Four dimensions of security: Russian Foreign Ministry clarified the acute points of international policy
The Russian Foreign Ministry has prepared answers to questions from journalists of The Moscow Post.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation published answers to media questions received at a press conference following the results of Russian diplomacy in 2021. Not all of them were heard at a press conference, now there is an opportunity to get a more complete idea of the position of the department on the most relevant topics.
Questions posed by The Moscow Post correspondent related, in particular, to the joint proposal of Russia and China regarding the easing of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on the DPRK, as well as Russia's relations with the AUKUS bloc and plans for the United States, Australia and Britain to create a tripartite alliance with a "filling" of nuclear submarines.
Recall that the project, which involved easing restrictions for the DPRK, was submitted by Russia and China to the Security Council at the end of October 2021.
It was about making adjustments to the sanctions regime in areas not related to Pyongyang's nuclear missile program. Its essence: to help the country alleviate the situation in the humanitarian and other civilian areas, to mobilize humanitarian assistance to the population of the DPRK without any preconditions, while counting on the resumption of negotiations.
Both in crisis and under sanctions
According to the South Korean Committee of Chiefs of Staff, the DPRK on Sunday, January 30, at 7:52 (01:52 Moscow time) launched a medium-range ballistic missile from the area of the village of Muphyun-ri of Chagando province in the direction of the Sea of Japan. The missile flew about 800 km, reaching a maximum altitude of 2 thousand km.
Pyongyang has not conducted such launches since the end of 2017. The current launch was the seventh since the beginning of the year. Earlier, in January, the DPRK had already tested tactical guided missiles and the railway missile system, as well as hypersonic missiles.
Such a nuclear missile program of the DPRK gave reason to introduce an international sanctions regime. Restrictive measures imply an embargo on all the country's main exports. Accounts of the DPRK Foreign Trade Bank remain frozen. Ships flying the flag of the DPRK, which violated UN resolutions, are prohibited from entering the ports of all states. Additional sanctions are also periodically imposed on individuals associated with missile and nuclear programs.
The DPRK's nuclear missile arsenal remains one of the most pressing problems for America. First of all, because such North Korean launches concern the US allies in the region - South Korea and Japan. Recent tests have confirmed the need to establish dialogue. The United States, Albania, Great Britain, Ireland, France and Japan issued a joint statement urging the DPRK to abandon the missile program and begin negotiations on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
DPRK which has been experiencing a serious economic crisis for a year. According to estimates by the Central Bank of South Korea, the country's economy decreased by 3.5% in 2017 and by 4.1% in 2018. In 2019, growth recovered, but the coronavirus pandemic required even deeper isolation. In 2020, the DPRK economy decreased by 4.5%. But the DPRK continues to develop military capabilities, test and demonstrate new types of weapons, and recently threatened to even resume nuclear tests.
So far at the USA "are too busy"
The White House of Joe Biden will hardly be able to avoid further a subject of the Korean peninsula. Actively, but without special success Donald Trump was engaged in this problem. He began with the fact that threatened the leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-un with "fire and rage", but later three times personally met him, calling "the nice guy".
Following the results of their first summit in 2018 in Singapore the DPRK undertook obligations for nuclear disarmament of the Korean peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the USA. After three starts of intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2017 the DPRK didn't test any more weapon which could threaten the territory of the USA potentially.
The president's team of Biden in peak to the predecessor didn't begin to give to a problem of the Korean peninsula of great value. The subject was designated in negotiations of Washington with Seoul and Tokyo and actually became a regional issue. The USA can return to policy of "strategic patience" of times of Obama which cornerstone the calculation on the fact that the sanctions oppression will force the DPRK to concessions was.
In opinion the Russian Foreign Ministry, such course will lead only to sharpening of tension and a new round of arms race in the region. According to BBC service, the American diplomats already tried to contact Pyongyang, but came across unwillingness of the North Korean side to conduct dialogue. About a year ago the authorities of the DPRK specified that "if the USA doesn't refuse hostile policy, then negotiations won't take place". "The hostile policy" was meant as military exercises of the USA and South Korea.
After recent missiles launches Washington thought to impose sanctions through the UN against several persons and the organizations, connected, according to Americans, with the missile program of the DPRK.
Tests of rockets can be interpreted and as attempt of Pyongyang to push the beginning of negotiations and as demonstration of "security" from military aggression. Negotiations can be very opportunely against the background of change of the power in South Korea where the post of the president of the republic is left by Moon Jae-in, the supporter of peaceful dialogue with Pyongyang. He already met Kim Jong-un and offered ways of normalization of the relations.
How to resume dialogue
Russia repeatedly noted that need of revision of the restrictions imposed on the DPRK taking into account steps taken by Pyongyang since 2018 on a denuclearization track ripened. Including it is necessary to pay attention to observance of the moratorium on nuclear tests and starts of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Russia and China as initiators of the political and humanitarian resolution of which it was talked in a question of the journalist of The Moscow Post recognized that the help to the population of the DPRK could become very timely step, especially in the conditions of a pandemic. Suggested to help a health care system of North Korea.
