North Korean Dangers

North Korea and the U.S. are facing escalating tensions that will possibly result in a dangerous military conflict. Nuclear weapons are one of the greatest threats to the world, and to see such risks of nuclear catastrophe — highlighted by the current Doomsday Clock position at 2.5 minutes to midnight — is another ominous reflection on the state of international affairs today.

China said on Friday tension over North Korea had to be stopped from reaching an “irreversible and unmanageable stage” as a U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed toward the region amid fears the North may conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test.

Concern has grown since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. and unilateral sanctions.

The United States has warned that a policy of “strategic patience” is over. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally and neighbor which nevertheless opposes its weapons program, has called for talks leading to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.