MS Risk Blog

North Korea: Russia Warns of ‘Catastrophic Consequences’ If Conflict Erupts

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Russia this month warned of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if a military conflict were to erupt on the Korean peninsula, as tensions escalate further, with China also warning that there will be “no winners” if war breaks out.

The statements come after further escalations between the United States and North Korea. Over the weekend, North Korea announced that Washington had declared “war”, with the country’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho telling reporters on Monday that “the whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country.” His comments were a response to a tweet from US President Donald Trump suggesting that North Korea would not “be around much longer” if its leaders continued their rhetoric. US warplanes also flew close to North Korea’s coast in a show of force over the weekend, which prompted North Korea’s foreign minister to say as he left New York after the UN General Assembly that his country had the right to shoot down US warplanes even if they were not in North Korea’s airspace.

The US however has disclosed that the statement from North Korea accusing Washington of declaring war on it was “absurd,” with the White House further warning Pyongyang to stop provocations after it said it had the right to shoot down US bombers. A US spokesman has disclosed that the fiery talk could lead to fatal misunderstandings. On Monday 25 September, White House spokeswoman Sara Huckabee Sanders stated that the US had “not declared war against North Korea and frankly the suggestion of that is absurd.” Meanwhile Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning reacted by saying that “if North Korea does not stop their provocative actions, you know, we will make sure that we provide options to the president to deal with North Korea.”

As tensions between the US and North Korea continue to rise, regional countries have increased their warnings about the potential of this exploding into a full on war on the Korean peninsula. South Korea has called for a level-headed response, warning that accidental clashes in the region could quickly spiral out of control. The country, which technically has been at war with North Korea since the 1950s, called for “astuteness and steadfastness” in responding to what it describes as continued provocations by Pyongyang. Speaking in New York, South Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha called for he prevention of any “further escalation of tensions, or any kind of accidental military clashes in the region, which can quickly spiral out of control.” According to South Korea’s news agency Yonhap, the country’s intelligence service has reported that Pyongyang was readjusting the position of its military aircraft and strengthening its coastal defences.

Russia has also stated that Washington’s approach to North Korea was a dead end, a statement made by the country’s foreign ministry after the US dispatched bomber jets to South Korea last weekend. The ministry’s Mikhail Ulyanov disclosed that the country was working “behind the scenes” to find a political solution, however he admitted that the use of sanctions against North Korea is almost exhausted. China also echoed Russia’s concerns, stating that war on the peninsula would have “no winners.