After last week’s events #Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow to find a solution to the Syrian situation and a U.S. naval strike group moves towards Korea to give a strong message to Dictator Kim Jong-un in North Korea.
G7 and Moscow
Before going to Moscow to meet his counterpart Secretary Rex Tillerson had attended a meeting at Lucca in Italy of G7 foreign ministers to discuss Russia, amongst ther issues. During this meeting the British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson proposed strengthening sanctions on Russia in response to the Syrian gas attack but the other Ministers resisted his call.
During the meeting Secretary Tillerson reportedly asked the other ministers why U.S: tax payers should worry about the conflict between the Ukraine and Russia. According to Reuters the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault replied that “It is in the interest of U.S. taxpayers to have a Europe that is strong politically and economically...” The meeting ended with a call to Moscow to respect and enforce the 2015 Minsk Agreement to restore peace in the area.
In Moscow Secretary Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to pass on this message from the G7 and to discuss developments in Syria and suggesting that Russia should call for Syrian Dictator Bashar Al-Assad to be removed. The Obama Administration had made the same appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin but the recent announcement that the Kremlin will provide further anti-aircraft batteries to protect Syrian cities indicates that Putin will not bow to these requests.
The task Secretary of State’s task may have been made more difficult by a statement from the White House accusing Russia of “covering up” last week’s gas attack on Khan Sheikhoum by Syrian government aircraft.
As we await results of the negotiations between Tillerson and Lavrov world attention was also focused on the Korean Peninsula.
While the government owned newspaper The Global Times ran an editorial seeking a diplomatic solution to the tensions caused by North Korean ballistic missile tests the U.S. Naval Strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was steaming towards the Korean Peninsula where it will be joined by a Japanese navy group for joint exercises as a show of force to Pyongyang.
At the same time Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with United States #President Donald Trump to say that the Korean Peninsula needed “peace and stability” and echoed the words of the newspaper that a resolution must be found peacefully. According to Associated Press the Chinese President then told President Trump that Beijing would maintain “communication and coordination” with Washington over the matter.
In Pyongyang Dictator Kim Jong-un called an emergency meeting of the country’s symbolic parliament to debate the presence of the American naval strike group in the Peninsula. In a statement reported by Associated Press a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry then told the state-run Korean Central News Agency that “We will hold the U.S. wholly responsible for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions.”
In Washington White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer then relayed #President Donald Trump’s statement that it was “not tolerable” that North Korea have nuclear weapons and Spicer continued by saying that “The last thing we want to see is a nuclear North Korea that threatens the coast of the United States, or, for that matter, any other country...”
The meetings in Lucca and Moscow by Secretary Tillerson, the statements from Washington and Pyongyang are all the moves of an intricate chess game made up of diplomatic moves in an attempt to find solutions that will not require further military actions by the United States or its allies.
It is still too early to tell whether such actions will be required in either Syria or the Korean Peninsula but in the meantime these matters are dominating the world press and are fuelling fears of many of a war in the near future. #Shows Of Force