WASHINGTON – China has criticized the United States for deciding to deploy additional anti-ballistic missile systems on the U.S. West Coast in response to threats from North Korea to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the U.S.
Beijing said that bolstering U.S. anti-missile defenses would only intensify antagonism between North Korea and the U.S.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently ordered another 14 anti-ballistic missile systems to the U.S. West Coast following recent underground nuclear tests by North Korea and then a threat to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the U.S.
To back up their threat, the North Koreans have recently released two videos, the first showing a nuclear attack on what appears to be New York City and a second with a bull’s-eye on the White House and an explosion on the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building.
These animated displays then were following by a narrative in Korean that stated: “The White House has been captured in the view of our long-range missile, and the capital of war is within the range of our atomic bomb.”
Observers have expressed concern that while North Korea has limited missile and nuclear resources, it may opt to orbit a nuclear weapon that would be deorbited to explode a high-altitude nuclear device, sending out an electromagnetic pulse that would destroy a significant portion of an already highly vulnerable U.S. electric grid system.
North Korea – like China, Russia and Iran – is very aware of the capability of the blast from one high-altitude nuclear weapon detonating and emitting an electromagnetic pulse that could seriously cripple, if not destroy, the grid and America’s communications capability.
Last January, Pyongyang tested a missile that U.S. officials said could reach Alaska and possibly California.
At the same time, the North Koreans orbited a package that may have been a test to deorbit a nuclear weapon upon command and explode it high over a densely populated region on the East Coast, extending strike capability another 2,000 miles.
Following the successful missile test, the North Koreans then tested an underground nuclear weapon which experts believe was for miniaturization of a nuclear weapon that could fit on the three-stage missile.
Given Pyongyang’s belligerent rhetoric and videos showing a pre-emptive nuclear strike on New York City and Washington, D.C., analysts believe that test for miniaturization may have been successful.
Other analysts believe that it may have been North Korean bluster being displayed to the world in an effort to gain more concessions not only from the U.S. but from South Korea which recently decided to halt further assistance to Pyongyang in light of the threats.
U.S. officials, however, have stated that there would be no new concessions to the Hermit State to halt its nuclear program in view of the threats.
North Korea also threatened to attack South Korea and announced that it had scrapped the 1953 Armistice that halted the shooting between North and South Korea but didn’t result in any peace treaty – meaning the two countries still are at war.
China, which is said to be close to North Korea, similarly expressed concerns over the North Korean missile and nuclear tests, suggesting its influence over the Pyongyang leadership was limited.
China then voted in the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions against the North.
Yet, Beijing was critical of the U.S. for taking the nuclear pre-emptive threat seriously and ordering the deployment of 14 anti-ballistic missile systems to the West Coast, and canceling the final phase of an anti-ballistic missile system for Europe – an action which was to placate the Russians.
The U.S. wanted to complete it, saying the European anti-ballistic missile system was aimed at deterring Iranian missiles.
However, Moscow had objected to completion of the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe, saying that it compromised its strategic capabilities and threatened to deploy additional ballistic missiles in the western-most portion of Russia opposite Europe.
Despite the U.S. announcement of abandoning the final phase of the European anti-ballistic missile system, the structure remains in place, a situation which continues to be a source of irritation to Moscow.
While China has been critical of North Korea for its recent missile and nuclear tests, it similarly criticized the U.S. over the announcement of diverting anti-ballistic missile systems to the West Coast.
“The anti-missile issue has a direct bearing on global and regional balance and stability,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
Hong said that China wanted to undertake an alternative course of increasing security and resolving the problem of nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula through diplomatic means.
“Actions such as strengthening anti-missile (defenses) will intensify antagonism and will not be beneficial to finding a solution for the problem,” Hong said.
“China hopes the relevant country will proceed on the basis of peace and stability, adopt a responsible attitude and act prudently.”
North Korea’s saber-rattling has prompted South Korea to reconsider its ban on nuclear weapons, which the U.S. years ago discouraged Seoul from developing, saying the country came under the U.S. nuclear protective umbrella.
In recent days, South Korean officials have publicly suggested reconsidering its previous prohibition on producing nuclear weapons.
A recent poll showed that two-thirds of South Korean citizens surveyed favored the country producing its own nuclear weapons.
“We, the Korean people, have been duped by North Korea for the last 20 to 30 years, and it is now time for South Koreans to face the reality and do something that we need to do,” said Chung Mong-joon, a South Korean lawmaker.
“The nuclear deterrence can be the only answer,” he said. “We have to have nuclear capability.”