After the U.S. rained down nearly 60 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase following an apparent chemical attack, China has deployed thousands of troops to the North Korean border in preparation for a pre-emptive attack.
According to Korean news agency Chosun, the “Chinese army has deployed about 150,000 troops to the North Korean border in two groups to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.” The reason: the prospect of “military options,” such as preemptive attacks on North Korea, like the one the United States launched on Syria last Thursday.
The Syrian airstrike reportedly left China shocked, and they responded by dispatching medical and backup units from the People’s Liberation Army forces to the Yalu River.
In the midst of palpable tensions, the U.S. Navy has also relocated the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group to North Korea after Kim Jong-Un carried out more missile testing.
The report also states that China’s nuclear envoy arrived in Seoul on Monday to discuss the North Korean threat since the U.S. moved the naval strike group and indicated it may take action to shut down Pyongyang’s weapons program.
— 2020EU (@2020EU) April 10, 2017
Wu Dawei, China’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, has been in talks with his South Korean counterpart regarding the nuclear issue, occurring only days after Trump met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to discuss the North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Their meeting at the White House last week happened in the wake of North Korea performing another missile test into the Sea of Japan the day before.
The report also claims that Seoul and Washington are conducting joint military drills, an annual exercise which is interpreted by the North as a practice for war.
Pyongyang is on a quest to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them last year.
Satellite imagery analysis suggests it could be preparing for a sixth, with US intelligence officials warning that Pyongyang could be less than two years away from its goal of striking the continental United States.
Adding further speculation to the mix, U.S. National Security Adviser HR McMaster criticized North Korea on Sunday for engaging in dangerous actions and declared that denuclearisation “must happen.”
“The president has asked them to be prepared to give us a full range of options to remove that threat,” he said on Fox News, referring to one of Trump’s advisers.
On Monday, South Korea’s Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo weighed in, suggesting the risks involved in a potential military response are troubling. “Pre-emptive strikes may be aimed at resolving North Korea’s nuclear problems, but for us, it is also related to defending the safety of the public,” he told reporters.
Echoing his concerns, James Kim, an analyst at Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies, warns that while a short-range US unilateral strike could be effective, it also puts the lives of civilians in great danger and it “could expand into a broader regional conflict involving China or Japan.”
‘The upside is that the United States may be able to denuclearise the North by force…. but it will come at a huge cost to the region and to the United States,” he told reporters.
H/T: Daily Mail
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