Category: DPRK
Nuclear war ‘closer’ with US drills near Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang’s media warn

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Nuclear war 'closer' with US drills near Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang's media warn
The US activities in the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula – namely, US strategic bomber joint flights with South Korean and Japanese forces – may see the two Koreas end up in a nuclear war, the North Korean state agency KCNA has said.

According to Pyongyang, the US forces are carrying out “a nuclear bomb dropping drill against major objects” in its territory at the moment when US President Donald Trump as well as “other US warmongers are crying out for making a pre-emptive nuclear strike” against the North.

“The reckless military provocation is pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula closer to the brink of nuclear war,” KCNA wrote, as cited by Reuters.

Seoul defended the drills, saying the war games were held to prevent provocations from the North, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun.

The flight of the two supersonic B-1B bombers occurred on Monday, on the same day as Trump said he would be ready to meet with Kim Jong-un.

“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump told Bloomberg News.

However, the White House was more reluctant to see the meeting in any near future, with spokesman Sean Spicer saying, “Clearly conditions are not there right now. I don’t see this happening anytime soon.”

Tensions have been escalating over the past weeks, with Trump saying on Thursday that “a major, major conflict” with North Korea was possible, and China warning that the situation on the peninsula could spiral out of control.

On Saturday, the North test-launched a missile, and it marked the latest in a series of missile-related activities, as well as two alleged nuclear tests, showing an unprecedented pace of such steps since the beginning of this year.

Washington Is the Real Threat to Peace on the Korean Peninsula
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Washington Is the Real Threat to Peace on the Korean Peninsula

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Opinion

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The current crisis on the Korean Peninsula is the product of a militarized state, led by an unpredictable and capricious leader, which cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. That militarized state is of course the United States, and that unstable and capricious leader is Donald Trump.

If Western media is to be believed, of course, the precise opposite is the case. How could it be otherwise, given that the dominant historical and news narrative is written to suit the interests of the powerful at the expense of the less powerful or powerless? It is why we are continuously fed a distorted rendering both of the current crisis and nature of the DPRK (North Korea).

Indeed, from this rendering you would be entitled to believe that it was North Korea that, in its history, had used nuclear weapons — and used them against civilians — rather than the United States. You would also be entitled to believe that it was North Korea that had destroyed one country after another since the Second World War rather than the United States and its allies.This is the trouble with Western ideology; it rests on foundations of historical distortion and, dare we say it, fake news.

North Korea’s crime is not that it is led by an anti-democratic despot, as we are expected to believe. How could it be so when among Washington’s closest allies is a Saudi kleptocracy for whom even the mention of the words democracy and human rights will earn you a flogging, and perhaps even worse? And how it could it be, considering that the various other anti-democratic despots that Washington has counted among its friends and allies over the years?

The reality is that the demonization of North Korea, the aggression being leveled against it, has more to do with imperialism than democracy. It is the same imperialist aggression responsible for destroying the country between 1950 and 1953, during the most destructive war fought since the Second World War. Up to 5 million Koreans, north and south, perished — the majority of them civilians — while North Korea was almost completely obliterated courtesy of a US bombing campaign that took the carpet-bombing of towns, cities, and villages to a new level of wanton destruction. It was, as with the Vietnam War a decade later, a war that was fought in the context of a Cold War that by then was underway between East and West.

Over the decades since, North Korea has existed in a state of near splendid isolation, with China its main source of trade and, with it, income. Outside of that it has endured economic sanctions by the West, which combined with periodic natural disasters and famine, have served to impede its development, both economically and politically.

Putting it another way, you cannot place an entire country under the kind of economic and military pressure that Washington has placed North Korea and not expect its people and society to develop a garrison and siege mentality.

Currently the United States has around 30,000 troops stationed in South Korea, along with nuclear submarines and naval ships permanently within striking distance of Pyongyang. The notion that North Korea is the aggressor, taking this into account, is simply ludicrous, as is the claim made by successive US presidents that it is a threat to regional peace and stability.

