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Targeting China: 'North Korea is Just a Platform and Pretext' in the US Game

© AP Photo / Eugene HoshikoU.S. navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. (File)
U.S. navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. (File) - Sputnik International
Washington is not interested in resolving the Korean crisis, which it is using to twist Beijing's hand, Asia-Pacific region analyst Vladimir Terekhov told Radio Sputnik, while commenting on the joint exercises launched by South Korea and the US amid the escalation of tensions in the region.

Washington is seeking to solve North Korea's nuclear issue with Beijing's hands, Vladimir Terekhov, a Russian political analyst focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, told Radio Sputnik, stressing that the ongoing 5-day joint naval drills kicked off by the US and South Korea are aimed at China in the first place.

"These [naval] exercises are of a military and, most importantly, political nature," Terekhov underscored.  "The main target of these drills is not in North Korea, which… is rather a platform and a pretext for a global game between the two major players — the US and China."

According to the analyst, the US wants Beijing to pressure the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) into abandoning its nuclear program, which is obviously inappropriate for the Chinese leadership.

Terekhov stressed that "the final resolution of the Korean problem is not in Washington's interests. " The US wants to remain at the forefront while containing China, therefore it needs tensions simmering in the region.

The South Korean navy's 14,000 ton-class large-deck landing ship Dokdo sails through the Yellow Sea of South Korea during military drills, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010. - Sputnik International
Joint US and South Korean Navy Drills Kick Off Around the Korean Peninsula
"Right now the tension is excessively high, so the United States is interested in decreasing it with the hands of China. Still, certain rigidity should remain in place," the Russian analyst explained.

Terekhov believes that the situation around the Korean Peninsula is unlikely to change dramatically in the near future.

The crux of the matter is that in mid-November, US President Donald Trump is expected to visit China.

"I believe that until this moment, nothing serious will happen in the region," the analyst surmised. "When the naval exercises are over, it is possible that North Korea will somehow respond to them — maybe it will make yet another [missile] launch."

According to the South Korean news channel YTN, Washington and Seoul's joint naval drills, which are taking place in the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea, involve about 40 warships and submarines from both countries, as well as an American strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

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The maneuvers in the Sea of Japan are reportedly aimed at striking key military facilities of the DPRK in the event of an "emergency situation" on the Korean Peninsula. Simultaneously, during the exercises in the Yellow Sea, the US and South Korea are conducting operations to resist an attack from a hypothetical enemy.

YTN also reported that nuclear-powered submarines USS Tucson and USS Michigan had also arrived in the ports of South Korea. In this regard, YTN does not exclude that the DPRK can conduct a new ballistic missile test in response to this demonstration of force.

Additionally, it is expected that between October 18 and 22, the ADEX 2017 airshow will take place at the Seoul military airfield, bringing together participants from 32 countries. At the show US strategic weapons, including the F-22 stealth fighter, F-35A and B-1B bombers are due to be demonstrated.

U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, is seen at a golf course in Seongju, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Currently, about 28,000 American soldiers are stationed in South Korea under the pretext of North Korea's missile threat. For its part, Pyongyang is bolstering its military capabilities, citing security concerns.

The ongoing naval exercises come against the backdrop of escalating pressure on the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests.

Following the ballistic missile test, conducted by Pyongyang on September 15, the United States and North Korea exchanged threats, with the US President Donald Trump pledging to "totally destroy" the DPRK if forced to defend the United States or its allies. For his part, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned the United States of a highest level of hard-line countermeasures in history.

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