China urges S. Korea, US to pull back THAAD equipment

The U.S. military started moving parts of an anti-missile defense system to a deployment site in South Korea on Wednesday, triggering protests from villagers and criticism from China.

The current defense architecture "is sufficient to protect Hawaii today, but it can be overwhelmed", he cautioned.

"We believe China has a very, very important role to play", said the USA envoy for North Korea policy, Joseph Yun.South Korea's envoy, Kim Hong-kyun, said they had also discussed how to get Russia's help to press North Korea.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 27, the Kremlin said.

A targeted USA attack to take out North Korea's nuclear weapons program could spark a wider war on the Korean peninsula, lawmakers and experts have warned.

The Vinson's itinerary in the Western Pacific region was the subject of considerable controversy last week when a Navy photo showed the carrier in the Sunda Strait, 3,000 nm away from North Korea. However, should it come to battle tomorrow, Harris was confident in the American capability to defend its carrier group.

Harris stressed to lawmakers that there is a sense of urgency.

Admiral Harry Harris, who heads the US Pacific Command, said in Washington this week the US Carl Vinson strike group was in the Philippine Sea just east of Okinawa, "in striking range and power projection range of North Korea if called upon to do that".

But it certainly reflected the increased American alarm over North Korea's progress in developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the USA mainland. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke to Trump on Monday, is urging restraint from both North Korea and the U.S.

China has significant leverage with North Korea, with 80 percent of North Korea's economy depending ties to the country.

"Kim Jong-un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today, in my opinion", Harris testified to the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).

It said the DPRK's "heaviest counteractions" in response to "provocations of any forms and levels from the US" will include a sudden pre-emptive attack involving manoeuvres on the ground, in the seas, underwater and in the air "and various other methods".

"We should not kid ourselves here, a conflict on the peninsula would be unlike anything we have seen in decades", she said.

Gen. Vincent Books is commander of US Forces Korea.

"The twisted reality is that China is doing all of this to stop the deployment of a missile defense system, which is only necessary because China has aided and abetted North Korea for decades", he said.

The THAAD system is meant to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

Seoul and Washington say the sole objective of THAAD is to defend against North Korean missiles, but China is concerned the system's powerful radar can penetrate its territory and undermine its security. But he said the Trump administration's tough talk of defusing North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs is justified.

After Trump's election, there had been concerns that he would follow through on campaign threats to withdraw American troops if the two countries don't pay a larger share of the cost.

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