Russian Foreign Ministry comments before Tillerson visit: “We would prefer our interaction to reduce rather than aggravate international tensions.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Federation
April 11, 2017

In light of a visit by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which begins today, we would like to express hope for productive talks. This is important not just for the future of Russian-US interaction but also for the international environment overall.

The current situation in Russian-US relations is more complicated than it has been at any point since the end of the Cold War. The previous US administration’s actions have seriously complicated them by trying to restrain the growth of Russia’s influence in international affairs and undermine its economic development through sanctions. Although these efforts have failed, they have also demonstrated Washington’s striving for global domination complemented with deliberations about “America’s exceptionalism”, which has sinister historical associations.

The Ukrainian crisis and the Syrian problem, although tragic and confusing, are the direct results of the irresponsible policies of the Obama administration, which wanted to hinder the natural evolution of a multipolar world. The US establishment tried and continues to try hypocritically to lay the blame at Russia’s door. But it was not Russia who provoked the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine or fanned the flames of the so-called Arab Spring.

Russia will not abandon its legitimate interests and will only cooperate on an equal basis, which does not please certain forces in Washington. We have always been open to candid dialogue with the United States on all issues on the bilateral and international agenda and for cooperation in the areas where we have similar goals. These include the fight against terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the settlement of regional conflicts, economic growth and many other areas where the conjunction of Russian and American efforts would benefit not just their people but humankind as a whole.

Therefore, we would like to use the upcoming talks to understand whether the United States is aware of the need to stabilise and normalise bilateral relations. We believe that idling is impermissible in bilateral relations, considering our countries’ responsibility for international security and strategic stability.

In this context, we would like to understand whether Washington intends to resume practical cooperation with Russia in the fight against terrorism, including in Syria. The recent US air strike at the Syrian Shayrat air base is an act of aggression against a sovereign state committed in violation of international law, and will most likely strengthen the terrorists.

We strongly hope that Washington will agree on an objective investigation with the OPCW involvement into the chemical poisoning of Syrians at Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. The West has accused the Syrian Government without good reason, although it is a fact that the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, who are operating in this area, manufactured chemical bombs.

In this situation, we are surprised by Washington’s disregard for reports about the use of chemical weapons by terrorists in the Middle East. There have been numerous chemical attacks not just in Syria but also in Iraq. Chemical weapons stockpiles have been found in eastern Aleppo after its liberation from the terrorists. However, the United States has not shown any interest in this information.

We also wonder when the West will dissociate itself from the notorious White Helmets and other pseudo-NGOs whose barefaced lies about the situation in Syria are eagerly taken up by the media. We wonder how much longer our American colleagues will rely on fake photo reports when taking decisions that can affect the lives of people in Syria.

We hope to learn what the United States will do in Libya, which has been split by NATO’s military intervention, just as Iraq. What plans do our American colleagues have for Yemen, where US weapons are used to bomb cities, killing civilians and aggravating the humanitarian catastrophe?

We hope that the United States will not refuse to attend international consultations on Afghanistan, the next round of which will be held in Moscow on April 14. These consultations aim to help launch the process of national reconciliation in that long-suffering country, as we told our American partners more than once.

We are gravely concerned about Washington’s plans regarding North Korea, considering hints about the unilateral use of a military scenario. We need to understand how this relates to the collective commitments to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, which have been sealed in UN Security Council resolutions.

But above all we hope that the United States will use its influence on Kiev to neutralise the revenge-seeking sentiments of the Ukrainian party of war. Washington can also encourage the Kiev government to faithfully comply with its obligations under the Minsk Agreements. These agreements are the only way to settle a conflict that was provoked by radical nationalists’ intention to forcibly Ukrainianise all spheres of life in this multi-ethnic country.

We expect to hear US views on the entire range of issues pertaining to strategic security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region.

As for bilateral agenda, the long list of irritants crated by Washington has not become shorter yet. Since nothing is being done to settle the problems in bilateral relations, we will have to take reciprocal measures.

Overall, we hope that the US Secretary of State will share with us Washington’s views on all issues of mutual concern. We are ready for any turn of events. However, we would prefer our interaction to help reduce rather than aggravate international tensions. We are not set for confrontation but for constructive cooperation and hope that this is what our American partners want, too.

http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2724848

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Afraid of its nuclear ambitions, the U.S. sets sail towards North Korea

April 9th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Almayadeen – –  translated by Samer Hussein –
An American aircraft carrier was dispatched towards the Korean Peninsula, due to an alleged nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
The move has since been confirmed by Dave Benham, the spokesman for the US Pacific Command, who said that the Carl Vinson strike group is “taking necessary precautionary measures”, adding that “the main threat in the region is still North Korea, mainly because of its nuclear programme and a continuous reckless and irresponsible research in order to acquire nuclear weapons.”
The group includes the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier from the Nimitz class, alongside fleet of missile launchers, destroyers and bombers.
Previously, North Korea conducted five nuclear tests, two of them in 2016. Satellite images are believed to be indicating that Pyongyang may be ready to conduct a sixth one in the nearby future.
While meeting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday and Friday, the US President Donald Trump also discussed the North Korean nuclear ambitions and threatened of possible unilateral measures against Pyongyang, should the latter not give up his nuclear programme.
On Saturday, North Korean government condemned the US strike on Syria, calling it “an unacceptable act of aggression.”
“The reality of events today proves that we are facing an aggressor and, for the millionth time, confirms that our decision of strengthening our nuclear programme is the very right one”, an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry was quoted saying.
On Friday, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “warned” that his country alone could go in war with North Korea.

