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Russia and China Propose New Joint Initiative on North Korea

July 5, 2017 (EIRNS)—During their meeting in Moscow yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly proposed an initiative to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"We’ve agreed to promote our joint initiative, based on [a] Russian step-by-step Korean settlement plan and Chinese ideas to simultaneously freeze North Korean nuclear and missile activities, and U.S. and South Korean joint military drills,"

Putin said in the final press conference given by the two leaders.

Shortly afterwards, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted a fulsome joint statement, issued by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shortly after the latest missile test by North Korea on July 4. The statement declared that

"Russia and China will closely coordinate their efforts in order to promote a complex solution to the Korean Peninsula’s problems, including that of the nuclear issue, for the sake of achieving a lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia."

The statement combines China’s dual suspension proposal, under which North Korea agrees to a moratorium on further nuclear and missile testing while, at the same time, the U.S. and South Korea suspend large-scale military exercises and propose a plan for a phased de-escalation of tensions on the peninsula. The conflicting parties, according to the statement, will

"begin talks and assert common principles of their relations, including the non-use of force, the renunciation of aggression, peaceful coexistence and determination to do all they can to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula with a view to promoting a complex resolution of all problems, including the nuclear issue."

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Vladimir Safronkov, reported on the Russian-Chinese joint statement to the UN Security Council, which met in emergency session today. The dual-suspension proposal and the gradual establishment of a mechanism for creating peace and security could lead to normalization of relations among all states, Safronkov said.

The United States, Japan, and South Korea, on the other hand, proposed a fresh batch of strong international and individual sanctions, such as sanctions on labor exports and fuel trade, reported the Korea Herald this morning.

"Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime,"

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

"We intend to bring North Korea’s provocative action before the UN Security Council and enact stronger measures to hold the D.P.R.K. (North Korea) accountable."

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, during the emergency session of the UN Security Council, today, announced that the United States will soon introduce a new resolution to further tighten sanctions on North Korea. While she wouldn’t provide any details, Haley indicated that North Korea’s access to hard currency as well as the flow of oil, increasing restrictions on air and maritime traffic, and holding the leadership of North Korea accountable are additional measures that could be taken. Haley also indicated that the United States could use military force if other measures don’t force North Korea to back down.

The U.S. and South Korean militaries responded to yesterday’s test with a joint missile-firing exercise of their own today. According to news reports, they fired a barrage of missiles, both South Korean and U.S. Army types, into the East Sea, according to reports the Korea Herald. South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered the proposal for the exercise to U.S. President Donald Trump through their national security advisers, Moon’s office said. The combined event was designed to exercise "assets countering North Korea’s destabilizing and unlawful actions," according to a statement from the U.S. military.