Published: Sun, August 20, 2017
Money | By Charlene Sutton

Australia to join military drills with US, South Korea

Australia to join military drills with US, South Korea

Tensions have spiked on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea and the United States traded bellicose rhetoric after the UN further tightened sanctions on Pyongyang for its two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.

North Korea has repeatedly called for an end to large-scale joint military exercises between the allies in exchange for a freeze on its nuclear and missile programmes.

One day, the State Department would unequivocally say that the U.S. does not seek regime change in North Korea, but the next the Central Intelligence Agency director comes along and drops heavy hints that taking out the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, is the goal.

The US leader was "trying to pressure North Korea by showing a firm resolution", he said.

General Fang Fenghui, chief of the People's Liberation Army's Joint Staff Department, holds a welcoming ceremony for his US counterpart, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Beijing on Tuesday. "I would like to warn North Korea to end its risky gamble".

Tillerson said in Washington the United States wanted dialogue with Pyongyang, but only if it were meaningful. He's a liberal who wants to engage the North.

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On Monday, China, North Korea's largest trading partner by far, announced it had banned imports of North Korean coal, iron and seafood to support the sanctions, a move Beijing had avoided in the past.

Tensions have risen after North Korea conducted two missile tests in July which, like its five atomic bomb tests, were carried out in defiance of global pressure and United Nations resolutions.

His comments Thursday at a nationally televised news conference appeared to be another effort to jumpstart a diplomatic solution to a confrontation sparked North Korea's warning that it might send missiles into waters near the USA territory of Guam, and President Donald Trump's belligerent Twitter threats to unleash "fire and fury" on the North. It will only be possible after China discusses and reaches an agreement with the USA on the scenario on the future of the Korean Peninsula.

President Donald Trump says in a tweet that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "made a very wise and reasonable decision" amid indications his country has decided not to proceed with its multiple missile launch toward Guam. China gives a lifeline to North Korea despite global criticism not because it favors North Korea or treasures the blood brotherhood, as many mistakenly believe.

President Trump responded to the Post report by vowing that North Korea "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen".

North Korea appears to have left open some room for a quid pro quo, added Narang.

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The Japanese defence ministry wants to introduce a land-based missile defence system called "Aegis Ashore" to address North Korea's missile threats and has chose to seek funding in the next fiscal year to cover the system design costs, a Japanese defence official told Reuters. "My job is not to access whether the president's rhetoric is helpful or not", Dunford said.

North Korea has said the flight path for such a launch would go over western Japan.

Japan is likely to increase its defence spending at a faster pace in its next five-year plan from April 2019 than the annual 0.8 percent average rise in its current mid-term plan, the Nikkei business daily reported on Friday. "But we don't need to be impatient", Moon said.

North Korea has repeatedly threatened to target Japan, which hosts around 54,000 us military personnel, as well as South Korea and the United States with its missiles.

The White House scored a diplomatic victory August 5 when the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to impose new sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest ballistic missile tests.

"The seafood that can't enter China is ready to be gradually shipped back to North Korea", a Hunchun official told the paper.

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State-run Chinese newspaper the Global Times said on its website late on Thursday that authorities in the Chinese border city of Hunchun were negotiating with North Korea about the fate of seafood trucks stuck between the two countries' customs ports.

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