A Russian lawmaker on Friday said that North Korea doesn’t want nuclear war with the US – but that the country is “morally ready” for war after US threats, and if it’s left with no other option, RIA reported. At the same time, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, chimed in, and according to interfax, said there are people in Washington “who wish to provoke Pyongyang to reckless actions” and warned the US that if it “wants to destroy North Korea” then it is playing with fire and making a great mistake.
In this context, some have speculated that should Rex Tillerson leave the Trump admin, once the former Exxon CEO – who has been the most vocal opponent to a North Korea war – departs, then North Korea’s challenge may be promptly answered by the various generals currently inhabiting the White House.
These remarks followed reports early Friday that North Korea would agree to peace talks with the US if the international community is ready to recognize it as a nuclear power. The news was relayed by a Russian delegation to Pyongyang. The delegation added that the North believes it was forced to be aggressive and that the country won’t give up its nukes under any circumstances.
“[Pyongyang] are ready to talk, however the [North] Korean side has its own condition – it should be recognized as a nuclear power,” Vitaly Pashin, a member of the Russian delegation, told news agencies upon their return. The North is now ready to negotiate with Washington “under parity terms” with the participation of Russia as a third party, he added.
Tensions spiked earlier this week when the North carried out its first missile launch in more than two months, ending the longest period of calm so far this year, when it test fired the country’s first true ICBM. Observers noted that the Hwasong-15 missile reached an unprecedented height of 4,500 kilometers, and flew for more than 50 minutes. Experts have concluded that the North now likely has the capability to strike anywhere in the continental US.
On Thursday, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, warned Wednesday that the North Korean regime “will be utterly destroyed” in a war with the US.
“We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it,” ambassador Haley said at a meeting of the UN Security Council. “If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday.”
“And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed,” Haley said, something which Kim clearly disagrees with.
Russia and China have repeatedly pushed the US and the North to agree to talks. The two powers have proposed a solution whereby the US and South Korea would agree to halt their military drills if the North halts its nuclear program.