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US helping none in DPRK issue

China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-05 07:10

US helping none in DPRK issue

Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 is pictured during its second test-fire in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on July 29, 2017. KCNA via Agencies

US President Donald Trump's reaction to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's sixth nuclear test on Sunday stood out-not for its condemnation but for its twisted approach. Trump took to Twitter to say the DPRK "is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success". In his second tweet, he said the Republic of Korea "is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with" the DPRK "will not work, they only understand one thing".

He then called an emergency meeting of his national security advisers and had his second telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But he did not talk to ROK President Moon Jaein, accusing the ROK of "appeasement".

Condemning the DPRK for its nuclear and missile adventure is justified, but Trump is not helping the situation by criticizing the ROK and China. And China has not succeeded in its efforts, because the US has never heeded its advice on how to resolve the DPRK issue.

After the DPRK fired a missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, Trump said, "all options are on the table", a euphemism for military action. But his former chief strategist Steve Bannon had told The American Prospect earlier that "there's no military solution, forget it". Even US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have talked about the likely catastrophic outcome of military action.

And Moon, reacting to Trump's threat to the DPRK, said: "No one should be allowed to decide on a military action on the Korean Peninsula without the ROK's agreement."

Although Pyongyang's latest nuclear test poses a serious challenge to Moon's strategy of inter-Korea dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation, Trump should have realized before criticizing Moon for his "appeasement" that sanctions have a worse record than talks.

Asserting that sanctions don't work, Robert Gallucci, chief US negotiator with Pyongyang during the Bill Clinton administration, said that during his contacts with DPRK officials, he realized they were fully aware of the cases of Iraq and Libya, where the US pursued regime change even after those countries had abandoned their attempts to acquire nuclear weapons.

That is something the US should focus on to ease the tensions not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also between Washington and Pyongyang.

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