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Asia Minute: North Korea Watch

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

North Korea remains a focus of international attention this week. Today is the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army. And the United States and others are watching to see if the country marks the date with a possible nuclear test or missile launch. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


President Trump has been spending some time on the phone to Asia recently. Including calls with the prime minister of Japan and the president of China.

The White House has not provided many details, but media in Japan and China have had a bit more to say on the topic.

The call with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lasted about half an hour, according to Japanese media.

Abe said he told the president that Japan’s government appreciates “his words and actions that show all options are on the table.” Abe also mentioned that two Japanese destroyers have headed out of Sasebo Naval Base, en route to join the U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.

As for China, the White House said the two leaders “reaffirmed the urgency of the threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.”

The South China Morning Post made the point that Chinese President Xi Jinping urged restraint, but did NOT add his customary phrase about solving the issue “peacefully.”

One key to watch in coming days is what if anything China does with fuel supplies to North Korea.

China’s state-run Global Times says oil exports to North Korea might be “dramatically decreased,” if North Korea shows any provocation.

South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reports gasoline supplies in North Korea are already experiencing shortages.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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