Thursday, 13 December, 2018

The North Korea crisis

Reuters Reuters
Ellis Copeland | 08 September, 2017, 01:41

Russian President Vladimir Putin again rejected U.S. calls for new sanctions against North Korea after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, echoing China's resistance to more punitive measures to pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its atomic and missile programs.

The United States says countries trading with North Korea were aiding its "dangerous nuclear intentions" as the United Nations Security Council mulled tough new sanctions and the isolated regime showed signs of planning more missile tests.

South Korean President Moon Jae In said on Thursday there will not be war on the Korea peninsula, even though tensions have risen considerably since North Korea's latest nuclear test less than a week ago.

North Korea on Wednesday insisted that it will maintain its nuclear program even if additional sanctions from the global community are imposed on the regime, media reports said.

The test on Sunday of what Pyongyang described as a hydrogen bomb demonstrated North Korea's "accelerating and unprecedented campaign" of unlawful missile launches and nuclear tests, the alliance said in a strongly worded statement.

But speaking at the closure of the BRICs summit in Beijing - which hosted the leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa - Putin said that while Russian Federation condemned North Korea's latest actions, imposing any kind of sanctions would be "useless and ineffective".

China and Russian Federation have advocated a "freeze for freeze" plan, where the United States and South Korea would stop major military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons programmes, but neither side appears willing to budge.

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Russia's Foreign Ministry called on all concerned parties to immediately resume dialogue and talks, saying that this is the only way to solve the problems of the Korean Peninsula. Two launchers have been operational at the site since May.

North Korea on Tuesday, two days after its latest atomic test, declared itself a "full-fledged nuclear power in possession of ICBM as well as A-bomb and H-bomb".

The Council has adopted Resolution 2356 designating high-ranking North Korean government officials and the military's Strategic Rocket Forces Command for individual sanctions.

An intergovernmental working group will also be set up to promote the activities, with officials from foreign, trade, health and environment ministries taking part from Japan, it said.

South Korea and the United States are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. "Certainly that's not a first choice", CNN reported. US intelligence officials have not determined whether Sunday's test was the result of a hydrogen bomb. "China holds the key, the oil to North Korea flows from China".

"Even though no one wants war, the differences in incentives between the United States on the one hand, and China and Russian Federation on the other, will stop the full level of sanctions being enforced over the next week", he said.

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