On the back of President Trump’s remarkable about-face, which in his first 100 days in office has seen him go from a leader committed to ending Washington’s attachment to unilateralism and hard power to one of its most committed proponents, the world has never been more unstable. After his recent unilateral and illegal missile strike against Syria, we have in Trump a leader emboldened with a reckless and dangerous belief in his own infallibility when it comes to adopting a military-first strategy in dealing with major international crises, such as the one involving the Korean Peninsula.Lost in this worship of aircraft carrier battle groups, as the harbinger of peace and security, is the essential role of diplomacy and negotiation in averting the disastrous consequences of conflict and war. And when it comes to any potential conflict with North Korea, even the most conservative estimates provide a grim analysis of the likely consequences that would entail.

North Korea is not the enemy of peace and stability in the region, as claimed, just as the former Yugoslavia was not the enemy of peace and stability in Europe in the 1990s, and just as Iraq and Libya did not pose that threat in the Middle East in more recent times. What each of those states have/had in common was their defiance of Washington and its writ, which is the real reason they found themselves attacked and destroyed. The usual justification employed — i.e. democracy and human rights — was cynically employed as a smokescreen in order to gain domestic public support for unleashing war in each case.

 North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in this handout photo by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) made available on April 26, 2017
© Photo: KCNA
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in this handout photo by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) made available on April 26, 2017

The salient lesson the North Koreans took from the destruction of those states by the US and its allies was that nuclear weapons are a necessary protection against the same fate befalling them. Brutal logic, maybe, but logic nonetheless.

Only when the Washington ends, finally, its commitment to domination and embraces cooperation and respect in its dealings with the world will stability and peace cease to be a forlorn hope and at last become a reality.

Sadly, given what we know of Washington, nobody should make the mistake of holding their breath.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.  

China Warns its Citizens in North Korea to Leave as Conflict with US Looms
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China Warns its Citizens in North Korea to Leave as Conflict with US Looms

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Fearing a possible US attack on North Korea, Beijing is urging its citizens there to return, as Pyongyang continues its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests.

The US-funded Radio Free Asia reported on Tuesday that the Chinese Embassy in North Korea sent out the warning less than a week before the 85th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army on April 25, an occasion some expected the North to use as an opportunity to conduct its sixth nuclear test.

Pyongyang instead conducted a large live-fire drill. Four days after the anniversary, the North carried out a missile test, but the projectile exploded several minutes after launching, a “failure” South Korean officials later surmised was intentional.

Amid holiday celebrations, the nuclear-powered USS Michigan submarine, armed with 150 Tomahawk missiles, joined a US Navy carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson near the Korean Peninsula, in a show of force from Washington.

A Korean-Chinese citizen who left Pyongyang after receiving the warning in late April told Radio Free Asia, “The embassy has never given such a warning. I was worried and left the country in a hurry,” according to the Korea Times.

He added that, despite mounting tensions with South Korea and the US, Pyongyang’s “peaceful” environment prevented a sense of urgency or panic amongst the Korean-Chinese population.

With the recent deployment in South Korea of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD), Washington’s threats of military action against the North and the US’s ongoing joint military exercises with South Korea, Pyongyang has accused the US of pushing the peninsula “to the brink of nuclear war” with its “aggression and hysteria.”

Through the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the North has stated that it will “continue to bolster its military capabilities for self-defense and pre-emptive nuclear attack,” with a spokesman saying in a statement Tuesday, “Now that the US is kicking up the overall racket for sanctions and pressure against DPRK, pursuant to its new DPRK policy called ‘maximum pressure and engagement,’ the DPRK will speed up at the maximum pace the measure for bolstering its nuclear deterrence,” the Guardian reported.

On Monday, KCNA also noted that the North was prepared to conduct its next nuclear test whenever leadership deemed it appropriate.

South Korea Presidential Frontrunner Pledges to Review Divisive THAAD Deployment

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Moon Jae-in, the leading candidate in the upcoming presidential election in South Korea, is determined to reassess the controversial deployment of the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system since it “did not follow a democratic procedure,” his press team said in a statement seen by Sputnik Korea.

“The THAAD deployment is an issue that must be decided by the next administration based on close discussions with the US and a national consensus, and approached with the best national interest in mind. Since this is an issue of great impact to our national security and comes with great economic costs, it must be ratified by the National Assembly as per the Constitution,” Yoon Kwan-suk, a spokesman for Moon Jae-in said.

