Sokhonn urges restraint as North Korea tensions rise

Cheang Sokha / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Prak Sokhonn. KT/Mai Vireak

Cambodia has once again called for the utmost restraint on the Korean Peninsula as the war of words between the United States and North Korea flared up at the United Nations General Assembly last weekend.

Addressing the UNGA in New York, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn appealed to all parties to avoid provocative activities to ease tension and promote regional security and stability.

“We appeal to all parties concerned to further exercise their utmost restraint to avoid provocative activities and remain committed to the peaceful and constructive dialogue so as to defuse tension and promote trust and confidence in the region,” Mr Sokhonn said.

This week saw a blistering war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US president Donald Trump, with the US leader using his maiden speech at the UNGA to warn that Washington would “totally destroy” the North Korea if America or its allies were threatened.

The North Korean leader also warned Mr Trump to exercise prudence in selecting words and to be considerate of whom he speaks to when making a speech in front of the world.

“A frightened dog barks louder,” said Mr Kim in a statement that described Mr Trump’s behaviour as “mentally deranged”.

“Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history by saying that he would destroy the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, we will consider with seriousness exercising a corresponding, highest-level and hard-line countermeasure,” he said.

US bomber and fighter escorts flew off the coast of North Korea on Saturday in a show of force against the Norths nuclear weapons programme, escalating already sky-high tensions.

The latest exchange of bellicose rhetoric comes as international alarm mounts over Pyongyang’s weapons ambitions – including a suggestion that the country is considering detonating an H-bomb over the Pacific.

Chheang Vannarith of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies and a visiting fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, said the tensions may erupt into armed conflicts if there is no urgent and effective mechanism to cool down the situation.

“Conflicts occur due to miscalculation and misjudgement. Lack of communication and dialogue leads to escalating tensions,” he said. “Donald Trump, unlike previous US Presidents, is unpredictable. He may take a surprise move against North Korea, once and for all.”

Additional reporting by AFP

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