Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

China, US agree to boost military ties

He said President Trump "has told us to develop credible, viable military options, and that's exactly what we're doing".

The top USA general restated Washington's "ironclad commitment" to the security of its close Asian ally, Japan, on Friday amid regional tensions over North Korea, telling his counterpart in Tokyo that "an attack on one is an attack on both of us".

But there were signs that the momentum of the crisis had not entirely stopped.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea last week it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, prompting North Korea to say it was considering plans to fire missiles toward Guam.

The annual exercises have taken on greater significance this year due to the rise in tensions around North Korea's rapid progress in developing nuclear weapons and missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland. It also suggested to Washington that, "If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so".

The US has been more successful in pressuring Australia, the European Union, Japan, and other US allies to strengthen unilateral sanctions on the North. The liquid-fuel missile is created to be fired from road mobile launchers and has been described by North Korea as built for attacking Alaska and Hawaii.

Dunford was responding to questions about comments by Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon in an interview with The American Prospect published Wednesday that there is no military solution to the threat from North Korea.

"I don't think any of us believe that economic and diplomatic pressure alone ... or this campaign will result in denuclearization", the chairman said. "There's no intelligence indicating we're on the cusp of a nuclear war".

In recent months, China has joined with Russian Federation in calling for the United States to suspend annual military drills with South Korea in exchange for Pyongyang halting its missile and nuclear tests as a first step toward direct talks. But negotiations with North Korea would provide the best path forward.

"Our approach has been endorsed by the president", Tillerson told reporters. North Korea views such exercises as preparations to invade it.

"Seoul will say the current tensions call for an even stronger alliance and closer military cooperation", he said.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on August 6 banning North Korea's exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood, in a bid to choke off a third of Pyongyang's $3 billion in annual export revenue.

But he noted that the sanctions needed time to take hold.

Trump sought to take credit for North Korea's change in tone in tweets Wednesday.

Fears about North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons programmes have grown in recent weeks.

It also comes ahead of joint military exercises by the US and South Korea next week, which is likely to further aggravate tensions on the Korean peninsula. Following his meeting with Fang, Dunford will visit a Chinese military base and observe a PLA military exercise.

Trump tweeted that Kim had "made a very wise and well-reasoned decision", referring to North Korean official media saying the leader would not give an immediate order to launch multiple missiles toward Guam.

A military solution would be "absolutely horrific", Dunford told reporters after the meetings, according to The Associated Press.

James Mattis, U.S. secretary of defense, right, reassures. "Every morning we have many people asking for North Korean shellfish, but all we can tell them is that we don't have enough". "But China would have let the U.S. know that our action towards North Korea is limited to economic sanctions - that would be the most China would do in coordination with the USA".

Bannon said the North Korea issue was a "sideshow" to what he called the United States' "economic war with China", the North's sole major ally.

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