The press office also commented on United States President Donald Trump’s suggestion that Seoul should pay for the deployment of a system worth $1 billion.

“The Liberty Korea Party, Bareun Party and the Ministry of National Defense have until now argued that the US will bear the cost of the THAAD operation,” the press office said. “If the reports are true, it is now clear that the decision to deploy the THAAD had a major flaw to begin with.”The statement urged senior politicians in the former ruling party, as well as high-ranking defense officials, to disclose the details of the deal between Washington and Seoul on THAAD.

On Wednesday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said that components of the THAAD system have been deployed to their intended destination in the North Gyeongsang province. Washington has said that the move comes in response to North Korea’s muscle-flexing, but Jeong Uk-sik, the president of the Peace Network NGO, told Sputnik that THAAD will also be targeted against China.

“Undoubtedly, [Washington] has indicated that the US missile defense system must be alert not only to North Korea, but also China,” he said, citing the testimony made by Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command, during a hearing at the House Armed Services Committee.

“Harris’s report clearly shows that US Pacific Command has fostered closer ties with Japan, South Korea and Australia to create a comprehensive missile defense system based on THAAD and the radar deployed to South Korea is one of its links,” the analyst added. “As a result, THAAD and the radar are targeted not only against North Korea, but also China since they are links of a single US missile defense system.”China has been opposed to the THAAD deployment, saying that the move “seriously undermines” strategic security of Beijing and other countries in the region.

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What We’ve Learned 100 Days In: The Trust Deficit Is the Core Problem

AS BAD AS WE THOUGHT

What We’ve Learned 100 Days In: The Trust Deficit Is the Core Problem

The narcissism and paranoia are issues, but the biggest concern is that Donald Trump trusts no one. This will be his downfall—or maybe ours.
Gail Sheehy

Gail Sheehy

04.28.17 12:10 PM ET

In a world spinning radically out of control, can we trust President Trump to rely on his famous “instincts” as he plays brinksmanship with North Korea?

How much closer does the day of reckoning have to come on charges of collusion with Russia before he needs a war to provide the ultimate distraction?

The fundamental bedrock of human development is the formation of a capacity to trust, absorbed by children between birth and 18 months. Donald Trump has boasted of his total lack of trust: “People are too trusting. I’m a very untrusting guy.” (1990) “Hire the best people, and don’t trust them.” (2007) “The world is a vicious and brutal place. Even your friends are out to get you: they want your job, your money, your wife.” (2007)

His biographers have recorded his world view as saturated with a sense of danger and his need to project total toughness. As we know, his father trained him to be a “killer,” the only alternative to being a “loser.” He has never forgotten the primary lesson he learned from his father and at the military school to which he was sent to toughen him up still further. In Trump’s own words:  “Man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat.”

Trump described to Michael D’Antonio in his biography, Never Enough, his father “dragging him” around tough neighborhoods in Brooklyn when he collected rents. He always told the boy to stand to one side of the door. Donald asked why: “Because sometimes they shoot right through the door.”

Today, this man lives alone in the White House, without a wife or any friends in whom to confide, which he would never do anyway because that would require admitting vulnerability.

Leon Panetta, former CIA director and Defense chief under Clinton, stated on Fox Business Channel in February 2017: “The coin of the realm for any president is trust–trust of the American people in the credibility of that president.” In the nearly two years that Donald Trump has been in our face almost daily, he has sown mistrust in all of his Republican rivals, alienated the conservative Republican bloc he needs in the House for legislative success, ignored congressional Democrats, and viciously insulted Democratic leaders, calling them liars, clowns, stupid, and incompetent, and condemning Barack Obama as “sick” and Hillary Clinton as “the devil.” When he picks up the phone to speak to leaders of our closest allies, like Australia, he rips apart the comity built over decades. But he never hesitates to congratulate despots, like Turkey’s Erdogan, Egypt’s General Sisi, or Russia’s Putin.

