Avoid conflict on Korean Peninsula

PRESIDENT Donald Trump, in latest demonstration of increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula, placed North Korea back on the list of states sponsoring terrorism. This designation will further see tightening sanctions and penalties against North Korea – something that has neither worked in the past to force the country roll back its nuclear and missile programmes nor will it bring any change in its policy in future as well. It will amount only to throwing fuel to the fire.
Presidents of both the US and North Korea have lately exchanged bellicose rhetoric and used derogatory language such as ‘rocket man and ‘evil president’ against each other giving the impression that there is less likelihood of any diplomatic solution to the tension. The hard-hitting speech by Trump at the session of UN General Assembly signalled that he superficially is following the same old policies of the past presidents which will not help but further aggravate the situation on the peninsula. Instead of pursuing the same failed policies, the right course will be to engage with Pyongyang by announcing some confidence building measures such as scaling back military drills in the region and easing economic sanctions. In fact, there is need to revive the six-party talks stalled since 2008 which also involves China and Russia — the countries which have always pushed for peaceful means for the resolution of this sensitive and complex issue. While there is need that the US demonstrates restraint, it is also for the North Korea to avoid such steps that make the lives of its people more difficult. Decades old sanctions have already ripped its economy forcing its people to live in extreme poverty. It is better for Pyongyang to shun the course of confrontation and support efforts that end miseries of its people. We expect that China and Russia will also be forthcoming in calming down the current situation that has the potential to assume dangerous proportions. Instead of creating war hysteria, Mr. Trump should stress for resumption of mutual talks. A peace initiative as his first major foreign policy move could create lot of goodwill for the US.

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