The Trump administration is spoiling for confrontation with Pyongyang. Nuclear brinksmanship risks the unthinkable.
At the same time, Trump abandoned efforts to improve relations with Russia. Reportedly, Secretary of State Tillerson’s meeting with Sergey Lavrov in Moscow didn’t go well, both diplomats disagreeing sharply on Syria and other key issues.
The latest Russia bashing episode came Wednesday. CBS News quoted an unnamed US official, falsely accusing Moscow of blocking an April 15 Security Council statement, condemning Pyongyang’s ballistic missile program, saying:
Washington “wanted to get the message out…Russia is slowing this down, and it’s not clear why.” The text includes a demand for Pyongyang to halt further tests. It calls its ballistic missile program “illegal(l)y contributing to its development of nuclear weapons.”
Moscow rejected the statement because it excluded dealing with Korean peninsula tensions through responsible dialogue.
A meaningless US-drafted statement only expressed the Security Council’s commitment “to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation.”
The words “through dialogue” used in previous statements on North Korea were dropped.
On Wednesday, UN envoy Nikki Haley warned Pyongyang against “pick(ing) a fight” with SC members, adding “(t)he ball is in their court. They shouldn’t try and play it” – meaning end its nuclear and ballistic missile programs or perhaps Washington will end it belligerently.
According to Russia’s UN mission, Washington’s draft statement excluded a call for dealing with Korean peninsula tensions through responsible dialogue, adding:
“When we demanded to restore this (earlier used) ‘agreed wording,’ which is of great political importance, and expressed our readiness to continue working with the authors of the draft, the US delegation scaled down the work on the document without explanation of reasons and said that Russia had blocked a statement…”
No blocking occurred. Washington withdrew the draft statement – bashing Moscow irresponsibly, making Trump look tough on Russia while letting heightened Korean peninsula tensions fester.