Despite Donald Trump promising to “totally destroy” North Korea, Russia has continued to warn against going to war with Kim Jong-un and his regime. One of Russia’s highest-ranking diplomats warned Thursday that should the U.S. attack North Korea, the repercussions would be felt across the globe, and stressed his country’s opposition to such a move.
He wasn’t alone.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov and officials from multiple countries around the world are rejecting President Donald Trump’s promise. Trump’s fiery U.N. speech came after months of mounting tensions between his administration and an increasingly aggressive, nuclear-capable North Korea, led by Kim Jong-un.
While Russia has also criticized Kim’s nuclear ambitions and routine ballistic missile tests, Gatilov emphasized that Moscow would not stand for a direct U.S. assault on North Korea — something Trump’s administration has repeatedly stated is a strong possibility.
“This is their long-running thesis that all options remain on the table, including military ones. But we believe this will have dire consequences both for North and South Korea, and the region in general, and for all international relations in general. This is not an option,” Gatilov told the state-run Tass Russian News Agency, adding that he believed Washington should be savvy enough to know not to launch such a bold move.
“Still, common sense should prevail here. We should think not about military methods but how to start talks and dialogue,” he said.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, weighed in on the matter as well. He claimed the United States will not conduct a strike on North Korea because the Americans know for a fact that Pyongyang is equipped with nuclear bombs.
“Americans won’t strike North Korea, because not only do they suspect, but know for sure that Pyongyang has nuclear weapons,” Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Russia’s NTV television on Sunday.
There were other countries besides Russia that were annoyed by the rhetoric of Trump’s first U.N. General Assembly address. During his speech, he referred to Kim as “Rocket Man” who is “on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
After the meeting, Trump took to social media and put a positive spin on everything.
Representatives of North Korea, the target of the Republican leader’s attacks, had stepped out of the room prior to Trump’s threats, but the country’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, later went so far as to say the speech sounded like “dog-barking sounds,” and that Pyongyang was not surprised by his tone.
Like previous U.S. leaders, Trump has not been in favor of North Korea’s self-proclaimed right to possess nuclear weapons, which the country argues are crucial for guarding the reclusive communist state’s sovereignty. Since conducting its first nuclear test over a decade ago, in 2006, North Korea’s military has grown rapidly, especially after Kim became the third generation of his family to lead the country following his father’s death in 2011.
This year alone, North Korea launched its first ever intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests and its sixth nuclear test. Believed to have been a hydrogen bomb, that sixth nuclear test was more powerful than all previous tests combined. These developments, along with reports that North Korea now has the technology to fit warheads onto its missiles, could place much of the world, including parts of the U.S., in Kim’s line of fire.
China, North Korea’s closest ally since its founding, has joined forces with Russia in trying to establish a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The countries have been critics of U.S. foreign policy and have called on Trump and Kim to renounce their current brinkmanship and engage one another in dialogue.
A war between the U.S. and North Korea has been projected as killing at least a million people — without the use of nuclear weapons. If North Korea were to successfully launch a nuclear strike on the U.S., which it has promised to do if attacked, the fatalities would increase significantly. As tensions between Trump and Kim continue to build, some U.S. allies and foes alike have attempted to step in to defuse the situation.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom also took exception to Trump’s U.N. address
“The wrong speech, at the wrong time, to the wrong audience,” he said afterwards.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned one month ago that a war between the U.S. and North Korea “could result in more victims than World War II.”
That would make it the deadliest conflict in human history.
[Featured Image by Mary Altaffer/AP Images]