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Putin Warns Against Hysteria About DPRK

Havana.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned at the opening of the high–level segment of the Ninth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit against “military hysteria” around the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. He said it could lead to a “planetary catastrophe” and called it “useless and ineffective” to impose new sanctions against Pyongyang such as those recently announced by Washington.

Such a position raises the prospect of another dangerous confrontation between Moscow and the United States, whose president called for “the strongest possible sanctions” by the UN as a sign of rejection of North Korea’s sixth nuclear test. It was carried out in early September, according to according to a statement from Radio Havana Cuba quoting as its source the French Press Agency (AFP).

Putin, who participated in the summit recently held at the Xiamen International Convention Center in China, told reporters there that “Russia condemns these exercises in North Korea, but considers that the use of sanctions of any kind in cases like this is always useless and ineffective. ”

“A military hysteria has no meaning … because it can lead to a planetary catastrophe with a high number of victims,” warned the Russian president.

Following Pyongyang’s sixth most powerful nuclear test so far, the United States, its European allies and Japan have announced that they are negotiating new UN sanctions against North Korea.

However, the position of China and Russia –both with veto rights in the Security Council – has not been sufficiently clear.

The North Koreans “will not give up their nuclear program if they do not feel safe. For this reason, we must try to open a dialogue between the parties concerned, “Putin said.

The Russian president believes that “military hysteria does not make sense, because it is a road that leads us to a dead end.” Putin adds to the position of China, which advocates a “peaceful solution” to the North Korean crisis and wants to resume negotiations with the government of Kim Jong–Un.

By contrast, US President Donald Trump, who pledged last month “fire and fury” if Pyongyang continues its threats against Washington, considered last week that, from now on, “any appeasement talk no longer works” with North Korea.

In response to the North Korean nuclear test, South Korea began ground maneuvers with live fire. The South Korean navy had done the same thing a week earlier, hoping to dissuade Pyongyang from any alleged provocation at sea.

US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced in New York that a new sanctions package would be presented by Washington –the eighth– will be negotiated in the coming days before being voted on by the Security Council on Nov. 11,.

At the beginning of August, the last resolutions sanctioning Pyongyang –each more severe than the previous one– were unanimously adopted by the 15 members of the Security Council.

According to diplomatic sources, the new measures being negotiated this week could affect oil, tourism, remittances to the country by North Korean workers abroad and other diplomatic decisions.

The hydrogen bomb that Pyongyang announced it had tested on Sunday, had a power of 50 kilotons, five times more than the previous North Korean test and three times more than the US–launched bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, according to South Korean sources.

North Korea is now capable of transporting an atomic bomb in a missile capable of reaching US territory, although, according to Washington, its experts have not confirmed this prediction with absolute certainty.

North Korea has never succumbed to the intimidation of the US and this has generated prestige and admiration for its proven intransigence and resilience in circumstances that have led many other governments of the world to indignant capitulation.

Pyongyang is proud to have survived as an independent nation with a communist orientation in a global context as extremely dangerous as its own. It attributes the success of its national security program –in large measure– to the fact that it includes possession and development of a small nuclear arsenal that serves a deterant. This is because of the possibility that Washington, through its participation in and monopoly of the atomic bomb, could launch another war like the one it carried out on Korean territory, in the 1950s of the last century.

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Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

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