RUSSIALINK: “Differing approaches to Korea crisis may jeopardize N. Korea-U.S. summit – Kosachyov” – Interfax

North Korea Map and Flag, adapted from .gov image

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) – The differing approaches of Washington and Pyongyang to the settlement process on the Korean Peninsula and the bilateral summit may jeopardize the very fact of the summit and its outcome, Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachyov said on Facebook.

“The problems that emerged shortly before the pivotal meeting between the U.S. and North Korean leaders (another military exercise held on the Korean Peninsula and the harsh response of Pyongyang) show that the sides feel about this event in different ways,” Kosachyov said.

“The differing approaches could actually endanger the outcome of the summit and its very fact,” he said.

The United States and President Donald Trump view the summit “as a proof of the efficiency of pressure on North Korea: they say they have pressured and scared Pyongyang and it is now ready to come to terms. They also say that the former multilateral formats are not working,” Kosachyov said.

“The U.S.-South Korean exercises, Max Thunder, are being held in the same context: their purpose is to create an appropriate background for the meeting and to show who is the master and who should listen to the instructions and submit to force,” he said.

Pyongyang has a totally different idea, Kosachyov said.

“It sees the readiness to meet with the chief opponent as an important step forward and a peace initiative. It is because of [the chief opponent] North Korea that it is implementing the missile and nuclear program as the only guarantee against aggression: the experience of other countries (Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya) shows that any other insurance mechanisms fail. From this angle, the military exercise held as a backdrop is clearly provocative,” Kosachyov said.

What is more, the presidents of South Korea and North Korea, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un decided at a meeting in April they would stop mutual hostile acts, reduce weapons in the region, and de-escalate military tensions.

“One side wants to surrender to show the world how efficient its policy of blackmail is. It practically demands that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which is actually the desired result, be a precondition of the meeting. The other side wants to be respected and acknowledged as an equal participant in the summit, whose interests are recognized by the vis-a-vis,” Kosachyov said.

Hence, there may be a variety of outcomes, he said.

It is possible that the United States and North Korea will have the summit, none of them will achieve the goal (the United States will not disarm North Korea, and Pyongyang will not receive security guarantees), “yet both will take advantage of the show and try to prove that their readiness and peace-loving attitude made the meeting possible.” Kosachyov said. This is far from being the worst-case scenario, he said.

It is also possible that the summit will be called off and the sides will put the blame on one another, Kosachyov said. “This is not the best scenario, but it is quite possible in case a lack of result is expected and political dividends gained from thwarting the meeting and accusations brought against the counterparty outweigh advantages of the meeting,” he said.

The summit could also be delayed until the sides reach a preliminary agreement on its results, Kosachyov said.

“It could be the best scenario under the circumstances, because it would prove the seriousness of intentions of both parties,” he said.