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Koreas Unite for Peace; Trump Threatens War; Tillerson Boasts of Sanctions and Civilian Deaths


February 10, 2018
RT News

At a time of unprecedented goodwill between Seoul and Pyongyang over the Winter Olympics, the US has doubled down on its inflammatory rhetoric and threats to the Korean Peninsula. "We are seeing how the US every time attempts both to tighten the sanction screws and to threaten it with the use of force," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. "I very much hope that [the war] scenario, which could claim the lives of up to 1 million people or even more, won't be carried out."

https://www.rt.com/news/418269-us-north-korea-rhetoric-olympics/

Koreas Unite for Olympics While Washington Bangs Drums of War
RT News

(February 8, 2018) -- At a time of unprecedented goodwill between Seoul and Pyongyang over the Winter Olympics, the US has decided to double down on its inflammatory rhetoric, undermining a fragile thaw on the Korean Peninsula.

On the eve of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, one would be forgiven for temporarily forgetting history's bitter divisions on the Korean Peninsula. The two estranged Koreas have decided to field a joint team for this year's Winter Games, which will be lavished with the moral support of a gaggle of unbearably charming cheerleaders from the North.

On the sidelines of the opening ceremony on Friday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, and other senior North Korean officials who will be attending the Games. The visit will mark the first time a member of North Korea's ruling family has visited the South since the 1950-53 Korean War, according to the Associated Press.

The North Korean delegation has said it has no intention of meeting with its US counterparts in South Korea – and with good reason. Despite the rare rapprochement between the two Koreas, the United States appears to be hell-bent on torpedoing the Games' positive vibes, accusing Pyongyang of using the Olympics to whitewash its human rights abuses.

"We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region," US Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday after meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. Washington has also threatened the North with a new batch of tough sanctions.

"We also reaffirm our commitment to continue well beyond the Olympics -- when the Olympics are long a distant memory -- to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically," Pence said, answering a question from Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin.

President Moon, meanwhile, insisted on making the best of the Olympics in terms of improving relations between the Koreas.

"We certainly hope to utilize this opportunity to the maximum so that the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games can become a venue that leads to dialogue for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as well as to establishing peace on the Korean peninsula," Moon said.

"We also reaffirm our commitment to continue well beyond the Olympics -- when the Olympics are long a distant memory -- to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically," Pence said, answering a question from Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin.

President Moon, meanwhile, insisted on making the best of the Olympics in terms of improving relations between the Koreas.

"We certainly hope to utilize this opportunity to the maximum so that the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games can become a venue that leads to dialogue for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as well as to establishing peace on the Korean peninsula," Moon said.



US Threatens N. Korea with Sanctions and Force,
But War Could Claim 1 Million Lives

RT News

(February 7, 2018) -- Washington continues to strangle Pyongyang with sanctions and threatens to impose more restrictions, but a potential regional conflict could claim up to 1 million civilian lives, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"We are seeing how the United States every time attempts both to tighten the sanction screws [on North Korea] and to threaten it with the use of force," Lavrov said Wednesday during a forum in Sochi.

"I very much hope that [the war] scenario, which according to the experts' estimates could claim the lives of up to 1 million people or even more, won't be carried out," the minister added.

Lavrov also expressed hopes that Washington "will, at least, consult with the countries that would be affected, primarily the governments of South Korea and Japan."

"The use of power in this region would be catastrophic," Lavrov predicted.

The minister's remarks followed US Vice President Mike Pence's bellicose warning made earlier in Japan. Pence said the US will roll out its "toughest and most aggressive" economic sanctions against Pyongyang before the end of the Winter Olympics.

Despite Russia repeatedly warning against provoking the North with military maneuvers in the region, Washington insists on its right to conduct joint activities with Seoul and Tokyo.

In mid-January, the US and Canada hosted a Vancouver meeting on the Korean deadlock, excluding major mediators and the North's immediate neighbors Russia and China, merely inviting Moscow and Beijing to assess the results at the end of the talks. Officials from both countries called the summit "unacceptable." China's Foreign Ministry said the meeting would only "create divisions" and "harm joint efforts" to resolve the crisis.

While the 20 foreign ministers at the Vancouver meeting agreed to further pressure Pyongyang with more unilateral restrictions in addition to the UNSC sanctions, Moscow and Beijing said the attendees failed to offer an alternative to their "double freeze" plan. The proposal was rejected by Washington in summer 2017 and again during the summit in Canada.

The Russia-China "double freeze" plan would involve the US ceasing its military drills in the region, while North Korea would halt its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

Related Stories:
Pence threatens N. Korea with 'toughest & most aggressive' US sanctions ahead of PyeongChang

Very possible' that N. Korea crisis can't be resolved peacefully – Trump

Dying North Koreans a sign US diplomatic strategy works, Tillerson says



"[The fishermen] are being sent in the wintertime to fish because there are food shortages. And they are being sent out to fish with inadequate fuel to get back. So we are getting a lot of evidence that these [sanctions] are really starting to hur. . . . [O]ver a 100 North Korean fishing boats . . . have drifted into Japanese waters. Two-thirds of the people on those boats have died."

Vancouver summit on N. Korea failed to provide alternative to Russian & Chinese proposals

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