Corbyn calls for calm and urges countries to get ‘back from the brink’ of threatening nuclear war
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the US and North Korea to “calm down” yesterday as confrontation between the nuclear-armed states loomed.
Mr Corbyn urged the two countries to come “back from the brink” after US President Donald Trump ramped up the brinkmanship on Twitter yesterday, claiming that Washington was ready for war if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un went through with a multiple missile test.
Pyongyang said it was drawing up plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan and into waters around the US Pacific island territory of Guam.
“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” Mr Trump wrote. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path.”
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Stop the War Coalition and a delegation of journalists, writers and peace campaigners also delivered a letter to the US embassy in London yesterday, urging restraint and a return to talks.
The letter pointed out that the “threat of nuclear annihilation” came as the world marked the 72nd anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. “We are reminded of the death, pain and suffering that occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and are determined that people should not have to suffer like that again,” it read.
“People around the world are extremely anxious for their future.” Prime Minister Theresa May, who is on holiday, is yet to comment on the crisis.
Mr Trump’s comments followed a warning to Pyongyang on Thursday against “even thinking about” an attack on the US or its “allies.”
“Things will happen to them like they never thought possible,” he said.
Mr Kim could approve the plan in response to the latest twice-yearly US-South Korean Ulchi-Freedom Guardian military exercises starting on August 21.
The war games, involving hundreds of thousands of troops, are timed to coincide with the Korean harvest season, forcing Pyonyang to call up large numbers of reservists from farms — which employ almost a quarter of the workforce — and factories.
In his comments yesterday, veteran anti-war campaigner Mr Corbyn addressed Mr Trump and Mr Kim, saying: “There are phone calls that could be made, there are discussions that could be held.
“Surely in the interests of sanity and safety over the whole world, do it.”
Mr Corbyn said Britain and other nuclear powers must play their part in reducing the tensions.
“We cannot play fast and loose with nuclear weapons and nuclear threats because do you know what — a nuclear explosion doesn’t stop at national borders, it doesn’t stop at the vicinity where the bomb drops.”
He called on them to support the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and “the UN’s efforts to make nuclear weapons illegal worldwide,” which include a recent ban treaty.
On Thursday the US Pacific Command said supersonic B-1 strategic bombers based on Guam were ready for the US Forces Korea “Fight Tonight mission.”
Guam, some 2,000 miles south-east of the Korean peninsula, hosts about 7,000 US troops compared to a population of just 160,000 — a ratio of one to 23.
In California on Thursday night US Defence Secretary James Mattis warned a war would be “catastrophic.”
“The tragedy of war is well enough known,” he said. “It doesn’t need another characterisation beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic.”