Will Russia keep peace between US and North Korea?
Russia is ready to act as a mediator between the United States and North Korea, but the conflicting sides should give their consent to this, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
"Russia is ready if both sides need it and want it," the spokesman said, adding that is impossible to become a mediator between two parties only if one side seeks so, the will of two sides is needed here.
"As the exchange of confrontational rhetoric is between Pyongyang and Washington, therefore Russia’s readiness is rather evident to open the way for de-escalating tensions," TASS cited Peskov as saying.
The Trump administration has publicly blamed North Korea recently for unleashing the so-called WannaCry cyber attack that crippled hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe earlier this year.
The Deputy Director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University, Andrey Korneev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Russia is interested in a peaceful settlement for many reasons and not interested in exacerbating of the conflict at all.
"First, we are bordered by North Korea. Any unfavorable scenario can affect the population and ecology of our border territories. Second, our country has historically assisted Korea,so the successful resolution of this conflict would be desirable for us in terms of expanding the channels that connect us with the US," the expert explained.
He drew attention to the fact that Russia is one of the few countries that are interested in promoting inter-Korean cooperation. "Moscow wants North and South Korea to finally find a modus vivendi. Russia would benefit in this case. We and Korea have no territorial or ideological problems, and this united Korea could become one of our most important partners in the Asia-Pacific region, along with China and Japan," Korneev stressed.
According to the expert, Russia is interested in preventing negative scenarios and considers it necessary to help North Korea get out of isolation.
However, the Deputy Director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University warned that it is still difficult to say whether Peskov's statement will lead to a real result. "If successful, Russia could persuade both sides to abandon radical statements and actions," he said.
"Unfortunately, the current level of Russian-US relations, Russophobia will, probably, prevent Russia from taking on the role of mediator. Of course, it would be advantageous for us to play such a role, but I'm afraid that there can be factors which will not allow us to do it," Andrei Korneev concluded.
The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, noted that Russia has a very large experience in mediating the settlement of acute conflicts, citing the case of January 1966, when Moscow diplomacy played a huge role in settling the conflict between India and Pakistan.
"Thus, we have precedents for successful participation as mediators in complex international conflicts, but Peskov expressed a certain skepticism about whether the parties are ready to seek assistance at the moment. Indeed, sometimes it seems that the stubborn position of the North Korea and the US is beneficial for them at this stage. The DPRK, perhaps, would like to spend more time in confrontation in order to bring the creation of efficient nuclear weapons and means of delivery to the standard. The US would continue to build up its military presence on the borders with two military and political superpowers, that is, with Russia and China, and a military presence in maritime areas in general, primarily the Pacific Ocean," the diplomat said.
The expert stressed that both Washington and Pyongyang are showing some slyness, not realizing the real danger of this game. "They should realize the seriousness of the current situation and show readiness to negotiate. That is, there are preconditions for North Korea and the US to request a mediation, but it's difficult to say at the moment whether it will happen," the deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association stressed.
Baklanov specified that this development of events would be useful to Russia. "Successful mediation could divert US political forces from senseless confrontation and engage them in real political affairs. It also could be a starting point for redirecting our relations to greater cooperation," he explained.
"In addition, Russia is keenly interested in reducing the overall tension in the Far East, which is near the territory of the Russian Federation, there are maritime routes, which we use to transport our goods," Andrei Baklanov concluded.