Call for calm over N Korea
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