As President, he is systematically shredding trust in the institutions he now commands. Having discredited the entire 17-agency intelligence community as acting like Nazis, he also dismissed the judiciary because of one judge’s Hispanic background and another’s opposition to his travel ban. Even his Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, said it was “disheartening” and “demoralizing” to hear Trump disparage the judiciary. Not content to smear the media on a daily basis, Trump borrowed a phrase used by Lenin and Stalin to brand the media as “enemy of the people.”

By his own words, Trump operates on the assumption that everyone is out to get him. The non-medical definition of paranoia is the tendency toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others. As a man who proclaims his distrust of everyone, it is not surprising that Trump drew closest to him two legendary conspiracy theorists—Stephen Bannon and Gen. Michael Flynn.

And even after he was forced to fire his choice as his top national security advisor after Flynn blatantly lied, Trump’s White House is desperately stonewalling congressional investigators to keep them from getting their hands on documents that may prove Flynn’s paid collusion with Russia on Trump’s behalf. The closer that case comes to a criminal referral to the Justice Department, the closer Trump’s survival instincts will propel him to a wag-the-dog war.

A leader who does not trust his subordinates cannot inspire trust. Though Trump boasts of fierce personal loyalty, he himself is loyal only until he isn’t. Among his anxious aides, only Jared Kushner is safe, deputized as the Trump’s de facto Secretary of State.  Where he succeeds in inspiring trust is by giving his subordinates the courage to lie. The virus of licentiousness has spread from the White House to congressional Republicans, to wit the stunt that exposed Rep. Devin Nunes as unfit to lead the House Intelligence Committee probe into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.

We hear repeatedly that Trump as a manager likes chaos. I asked a deputy White House counsel under Obama, Mike Breen, a decorated former officer in Iraq and expert on foreign policy at the Truman National Security Project, how that style impacts trust. “Trump explicitly or implicitly manages the situation so it’s never possible for his advisers to know where they stand,” Breen says. “It’s the opposite of what you want in a high-functioning organization. “ Trump’s anxious aides must know just how easy it is to fail his loyalty test, or to be the fall guy if a scapegoat is needed. While publicly they may defend him, it is clear to reporters that White House staffers are leaking and leaking constantly. The leaks can only exacerbate Trump’s mistrust, perpetuating a vicious circle.

His failure to trust and to inspire trust is even more dangerous on a global scale. He sees alliances like NATO as suspicious (until he changes his mind); he sees trade agreements like NAFTA as ripping off America (until he changes his mind three or four times in the same week). “This is because Trump’s worldview is that we live in a snake pit where everybody is out for themselves,” observes Breen. He and his co-conspiracy advisor, Bannon, take everything that the left-behind white working class hates about globalization and they turn it into personalized enemies–Muslims, Mexicans, refugees they believe are taking away their jobs. “Those people aren’t like us,” is the alt.right message, “they’re polluting our culture.”

Back as far at August 2016, 50 senior national security officials who have advised Republican presidents during wartime issued a letter starkly rejecting candidate Trump: “We are convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being. “ They excoriated him as lacking in character and values as well as basic knowledge. What is stunning is the precision of their foresight. They predicted that Trump, “lacking belief in the U.S. Constitution,” would compromise our most precious institutions including “religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”

In the course of his first hundred days, Trump has appeared to be increasingly out of touch with the reality in which the majority of us live. His pathological propensity to lying is not the worst of it. It’s his monomaniacal attachment to lies as transparent as his March 4 twitterstorm accusing President Obama of putting a tap on his phone. It raises the question, is this president floating in his own alternative reality?

We asked Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, the eminent former professor of psychiatry at Yale University and today at Columbia University: Is Trump an abnormal personality? “Trump creates his own extreme manipulation of reality,” he says. “He insists that his spokesmen defend his false reality as normal. He then expects the rest of society to accept it — despite the lack of any evidence.” This leads to what Lifton calls “malignant normalcy”—in other words, the gradual acceptance by a public inundated with toxic untruths until they pass for normal.

Dr. James F. Gilligan is a psychiatrist and author who has studied the motivations behind violent behavior over his 25 years of work in the American prison systems. “If we psychiatrists who have experience in assessing dangerousness, if we give passive permission to our president to proceed in his delusions, we are shirking our responsibility,” Gilligan says. Today a senior clinical professor of psychiatry at NYU Medical School, Gilligan last week told a town hall meeting at Yale, “ I don’t say Trump is Hitler or Musolinni, but he’s no more normal than Hitler.”

