Readers respond to the war of words between the US and North Korean governments

The increasingly threatening rhetoric between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un (Report, 15 August) risks triggering a conflict that could escalate to the annihilation of everyone on this fragile planet. Is it not time for the UN security council to step up to its primary responsibility under the UN charter: the maintenance of international peace and security? Its first action is usually to recommend both parties reach agreement by peaceful means, helping with mediation if needed. Both Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in are reported to be willing to talk, and there is a New York back channel between Joseph Yun, the US envoy for North Korea policy, and North Korean diplomat Pak Song-iI. Sweden has longstanding diplomatic representation in North Korea and seven EU countries now have embassies in Pyongyang. The security council has imposed heavy sanctions. It has the channels to now urgently promote a dialogue towards negotiation.
Judith Cook

• Why is the US threatening war with North Korea instead of pressing for negotiations? The short answer is Donald Trump’s desire to distract public attention away from the Russia investigation, which has taken an ominous turn of events with the raid on Trump adviser Paul Manafort’s home, the pending interrogation of Trump’s personal assistant, Rhona Graff, and the investigation into Trump’s financial entanglements with Russia, which Donald Trump Jr admitted were substantial.

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