"We should do more" Merkel said at a panel hosted by German business daily Handelsblatt on achieving a peaceful solution on the Korean Peninsula. "We cannot simply insist on a diplomatic solution while we sit and do nothing."

Merkel is leading in polls for Germany’s federal election, slated to take place September 24.

"There is a political consensus emerging in Germany that US policy in North Korea is excessively confrontational and that the United States should seek diplomatic solutions rather than military ones," Alexander Mercouris, editor-in-chief of The Duran, told Loud & Clear on Radio Sputnik Wednesday.

​"It really rather points to the United States following the sort of proposals made by China, and to a lesser extent by Russia, for a diplomatic solution of the conflict," the London-based international affairs writer noted.

China has consistently called on all parties to return to the negotiating table. On March 8, for instance, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, "to defuse the looming crisis on the peninsula, China proposes that, as a first step, the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] DPRK suspend its missile and nuclear activities in exchange for a halt of the large-scale US-[South Korea] exercises." The US and South Korea have so far declined to scale back any of their joint military drills.

While Trump played the role of bad cop in warning that North Korean threats would be met with "fire and fury and power, frankly, the likes of which the world has never seen," prominent figures in the president’s administration have taken a more calculated and even-handed public approach to Pyongyang’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

“I’m certainly pleased the regime in Pyongyang has demonstrated some level of restraint that we’ve not seen in the past,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Tuesday.

"We hope that this is the beginning of this signal that we’ve been looking for that they are ready to restrain their level of tensions," he continued, "they’re ready to restrain their provocative acts, and that perhaps we are seeing our pathway to sometime in the near future having some dialogue. We need to see more on their part, but I want to acknowledge the steps they’ve taken thus far. I think it’s important to take note of that."

Similarly, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford said on August 14 that war on the Korean Peninsula would be a "horrible thing," adding that the US is "focused on coming up with a peaceful way ahead."

Tillerson and Dunford could be playing good cops to Trump’s bad – or they could simply be adrift. According to Mercouris, "there’s never been much coherence in US foreign policy." While officials in the US administration “frequently” offer different directions from the one stated by the US president, he said, "that situation has never been anywhere near as bad as it has been over the past few months."



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