Putin and South Korean President Meet

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Putin and South Korean President Meet

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

For weeks after assuming office in May, South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged improved ties with Pyongyang, saying:

“I’m pro-US, but now South Korea should adopt diplomacy in which it can discuss a US request and say no to the Americans.”

Ahead of the early July Hamburg G20 summit, he expressed willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “any time, any place, if the conditions are met, and if it will provide an opportunity to transform the tension and confrontation on the Korean peninsula.”

He called US policy toward Pyongyang flawed and dangerous. “More desirable in international relations is to pursue a multifaceted approach” instead of hostile rhetoric and confrontational policies, he stressed.

He was a key architect of Seoul’s earlier soft hand Sunshine Policy toward the DPRK under President Kim Dae-jung. It was a high-point in North/South relations.

After less than four months in office, things changed dramatically. Moon turned hardline, co-opted by Washington. His attitude toward Pyongyang changed markedly.

Putin and China’s Xi Jinping support the only responsible way to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula. Sanctions, saber rattling and hostile threats encourage the DPRK to escalate its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, fearing US aggression.

At the Vladivostok economic forum, Putin and Moon discussed North Korea. “One shouldn’t give in to emotions and drive (the country) into a corner,” stressed Russia’s leader.

Steps should be taken to prevent escalated tensions, he added. It’s “impossible to solve the problems of the Korean peninsula by sanctions alone and pressure.”

“We call on all (relevant) parties to take a closer look at the (dual-track, double-freeze initiative he and Xi proposed) which, in our view, offers a realistic way to reduce tensions and gradually approach a settlement.”

Diplomacy is the only way to resolve contentious issues. Nothing else can work. Pyongyang fears for its safety with plenty of evidence to support its beliefs.

It threatens no other countries regionally or elsewhere. The notion of it launching nuclear or conventional war is absurd and insulting.

Moon called things “complicated by longstanding (DPRK) provocations (creating) an unpredictable situation.”

Acting like a US imperial pawn, he irresponsibly called on Putin to urge the international community to halt supplying oil to the DPRK – the idea rejected by Russia and China.

He supports tough new sanctions to isolate Pyongyang, block its sources of foreign income, end trade with the country, and strangle its economy – sounding more like a lunatic than responsible leader, goading the DPRK, encouraging an attack instead of defusing tensions to prevent conflict on the peninsula.

Resolving the deepening crisis depends on Washington, Seoul and Tokyo – not Beijing, Moscow or Pyongyang.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.