Jeremy Corbyn has urged the government to refrain from military intervention in North Korea and warned against following the lead of the “erratic and belligerent” Trump administration.
The Labour leader called for Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un to tone down their war of words. Tension between the US President and North Korean leader have reached a head in recent days as alarm bells have been raised about the prospect of a nuclear conflict.
Mr Corbyn argued the world was once again faced with the threat of a “catastrophic nuclear conflict” and warned Theresa May against any type of military action – including joint exercises.
“In the interests of sanity and safety for the whole world, global pressure for dialogue and diplomacy must be overwhelming,” the Labour leader wrote in a piece for the Sunday Mirror.
“As Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un trade threats and tensions escalate, the danger is growing.”
The MP for Islington North used the 72nd anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki which was marked last week to highlight the tragic consequences of nuclear weapons. The world’s first atomic bomb, used on 6 August 1945, killed 140,000 people in Hiroshima, with the bombing of Nagasaki killing 70,000 more just three days later.
“Well over a hundred thousand people died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from what were small atomic bombs,” Mr Corbyn said.
“Any nuclear conflict over North Korea today would kill millions of innocent people in the Korean peninsula and beyond, with devastating fallout in China, Japan and elsewhere.”
“Trump and Kim must immediately wind down the war of rhetoric, as the German chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded,” he continued. “The risks of an unintended escalation into full-blown conflict are too great for the whole world.”
Inside the daily life in North Korea
He added: “We cannot play fast and loose with nuclear weapons and nuclear threats. Our government must press for measured responses to bring the temperature down.”
The Labour leader argued Britain’s best course of action would be to push for the stalled six-party talks to be resumed with the objective of establishing a denuclearised Korean Peninsula.
He said: “Our government must not drag our country into any military action over the Korea crisis, including joint exercises. There can be no question of blind loyalty to the erratic and belligerent Trump administration.”
Tensions between the US and North Korea have dramatically escalated in recent days. President Trump launched his fiercest warning to the rogue state last week, warning it faces “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continues to threaten the US with missiles.
Pyongyang responded by saying it is “carefully examining” a plan to strike the US Pacific territory of Guam with missiles, claiming preparations for the strike could be ready in days.
President Trump has continued to issue similarly incendiary threats, tweeting: “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully, Kim Jong-un will find another path!”
Over the weekend, Mr Trump warned Kim Jong-un that if the Pacific island of Guam or any other US territory is attacked, the North Korean leader “will truly regret it”.
“This man will not get away with what he is doing,” the billionaire said. “If he utters one threat in the form of an overt threat … or if he does anything with respect to Guam, or any place else that is an American territory or an America ally, he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast.”