The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is taking a harder line against North Korea than the previous occupants of the White House, talking tough and ordering a U.S. Navy carrier group closer to the Korean Peninsula. The government of Japan, which faces the constant threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs, has been very supportive of Washington's new tone.
However, should this step-up in deterrent pressure prompt the Kim Jong Un regime to hit back with yet more provocations, this could very well lead to an armed clash between North Korean and U.S. forces. To avoid this risk, the Japanese government is calling on China to soften the North's attitude and prevent tensions from reaching a potentially deadly breaking point.
During an April 9 telephone call, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked Trump about the U.S. president's April 6-7 summit meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Abe then told reporters that he was "keeping a close eye on China's response" to the North Korean situation.
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