Commenting on the recent war of words between the American and North Korean leaders regarding North Korea’s missile launches and subsequent anti-DPRK sanctions, Russian political analyst Igor Shatrov told Sputnik Radio that Pyongyang isn’t important to Washington in and of itself, but as a tool for pressuring China.

“The North Korean issue could be pulled out of thin air weekly, daily, or hourly with only one purpose: to put two countries, Russia and China, on their heels,”  Igor Shatrov, deputy director of the National Institute of Modern Ideology Development told Sputnik.

However, North Korea, he said, is mostly a tool for pressuring China and an instrument to drag Beijing into this nuclear and missile agenda. The intention is to mire China in the process of “pacifying” the North Korean leader, and it won’t be able to pay as much attention to its internal affairs and international politics. This, in turn, will decrease its economic and military-industrial potential.

Meanwhile, Shatrov explained, the US politicians do not cherish any hopes that China will be able to persuade Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear weapons program. They also understand that the North Korean leader is not as insane and crazy as they are trying to present him to their electorate.

Beijing, however, could be able to strengthen its political position in the international arena through the successful soothing of the existing tensions between the US and Pyongyang, the expert suggested.

“China’s geopolitical ambitions are growing; there is a feeling that Beijing wants to assert itself on the global stage and become a real center of power. If China is able to resolve the North Korean issue, it will increase its geopolitical role,” Shatrov concluded.

In its recent spat with the US, Kim Jong Un called on the US to make the “right choice” to prevent a conflict between the two nations. He also ordered his generals to prepare the military for a strike on the US Pacific territory of Guam, if he decides one is necessary. However, he said that he wanted to observe the actions of the Americans for a while longer before making a decision to strike or not.

The comments came after US Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that if North Korea fired on US territory it would be “game on.” This followed President Trump’s warning to unleash “fire and fury” against Pyongyang if it endangered the US.

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