UPDATE — 4/11, 10:42 a.m. EDT: North Korea responded Tuesday to the deployment of U.S. Navy ships on the Korean Peninsula, which includes an aircraft supercarrier.
“This goes to prove that the U.S. reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase,” a North Korea foreign ministry spokesman said. “The DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S.”
South Korean and U.S. intelligence suggests North Korea may be gearing up for a sixth nuclear weapons test, two of which were launched in 2016, with the goal of developing a long-range missile that can reach North America’s west coast.
After concluding a two-day meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in which trade, Taiwan and North Korea were among the preeminent topics in discussions, President Trump expressed optimism U.S. relations with Beijing will facilitate assistance in placing checks on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Although offering vague statements following their first meeting on Friday, Trump described the talks as “tremendous” and expressed his impression the conversation with Xi brought about understanding in several areas of mutual concern.
“I think we have made tremendous progress in our relationship with China. My representatives have been meeting one-on-one with their counterparts from China. And I think, truly, progress has been made. We’ll be making a lot of additional progress.”
“The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding. We look forward to being together many times in the future. And I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away,” Trump stated.
Quoted by Reuters, Xi relayed similar sentiments remained optimistic about the sometimes adversarial relationship.
“I believe we will keep developing in a stable way to form friendly relations,” he said. “For the peace and stability of the world, we will also fulfill our historical responsibility.”
At the top of their discussions was the increasingly complex matter of North Korean nuclear weapons, an issue which both Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said produced an agreement from Beijing to cooperate more aggressively to curb Pyongyang’s saber rattling.
Trump has said as recently as early April that China could play a larger role in reining in Pyongyang; he has also stated the U.S. will act unilaterally against North Korea if necessary.
Although the meeting did not produce a detailed blueprint between the two nations to counter North Korea, Tillerson later admitted “there was no kind of a package arrangement discussed.”
The Trump-Xi meeting arrives at the same moment the National Security Counsel is said to have reached a decision to include the alternative of positioning nuclear weapons in South Korea, most likely at Osan Air Base, 50 miles south of Seoul.
[RT America] [The Guardian] [NBC News] [AFP via Yahoo] [Photo courtesy Reuters via CNBC]