Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

China calls for calm as US dispatches naval might to Korean waters


A USA aircraft carrier-led strike group is headed toward the Western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula, a United States defense official confirmed to CNN.

"I think at this point the common interest between the U.S. and China outweigh (North Korea saber-rattling)", Alexander Neill, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, told CNN.

"China may be prepared to do some sort of tradeoff", he told CNN.

An energetic missile-development program, two additional nuclear tests in 2016, and the sharper bellicosity of leadership statements from Pyongyang-spiced, of course, by the freaky murder of Kim Jong-Nam-are the primary ingredients in this most recent spike in tensions on the peninsula.

The US dispatched aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson after the latest missile test by North Korea last week, drawing a forceful warning from Pyongyang.

During their phone call, Xi told Trump that China is willing to continue working with the USA on denuclearization, according to a brief description of the call released by the Chinese foreign ministry.

But analysts say any unilateral military options for the United States concerning North Korea posed significant problems.

Asked what he was going to do with the North, Trump said he doesn't reveal those things.

In a second tweet he wrote: "North Korea is looking for trouble".

"I was very impressed with President Xi and I think he means well and I think he wants to help". During the call, which was initiated by Trump, Xi said the matter should be solved through peaceful means, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping last week and spoke to him by phone on Wednesday night.

Regarding the USA navy strike force's arrival in the western Pacific, Lu said: "We hope all parties will refrain from irresponsible actions that would be very unsafe at the moment".

"The amount of pressure that has been brought to bear economically on North Korea is far short of what was brought to bear against Iran", another senior administration official said.

Trump pressed Xi to do more to curb North Korea's nuclear program when the two leaders held their first face-to-face meeting in Florida last week. All that led South Korea to invite the United States to deploy THAAD, a more capable ballistic missile defence battery, to the south of Seoul.

The CCTV account of the call Wednesday did not mention new actions China might take against North Korea.

"More and more Chinese support the view that the government should enhance sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear activities".

"China, too can no longer stand the continuous escalation of the North Korean nuclear issue at its doorstep", it said. At a time when it was uncontestably the most powerful state in the world, the USA was very almost forced off the Korean peninsula by the surprise North Korean offensive in June 1950. "We had a very good bonding, I think we had a very good chemistry together, I think he wants to help us with North Korea", Trump said. "If they failed to convene an SPA session, that would be an indication that there is a fundamental problem among DPRK elites", said Michael Madden, editor of the North Korea Leadership Watch website.

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