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China, US probe range of options on N Korea
April 17, 2017, 2:20 pm

World powers accuse North Korea of pursuing a nuclear and ballistic weapons program in violation of UN sanctions [Xinhua]

China and the United States are to work closer together regarding the North Korean missile crisis according to a senior security advisor in Washington.

Over the weekend following the 105th birthday celebrations of the state’s founder, Pyongyang tested what most experts believe was a medium range missile which exploded immediately after leaving the launch pad.

US National Security Advisor HR Macmaster said on Sunday that both Beijing and Washington agree that tensions need to be addressed on the Korean Peninsula.

McMaster said that while the Chinese appear to have applied pressure on North Korea, Washington insists that all options are still on the table.

The “situation cannot continue,” he said.

“We are working together with our allies and partners and with the Chinese leadership to develop a range of options,” he told US media.

China has halted direct flights to North Korea for the interim, and in February it dramatically decreased coal shipments to its neighbor.

The US has hoped that China would use the fact that it is North Korea’s largest – only – trading partner as leverage.

Meanwhile, US Vice-President Mike Pence on a visit to South Korea said that the Trump White House would not follow the Obama administration’s approach to the crisis.

“The era of strategic patience is over,” he said Monday.

But both officials appear to have walked back comments that hinted at an imminent military strike against North Korean targets.

In the past week, speculation was rife that US air strikes in Afghanistan and Syria were partially designed as a warning to Pyongyang.

During a press conference in Seoul, Pence warned North Korea not to test US President Donald Trump’s resolve and alluded to the 59 cruise missiles fired at a Syrian air base last week.

Amid the heightened war of words, Pyongyang pomised that it would launch a thermonuclear war and turn Seoul into a “sea of fire”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that no winners would emerge from such a scenario.

“Therefore, we call upon all the parties, no matter verbally or in action, to stop provoking and threatening each other and not to allow the situation to become irretrievable and out of control,” Wang said earlier.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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