nsucurrent.com April 25, 2018

China says N Korea sending delegation to new Silk Road summit

13 May 2017, 01:43 | Ruby West

The Chinese weapon tested was likely a DF-26 intermediate range missile being developed to sink warships, including USA aircraft carriers, said Song Zhongping, an expert on military affairs and commentator for Hong Kong's Phoenix TV.

Asked if the test's location in the Bohai Sea, close to the tensed Korean Peninsula, could show that the test was specifically aimed at Seoul's THAAD deployment, Song said that this was unlikely as Bohai is China's usual weapons testing ground.

The test came amid Chinese anger over the deployment in South Korea of a sophisticated USA missile defense system that Beijing opposes because its radars are allegedly capable of peering deep into China to detect rocket launches and aircraft movements.

Asked about the report in a regular news briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that China has noted remarks from the USA on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the positive message that the issue will be peacefully resolved through dialogue and consultation. The move follows Chinese warnings to South Korea not to deploy the THAAD US anti-missile defense system. The test "achieved the expected result", the statement added.

South Korea has another angle in that some of the donated equipment is South Korean made and being retired because new models are available.

Last week, US Forces Korea said THAAD was now operational, with the ability to intercept North Korean missiles, prompting Beijing to demand the immediate suspension of the system's deployment.

The system became operational last week, prompting immediate calls by Beijing to suspend its deployment.

Despite Chinese anger at North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests, China remains the isolated state's most important economic and diplomatic backer, even as Beijing has signed up for tough United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.

Hong Kong-based military analyst Liang Guoliang said the missiles might have been launched from northwest China, probably in Xinjiang or Gansu, with the warheads landing in Bohai.

North Korea will be sending a delegation to a summit next week on Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious new Silk Road project, despite strained ties between Beijing and Pyongyang. It said that it was created to intercept incoming missiles from North Korea, Reuters reported.

But ties have begun to fray in recent years, with China increasingly exasperated by the North's nuclear antics and fearful of a regional crisis.

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