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NUKEWARS
China says no political motive as N.Korea flights suspended
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) April 17, 2017


North Korea says ready to react to 'any mode of war' from US
United Nations, United States (AFP) April 17, 2017 - North Korea is preparing for "any mode of war" triggered by US military action, Pyongyang's envoy to the United Nations warned Monday, saying his country would respond to a missile or nuclear strike "in kind."

The statement from North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, followed warnings from US Vice President Mike Pence to Pyongyang not to test US resolve.

"If the United States dares opt for a military action (...) the DPRK is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the Americans," Kim told a news conference at UN headquarters in New York.

"We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs," he said.

North Korea has taken "self-defensive" measures in response to US threats of military action and these reflect Pyongyang's determination to "counter nukes and ICBM in kind," Kim said, referring to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Pence earlier told a news conference in South Korea that "the era of strategic patience is over" after North Korea on Sunday test-fired another missile and fears mounted that it may be preparing a sixth nuclear test.

Pyongyang is seeking to develop a long-range missile capable of hitting the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and has so far staged five nuclear tests, two of them last year.

Kim also confirmed that a new nuclear test was under preparation, saying that the plans had been announced and that "it will take place."

"As far as nuclear test is concerned, it was already announced to the public. It is something that our headquarters decided. At a time and at the place where our headquarters deem necessary, it will take place," he said.

- 'Got to behave' -

US President Donald Trump's decision at the weekend to send the Carl Vinson carrier-led navy strike group to the Korean peninsula shows that the "US reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase," said Kim.

The North Korean deputy envoy asserted that Pyongyang would hold the United States "wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions."

The envoy criticized the US missile strikes that hit an air base in Syria last week, saying Washington was resorting to a "gangster-like logic" that its military action was proportionate and could apply to the Korean peninsula as well.

Trump on Monday said his message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was: "Got to behave."

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric separately expressed concern over rising tensions on the Korean peninsula and said the latest missile test was "troubling".

He urged North Korea to "take all the steps necessary to de-escalate the situation and return to dialogue on denuclearization."

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will next week chair a special meeting of the UN Security Council on North Korea.

China Monday denied any political motive in the cancellation of flights by its flag carrier to North Korea, as pressure mounts on Beijing to help curb Pyongyang's weapons programmes.

State broadcaster CCTV reported last Friday that Air China had suspended its Beijing-Pyongyang route, leading to speculation the move was intended to pressure the North.

But foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang distanced his government from the decision and said it was purely "market-based".

"It's natural for Air China or other airlines to make such decisions," Lu told a regular press briefing. "There shouldn't be overinterpretation of this issue."

Beijing is Pyongyang's only major ally and biggest trade partner. It is being urged by the Trump administration to do more to rein in the North's missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

In February China announced it was halting all imports of coal from North Korea -- a crucial earner for Pyongyang -- for the rest of the year.

A customer service representative for Air China, the only foreign carrier operating a regular commercial flight to North Korea, said Monday it had cancelled the flights due to low demand.

"Air China has not suspended operations for the Beijing-Pyongyang route," the employee told AFP, adding "these flights were cancelled based on ticket sales."

An operator reached through the airline's customer service hotline said the booking system indicated that the earliest available Beijing-Pyongyang flight was for March next year.

Travel disruption also hit North Korea's flag carrier Air Koryo, which saw its Beijing-bound service delayed more than ten hours on Monday.

Workers at Pyongyang airport told passengers the delay was weather-related, although conditions in the area and in Beijing appeared clear.

Major Chinese travel agencies also told AFP they have stopped offering tours to North Korea due to lack of interest.

"We didn't receive any request to take the trips off the shelf -- the reason was poor sales," Wang Mi, a spokeswoman for the online travel company Tuniu.com, told AFP.

Gan Tingting, a spokeswoman for tourism booking site Lvmama.com, said trips to North Korea had long been discontinued because the country was "not a hot destination".

Foreign companies bringing tour groups to North Korea, however, have seen no dip in demand.

"We're business as usual," said Matt Kulesza, media officer for Young Pioneer Tours.

Beijing-based Koryo Tours likewise said in a statement that none of their tours have been cancelled or cut short.

"There have been no issues with our scheduled Air Koryo flights or the train back into China," it said.

President Donald Trump has personally underscored the importance of China's cooperation in tackling North Korea.

Having blasted Beijing throughout his presidential campaign for alleged currency manipulation, he tweeted Sunday: "Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!"

yan/dly/klm/sm

PIONEER CORP.

AIR CHINA

NUKEWARS
Xi urges peaceful resolution of N. Korea tensions in Trump call
Beijing (AFP) April 12, 2017
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has urged Donald Trump to peacefully resolve tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme, as the US president touted the power of a naval "armada" steaming towards the Korean peninsula. China's foreign ministry said Wednesday the two leaders had spoken by phone, days after Trump sent the aircraft carrier-led strike group to the region in a show of force ahead of a ... read more

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