US THAAD Missile Defense Test Successful, But NK Still an Issue

Andrew Cummings
July 17, 2017

There was also a meeting that day in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at which they jointly declared their support for a deescalation of the Korean dispute that would couple a freeze on North Korean nuclear and missile development with a hold on large-scale USA and South Korean military exercises.

"Trade between China and North Korea grew nearly 40 percent in the first quarter".

In fact, Moscow is not very anxious about North Korean missiles, though it would prefer to see a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. The surplus with the United States was China's largest since October 2015. The approach involves economic sanctions, military deterrence, and diplomatic pressure to force Pyongyang to the negotiating table.

"Simple accumulated data can not be used as evidence to question China's severe attitude in carrying out UN Security Council resolutions", Huang told a news briefing. Russian Federation believes the only solution to the Korean dispute is negotiations with Pyongyang that result in security guarantees for the Kim Jong Un regime.

North Korea's ICBM is likely a deterrent, nothing more, as actually firing one off would be suicidal. Why, Russian analysts ask, do Americans think that tighter economic sanctions will convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program, the only ironclad defense it has against a USA strike?

China defended Thursday its purchase of iron ore from North Korea following criticism by U.S. President Donald Trump and said it is "strictly and earnestly" complying with United Nations sanctions.

Song is a political refugee and activist who escaped North Korea over a decade ago.

Even though South Korea has continued to participate in US -led military drills, a recent statement from Moon Chung-in, a major adviser to the South Korean presidential administration, calling for downsized military exercises has captured the attention of Russian policymakers.

This year, House Republicans proposed that the Pentagon conduct research and development on space-based missile defense interceptors - a version of the "Star Wars" system that President Ronald Reagan championed in the 1980s as a deterrent against Soviet nuclear missiles.

The Asahi Shimbun reported in May Chinese President Xi Jinping asked for a 100-day "grace period" on North Korea following his first summit with President Trump.

Gaining China's respect as an equal arbitration partner could have far-reaching positive implications for Russia's Asia-Pacific strategy.

North Korea imports nearly all of its oil and gas from China; most of that comes through CNPC. THAAD is not made for ICBM interception, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency has already demonstrated the ability to take down an ICBM, but a successful THAAD test sends a distinct message to the Korean Peninsula.

Russia's government has other reasons for staking out a different position from Washington on the North Korean question. He is also a journalist who contributes regularly to the Washington Post and Huffington Post.

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