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US may be fanning tensions over North Korea to pressure Pyongyang and Beijing

April 12, 15:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

An analyst believes the North Koreans will never agree to relinquish nuclear weapons

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© EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. The United States’ decision to dispatch an aircraft carrier-led task force towards the Korean Peninsula is a bluff expected to put pressure on both Pyongyang and Beijing, the director of the Russia’s Asian Strategy Center at the Economics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Georgy Toloraya, told TASS in an interview.

"The United States is bluffing to fan tensions in the Korean Peninsula. This bluff is aimed not only against North Korea, but also against China," he said. "Quite obvious is the attempt to use the show of muscle, in other words, an aircraft carrier-led task force in the region and war threats to force China become more active on the Korean track."

"US President Donald Trump is certain that the Chinese and nobody else will be able to make the North Koreans obedient. He thinks that if China suspends all economic relations and puts pressures on Pyongyang, North Korea will be forced into submission and agree to give up nuclear weapons," Toloraya said.

"The Americans really think so, but what they rely on is anyone’s guess. The North Koreans will never agree to relinquish nuclear weapons. On the contrary this will make them hate the Americans and South Koreans still more."

Panic sentiment

Toloraya believes the conflict may easily go out of control.

"Should the US destroyer hit some targets in North Korea, not some crucial ones, just for the sake of intimidation, there will follow instant retaliation against that aircraft carrier and targets in South Korea, including US military bases," he said. "The response may be symmetrical or asymmetrical. For instance, acts of sabotage."

"The US military and politicians understand that well enough, but it remains to be seen whether President Trump shares this understanding, too. Generally speaking, in dealing with such impulsive personalities as Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un one should expect trouble any moment. The United States’ bluffing attempts may grow into an unpredictable adventure. It is not accidental panic sentiment is on the rise in South Korea.

About media reports Chinese troops were being moved towards the border with North Korea Toloraya said Beijing’s step was quite logical. "A conflict in the Korean Peninsula cannot be ruled out altogether, so it is better to keep the army on guard in case something happens. A ‘life vest’ and a contingency action plan should be kept handy."

US vs North Korea

According to earlier reports, the United States’ nuclear-powered icebreaker The Carl Vinson and escort ships are on the way towards the Korean Peninsula. US media said the National Security Council had presented to Trump several options of resisting what Washington sees as North Korea’s nuclear threat, such as the deployment of US nuclear weapons in South Korea and assassination of Kim Jong-un.

One of the proposed options is sending US and South Korean commandoes to North Korea for acts of sabotage against crucial infrastructures.

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