North Korea has indicated that it may launch a long-range rocket on or around October 10 to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its Workers’ Party.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, speaking at an academic forum on the future of North Korea talks, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We call on all sides to adopt a responsible attitude toward the peninsula as well as the region of northeast Asia, and never again take any new action that could lead to tensions in the situation there”. But evidence is mounting that Kim needs to be taken seriously, and that North Korea is a serious threat to world peace.
Pyongyang previously has timed nuclear tests and missile launches to coincide with major political anniversaries.
In a typically bellicose statement on Tuesday, the head of the country’s atomic energy agency warned that Pyongyang was ready to deploy nuclear weapons against the U.S.at “any time” if it didn’t desist with its “reckless hostile policy”. He did not specify the opposite choices, however famous that China was loosening commerce ties with North Korea, and that Beijing’s leaders have prevented talks with prime representatives of the Kim Jong Un’s authorities whereas holding a collection of conferences lately with South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
If North Korea launches a rocket into space or conducts a nuclear test in the coming weeks, as observers suspect it may, China is certain to respond angrily, and perhaps with an unprecedented level of economic punishment.
It is highly unusual for a USA official to express a willingness to hold talks in Pyongyang.
Admiral Harry Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that he was concerned that “China’s influence on North Korea is waning, or China does not have the influence on North Korea that it had in the past”.
“The reunions are a hassle for the North. There is cost in looking for the people, and to feed them and dress them up”, he said.
Kim also said that additional construction at the Dongchang-ri launch site in North Pyongan Province, where the long-range missile could potentially be launched, is in its final stages, an analysis with which Beijing agreed. “We put a great many sanctions on North Korea“, he said, “and further sanctions would be one possibility”.
Any such launch would violate global sanctions. “That’s why things like ballistic missile defense (BMD) are important, and we strengthen South Korea’s ability in their BMD systems”.
In April 2009, however, the DPRK announced a withdrawal from the Six-Party Talks and that it would not fulfill agreements reached during the talks, after the United Nations Security Council issued a presidential statement condemning its satellite launch.
Wang said that all parties involved should reiterate the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while “attaching importance to the huge military pressure the DPRK has been facing over the years, resolving properly its reasonable safety concerns, while taking into account all the other parties’ justified and reasonable calls”.