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US leaders have no legal grounds for military assault on DPRK, says expert

"The situation offers big chances for a gradual diplomatic settlement of the crisis even if Washington and Pyongyang continue exchanging military threats," Dr. Andrei Gubin said

MOSCOW, August 24. /TASS/. A military scenario for forthcoming developments in Korea does not have legal grounds as regards the U.S., Dr. Andrei Gubin, an expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) told TASS on Wednesday.

"The U.S. has encountered South Korea’s stiff refusal to conduct a military operation and North Korea’s reluctance to be the first in launching an aggression and now it doesn’t have any legal or practical grounds for initiating a military operation in Korea," the expert said.

"The situation offers big chances for a gradual diplomatic settlement of the crisis even if Washington and Pyongyang continue exchanging military threats," Dr. Gubin said.

"The North Korean leadership that has found itself amid international isolation on the background of a growing military activity on the part of the U.S. views the strategy of unacceptable damage combined with intimidation and elements of bluff as the most logical line of action," he said.

Dr. Gubin added that this position explained for why Pyongyang had stepped up its nuclear and missile program so noticeably.

He said the vertical launch trajectories did not make it possible for North Korean specialists to determine the actual effective range of flights while the absence of satellite-assisted target designation would reduce the efficiency of combat use of ballistic missiles.

"There’s an impression the North Korean military purposefully maintain maximum uncertainty around the strike potential (of their weaponry)," Dr. Gubin said. "It looks like the actual operational characteristics of the ballistic missiles and supposed nuclear warheads, which the North Koreans have at their disposal, differ from what Pyongyang says, as well as from what Washington and its allies think about them."

The New York Times said earlier quoting the results of a research by Michael Elleman from the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the confidential data from the U.S. secret services that the recent launch of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile might have become possible due to an illicit purchase of missile engines manufactured in Ukraine.

"It was not yesterday that a Ukrainian trace surfaced in the story of Korean Hwasong missiles, as the consistent efforts to procure the information valuable for the national missile program began back in the 1990’s and partly relied on foreign assistance," Dr. Gubin said.

"One canoe rule out a purposeful transfer of technologies to North Korea under U.S. supervision for an artificial maintenance of instability in the region and for the simultaneous discrediting of China and Russia," he said.

Washington has recognized de facto that the policy of strategic tolerance towards Pyongyang has crashed, Dr. Gubin said, adding: "Beyond any doubt, the U.S. doesn’t plan to surrender its position in Northwest Asia. Although Beijing supports the international sanctions (against North Korea) on the whole, (the prospect of) a collapse of the North Korean regime doesn’t suit the Chinese leadership in any way."

China is concerned much rather by the prospect of the Korean Peninsula’s reunification ‘along Western standards’ if the North Korean system falls than by a hypothetical humanitarian disaster, Dr. Gubin said.

He believes that the implementation of a roadmap devised by the Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministries might offer an option for clearing away the current backlog of problems.

"The main principle is formulated as moving to peace without preconditions," Dr. Gubin said. "South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said a new war in Korea is impossible, as his country will never give consent to it and Kim Jong-un, too, is unprepared for delivering strikes at the U.S. military infrastructure or making near-hit missile launches despite strongly-worded statements," he indicated.