‘At all costs’: South Korean leader vows to prevent war with North
The South Korean president has vowed to avoid “losing everything” in another conflict with the North, adding that Seoul can veto US military action in the region. He also warned North Korea “to end its dangerous gamble” with missile tests.
“I will prevent war at all cost,” President Moon Jae-in said, as cited by AFP. “I want all South Koreans to believe with confidence that there will be no war.”
Seoul can use its right to a veto on any US military action on the peninsula, the South Korean leader said.
Washington had agreed that “no matter what option they take about North Korea, all decisions will be made after consulting with and getting agreement with the Republic of Korea,” he added.
According to Moon, US President Donald Trump is “trying to pressure North Korea by showing a firm resolution.”
“All South Koreans have worked so hard together to rebuild the country from the ruins of the Korean War [of the 1950s]. We can't lose everything with another war,” Moon said.
The South Korean leader called upon the North to “end additional provocations to create the mood for dialogue.” He added that “the red line” would be North Korea “completing its intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM]” and “mounting it with a nuclear warhead and weaponizing it.”
“If North Korea launches another provocation, it will face even stronger sanctions and it will not be able to survive them. I would like to warn North Korea to end its dangerous gamble,” he added.
Mixed signals from US on North Korea crisis
A recent war of words between the US and North Korea escalated tensions. Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” later adding that the threat wasn't tough enough. On one occasion he said that Washington has military solutions “locked and loaded” for North Korea.
At the same time, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that “Americans should sleep well at night,” while commenting on the crisis.
Pyongyang vowed to launch a medium-range ballistic missile to reach an area near the US territory of Guam, some 3,200km from North Korea. The country’s media reported that at least 3.5 million young people and retired soldiers have joined the military to fight in the event of a war against the US.
In the meantime, South Korea, a long-standing ally of Washington, doesn’t seem to share Trump’s saber-rattling rhetoric. The South, where over 28,000 US troops are currently stationed, has its own stance on the crisis.
On Sunday, a special policy adviser to President Moon told ABC News that Trump’s policy towards Pyongyang was “strategic confusion.”
“We are very much confused. Therefore, we think that now the American development has moved from strategic patience of Obama administration into strategic confusion,” he said.
On Tuesday, President Moon said that “no one else can decide to take military action without the consent of South Korea.”
“I call upon the North Korean government: without international cooperation and co-existence economic development is impossible," he also said.
Meanwhile, North Korea has urged the US to show willingness to ease tensions.
“The United States, which was the first to bring numerous strategic nuclear equipment near us, should first make the right decision and show through actions if they wish to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and prevent a dangerous military clash,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said, as cited by state KCNA news agency.
‘When nobody is in control’
Mixed signals from the US on the crisis may be down to a lack of cooperation inside the government, Lawrence Davidson, a foreign policy analyst, told RT.
“This is because there is no policy. This is because Trump doesn’t sit down with his cabinet and say, ‘OK, lets’ strategize for the contingencies that we’ve got. And then once we’ve got this policy, then we go to that policy and our public statements reflect that.’”
According to Davidson, Trump seems to make his statements without consulting or warning anyone.
“This is what happens when nobody is in control,” he concluded.