China SHOOTS DOWN missiles near North Korea border – nuclear crisis deepens
CHINA has shot down missiles near the North Korean border in a provocative show of force against Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom
North Korea was sent a direct message from Beijing yesterday in an explosive military drill near the border between the two states.
China’s air force carried out exercises near the peninsula, practising to defend against a “surprise attack” – presumably from their erratic neighbours.
Chinese state-run media, which effectively acts as ay propaganda wing for leader Xi Jingping’s government, said the drills took place early yesterday.
They said the provocative drills took place near the Bohai Sea, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea which separates China from the Korean peninsula.
Troops travelled to the site from central China before immediately beginning drills to fend off the “surprise attack” simulating real battle.
Chinese press boasted: “The troops rapid response capabilities and actual combat levels have effectively been tested.”
They also said new weapons, used to shoot down airborne missiles, were successfully tested for the first time.
The exercise came days after North Korea carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test of an advanced hydrogen bomb.
US president Donald Trump warned military action is “not a first choice” but added ominously “we’ll see what happens”.
There is now mounting international concern the country plans even more weapons tests, possibly of a long-range missile.
After weeks of rising tension, South Korea and the United States have been discussing the deployment of aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula.
China is deeply suspicious of any US backed military build up in the region and has repeatedly expressed anger at the deployment of a US anti-missile defence system in South Korea.
READ MORE: How many nuclear weapons do North Korea have?
However, Beijing is also becoming increasingly concerned with North Korea, who have historically been allies.
In recent months Beijing has repeatedly rapped despot Kim on the knuckles as the international community places more responsibility on China to solve the crisis.
Earlier this year China suspended imports of North Korean coal, which acts as a major source of income for the hermit state.
China, along with Russia, have now also advocated a “freeze for freeze” plan, where the United States and South Korea stop major military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons programmes.
North Korea says it needs to develop its weapons to defend itself against what it sees as US aggression.
READ MORE: Will North Korea attack the USA?
However, China urged Donald Trump to push for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis.
President Xi told the US leader in a telephone conversation to move towards talks, rather than conflict.
Mr Xi also told Mr Trump that China attaches importance to his proposed visit to China later this year.
Mr Trump revealed after the phone call: “President Xi would like to do something. We’ll see whether or not he can do it. But we will not be putting up with what’s happening in North Kore.
“I believe that President Xi agrees with me 100 percent… We had a very, very frank and very strong phone call.”
In a scathing attack on the US president, Russia’s Vladimir Putin warned the measure could push Kim Jong-un into sparking World War 3.
He claimed the next step after sanctions would be an “invitation to the cemetery” because Kim will never give up his nuclear weapons.
He said: “We hope it will not come to a conflict with the use of weapons of mass destruction in North-East Asia.
“There are possibilities to achieve the settlement of Pyongyang’s problem by diplomatic means. This is possible and must be done.
“We are telling them that we will not impose sanctions, which means you will live better, you will have more good and tasty food on the table, you will dress better.
“But the next step, they think, is an invitation to the cemetery. And they will never agree with this.”