World War 3: China Calls for Peace as Trump Warns of War
The Security Council held a special meeting Friday to discuss the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres briefed the meeting, which was chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month.
The ministerial meeting of the council, chaired by Tillerson, exposed old divisions between the United States and China on how to deal with North Korea. China wants talks first and action later, while the United States wants North Korea to curtail its nuclear programme before such talks start.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned on Friday that failure to curb North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to ‘catastrophic consequences,’ while China and Russia rebuked Washington’s threat of military force.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov cautioned on Friday that the use of force would be “completely unacceptable.”
“The combative rhetoric coupled with reckless muscle-flexing has led to a situation where the whole world seriously is now wondering whether there’s going to be a war or not,” he told the council. “One ill thought-out or misinterpreted step could lead to the most frightening and lamentable consequences.”
Gatilov said North Korea felt threatened by regular joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises and the deployment of a U.S. aircraft carrier group to waters off the Korean peninsula.
China and Russia both also repeated their opposition to the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea. Gatilov described it as a “destabilising effort,” while Wang said it damaged trust among the parties on the North Korea issue.
Tillerson responded: “We will not negotiate our way back to the negotiating table with North Korea, we will not reward their violations of past resolutions, we will not reward their bad behaviour with talks.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday stressed two directions in dealing with the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, at the UN Security Council Ministerial Meeting on the Non-Proliferation/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Addressing the meeting, Wang said that “we must stay committed to the goal of denuclearization.”
“All parties should comprehensively understand and fully implement DPRK-related Security Council resolutions,” he said.
The foreign minister said that denuclearization is the basic precondition for long-term peace and stability on the peninsula and “what we must accomplish to safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.”
Tillerson repeated the Trump administration’s position that all options are on the table if Pyongyang persists with its nuclear and missile development, but Wang said military threats would not help.
In Tillerson’s first visit to the United Nations he scolded the Security Council for not fully enforcing sanctions against North Korea, saying if the body had acted, tensions over Pyongyang might not have escalated.
He urged the council to act before North Korea does and called on states to sever diplomatic and financial ties with Pyongyang and suspend the flow of North Korean guest workers, as well as impose bans on North Korean imports, especially coal.
“Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences,” he said.
South Korean media said that on Saturday morning, the DPRK testfired a mid-range ballistic missile that apparently failed shortly after launch, the launch was in direct contravention of requests from China and the USA.
At the UN Security Council special meeting, Wang stressed in his address the significance of continued commitment to dialogue and negotiation on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.
“We must stay committed to the path of dialogue and negotiation,” the Chinese foreign minister said.
“The use of force does not resolve differences, and will only lead to bigger disasters,” Wang noted, adding that “as the only way out, dialogue and negotiation also represent the sensible choice for all parties.”
“Our past experience of resolving the nuclear issue on the Peninsula shows, whenever dialogue and negotiation were ongoing, the situation on the Peninsula would maintain basic stability and efforts toward denuclearization could make progress,” said the minister.
Wang and Tillerson met several hours after the council meeting and appeared to have a cordial exchange.
“I appreciate the constructive way that China has engaged with the United States to address the challenges on the Korean peninsula that are common to both of us,” the American diplomat said.
U.S. President Donald Trump told Reuters in an interview on Thursday a “major, major conflict” with North Korea was possible over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.