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China and Russia Term North Korean Missile Test as'unacceptable' but do they Mean it?
The Chinese President Xi has stopped over in Moscow for a meeting with the Russian President Vladamir Putin. Both will then proceed for the G20 summit in Germany. The two leaders are the closest allies of North Korea. The two leaders issued a joint statement calling on North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile testing program and simultaneously asked the United States and South Korea to freeze their military exercises. The statement was issued at the end of Xi's meeting with Putin in Moscow on Tuesday. Significantly both Russia and China termed the latest missile test by the North as " unacceptable". They urged that "any statements or actions that could lead to an increase in tensions" be avoided. Reuters has reported this news.
The statement further called on North Korea to voluntarily declare a moratorium on nuclear weapon testing.The two leaders linked this with the military exercises conducted by the USA and South Korea.
China and Pressure
The joint statement has made its bias clear by emphasizing that the North Korean regimes "sensible concerns" be respected. They wanted other nations to create a conducive atmosphere of "mutual trust". Both the leaders in a subtle reference to the USA spoke against "non-regional powers" mounting pressure in North East Asia on the pretext of countering the nuclear program and missiles of North Korea. They specifically mentioned the THAAD missile system. They said the so-called missile shield "seriously damages strategic security interests of regional powers, including Russia and China". It was conveniently forgotten that the missile shield was set up after a belligerent North repeatedly tested missiles. North Korea has claimed that they have tested their first ICBM. The missile reached an altitude of over 1700 miles and flew along a trajectory to a distance of over 1500 miles into the Sea of Japan.
The important point is that in case the trajectory of the missile is changed by altering the angle of firing the missile can travel over 4000 miles. This makes it an ICBM and capable of reaching Alaska.
Tiffs with India and USA
The visit of Xi comes in the background of a US warship sailing close to a Chinese claimed island in the South China Sea and a border face-off between the Indian army and Chinese army in Sikkim. This was the second warship to undertake what the Americans call" Freedom of navigation exercise". Earlier the destroyer USS Dewey was the first warship authorized by the Trump administration to sail into China's claimed waters.The Chinese need a friend and Russia have obliged. President XI has said,"the Russian-Chinese relations are now the best ever".
The Chinese army is also in a stand-off in Sikkim at a place called Dhokla. Almost 1000 troops of the Indian and Chinese army are jostling about to throw each other out.The Chinese need a friend and Russia have obliged. President XI has said,"the Russian-Chinese relations are now the best ever".
Not to be outdone Putin hailed Xi as a 'big friend' and presented him with Russia's highest award for his efforts to strengthen ties
The Last Word
China has the biggest leverage with North Korea as 90% of Pyongyang's trade is with China. The dragon has treated the North with kid gloves and for decades has not reined in the nuclear and missile program of North Korea. In case China was serious it could have turned the screws on the Korean regime. Maybe Korea was a proxy of China to needle the USA. The clock cannot be reset back and now the genie is out of the bottle.