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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Kim Kwan
North Korea has moved a missile with "considerable range" to its east coast, South Korea's defense minister said Thursday, but he added that there are no signs that the North is preparing for a full-scale conflict.
North Korea moved an intermediate-range missile to a launch site on its east coast, South Korea's defense minister said Thursday, as reports said the isolated and crumbling Communist state might be preparing a missile launch, either as a test or a strike again U.S. or allied forces.
The Obama administration appeared eager on Thursday to downplay the North Korean military's latest threat that it has the final authority to carry out "cutting-edge, smaller, lighter and diversified" nuclear strikes on the United States.
North Korea has moved a missile with "considerable range" to its east coast, South Korea's defense minister said Thursday, but he added that there are no signs that Pyongyang is preparing for a full-scale conflict.
On Thursday in Beijing, Gen. Chen Bingde, chief of the People's Liberation Army's general staff, issued an unusual and caustic tirade against the United States at the start of a meeting with visiting South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin.
New international disarmament talks with North Korea are possible only if the North backs off recent aggression against South Korea and demonstrates it is willing to bargain in good faith, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.
North Korea lambasted South Korea's new defense chief Sunday for threatening to launch air strikes against the North and accused the South of causing "uncontrollable, extreme" tension on the peninsula.
In remarks that dovetailed with those made by Ms. Nuland, however, Mr. Kim said the North Korean missile did not appear to be aimed at the United States, but likely was being prepared for some kind of test or show firing, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
"The missile does not seem to be aimed at the U.S. mainland," Mr. Kim told lawmakers. "It could be aimed at test firing or military drills."