There was a hope that adoption of the resolution will help to establish trust among the states which supported her, will serve as an incentive to resuscitation of political dialogue with Pyongyang, settlement of problems of the Korean peninsula. In dialogue the concern of all interested parties, including the DPRK can be removed. Pyongyang, for example, insists on guarantees of the safety.
The Russian-Chinese approach to the Korean settlement is reflected in joint "road map" of 2017 and also in the "action plan" of 2019 developed on its basis. Moscow and Beijing recognize that the only way of the solution of problems of the Korean peninsula (including nuclear) is dialogue. "Action plan" for package deal of problems of the peninsula includes a set of concrete measures in four measurements: military, political, economic and humanitarian.
The first stage of implementation of provisions of Russian-Chinese "road map" provided that Pyongyang in an initiative order will declare the termination of nuclear tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Washington, in turn, will refrain from large-scale military exercises in the south of the peninsula with attraction of strategic forces and means. So-called "double freezing", though wasn't fixed legally, provided relative military-political stability on the peninsula
As representatives explained the Russian Foreign Ministry, answering a question of the correspondent of The Moscow Post, unfortunately, the USA and their European allies wasn't ready to adopt the resolution. Her support from the USA would become for North Korea a signal of a spirit for dialogue, lack of hostility and aspiration to strangle the country economic measures.
The Russian diplomatic department reported that the USA and their allies, including some states of the Pacific Rim, stake on policy of sanctions and pressure upon Pyongyang, without offering the constructive ideas. And the Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov in an interview of TASS warned the American colleagues that declarations are already not enough, outcomes are required, without them the Korean peninsula can appear in epicenter of very dangerous events again.
From nuclear-free Korea to atomic Australia?
The second question asked by the correspondent of The Moscow Post concerned the relations of Russia to plans of the USA, Australia and Britain to create the tripartite union with a stuffing from nuclear submarines. China condemned these plans, having stated that they contradict non-proliferation regime of nuclear weapon. Activity of the block in the long term can also threaten strategic forces of Russia in the region.
Australia, Great Britain and the USA declared on September 16, 2021 creation of tripartite partnership in the sphere of safety in the Indo-Pacific region (AUKUS). Within the agreement Canberra, in particular, plans to construct eight nuclear submarines by means of the American technologies, first of which will become operational in 2036, at the same time they will be equipped with cruise missiles.
The Russian diplomatic department noted that these plans destabilize a situation in the region and will have negative impact on the mode of nuclear non-proliferation. Participants of AUKUS say that within partnership the nuclear weapon won't be transferred. But breaking the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) of the practician of so-called "joint nuclear missions" NATO forces to consider danger of distribution of such actions and to Australia.
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov commented on plans of creation of the tripartite agreement. According to him, AUKUS allows Canberra to create the fleet of nuclear submarines. "It is a big call for the international non-proliferation regime of nuclear weapon", - Ryabkov noted, having reminded that he within tripartite partnership of AUKUS Australia will receive technologies of construction of atomic submarines and will enter the five of the countries with the similar fleet.
Australia will receive nuclear materials and installations which have to be in the non-nuclear State Parties of the NNPT under guarantees of IAEA. At the same time there are reasonable doubts that the countries transferring the corresponding materials and installations will agree to full access of inspectors of the Agency to them. Uncertainty in this sensitive area creates risks for the system of guarantees. It is necessary that under any circumstances the application of the agreement on guarantees between Australia and IAEA and the additional protocol to him was provided, - it is emphasized in the answer the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Plans for creation of military infrastructure of Great Britain and the USA in the territory of this non-nuclear country raise questions concerning conscientiousness of Canberra as participant of the Contract on creation of a zone free from nuclear weapon (ZSYaO) in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean (Contract Rarotonga). Accommodation of the military personnel and arms of the nuclear states in the territory of Australia will call into question justification of granting security guarantees to this country as to the State Party of ZSYaO. Actions of Australia actually undermine confidence to the idea of creation of such zone.
In general the tendency to formation of new military alliances causes concern. Activity of new blocks can introduce negative elements in strategic stability and have far-reaching consequences for regional and global security.
We will add that still officially isn't reported what tasks will be put before themselves by participants of AUKUS, planning to place military infrastructure of the nuclear states in non-nuclear Australia. But it is possible to guess "the purposes and targets". Moreover - nuclear submarines Australia can rent, without waiting for construction of own.
In the list from three dozen questions asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov in writing there were also others – for example, they concerned the Russian-Chinese bilateral relations and the interests of Moscow and Beijing in Asia, their positions in relation to the West.
In this regard it is appropriate to address words Wang And, the member of the State Council of the People's Republic of China and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China. On January 27 he held telephone negotiations with the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at his request. So-called "human rights", Hong Kong or Xinjiang weren't mentioned in the official statement published by the USA.
In the statement of the Chinese side it was specified that Wang Also criticized the USA for the fact that they adhere to incorrect words and actions concerning China, and demanded that Washington stopped intervention in the Winter Olympic Games, ceased to play with fire in the Taiwan question and stopped creating various anti-Chinese "small cliques".
The Ukrainian crisis became one of dialogue subjects also. Wang Also urged all parties to keep calm and noticed that lawful fears of Russia about safety should be perceived seriously and also advised to promote resolution of conflicts. This statement was actively quoted by the American and western media.