A senior Russian diplomat told media on Tuesday that a conflict on the Korean peninsula would lead to “catastrophic consequences” and that the Kremlin was working to cool tensions.
“We consider that the conflict has no military settlement since it leads to the catastrophic consequences not only for South Korea but for the entire region,” Director of the Foreign Ministry Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Mikhail Ulyanov said, in comments carried by the RIA news agency.
“We exclude a military option… We will not accept it.”
North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho in a statement on Monday said that his country reserved the right to shoot down U.S. bombers, even if they flew outside of the country’s territory.
Amid growing tensions in the region, Ulyanov said Russia was working behind the scenes to resolve the crisis.
“Such work is carried out by us, it is not public for obvious reasons, but we at least try to bring the situation to an acceptable direction,” he said, potentially a reference to an ongoing visit to Russia by Choe Son Hui, the North Korean foreign ministry’s director of the North American department.
Ulyanov said sanctions would not be enough to solve the North Korean issue.
“Sanctions are not a panacea, and that our American partners solely resort to methods of pressure (mainly sanctions) – this is truly a way which leads to nowhere, by doing this they certify their own weakness,” he said.
China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday also expressed concern about Ri’s statement.
“We also hope that politicians of both sides including the U.S. and the DPRK can realize that blind quarrel and provoking each other will only increase the risk of conflict and reduce room for policy maneuvers,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing in Beijing. “War on the Korean peninsula will have no winner.”
Lu said Beijing has heard “excessive sounds of quarrel” on the peninsula recently.
“We hope both U.S. and North Korean politicians have sufficient political judgment to recognize that resorting to military force will never be a desirable way to resolve the issue of the peninsula and their own concerns,” Lu said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday that Seoul would continue to seek dialogue with the North, even under the tough circumstances.
“The journey to achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula should not be stopped even if there is any difficulty,” Moon said at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the October 4 declaration – held in advance due to next week’s Chuseok holiday in the South.
“Our government will work with the international community to secure military deterrence in the course and to prevent from raising tensions excessively or causing a military conflict.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: PROClay Gilliland’s Flickr
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