 We don’t have to rely on psychiatrists to see that this president is not consistent in his thinking or reliably attached to reality. We have had vastly more exposure to Donald Trump’s observable behavior, his writing and speaking, than any shrink would have after listening to him for years. So it is up to us, the American public, to call him on it. And some of the most experienced hands in and around the White House are doing so.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley believes that Donald Trump represents a very different subculture from any commander in chief. “He represents the New York building business — where you don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing,” says Brinkley. “In Trump’s world, he must win at all costs. It’s not about character or public service or looking out for your band of brothers.”

The president to whom Trump is most often compared is Richard Nixon. John Dean, the famous White House counsel who testified against his fellow conservative Republican, compared Trump to another notably paranoid president. “Nixon was two personae – in public, he would score passably on the manual’s leadership checklist: he trusted his top aides, Haldeman and Erlichman, and was trusted by his cabinet,” says Dean. “But in private, his deeply paranoid and vengeful dark side came out.”

Asked for the best example, Dean snapped, “He had zero empathy!” Just like Trump. “Nixon let 22,000 more Americans die in Vietnam [after he sabotaged the 1968 Paris Peace Talks], plus who knows how many Cambodians and Laotians and Vietnamese, all to ensure his election.” It took 40 years before Nixon’s worst crime was revealed—treason. That war president was heard on Lyndon Johnson’s tapes scuttling the Vietnam peace talks to derail the reelection campaign of the Democratic candidate. He sent a message to the South Vietnamese negotiators that they should withdraw from the peace talks and wait for Nixon to be elected, who would give them a much better deal.

Sound familiar? Fifty years later, Donald Trump’s go-between with Russian officials, Gen. Flynn, hinted to Putin’s ambassador that Russia could get a much better deal if it didn’t retaliate against Obama’s sanctions and sat tight until Trump was elected. And Trump frequently tweeted about his eagerness to lift those sanctions – until his fantasy bromance with Putin came under federal investigation. Trump’s appetite for vengeance is also matched by Nixon’s with his long “enemies list.” No two modern presidents have had a more serious case of “political hemophilia,” in the phrase of the latest Nixon biographer, John Farrell, by which he means: “Once wounded, these men never stop bleeding.”

To the dismay of even conservative observers, Trump appears totally indifferent to the truth. A Wall Street Journal editorial from March 21 denounced the damage done by “his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods,” concluding, “if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth, most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.” But merely repeating a malignant lie often enough—for five years in the case of his birther smear against the first black president—it sticks with his supporters despite proof to the contrary.

Time magazine gave Trump an opportunity to clarify his refusal to correct the long string of his falsehoods. What the March 23 interview produced instead was an astonishing revelation of the president’s thinking: He states what he wants to be true. If his statement is proven false, he is unfazed and confidently predicts that the facts will catch up with his belief: “I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right.” Even when the top sleuth in the country condemns him as a fabulist, Trump ignores the public rebuke by FBI director James Comey, and brags about his ability to persuade millions that his version of events is the real truth.

“Narcissistic people like Trump want more than anything to love themselves, but desperately want others to love them, too,” wrote professor and chair of the Psychology Department at Northwestern University, Dan P. McAdams, in The Atlantic. “The fundamental goal in life for a narcissist is to promote the greatness of the self, for all to see.”

But what is an extreme narcissistic personality like Trump to do when he fails to win glorification for his first hundred days in office? Trump, from his own writings, has shown massive hypersensitivity to shame or humiliation, “ says Dr. Gilligan, of the NYU Medical School. “Anybody who criticizes him will get a 3 am tweet.” What happens if Trump feels humiliated by being pronounced a “loser” in politics? Does he give in to his “right instincts” and fire off an incendiary tweet to the nuclear-obsessed leader in Pyongyang? Most world leaders have agreed with former South Korean President Park, who last year pronounced Kim Jong-un’s mental state as “uncontrollable.”

