Despite China’s complaints about the deployment of the American THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, China has continued to publicly increase pressure on the North Korean regime to do away with their nuclear weapons development program in recent weeks. Now, Russia has joined the motley crew of nations offering their own perspective on how the situation should progress.
In the weeks since President Trump met with Chinese President Xi, China and the United States have enjoyed a slightly less standoffish relationship when it comes to China’s ally and burgeoning nuclear power, North Korea. White House insiders suggest that Trump’s new strategy on North Korea relies heavily on China placing economic pressure on the already weak North Korean economy, and as such, rhetoric about the U.S. taking unilateral military action to remove Kim’s nukes has softened, replaced instead with a new emphasis on seeking a diplomatic solution to what many perceive to be a growing threat posed by North Korea.
“The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in an official statement this week.
“We have noted these expressions, and have noted the message conveyed in these expressions hoping to resolve the Korean nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue and consultation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. “We believe this message is positive and should be affirmed.”
In a joint press conference held on Thursday with Russian and Japanese officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin, often seen as a more serious threat to American interests than Kim’s North Korean regime, expressed concerns about the situation developing on the Korean peninsula, but didn’t miss an opportunity to indirectly take a jab at all nations involved, including the United States.
“In my opinion, and in the opinion of the prime minister, the situation on the Korean peninsula has unfortunately got a lot worse,” said Putin.