• China-North Korea Connection

China-North Korea Connection (Photo : Getty Images)

Tensions in Asia are rising as a nuclear-armed North Korea threatens to make use of its missiles. However, U.S. President Donald Trump is hopeful that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, can convince the Hermit Kingdom to soften its rhetoric, according to a report by the National Post.

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In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Trump has stated that he will be disappointed at the prospect of a successful nuclear test and that he believes China feels the same way about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Trump did not clarify if he means to pursue military action.

Last Saturday, North Korea launched a third test-fire of a ballistic missile this month, but the test run failed to go as planned. Nevertheless, the country remains defiant despite the United Nations' ban on ballistic missile tests in the Hermit Kingdom.

“We sternly warn that the North Korean government will continue to face a variety of strong punitive measures issued by the U.N. Security Council and others if it continues to reject denuclearization and play with fire in front of the world,” according to a statement released by South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.

Precarious moment

The missile tests are further complicating matters in the region as the U.S. and South Korea have started setting up THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) missile systems to shoot down potential incoming nuclear warheads.

The missile defense systems are currently being installed in the village of Seongi. The construction was met with protest as approximately 300 protesters clashed against 800 South Korean policemen.

Although they succeeded in blocking two U.S. oil trucks from moving into the village, some residents incurred injuries and were brought to a nearby hospital.

South Koreans remain divided regarding THAAD installations, and many observers expect the issue to bring renewed fire to the political debate. Some politicians have already incorporated the issue into their platforms.

According to presidential candidate Moon Jae-in, he will reconsider the deployment if he bags the May 9 election. Moon is doubtful about the economic benefits that THAAD will bring since its biggest trading partner, China, opposes the move.