Submitted by George Callaghan…
Russia is so often demonized as an aggressor in the Western mainstream media. But with regard to Korea the Russians seem to have done more for peace than any other country has.
President Putin met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Russia this May. Chairman Kim and Putin had never met before. The two leaders discussed peace and economic development. Putin’s statesmanlike and constructive attitude stands in stark contrast to that of many Washington war hawks. Remember President Trump’s puerile and provocative tweets about ‘little rocket man’ and ‘my nuclear button is bigger than his’. Trump threatened to incinerate millions of innocent civilians in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). For all the pizzazz surrounding Trump’s two meetings with Chairman Kim no progress has been made towards permanent peace. Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as National Security Adviser was ominous. Bolton is notorious as one of the most hyper-aggressive people in the American establishment.
The Russian Government’s attitude has been mature and peace loving. Moscow is animated by respect for international law. Just last week the United States impounded a North Korean merchant ship in Indonesia. This action was of very questionable legality.
Moscow is often accused by NATO countries of seeking to stoke tensions around the globe. This is projection: accusing others of one’s own worst vices. Russia is one of only two countries to border Korea. The last thing the Russians want is a nuclear war on their doorstep which will severely impact the Russian Far East. Russia voted for various UN Security Council resolutions on DPRK. Russia is participating in sanctions aimed at inducing de-nuclearization in Korea. Russia perceives sanctions as an alternative to war. Unfortunately, many in Washington regard sanctions as a prelude to war: Iraq, Libya etc…. passim.
There are 8 000 North Korean guest workers in the Russian Federation. They are all due to be repatriated by the end of the year in accordance with UN sanctions. Russia currently does very little trade with North Korea. But this could easily be increased as a reward for DPRK fulfilling its promises to disarm itself of its nuclear weapons.
Russia has been very generous to DPRK. During the Cold War the Soviet Union gave the country economic support. In 2015 Moscow wrote off the debt that the DPRK owed them.
The North Koreans are understandably eager to keep a hold of their nuclear weapons. Looking at Panama, Grenada Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and now Iran it is clear there is one common factor to those countries attacked by the United States over the past 40 years. They do not have nuclear arms. The DPRK is rightly worried about the presence of tens of thousands of US troops in South Korea (the Republic of Korea). Were it not for nuclear arms how could DPRK be sure that the Americans would not invade them? Pyongyang has agreed to rid itself of nuclear weapons but requires security guarantees before it does so. Many say that the United States uses the DPRK as an excuse for keeping US troops in South Korea. The US wants to have soldiers close to China and the Russian Federation If DPRK got rid of her nuclear weapons would the United States withdraw? It is doubtful.
Russia is the only country that enjoys a reasonable relationship with all parties to the dispute. China, South Korea, Japan and the US all do extensive trade with the Russian Federation. These countries do not all have good relations with each other. Russia would like to see a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons and free of foreign troops. That is surely the best solution to the dispute and the most likely way to ensure permanent peace in the region. This is why Moscow can be honest broker.