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US Consults with UK and Australia on North Korea

Theresa May meets Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Ivanka Trump – Photo Stefan Rousseau

SEOUL, South Korea – U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken with the leaders of Britain and Australia about North Korea’s latest nuclear test.

The White House on Wednesday released details of calls Tuesday with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

To May, Trump stressed “now is not the time to talk to North Korea” and that “all options remain open to defend the United States and its allies.” He and May agreed to continue work on “increasing diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea.”

The White House said Trump and Turnbull “confirmed that their two countries will intensify joint efforts to denuclearize North Korea.” Trump repeated his commitment to “defending the homeland, territories, and allies of the United States, using all available diplomatic and military capabilities.”

Trump is to speak Wednesday with China’s president.

Meanwhile,  China has once again urged the U.S. and South Korea to halt the deployment of a high-tech missile defense system in South Korea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that China remains strongly opposed to it.

The U.S. military is to add more launchers Thursday to a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery that it began setting up in rural South Korea earlier this year.

Geng says the THAAD system would aggravate tensions on the Korean Peninsula and jeopardize the strategic and security interests of China and other countries.

South Korea says the U.S. military will begin adding more launchers to a contentious high-tech U.S. missile defense system in South Korea on Thursday to better cope with North Korean threats.

Seoul’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that four launchers and construction equipment will be moved to the former golf course where the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system has been set up.

A THAAD battery normally consists of six launchers, but only two have been operational so far at the site in rural Seongju.

The placing of additional THAAD launchers will likely trigger an angry response from area residents and activists who have opposed the system.

They have raised worries over rumored health hazards linked to the system’s powerful radar and the possibility that the town will become a target of North Korean attacks.

The Asssociated Press

 

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