Russia urged “hot heads” to calm down on Friday as the United States admitted it felt “challenged” by North Korea’s warning that it could test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific and President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un traded more insults.
"We have to calm down the hot heads,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters at the United Nations, where world leaders gathered this week for the annual U.N. General Assembly. “We continue to strive for the reasonable and not the emotional approach...of the kindergarten fight between children.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed hope in an interview with ABC that sanctions and “voices from every corner of the world” could lead North Korea back to talks, but admitted intensifying rhetoric had left Washington “quite challenged.”
North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, warned on Thursday that Kim could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale over the Pacific. Ri, who is due to speak to the United Nations on Saturday, added that he did not know Kim’s exact thoughts.
In response, Tillerson said U.S. diplomatic efforts would continue but all military options were still on the table.
North Korea’s six nuclear tests to date have all been underground, and experts say an atmospheric test, which would be the first since one by China in 1980, would be proof of the success of its weapons program.
A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington was taking Kim’s threat seriously and added that any atmospheric test would be a “game-changer.”
Though US officials disclosed few elements of this week's unusual meeting, the US side did confirm Russia's threat of returning fire should Syrian soldiers come under attack.
Though the US endgame is the ultimate million dollar question in all of this, it appears at least for now that this endgame has something to do with the Pentagon forcing itself into a place of affecting the Syrian war's outcome and final apportionment of power: the best case scenario being permanent US bases under a Syrian Kurdish federated zone with favored access to Syrian oil doled out by Kurdish partners.