Saturday 23 September 2017

'Megaphone diplomacy is unhelpful and scary... it should be scaled down' - Flanagan

Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke
Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said the "megaphone diplomacy" between the United States and North Korea is "unhelpful and scary".

Mr Flanagan urged both sides to "scale down" the rhetoric amid rising tensions between the two foes.

The regime of Kim Jong-un has conducted a series of recent missile tests and there are fears that North Korea has developed miniaturised nuclear warheads.

President Donald Trump has warned North Korea not to threaten the US, saying: "They will be met with fire and fury... like the world has never seen."

North Korea has since escalated the tensions, saying it is examining a plan for a missile strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam.

Mr Flanagan, the former foreign affairs minister, said the threats and type of language used in the rhetoric between the US and North Korea is "entirely unhelpful".

Table

"I believe it's important in the context of international relations that any disputes or differences of opinion can be dealt with around the table with all the parties," he said.

Mr Flanagan said that the United Nations would be the appropriate forum.

He added: "I believe it's important that the current language be scaled down and that the current threat be weakened."

He said that it's important that the United States or any other country would conduct their diplomacy through round-table discussions and "not the type of megaphone diplomacy which in the circumstances of recent times is entirely unhelpful and scary".

Mr Flanagan's comments were echoed by countries across Europe yesterday.

The German government expressed concern over what it described as the "rhetorical escalation" between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

A foreign ministry spokesman said that "further sabre rattling" and military measure won't help solve the issue.

Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin yesterday that Germany "calls on all parties to show restraint".

Mr Schaefer said it was important for recently tightened UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea to be implemented.

He added that Germany backed a proposal by the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for talks with North Korea, provided that the Asian nation stops further missile test launches.

Peace

The EU says it's concerned about tensions over North Korea and that the stand-off can only be resolved by peaceful means.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's spokeswoman said the developments were "of great concern to the EU".

"A lasting peace and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula must be achieved through peaceful means," spokeswoman Catherine Ray said. Ms Ray also said that Pyongyang "must comply without delay, fully and unconditionally, with its obligations" under UN Security Council resolutions.

Irish Independent

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