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NUKEWARS
N.Korea conducts rocket engine test: US official
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) June 23, 2017


China's top diplomat holds talks with Trump on N. Korea
Washington (AFP) June 23, 2017 - China's top diplomat told Donald Trump that Beijing was willing to keep working with Washington to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula -- days after the US leader implied that Chinese efforts had failed.

The meeting between State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Trump at the White House on Thursday also came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged China to step up diplomatic and economic pressure on the North over its nuclear weapons.

The meeting was reported by China's foreign ministry. There was no White House statement on the get-together, which had not been mentioned in the president's daily schedule.

"China is willing to maintain communication and coordination with relevant parties including the United States to ease tensions on the peninsula," Yang said, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

Trump told Yang he looked forward to "enhancing cooperation" with China on the denuclearization of the North, the ministry said in a statement.

On Wednesday Yang and top General Fang Fenghui met with Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the State Department to discuss North Korea and other regional issues.

Hours before the talks began, Trump sent a tweet that appeared to suggest China's President Xi Jinping had come up short on reining in its neighbor.

"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" Trump tweeted.

Trump did not elaborate on what might happen next if China, by far the North's most important trading and diplomatic partner, is out of ideas.

Trump, who frequently denounced China on the campaign trail, has turned to Beijing to help pressure its ally North Korea, prompting concern among Asian partners that America might go easy on Beijing over its expansive claims in the disputed South China Sea.

Trump, who met with Xi at his luxury resort in Florida in April, also confirmed he would visit China later this year, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

Tillerson said Wednesday that China had a "diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region".

For their part, the Chinese envoys pressed for negotiations, proposing again a "dual-track approach" in which North Korea would suspend its nuclear and missile activities while the United States and South Korea would halt large-scale military exercises.

The meetings between the two sides followed the death of Otto Warmbier on Monday, the American student returned to the US last week in a coma after being detained in North Korea for 18 months.

North Korea has tested a rocket engine that could be fitted to an intercontinental ballistic missile, a US official said, in an apparent provocation ahead of a summit between President Donald Trump and the leader of South Korea.

President Moon Jae-In heads to Washington next week to meet Trump for the first time since taking office in May, as tensions soar on the Korean peninsula over Kim Jong-Un's nuclear weapons programme.

The US official confirmed to AFP that Pyongyang tested a rocket engine on Thursday, on condition of anonymity and without providing further details.

Political science professor Yoo Ho-Yeol at Korea University said the test was "a carefully calibrated act of provocation ahead of the summit".

The North Korean regime will closely follow the meeting to gauge Seoul and Washington's future course of action concerning Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear arsenal and missile development, he told AFP.

"The North has been building up missile capability for decades. The general consensus among experts here is that if left unchecked, the North would be able to have ICBMs in the near future", Yoo said.

Also Friday, Moon oversaw the test-firing of a home-grown missile with a range of 800 kilometres (500 miles).

The presidential Blue House said the South's test was meant as a warning against the North's provocative acts over the past months.

North Korea's last rocket engine test came in March and was apparently timed to coincide with the visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Beijing, where he warned that regional tensions had reached a "dangerous level".

Rocket engines are easily re-purposed for use in missiles.

Outside observers say Pyongyang's space programme is a fig leaf for weapons tests.

The country's top newspaper Rodong Sinmun in May warned it was prepared to launch ICBMs at any time on orders from Kim.

The North has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of last year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States -- something Trump has vowed "won't happen".

- 'Top security threat' -

News of the recent test in the North came a day after Tillerson urged China, Pyongyang's sole ally, to put more pressure on the North to rein in its atomic weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Calling North Korea the "top security threat" to the United States, Tillerson said China had a "diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime if they want to prevent further escalation in the region".

China's top diplomat met Trump at the White House on Thursday, where he said Beijing was willing to keep working with Washington to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula, China's foreign ministry said.

"China is willing to maintain communication and coordination with relevant parties including the United States to ease tensions on the peninsula," State Councillor Yang Jiechi said, according to the ministry.

Trump has made halting the North Korean nuclear threat his number one foreign policy priority.

In April, North Korea unveiled what could be a new ICBM at a giant military parade in a show of strength.

wat-lby-sst-ckp/tm/rb

NUKEWARS
Tillerson urges China to put more pressure on N. Korea
Washington (AFP) June 22, 2017
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday urged Chinese officials to apply greater diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to force Pyongyang to rein in its nuclear weapons program. Tillerson's remarks came after he and Pentagon chief Jim Mattis met with the Chinese visitors at the State Department, where the former general said he saw scope for a better defense relationship. ... read more

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com


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