On Wednesday, China proposed that Pyongyang abandon future missile tests in return for Washington scrapping joint military exercises with Seoul in order to defuse escalating tensions in the region.
The suggestion came from the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, at a news conference during the National People’s Congress in Beijing, just days after North Korea fired four missiles. North Korea said these were practice runs for actual strikes on American military bases in Japan.
In response to the North Korean tests, “the U.S. began the rollout of a controversial missile defense system on South Korean soil, drawing a warning from China, which sees the system as a threat,” says Hume.
This is the first time such a deal has been suggested since President Donald Trump took office, says Hume, and his administration will have to figure out how to counter North Korea’s illicit weapons development program without provoking an arms race in this volatile region of the world.