Jan. 19 (UPI) — Russian officials may be more concerned about U.S. deployment of strategic assets to Asia than they are focused on increasing pressure on North Korea.
Speaking in Hanoi on Friday, Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said pressure alone would not bring a suspension of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, Tass news agency reported.
Tensions illustrate why pressure is not the final answer, according to Kosachev.
“This problem has grown worse recently and is teetering on the brink of a large-scale conflict,” he said.
The United States’ plan of extending its military presence is also not helping, according to the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee for Foreign Affairs.
“The implementation of U.S. plans to deploy elements of the global ballistic missile defense in this region is deeply concerning,” he said. “These measures can have an extremely negative impact on the security in the Pacific Rim.”
Kosachev also suggested to the audience at the 26th session of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum that Russia may be supportive of a Chinese proposal for a freeze-for-freeze between the United States and its allies, and North Korea.
The idea involves limiting U.S. military exercises in return for a gradual freezing of North Korea’s nuclear program.
Kosachev’s comments come in the wake of a inter-Korea thaw ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and warnings from nuclear experts in Washington North Korea may have enough fissile material to build between 30 to 60 nuclear weapons.
The dangers of an accidental war involving weapons of mass destruction is prompting U.S. lawmakers to call for the re-establishment of a military hotline with North Korea, Yonhap reported Thursday.
“The U.S. should do all in its power to avoid misunderstandings that could escalate to a greater conflict, including nuclear war,” lawmakers, 32 Democrats and one Republican, said in their statement.