US vows to force N.Korea back to nuclear talks

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Military experts outside of China say Beijing's worries are exaggerated and THAAD in South Korea wouldn't meaningfully improve USA monitoring ability when Washington already watches Chinese missile launches through radar systems installed in Qatar, Taiwan and Japan.

For many years, one of the most frequently cited explanations for North Korea's bad behavior and saber-rattling, such as weapons tests and bellicose rhetoric, was that the communist nation was trying to grab USA attention.

"China's military will continue to carry out live-fire military exercises and test new military equipment in order to firmly safeguard national security and regional peace and stability", Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in Beijing. We remain open to negotiations toward that goal. "However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our Allies".

In addition to the war games, diplomatic measures were announced after US senators were briefed about President Donald Trump's plans at the White House on Wednesday (US time). "You can see in the Chinese press and in other areas that China is really making a clear effort to communicate to North Korea that its behaviour, its provocative behaviour, the nuclear tests, missile tests can't be tolerated", a senior official with the Trump administration said.

He also acknowledged that North Korean retaliation to any US strike would endanger the lives of millions of Koreans in Seoul, and the 24,000 USA troops stationed in South Korea, according to the Guardian.

The North on Tuesday conducted large-scale, live-fire artillery drills, witnessed by national leader Kim Jong Un, as a reminder of its conventional threat to US -allied South Korea.

The mission said "it is an unshakable will of the DPRK to go to the end if the United States wants to remain unchanged in its confrontational stance".

Tensions have escalated since Trump took office three months ago, determined to halt Pyongyang's nuclear and missile advances.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Harris said he expects North Korea to soon be able to develop a long-range missile capable of striking the United States, as Kim has promised.

The United States and South Korea agreed past year to deploy the THAAD to counter the threat of missile launches by North Korea.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presided over the full meeting. South Korea's navy has said it will hold drills with the USA strike group.

On Wednesday, the United States military began moving parts of an anti-missile defence system to a deployment site in South Korea, triggering protests from villagers and by China.

The most important nation when it comes to pressuring the North, is China, the Kim regime's long-time ally and most valuable trading partner.

The USS Carl Vinson strike group, which has positioned itself in the Philippine Sea, can now reach North Korea in a two-hour flight, he said. They say there's little reason to reconfigure the THAAD radar in South Korea to a "forward-based mode" when that would disable the system from intercepting incoming missiles. It is also believed to be the first time that such top USA security officials have issued a joint statement on North Korea.

Policy updates by administration officials are usually given to United States lawmakers in congressional rooms at Capital Hill in Washington, leading some commentators to suggest the exercise was merely a photo-op for President Trump.

North Korea has vowed to strike the United States and its Asian allies at the first sign of any attack on its territory.