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US Saber-Rattling Over North Korea Aims to Cripple China's Global Economic Plans

© AP Photo / Ng Han Guan, FileChinese man stands near a screen displaying the Chinese national flag
Chinese man stands near a screen displaying the Chinese national flag - Sputnik International
The US military is increasing tensions in the Korean peninsula in order to destabilize China and weaken Beijing's efforts to build a new, alternative global economic system, Dr. Adam Broinowski, a post-doctoral research fellow at Australian National University, told Radio Sputnik.

Beijing has suggested that Washington, Pyongyang and Seoul de-escalate tensions in the Korean peninsula, insisting that the US and South Korea must end joint military exercises and that North Korea, simultaneously, must halt all nuclear and ballistic weapons development.

"China proposed the simultaneous suspension of North Korea's activities to develop nuclear weapons and missiles, and the suspension of large-scale military exercises," Maj. Gen. Shao Yuanming said at the VI Moscow Conference on International Security on Thursday.

Dr. Adam Broinowski, a post-doctoral research fellow at Australian National University, told Radio Sputnik that when the US has considered discussions with North Korea on a reduction of tensions in the past, Pyongyang has responded with an offer to cease or at least suspend its nuclear program.

"However, every time the US then turns on the military threats, and North Korea digs in its heels and decides that it's not safe for it to desist from its nuclear program. So, considering the consequences, it's probably the only sane solution that China really has to propose," Broinowski said.

In recent weeks, Washington has increased tension by announcing a more aggressive approach to the issue of North Korea's development of nuclear weapons. 

In this photo provided by U.S. Forces Korea, a truck carrying parts of U.S. missile launchers and other equipment needed to set up the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system arrive at Osan air base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Monday, March 6, 2017. - Sputnik International
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US politicians including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and House Speaker Paul Ryan have said that "all options are on the table," including a pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang.

US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the demilitarized zone between the North and the South and warned Pyongyang that "the era of strategic patience is over."

"This problem is coming to a head," national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said on April 17.

"All of our options are on the table, undergoing refinement and further development."

On Wednesday, President Trump ordered the entire US Senate to attend a briefing on North Korea from 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. The senators discussed possible action that might be taken against North Korea.

"It seems like there's a strong consensus that they're in a kind of emergency mode where they're saying, 'this is a crisis, we have to get much tougher than we have been in the past, there's no negotiation anymore.'"

Chinese People's Liberation Army cadets shout as they take part in a bayonet drills at the PLA's Armoured Forces Engineering Academy Base, on the outskirts of Beijing, China, July 22, 2014 - Sputnik International
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"However, any logic would [dictate] that the military option is not really an option considering the consequences. So, in the balance it would seem it is increased saber-rattling on the part of the US to gauge what China and North Korea might do as a weather vane to test how China will react and how it will negotiate this problem by increasing pressure."

"It seems to me that the US military in particular is also trying to put pressure on Chinese economic programs such as the One Belt, One Road initiative and the attempts to forge a strong alliance with Russia in a larger, super-continent economic trade platform and new alternative economic alliance, a project with massive expenditures that extends through to Germany." 

"There is one emerging economic system and one existing economic system coming into collision so I think there's a lot of military posturing in order to test and see how strong this emerging alliance might be and to see what weaknesses might appear so as to exploit them and destabilize that system."

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