Tuesday, April 17, 2012

US Looking at All N. Korea Options as China Warns Ally

Nuclear Test Looms

The United States is looking at "all options" as it seeks to discourage North Korea from conducting a third nuclear test, a senior U.S. military officer said on Tuesday, days after a failed long-range rocket launch by the North that drew international condemnation.

VOA reports China has joined other world powers in warning the North that China will not tolerate further provocations. VOA:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said late Monday in Brasilia that the U.N. Security Council members, including China, are agreed there will be "further consequences" in the event of another provocative act by North Korea. Recent satellite photographs show Pyongyang may be preparing for an underground nuclear test.

China's state-controlled media are also showing signs of frustration with Pyongyang, noting that China took "a clear attitude in condemning" its longtime ally when it backed a U.N. Security Council statement criticizing the rocket launch.

China's Communist Party-controlled Global Times newspaper said Tuesday that Pyongyang should not be misled into thinking it can ignore Beijing's wishes with impunity. The paper said North Korea will "pay the price if it tries to abduct China's North Korea policy."

Global Times quotes the dean of the Center for Korean Peninsula Studies at Tongji University in Shanghai as saying the North knows the consequences of another nuclear test would be much graver than in the past.

"The rocket launch has already cost the state roughly $850 million, enough to buy 2.5 million tons of corn," Cui Zhiying is reported to have said. "Does it have enough money to carry out another nuclear test? I seriously doubt it."

But Pyongyang may indeed have the money, given its (a) "military-first" policy and (b) relationship with Iran, which is believed to be subsidizing the Kimist regime's nuclear and missile programs in order to gain knowledge and divert attention from related Iranian activities.