U.S. sends drones, assassination squad to South Korea. Massive “war games” directed against DPRK underway

“[T]o practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities”… The joint Foal Eagle drills are the biggest ever, involving more than 320,000 troops backed by a US aircraft carrier strike group, stealth fighters and strategic bombers.

By Peter Symonds
Global Research, March 15, 2017
World Socialist Web Site 14 March 2017

The Trump administration has further exacerbated the extremely tense standoff on the Korean Peninsula by dispatching attack drones to South Korea and sending special forces units to participate in massive war games already underway. The military build-up takes place as the White House considers launching strikes on North Korean nuclear and military sites.

US Forces Korea announced on Monday that the company of Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) will be permanently stationed at Kunsan Air Base, south of Seoul. “The UAS adds significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to US Forces Korea and our [South Korean] partners,” it stated.

While the US announcement emphasized reconnaissance, the Gray Eagle drones can also carry up to four Hellfire missiles that have been used to carry out assassinations and strike military targets. The lethal drones can stay aloft for up to 24 hours.

The South Korean military was in no doubt as to the purpose of the deployment. An unnamed official told the Yonhap news agency: “In case of a war on the Korean Peninsula, the unmanned aircraft could infiltrate into the skies of North Korea and make a precision strike on the war command and other major military facilities.”

The dispatch of attack drones to South Korea coincides with the involvement of US special forces in annual Foal Eagle war games, including SEAL Team 6, the highly-trained assassination squad that killed Osama bin Laden. The SEAL team will take part in the joint exercises in South Korea along with US Army Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets, according to Yonhap.

A military official told the news agency that bigger numbers and more diverse US special operations forces were taking part, in order “to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North’s war command and demolition of its key military facilities.” The joint Foal Eagle drills are the biggest ever, involving more than 320,000 troops backed by a US aircraft carrier strike group, stealth fighters and strategic bombers.

Commenting on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Japan, South Korea and China later this week, State Department spokesman Mark Toner absurdly claimed that the US military was taking “defensive measures” against “an increasingly worrying, concerning threat from North Korea.”

Neither the drones nor the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system to which Toner was referring are “defensive” in character. The drones, along with the special forces units, are rehearsing for pre-emptive attacks on North Korean military sites and “decapitation raids” to kill North Korean leaders. This is in line with an aggressive new joint operational plan, OPLAN 5015, agreed to between the US and South Korea in late 2015.

The THAAD deployment is part of the Pentagon’s broader build-up of anti-ballistic missile systems and military forces in Asia, primarily for war against China. Beijing has repeatedly voiced strenuous objections to the THAAD installation in South Korea, which has a powerful radar system capable of peering deep into the Chinese mainland and giving the US military much greater advance warning of Chinese missile launches in the event of war.

The Trump administration, which is currently reviewing US strategy towards North Korea, is exploiting North Korea’s test launch of four ballistic missiles last week to advance longstanding military preparations on the Korean Peninsula. According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is actively considering “regime change” in Pyongyang and military strikes on North Korea.

“We have to look at new ideas, new ways of dealing with North Korea,” US State Department spokesman Toner blandly declared. “China understands that threat. They’re not oblivious to what’s happening in North Korea.”

The reference to China underscores the aims of Tillerson’s upcoming trip. Firstly, he intends to brief Washington’s Japanese and South Korean allies on US plans and to encourage closer military cooperation in the event of conflict. Then he will fly to Beijing, where he will attempt to bully the Chinese government into taking tougher punitive action against Pyongyang.

The mounting US threats towards North Korea are also directed against China, which the Trump administration is targeting as the chief obstacle to maintaining US dominance in Asia and internationally. Tillerson has provocatively declared that the US should block Chinese access to islets under Beijing’s administration in the South China Sea. The only way to carry out such a reckless plan would be through a US military blockade—an act of war that could provoke conflict between the two nuclear-armed powers.

Tensions in the South China Sea have been further strained by the decision of the Japanese military to dispatch its largest warship, the JS Izumo, for three months of operations, including in disputed waters. According to Reuters, the Izumo will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and US naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July. It will also train with the US navy in the South China Sea.

Over the eight years of the Obama administration and its “pivot to Asia,” the US has engaged in a systematic military expansion throughout the Asia Pacific, strengthened alliances and strategic partnerships and greatly aggravated dangerous regional flashpoints, including the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea. The Trump administration, which has been critical of the “pivot” for not being sufficiently aggressive, is now embarking on a course that greatly heightens the danger of war.

The response of the North Korean regime to Washington’s actions is reactionary through and through. Its nuclear and missile tests, along with its bloodcurdling threats and Korean chauvinism, in no way defend the Korean people, but do provide the US with a pretext for its military build-up in North East Asia. According to the 38north.org web site, affiliated with John Hopkins University, commercial satellite imagery indicates that Pyongyang could be preparing for another nuclear test.

Confronted with an intense political crisis in Washington, the Trump administration is not simply considering, but actively preparing for reckless provocations and military moves against North Korea that have the potential to trigger a cataclysmic war that draws in the entire world.