German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pointing to the negotiations that led to Iran curtailing its nuclear programme as a possible model for tackling the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.
Merkel stressed in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper published on August 10 that a diplomatic solution is the only viable way to resolve the crisis. She added, “If our participation in talks is wanted, I will say yes immediately.”
As reported by The Associated Press (AP), the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany conducted long-running talks with Iran that led to a 2015 deal for international sanctions to be lifted in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear activities.
Merkel said: “I could also imagine such a format to settle the North Korea conflict”.
In a separate report, The Guardian noted that Merkel’s intervention reflects growing alarm in Europe that US President Donald Trump is worsening one nuclear crisis by repeated threats to use military force against North Korea, and seeking to trigger a second one by torpedoing the Iran deal to which Germany, France and the UK are among the signatories.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, hosted an elaborate banquet in Pyongyang over the weekend for military leaders, scientists and technicians to celebrate the country’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test. The regime says the underground blast on September 3 was a two-stage thermonuclear device, or hydrogen bomb.
The state news agency, KCNA, published photographs on September 10 showing Kim beaming with two of the scientific minds behind the country’s surprisingly fast progress – Ri Hong Sop, the head of the country’s nuclear weapons institute, and Hong Sung Mu, the deputy director of the ruling party’s munitions industry department.