Call for calm over N Korea

Sunday News - - WORLD -

UNITED NA­TIONS Rus­sia has urged ‘‘hot­heads’’ to calm down af­ter the United States said it felt ‘‘chal­lenged’’ by North Korea’s warn­ing that it could test a hy­dro­gen bomb over the Pa­cific Ocean, and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un traded more in­sults.

Trump called the North Korean leader a ‘‘mad­man’’ yes­ter­day, a day af­ter Kim dubbed him a ‘‘men­tally de­ranged US dotard’’ who would face the ‘‘high­est level of hard-line coun­ter­mea­sure in his­tory’’ in re­tal­i­a­tion for Trump say­ing the US would ‘‘to­tally de­stroy’’ North Korea if it threat­ened the US or its al­lies.

‘‘We have to calm down the hot­heads,’’ Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov told re­porters at the United Na­tions, where world lead­ers gath­ered this week for the an­nual UN Gen­eral Assem­bly. ‘‘We con­tinue to strive for the rea­son­able and not the emo­tional ap­proach . . . of the kinder­garten fight be­tween chil­dren.’’

US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son ex­pressed hope that sanc­tions and ‘‘voices from ev­ery cor­ner of the world’’ could lead North Korea back to talks, but ad­mit­ted that the in­ten­si­fy­ing rhetoric had left Wash­ing­ton ‘‘quite chal­lenged’’.

North Korea’s For­eign Min­is­ter Ri Yong-ho has warned that Kim could con­sider a hy­dro­gen bomb test over the Pa­cific Ocean.

Tiller­son said US diplo­matic ef­forts would con­tinue but all mil­i­tary op­tions were still on the ta­ble.

Py­ongyang con­ducted its sixth and largest nu­clear test on Septem­ber 3, and has launched dozens of mis­siles this year as it ac­cel­er­ates a pro­gramme aimed at en­abling it to tar­get the US with a nu­clear-tipped mis­sile.

Lavrov yes­ter­day again pushed a pro­posal by Moscow and Bei­jing for a dual sus­pen­sion of North Korean weapons tests and US-South Korean mil­i­tary drills to kick­start talks.

Lavrov de­scribed the ex­change of in­sults be­tween the US and North Korean lead­ers as ‘‘quite bad, un­ac­cept­able’’.

Trump yes­ter­day tweeted: ‘‘Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is ob­vi­ously a mad­man who doesn’t mind starv­ing or killing his peo­ple, will be tested like never be­fore.’’

The White House said Trump and South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in had agreed to Seoul’s ‘‘ac­qui­si­tion and de­vel­op­ment of highly ad­vanced mil­i­tary as­sets’’ and to in­creased de­ploy­ment of US strate­gic as­sets in and around South Korea. Reuters, AP

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