- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2017

The United States poses a greater risk to international peace than North Korea, a leading member of Russian parliament said Friday.

As the world looks towards Washington and Pyongyang amid recent threats from both, Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev says Trump administration gives the most cause for concern.

“The most alarming aspect of the current situation is that we can’t be sure whether the U.S. administration is bluffing or it is actually ready to implement its threats,” Mr. Kosachev, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the upper house of Russian parliament, wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

“This is why we have to take seriously the news saying that the U.S. is ready to launch a preemptive strike on North Korea in case information is received about Pyongyang’s preparations for a new nuclear test,” he said, as translated by Russia’s Tass newswire.

The U.S. “poses a greater threat to peace than North Korea,” he continued, according to The Associated Press’s translation, because “the entire world is scared and left guessing if it strikes or not.”

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea worsened in recent days amid reports that Pyongyang was preparing for a possible nuclear weapons test. President Trump tweeted Tuesday that North Korea was “looking for trouble,” and the U.S. military has reportedly since mobilized units throughout the region, much to Pyongyang’s displeasure.

“If the U.S. comes with reckless military maneuvers then we will confront it with [a] preemptive strike,” North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Han Song Ryol, told AP Friday.

“We’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. preemptive strike,” he said.

While Mr. Trump advocated on the campaign trail for strengthening America’s relationship with Russia, ties between the two have continued to suffer amid Moscow’s ongoing support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, particularly in the wake of a deadly chemical weapons attack last week attributed to Assad’s regime.

“Right now, we’re not getting along with Russia at all, we may be at an all-time low,” Mr. Trump said Thursday.

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