Putin and Trump Speak Overnight Friday
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
It’s routine for world leaders to speak to one another, not when it involves Putin and Trump. Western media bash them both, instead of urging improved bilateral relations.
A brief White House statement said both leaders discussed “working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea.”
“President Trump thanked President Putin for acknowledging America’s strong economic performance in his annual press conference.”
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they “spoke out in favor of building dialogue and contacts with North Korea and agreed to exchange information and initiatives in this regard, focusing on ways to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.”
Both leaders remain world’s apart on dealing with the DPRK. Putin urges responsible dialogue, along with suspending provocative US, South Korean, Japanese military exercises Pyongyang calls rehearsals for war.
Trump is at odds with his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson suggesting talks with no preconditions – then naming one, saying:
“It is only by first dismantling (Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic programs) that there can be peace, stability, and economic prosperity for all of Northeast Asia.”
Trump remains belligerent toward the DPRK, rejecting talks, favoring threats, heading things closer to confrontation.
Ahead of Tillerson’s remarks, North Korea’s KCNA news agency quoted leader Kim Jong-un, saying his government will continue developing and producing the “latest (in) weapons technology and equipment (to) bolster the nuclear force in quality and quantity.”
In talks with his Chinese counterpart, Tillerson said if US forces crossed the 38th parallel into North Korea, they’d pull back after accomplishing their mission – an ominous statement, suggesting plans for US belligerence against the DPRK, ground forces likely supported by US terror-bombing, risking nuclear war.
Trump administration strategy involves tightening and toughening sanctions while preparing for possible military confrontation.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Igor Morgulov said increasing US pressure on the DPRK risks “economic strangulation.”
“Russia will not be part of this,” he stressed. “(E)conomic pressure alone will not lead to the outcome we seek, the resolution of the nuclear problem in the Korean Peninsula. Also, there is a humanitarian dimension, since sanctions hurt ordinary people in the first place, which we have to take into account.”
Russia intends making no “rash decisions.” Diplomacy is the only way to try resolving contentious issues. Threats are counterproductive and dangerous.
Moscow’s top priority on the Korean peninsula is avoiding war, China sharing the same view.
On Wednesday, National Security Adviser MR McMaster belligerently said denuclearization is “the only viable objective” – wanting North Korea rendered defenseless, at greater risk of US aggression than now.
Its nuclear and ballistic missile deterrents give Washington pause about attacking the country. Yet Trump’s rage for war poses a major risk.
China’s Global Times made the following points:
America’s State and Defense Departments are “playing good cop, bad cop” on North Korea.
“Tillerson’s call for talks does not affect Washington’s military plan for” the country.
US military exercises with regional allies “are coming close to actual combat.” Tillerson’s talk of negotiations “has been offset by quasi-military actions.”
“Though the US has talked about the policy of the ‘four nos’ – no regime change, regime collapse, accelerated reunification or military deployment north of the 38th parallel…it has also sent sterner warnings to North Korea and conducted more frequent military maneuvers.”
Avoiding catastrophic nuclear war on the peninsula remains the main regional objective.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”