The U.S. does not want to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier for joint military exercises with South Korea that began on March 1 as Seoul had hoped, despite escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula. Washington apparently feels that a cautious, level-headed response to increasingly belligerent threats from North Korea is the best strategy.
Just after the North's latest nuclear test, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said he would ask the U.S. to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the drills.
Seoul and Washington are also apparently at odds over a joint military response to any North Korean provocation. The two countries were originally scheduled to sign off in January on the deal, but it has been delayed for months now.
"We aim to strike not only the source of North Korean provocations, but also supporting forces and command, but the U.S. wants to focus on preventing an escalation," said a researcher at a state-run think tank here.
Wu Dawei, Beijing's special representative for Korean affairs, met on Monday with South Korea's Ambassador to China Lee Kyu-hyung. Wu expressed hope that tensions do not mount on the Korean Peninsula during the joint drills.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told reporters on Saturday that Beijing does not always feel that sanctions against North Korea are the fundamental solutions to resolving the North's nuclear weapons program.
Yang said the only way to resolving the problem is through dialogue. He added that he believes sanctions against North Korea are not the aim of the UN Security Council. But he added the recent rise in tensions on the peninsula goes against Chinese interests and urged Seoul and Pyongyang to exercise "calm and restraint."