China’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that North Korea could curb its nuclear weapons program if the US agreed to stop conducting military drills with South Korea — something the US rejected.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi rehashed the offer, one that the US has heard from North Korea before, on Wednesday, saying that the US, South Korea, and North Korea were like two trains on a collision course.
“The question is: Are the two sides really ready for a head-on collision?” Wang told reporters, according to the Military Times. “Our priority now is to flash the red light and apply the brakes on both trains.”
But Mark Toner, the acting spokesman for the State Department, stressed that “the onus is on North Korea to take meaningful actions toward denuclearization and refrain from provocations,” saying at a press briefing that comparing the US’s transparent, planned, defensive, and 40-year-old military drills with North Korea’s 24 ballistic missile launches in 2016 was a case of “apples to oranges.”
However, Toner admitted that “all of the efforts that we have taken thus far to attempt to persuade North Korea to, again, engage in meaningful negotiations, have fallen short,” and that the US needs to consider new ways to engage the rogue regime.
The suggestion from Wang comes at a time when China appears increasingly worried about the situation between North and South Korea. China has heavily protested the deployment of a purely defensive missile system to South Korea in the wake of the latest tests.
A Wall Street Journal article cited sources as saying the US may be considering military action against the Kim regime, and Japanese defence officials told Reuters they would seek to develop their own first strike capability to cripple North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure before the Hermit Kingdom could fire a shot.
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