World

North Korea, US In War Of Words As China Urges Peace

| by Denise Recalde

North Korea has upped its threatening rhetoric on the international scene, vowing to "pulverize" U.S. bases and South Korean capital Seoul if it receives what it perceives to be a threat by the U.S. military. 

The United States is carrying out drills on the Korean peninsula and has sent a group of U.S. aircraft carriers toward that part of the world, the Daily Mail reports. 

North Korea may also conduct a small nuclear test in upcoming days, as activity has heightened in recent weeks at a nuclear test site on the coast, a Washington, D.C., think tank recently stated, as Opposing Views reported on April 13. 

The redeployment of aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to the region is a response to "earlier provocations," U.S. officials noted, and sends a signal to North Korea, The Telegraph reports.  

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In a tweet, President Donald Trump called the force an "armada" and claimed that submarines were being sent to the peninsula which are "far more powerful than the aircraft carrier."

Meanwhile, Congressional Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has released an official statement questioning Trump's capacity to handle serious foreign policy matters.

"Every day, the President gives Congress reason to return and debate the use of force. The President's escalation in Syria and his saber-rattling on North Korea demand serious and immediate Congressional scrutiny.  

"Speaker Ryan must call Congress back into session for classified briefings and debate. Congress must do its duty and honor our responsibility to the Constitution."

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A senior North Korean official said Trump's tweets are heightening tensions. 

According to The Associated Press, Han Song-rol, North Korea's vice foreign minister, said: "Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words." 

The foreign minister asserted that Pyongyang would not "keep its arms crossed" if the U.S. launched a preemptive strike. 

China, the sole ally of North Korea, sought to calm tensions and deflate the inflated rhetoric of the two countries.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated to reporters in Beijing: "We call on all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other, whether in words or actions, and not let the situation get to an irreversible and unmanageable stage.

"Force cannot solve the problem, dialogue can be the only channel to resolve the problem." 

Chinese experts consider there is a small likelihood of immediate hostilities breaking out between Washington and Pyongyang, with Beijing likely to respond harshly to any additional North Korean nuclear tests. 

Guo Rui, director of Jilin University's Institute of Northeast Asian Studies, points out that Trump's domestic problems will keep him from being able to launch such an action while North Korea is not on solid war footing. 

Guo acknowledged the tension on the Korean Peninsula is high, but also says it is not high enough to trigger an imminent war.

He further stated that China would retaliate in non-violent ways if North Korea moves forward with a new nuclear test, such as curbing Chinese investments in the country and restricting the amount of Chinese tourists allowed to visit. 

Sources: The Telegraph, Daily Mail, AP via WBOC / Photo credit: MCC Spike Call/Wikimedia Commons 

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