As Trump engages with North Korea, China expands military presence in Asia-Pacific

Xi jinping with Trump
Xi jinping with Trump

The Asia Pacific region is facing the most critical challenge since World War II because of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development programme.

With North Korea acepting South Korea’s proposal to meet on January 9 with an attempt to ease tensions that have brought peninsula to the brink of war indicates that Kim Jong Un is willing to hold dialogue with Seoul directly without United States.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also raised grave concerns over the consistent threat being faced by his country since World War II and has urged his administration would strive to improve Japan’s defences to protect the country’s citizens.

Both leaders Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in will sit down in truce village of Panmunjom to hold dialogue on the existing situation and about the Winter Olympics. This positive development came after repeated statements issued by South Korea’s President to hold direct talks with Pyongyang and said that participation in Pyeongchang will “provide a very good opportunity for inter-Korean peace and reconciliation.”

The scedule of meeting between the leaders of two Koreas came just hours after the United States and South Korea delayed a joint military exercise but there exists an element of again pushing the Korean peninsula to the war like situation if US provokes Pyongyang by holding joint exercise as per the conditions set by the DPRK to return to six-party talks.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis stated that joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises have been deconflicted with the Games and will occur at some point after the Paralympic Games, which follow the Olympics.

Tensions in the region have remained high after Pyongyang carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September 2017 and test fired its missile on November 29 that landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

On one hand U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are in the midst of a war of words, exchanging barbs over North Korea’s nuclear missile programme while on the contrary, Mattis specifically pointed out that denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula is a diplomatic-led effort that requires a diplomatic solution and United States provides the “backing for the diplomats.”

“Right now the North Korean and South Korean officials are to meet Jan. 9 to discuss only about the Games,” Mattis said.

Mattis highlighted the close bond between the United States and South Korea, saying the two nations are in “complete lockstep.” “It’s almost like an old married couple, when we start the statement and they can finish it,” he added.

As US President Donald Trump has now called Russia and China as rival powers .Chinese President Xi Jinping has surprised the West by putting China at the centre of great power politics as Beijing holds the key to resolve tensions in Korean peninsula.As there are realignment of the countries and alliances aggressive China under Xi Jinping is steadily expanding its military presence in disputed islands in South China Sea and constructing its projects on land in neighbouring countries thus raising tensions throughout Asia and the Pacific.

Addressing China’s entire armed forces, Xi has urged troops to show the “fighting spirit of fearing neither hardship nor death.”Beijing has even warned Japan to “act prudently” after reports emerged that Japan is considering to purchase the F-35B stealth fighters and modified Izumo -class ships to operate them.

Xi commanded troops to “Create an elite and powerful force that is always ready for the fight, capable of combat and sure to win in order to fulfil the tasks bestowed by the Party and the people in the new era.” Trump should be watchful of the developments in Asia-Pacific and use diplomacy to avert war like situation.


By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist



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