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    Why US' Sanctions Policy Against N Korea is Actually Aimed at Russia

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    Washington is determined to render life unbearable in North Korea by expanding the sanctions already exerted on the country, Russian expert Vladimir Terekhov told Radio Sputnik, explaining why the recent US' crackdown on Pyongyang is simultaneously aimed against Russia.

    Pyongyang has raised the alarm over Washington's attempts to put severe pressure on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) through tough economic sanctions and hinder economic cooperation between North Korea and Russia.

    However, according to Russian expert in Asia-Pacific affairs Vladimir Terekhov, the US' sanctions policy is actually aimed at Russia rather than at the DPRK.

    On Wednesday, the North Korean Foreign Ministry signaled that it views Washington's decision to expand sanctions against the country as an effort to destroy the DPRK.

    "The United States and its followers are attempting to stop economic cooperation between North Korea and Russia," the statement said as quoted by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

    The ministry referred specifically to the Russo-North Korean ferry service, which was recently launched by the countries.

    "This is normal bilateral cooperation work aimed to expand bilateral economic relations and deepen the friendship through humanitarian exchanges and visits," the DPRK Foreign Ministry emphasized.

    On May 18, the DPRK's vessel Man Gyong Bong arrived in the Russian port of Vladivostok. The new Rajin-Vladivostok route has become the first ferry service between the countries.

    "It is planned that the ferry will transport Chinese tourists (from Hunchun) to Russia every week, Russian tourists to Rajin and North Korean workers to Vladivostok and back (from May 25)," Sputnik contributor Alexander Khrolenko wrote last Thursday.

    In his article, Khrolenko drew attention to Washington's displeasure at Moscow's economic cooperation with Pyongyang, which obviously thwarts the US' unilateral attempts to isolate the DPRK.

    As US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley put it addressing the international community: "You either support North Korea or you support us, you are either with North Korea or not."

    However, while maintaining economic relations with North Korea, Moscow fully complies with the UN Security Council's Resolution 2270 on restrictions against Pyongyang, the journalist highlighted.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.
    © REUTERS / KCNA
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017.

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Vladimir Terekhov suggested that the US understands the danger of military options against the DPRK; that is why Washington tries to exert a substantial economic pressure on Pyongyang.

    "The US has made a choice in favor of economic sanctions to solve the so-called North Korean nuclear missile problem," Terekhov told Radio Sputnik.

    "Although the US leadership had previously said that there was a military option on the table — for example, a surprise strike on North Korea's nuclear weapons production facilities and missiles — this [move] is fraught with serious consequences; on the other hand, Russia and China are categorically against the military solution [to the problem]," the expert said, adding that the US is determined to render life unbearable in North Korea to coerce it into submission.

    However, according to Terekhov, the main addressee of Washington's policy is Russia.

    "But in general, I believe, this [policy] is directed not so much toward North Korea, but toward Russia," the expert assumed. "This is one of the elements of the propaganda war the West is currently waging against Russia, and now they try to link [Moscow] to the situation around North Korea."

    Both Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly called upon the US and the international community to maintain a dialogue with North Korea instead of saber rattling and implementing tough sanctions.

    "There is no reason why dialogue is not taking place in the current situation," Chinese Ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi told journalists following the latest UN Security Council's (UNSC) meeting on North Korea, as quoted by Global Times.

    The UNSC summit behind closed doors came as a response to Pyongyang's Sunday missile launch and was dedicated to the possibility of imposing further sanctions against the DPRK.

    Commenting on Pyongyang's missile test, which took place earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the launch as provocative and stressed that Moscow considers missile and nuclear tests unacceptable.

    However, the Russian president emphasized the necessity to return to dialogue with North Korea.

    "In any case, we consider nuclear and missile tests unacceptable. We need to return to dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, stop intimidating it and find ways to solve these problems peacefully. Is it possible or not? I think it is possible," Putin told reporters on May 15.

    As Chinese media outlet Global Times reported Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is due to pay an official visit to Russia from May 25 to May 26 to specifically discuss the North Korean nuclear issue with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

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    Tags:
    missile tests, nuclear weapons, sanctions, United Nations, UN Security Council, U.S. Department of State, Pentagon, Nikki Haley, Vladimir Putin, Liu Jieyi, Donald Trump, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States, Russia, Vladivostok
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