North Korea's Missiles No Threat to Anyone: American Prof.
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American human rights lawyer and a professor at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law said North Korea has no plans to attack any country, including the US first, noting that Pyongyang’s missiles serve defensive and deterrent purposes.
“I do not view North Korea’s missile launches as a threat to anyone. It is obvious to me, as it is obvious to countries such as China and Russia, that Korea is flexing its might in order to deter an attack by the US which would be aimed at regime change,” Daniel Kovalik told the Tasnim News Agency.
He added, “North Korea has no designs upon attacking anyone, much less the US which could obviously annihilate North Korea if attacked.”
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: Earlier, North Korea fired another ballistic missile over Japan, a direct challenge to the United States just days after a new sanctions resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council that was intended to force the country to halt its accelerating nuclear and missile tests. What’s your take on the recent launch? Do you believe more sanctions can stop Pyongyang?
Kovalik: I do not view North Korea’s missile launches as a threat to anyone. It is obvious to me, as it is obvious to countries such as China and Russia, that Korea is flexing its might in order to deter an attack by the US which would be aimed at regime change. Through its pre-emptive invasions of non-nuclear states such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as of Libya which gave up pursuing nuclear weapons with the hope of gaining acceptance by the West, the US and other Western powers taught North Korea that the only defense against regime change is the possession of nuclear weapons capacity.
Tasnim: The US warned on Friday it could revert to military options if the latest sanctions fail to curb North Korean missile and nuclear tests. Later, China said that the United States must stop threatening North Korea’s leader if a peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis is to be found. Russia also criticized the administration of Trump for its "aggressive" role in the crisis. What do you think as it seems that the test has split the world powers?
Kovalik: I believe that Russia & China are absolutely correct on this point. North Korea has no designs upon attacking anyone, much less the US which could obviously annihilate North Korea if attacked. Of course, it is the height of hypocrisy for the US to threaten North Korea for possessing and testing nuclear weapons when the US has the largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world and is currently engaged in a $1 trillion upgrading of its nuclear weapons capacity.
Tasnim: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Saturday that he aims to reach an “equilibrium” of military force with the United States. He said, “Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option”. Do you believe the US would finally accept this? What might the future hold?
Kovalik: I think it is unlikely that the US will relent from its goal of regime change in North Korea, nor will it ever accept North Korea as a nuclear state. At the same time, the stakes for attacking North Korea would be very high, as the US is quite aware. I can only hope that cooler heads prevail, and that a war can be averted on the Korean peninsula.
Tasnim: As you know, the US has 28,500 troops in South Korea. The North accuses the United States of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies. What do you think?
Kovalik: Americans must remember that the US has already destroyed North Korea, and much of South Korea, before. During the Korean war from 1950 to 1953, the US devastated the Korean peninsula, killing millions and leveling especially North Korea to the ground. Indeed, one high-ranking US official commented that the only reason the US stopped bombing North Korea was because there was nothing left to bomb. The US even bombed all of North Korea’s dams as it left the country. Given this, and given that there was never an official end to the Korean War, North Korea has every reason to fear the U.S.’s intentions toward it. The only solution to the issues posed by North Korea is true diplomacy which will result in North Korea feeling secure from the fear of invasion and annihilation.
Tasnim: Do you think Pyongyang and Washington would eventually sit at the negotiating table with Russia’s mediation?
Kovalik: I truly hope that Washington is willing to engage in such a mediation as I am sure that Pyongyang would do so eagerly. Such a mediation is the only hope for peace.