S. Land and the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Topeka float in their home port in Polaris Point, Guam, on April 18.

Photo: EPA

China should remain neutral if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the US, a Chinese state-run newspaper said yesterday, sounding a warning for Pyongyang over its plans to fire missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam.

The comments from the Global Times came after US President Donald Trump stepped up rhetoric against North Korea again on Thursday, saying his earlier threat to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang if it launched an attack might not have been tough enough.

China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm.

Beijing has expressed frustration with both Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear and missile tests and with behavior from South Korea and the US, such as military drills, that it says is escalating tensions.

“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral,” the Global Times, which is widely read, but does not represent government policy, said in an editorial.

“If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so,” it said.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday said the North’s army would complete plans this month to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan into waters near Guam.

Trump said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was not going to get away with his “horrific” comments and disrespecting the US.

“Let’s see what he does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody’s seen before, what will happen in North Korea,” Trump told reporters in New Jersey.

Shortly after Trump spoke, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters that the US still preferred a diplomatic approach to the North Korean threat and that a war would be “catastrophic.”

Asked if the US was ready if North Korea made a hostile act, he said: “We are ready.”

Tension in the region has risen since the North, which staged two nuclear bomb tests last year and launched two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month in defiance of world powers.

Trump has said he would not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the US.

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