by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 29, 2017
China warned that tensions on the Korean peninsula have reached "tipping point" after North Korea Tuesday fired a ballistic missile over Japan, but said the United States and South Korea are partly to blame.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged all sides to avoid provocations and repeated Beijing's call for the North to suspend missile tests in return for a halt to US-South Korean military exercises.
The situation is "now at a tipping point approaching a crisis. At the same time there is an opportunity to reopen peace talks," Hua told a regular news briefing.
"We hope relevant parties can consider how we can de-escalate the situation on the peninsula and realise peace and stability on the peninsula," she added.
Sirens blared out early Tuesday and text messages were fired off across the north of Japan, warning people in the missile's flightpath to take cover.
Seoul and Washington last week began annual war games which China opposes and are viewed by nuclear-armed Pyongyang as a highly provocative rehearsal for invasion. The North always meets them with threats of strong military counteraction.
Hua said the United States and South Korea "held one round after another of joint military exercises and they exerted military pressure on the DPRK (North Korea)".
"After so many rounds and vicious cycles, do they feel they are nearer to peaceful settlement of the issue?
"The facts have proven that pressure and sanctions cannot fundamentally solve the issue," she said, referring to UN sanctions imposed against North Korea.
China has backed the sanctions but also called for peace talks.
Chronology of North Korean missile development
Here are the key dates in Pyongyang's quest to develop a missile capable of hitting the United States:
Late 1970s: North Korea starts working on a version of the Soviet Scud-B (range 300 kilometres or 185 miles). Test-fired in 1984
1987-92: Begins developing variant of Scud-C (range 500 km), Rodong-1 (1,300 km), Taepodong-1 (2,500 km), Musudan-1 (3,000 km) and Taepodong-2 (6,700 km)
Aug 1998: Test-fires Taepodong-1 rocket over Japan in what it calls a satellite launch -- the US and others say it is a missile
Sept 1999: Declares moratorium on long-range missile tests amid improving ties with US
July 12, 2000: Fifth round of US-North Korean missile talks ends without agreement after North demands $1 billion a year in return for halting missile exports
March 3, 2005: Pyongyang ends moratorium on long-range missile testing, blames Bush administration's "hostile" policy
July 5, 2006: Test-fires seven missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2 which explodes after 40 seconds
Oct 9, 2006: Conducts underground nuclear test, its first
April 5, 2009: Launches long-range rocket which flies over Japan and lands in the Pacific, in what it says is an attempt to put a satellite into orbit. The United States, Japan and South Korea see it as a disguised test of a Taepodong-2
May 25, 2009: Conducts its second underground nuclear test, several times more powerful than the first
April 13, 2012: Launches what it has said is a long-range rocket to put a satellite into orbit, but which disintegrates soon after blast-off
December 12, 2012: Launches a multi-stage rocket and successfully places an Earth observational satellite in orbit
February 12, 2013: Conducts its third underground nuclear test
January 6, 2016: Conducts its fourth underground nuclear test, which it says was a hydrogen bomb -- a claim doubted by most experts
March 9, 2016: Kim Jong-Un claims the North has successfully miniaturised a thermo-nuclear warhead
April 23, 2016: Pyongyang test-fires a submarine-launched ballistic missile
July 8, 2016: US and South Korea announce plans to deploy an advanced missile defence system -- THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense)
August 3, 2016: North Korea fires a ballistic missile directly into Japan's maritime economic zone for the first time
September 9, 2016: Conducts fifth nuclear test
March 6, 2017: Fires four ballistic missiles in what it says is an exercise to hit US bases in Japan
March 7, 2017: US begins deploying THAAD missile defence system in South Korea
May 14, 2017: North Korea fires a ballistic missile which flies 700 kilometres before landing in the Sea of Japan. Analysts say it has an imputed range of 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) and brings Guam within reach
July 4, 2017: Test-fires a ballistic missile that analysts say brings Alaska within reach. Pyongyang later says it was a "landmark" test of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
July 28, 2017: Launches a missile with a theoretical range of 10,000 kilometres, meaning it could hit much of the United States
August 26, 2017: Fires three short-range ballistic missiles
August 29, 2017: Fires ballistic missile across Japanese territory. South Korea says it was launched from Sunan, near Pyongyang and flew around 2,700 kilometres at a maximum altitude of around 550 kilometres.
Seoul (AFP) Aug 26, 2017
North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles Saturday, the US military said, reviving tensions with Washington after President Donald Trump had said Pyongyang was starting to show some "respect". The launches come as tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops take part in joint military drills in the south of the peninsula, which the North views as highly provocative. Foll ... read more
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