North Korea carries out military exercises as US naval ships visit South
USS Michigan, a United States nuclear powered submarine docked this morning in Busan, South Korea. US Navy announced that Michigan is only a part of a much bigger task force, which is lead by aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and that it was sent to the region as a response to recent events and threats made by Pyongyang.
North Korea is currently celebrating its army’s 85th founding anniversary, with massive military drills and events. Tensions have been high lately, as Pyongyang continues to work on its nuclear program and fire ballistic missiles into adjacent seas. Yonhap, a South Korean news agency, reported that earlier today, North Korean army carried out a huge artillery drill in the vicinity of Wonsan port, and that “between 300 and 400 artillery pieces have taken part in the drill”.
Analysis made by South Korean officials and experts point that the North could be planning even more tests, given the fact that it had marked its previous anniversaries with launches. But apart from the artillery drill in Wonsan, so far no unusual development had been detected. “Our military is closely monitoring the North Korean army’s movement”, the Office of the Joint Chiefs of staff reported.
Meanwhile, back in the US, President Donald Trump had summoned the entire Senate to a White House briefing to discuss the developing situation in the Korean peninsula. The unusual meeting underlines the urgency with which the Trump administration is treating the threat posed by Kim Jong Un’s continuing intentions to develop nuclear weapons and missile technologies.
“The status quo in North Korea is unacceptable and the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs”, Trump said at the meeting, adding that North Korea is a huge world problem, which needs to be solved as soon as possible.
US Special Representative for North Korea Policy, Joseph Yun said that he is currently working with his colleagues in Japan and South Korea in order to come up with a new solution and make a common framework which would enable the US, Japan and South Korea to react faster to recent and future developments. All three parties agree that China could play a pivotal role in resolving the Korean crisis by pressuring the North to ease off tensions and give up its nuclear program. Russia is also described as a second potential arbitrate, which could help North and South Korea come to an agreement and settle their disputes.
Global Times, a Chinese daily newspaper run by the Chinese Communist Party, released an articles today saying that North Korea has been warned that any new nuclear or missile tests could push it beyond the point of no return and that the Chinese government is infuriated by Pyongyang’s recent actions. It goes on to explain that although China hopes for a peaceful solution, “its influence is fairly limited”.