As Dr. Gilligan warns, “There is no evidence of sensitivity in Trump’s awareness of other people’s vulnerability.  I think everyone is in danger from this most dangerous of presidents.” When narcissists begin to disappoint those whom they once dazzled, their descent can be especially precipitous. As the biblical book of Proverbs warns: “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.”

Beneath the grandiose behavior of every narcissist lies the pit of fragile self-esteem. What if, deep down, the person Trump trusts least is himself? The humiliation of being widely exposed as a “loser” –unable to bully through the actions he promised to accomplish in his first 100 days—could drive him to prove he is, after all, a “killer.” He has already teed up three choices for starting a war: Syria, Afghanistan, and North Korea. It is up to Congress, backed up by the public, to restrain him.

Trump Signals His Intention To Start A War With North Korea
| April 28, 2017 | 3:00 pm | Analysis, Donald Trump, DPRK, political struggle | No comments

Trump Signals His Intention To Start A War With North Korea

By saying that the United States could be heading for a major, major conflict with North Korea, Trump sounded like a president who is itching to start a war.


Trump Signals His Intention To Start A War With North Korea

By saying that the United States could be heading for a major, major conflict with North Korea, Trump sounded like a president who is itching to start a war.

During an interview with Reuters, Trump said, “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.”

Trump may have thought that this was more typically empty tough talk designed to enhance his negotiating position, but he took it a step beyond and added, “We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

For a president who says he’s not going to telegraph what he is going to do, Trump just did some serious telegraphing. Remember, this is an administration that is attempting to cut 2,300 jobs from the State Department. Diplomacy is not Trump’s priority.

With his domestic policy failing, and his foreign policy non-existant, the last refuge for Trump to save his president is to become a war president. During the campaign, Trump committed to not getting the US into any wars in the Middle East, but he never said anything about North Korea.

Trump is lusting for a conflict with North Korea. The Bush administration tried to out strongman the regime in North Korea, and it was a disaster. President Trump seems to be looking for more than tough talk. He wants to start a war.

‘US Strategic Assets’ to Be Deployed In South Korea Against Northern Threat
B-2 Stealth Bomber.

‘US Strategic Assets’ to Be Deployed In South Korea Against Northern Threat

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Military & Intelligence

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South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Friday that they’ve reached an agreement with the US to regularly deploy “strategic assets” from Washington as part of efforts to stave off provocation from North Korea.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense reported that the two allies agreed to institute “measures available in all aspects, including the regular deployment of US strategic assets.”

These assets include the US B-52, B-2 and B-1B bombers; F-35 fighter jets; and aircraft carriers usually housed at American bases in South Korea, Japan or Guam.

The announcement came during a media briefing on the biannual Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) meeting between the US and South Korea that took place in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David F. Helvey represented the US delegation at the defense meeting with his Korean counterpart Wee Seung-ho, deputy minister for policy.

Seoul and Washington also reiterated that the US’s recently deployed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system was intended purely for defense purposes. China has complained that the THAAD’s strong radar could be used to spy on Beijing.

China demanded South Korea remove THAAD on Wednesday. THAAD’s presence “destroys the regional strategic balance and further prompts tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, UPI reported.

“Cancel the deployment of THAAD. Otherwise China will decisively take necessary measures,” Geng warned.

When it was announced earlier this week that THAAD was close to being operational, China carried out a military drill using “new weapons” in order to “defend national security and regional stability.”

Washington and Pyongyang have been engaged in a war of words in recent weeks, trading barbs as the North continues its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests and the US threatens military action in retaliation.

Tensions have calmed somewhat since the flashpoint of North Korea’s recent Day of the Sun celebration, when another nuclear test was feared. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that Washington was open to talks with North Korea about denuclearization, a tactic China has called for for some time.

When asked about the possibility of talks, Tillerson said, “Obviously, that would be the way we would like to solve this. But North Korea has to decide they’re ready to talk to us about the right agenda,” according to the BBC.

Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, suggested that, “The use of force does not solve differences and will only lead to bigger disasters … Peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and negotiations represents the only right choice that is practical and viable.”

There are about 285,000 American troops currently stationed in South Korea.