China Proposes Deal to Ease Tensions Over North Korean Missiles

Describing the USA and North Korea as trains set for a "head-on collision", China proposed Wednesday that, in order to defuse escalating tensions in the region, Pyongyang abandon future missile tests in return for Washington scrapping joint military exercises with Seoul.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned of "very dire consequences" for North Korea following Pyongyang's launch of four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

South Korea and the United States have started deploying a contentious Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense battery on the Korean Peninsula, local military officials revealed Tuesday.

The United Nations Security Council met on Wednesday behind closed doors to discuss North Korea's launch of four ballistic missiles on Monday in response to the joint U.S. South Korea's Defense Ministry and U.S. Forces Korea said two interceptor-missile launch pads and other THAAD elements arrived Monday night at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul.

North Korea had threatened to take "strong retaliatory measures" after South Korea and the United States began the annual drills on Wednesday to test defensive readiness against possible aggression from the North.

THAAD is specifically designed for threats like North Korea, it said, and the system already has active platforms in Guam and Hawaii focused on threats from Pyongyang.

The top presidential security advisers agreed to enhance cooperation between the two allies to toughen sanctions and pressure on North Korea, Seoul officials said. The meeting was called to address North Korea's latest missile tests, all of which defy sanctions previously placed on the country by the global group of governments. "We are not going to leave South Korea standing there with the threat of North Korea facing them and not help".

US national security adviser H.R. McMaster and senior South Korean presidential official Kim Kwan-jin held a phone conversation after the missile firings.

Foreign ministers of ASEAN member countries have condemned the latest North Korean missile launches, calling for peace and security in the Korean Peninsula.

On New Year's Day, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un praised the advances the country had made in its missile program.

The Yonhap news agency said the THAAD deployment could be completed in one or two months.

  • Delores Daniels