North Korea Dictator Kim Jong-un Holds Plan to Launch Missiles in Guam; Russia May Play Crucial Role in De-escalating Tensions
Pyongyang, August 16: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has taken a breather from the vitriolic volley of threats against the United States as he suspended plans to launch missile attacks on Guam– an Asian island controlled by the US. The United States has responded by saying that it was ready for a dialogue if North Korea creates conditions for it.
According to reports, Kim Jong-un was presented with the plan to fire four ballistic missiles on the island of Guam. He decided to hold off the attack. The Korean state media said that he would “watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees.”
This comment is a clear de-escalation of the nuclear situation developing in the Korean peninsula. Experts say that it was neither a defeat nor victory for the Korean dictator as he has shown that he has the complete control of the fate of the region.
It can be a climb down from the situation, but the threat has not dissipated completely as the underlying problem remains the same– the explosive exchange of coarse words between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. Both the leaders have threatened each other with all-out attacks.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday that Washington remains “interested” in engaging in dialogue with North Korea, but he warned that this depends on whether that country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, will create the conditions for that to occur.
Tillerson said he had no response to Kim’s apparent willingness to observe US actions for a while longer before deciding whether or not to carry out his threat to bombard the US territory of Guam, in the Western Pacific.
“We continue to be interested in trying to find a way to get to dialogue but that’s up to him,” Tillerson added, Efe reported.
The top US diplomat made no further comment about Kim’s decision to suspend his plans to attack Guam with the apparent aim of reducing bilateral tensions and urging the US to restrain its “foolish and stupid conduct,” according to Pyongyang’s state-run KCNA news agency.
It may be noted that the island of Guam is closer to North Korea than the United States. In the case of a missile attack, the US would not be able to defend the island. Also, South Korean capital Seoul is also in the firing range of North Korea– it will be impossible for the US forces to prevent its annihilation. These facts have made the South Koreans a tad uneasy with the prospect of a war– conventional or nuclear. South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, said: “It’s only [South Korea] that can decide on military action on the Korean peninsula.”
Meanwhile, countries that can get directly affected by the war–China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea have called for peace in the Korean peninsula. (Also Read: US remains interested in possible dialogue with N. Korea: Tillerson)
Meanwhile, Russia can play a crucial role in reining in North Korea. The countries are slowly getting close diplomatically and the Russian administration can calm the Korean dictator. Russia on Tuesday had talks with China on the issue. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has a word with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and stressed on the need to prevent a “confrontational spiral” near their respective borders with North Korea.
“The urgent task is to slam the brakes on the mutually provocative words and actions between North Korea and the United States,” the Chinese statement said. “Cool the tensions and prevent an ‘August crisis’ from breaking out.”
“Military adventures and threats of force [are] unacceptable,” the Russians added.
The United States’ contention that it was for a peaceful diplomatic solution to the problem of rapid North Korea’s arming drive contradicts its President, Donald Trump’s comments on the situation. While the President talks about giving a bloody nose to the Koreans, his administration is working overtime to make the Koreans surrender without a fight. On August 5, the United Nations Security Council voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea. China–North Korea’s largest trading partner– banned imports of North Korean minerals that power their economy.
(With IANS inputs)