Tabnak - During the last several days, the US President Donald Trump’s positions on North Korea and the possibility of acting unilaterally against Pyongyang have sparked debate about the nature of US’ new approach toward the country. Meanwhile, the North Korean government has issued warning against the US and China has called for restraint.
The New York Times reports that China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and the US President Trump spoke by phone on Wednesday about the escalating tensions with North Korea as a prominent Chinese state-run newspaper warned the North that it faced a cutoff of vital oil supplies if it dared test a nuclear weapon.
The phone call came hours after Trump cautioned Beijing in a Twitter message and a television interview that it needed to help Washington rein in North Korea, a Chinese ally. During the call, which was initiated by Trump, Xi said that the matter should be solved through peaceful means, the state news agency Xinhua reported.
During the conversation, Xi said China "is committed to the target of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and advocates resolving problems through peaceful means," CCTV said.
Tensions have risen on the Korean peninsula after the dispatch of US warships to the region. Earlier this week, the Carl Vinson Strike Group, which comprises an aircraft carrier and other warships, was diverted from Singapore to the west Pacific, where it recently conducted exercises with South Korea's navy.
North Korea reacted with anger, saying it would defend itself "powerfully". Pyongyang said Monday it would "hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences” if there was any further military action.
Adding to tensions, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that activity appeared to be taking place at a North Korean nuclear test site ahead of the April 15 anniversary of the communist country's founding.
At the same time, NBC News quotes "multiple top-ranking intelligence and military officials” as saying that the National Security Council has presented Trump with options to respond to North Korea's nuclear program — including putting American nukes in South Korea or killing Kim North Korean Leader Jong-un.
Both scenarios are seem to be part of an accelerated review of the US North Korea policy. The White House hopes the Chinese will do more to influence Pyongyang through diplomacy and enhanced sanctions.
It should be noted that since North Korea's first successful nuclear test in 2009, the United States has adopted a strategy to "slow, stop, and defeat" the North's nuclear and ballistic missile pursuits. That ranges from interdiction of supplies to interception of a ballistic missile actually in the air.
However, now it seems that under Trump administration the US is revising its North Korea policy on favor of a more assertive approach toward the country. How this new approach will be realized in actual scene and what consequences it will have however are yet to be seen.