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Latest John Mccreary Items
North Korea's cancellation of a Wednesday summit with the South shows that the communist regime's commitment to the talks was fake, probably to ease China's participation in talks with the U.S. over the weekend, an noted Korea analyst says.
North and South Korea agreed in principle Thursday to hold their first official talks for several years next week, signaling a thaw in frosty cross-border relations after months of high-strung diplomatic tensions and military exercises on both sides of the divided peninsula.
China has deliberately snubbed North Korea by inviting South Korea's recently elected president to Beijing, while officials hectored a high-level delegation from Pyongyang last week and issued no such invitation to the North's third-generation hereditary leader, Kim Jong-Un.
A North Korean delegation to China appears to have been gently snubbed ahead of a meeting Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to one regional analyst, who say the visitors' treatment is part of Beijing's effort to reign in its troublesome, isolated and poverty stricken neighbor.
Chinese officials recently have called for an easing of tensions on the nearby Korean Peninsula, but have neither identified the North as an antagonist nor indicated they will pressure Pyongyang, which relies on Chinese fuel and food aid.
North Korea has moved a missile to an east coast launch-site likely to test fire it -- allowing the regime in Pyongyang to save face if it is stepping down from its confrontation with the United States.
The greatest danger on the divided Korean Peninsula, where bellicose nuclear rhetoric from the North and muscle-flexing joint military exercises by Washington and Seoul in the South have ratcheted tension to a fever pitch, is that an accident or miscalculation inadvertently could escalate into an all-out war, according to the general commanding U.S. military forces there.
ANALYSIS: The Pentagon said Monday that it was moving a guided-missile destroyer and a sea-based radar platform near North Korea's coastline to respond to any aggressive acts by the communist state, even as the White House said no changes have been detected in the regime's military posture despite its warlike threats.
China in February did not export any crude oil to North Korea, the first time exports have fallen to zero for a year, possibly as punishment for Pyongyang's nuclear test last month, Reuters news agency reported, citing customs data.