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Diplomatic solution to Korean peninsula crisis likely: official

ROC Central News Agency

2017/05/01 20:39:05

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) A senior official said Monday that in spite of the tension on the Korean peninsula, no abnormal military actions are being taken there and the crisis will likely be averted through diplomatic negotiations.

National Security Bureau Deputy Director-General Chou Mei-wu (周美伍) made the remarks in reply to a lawmaker's questions during a legislative committee meeting.

Legislator Wu Kuen-yuh (吳焜裕) asked Chou to give an assessment of the situation, given media reports that China has moved 150,000 troops to its border with North Korea.

"Based on our latest intelligence, there are no abnormal military actions and North Korea has not set up preparations for war," Chou said.

Although the United States has just finished a joint military exercise with South Korea and Japan, no further movements have been seen to assemble manpower and supplies, "neither are we seeing mass movement of North Korea's attack submarines," he added.

Another sign of the "normal" situation there is, according to the security official, that neither China nor the U.S. are sending officials to observe the Korean peninsula situation from military bases close to the area.

Wu challenged Chou if he would call the media reports about Chinese troops movement "fake news" and if not, what does that mean?

"We are not saying such reports are fake news. We are making our judgment based on available satellite photos and information supplied by our allies, which tell us things are normal as of this moment," he said.

Asked if the situation is tense, he said that tension certainly is there, as a nuclear-powered American submarine capable of firing missiles is still docked in a South Korean port and the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson's latest location is just 80-120 nautical miles northeast of Busan, South Korea.

He said the U.S. military deployment is aimed at increasing pressure on North Korea, hoping that it will get back to the negotiating table.

As to whether China is using the opportunity to improve its ties with the U.S., Chou said "exactly."

Wu Chih-chung (吳志中), deputy minister of foreign affairs, said he would not recommend raising the level of travel alerts for Korea since no other countries have done so.

Meanwhile, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) urged the media not to "over-interpret" a "routine training mission" of deploying Patriot III missiles in Taiwan.

A local newspaper said Taiwan's military has moved the ground-to-air missiles from its Xindian, New Taipei base to launch pads in the face of the rising tension on the Korean peninsula.

Chen said the missile training exercise was not even related to the annual Han Kuang military exercises. "Military training goes on 365 days a year, to ensure national security and stability across the Taiwan Strait," he said.

(By Ku Chuan and S.C. Chang)

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