Lavrov Claims US Trying To Provoke North Korean Leadership

Kim Jong-un has pushed North Korea's weapons programme much further than his father
Credit
KCNA  Reuters

A group of Russian MPs, who visited Pyongyang earlier this week, said that the North Korean side expressed readiness to engage in talks, but demanded that Moscow play a mediating role.

Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying: "If somebody is very eager to use force to wipe out North Korea, as the United States' U.N. envoy said, it was a very bloodthirsty tirade".

According to the minister, Pyongyang has refrained from launching missiles for over two months prior to the latest launch on Wednesday.

He called Haley's speech on North Korea, which she made at an emergency UN Security Council meeting, "a really bloodthirsty tirade".

"We will do everything to ensure that (the use of force) doesn't happen so that the problem is decided only using peaceful and political-diplomatic means", Mr Lavrov said.

"While condemning Pyongyang's nuclear missile adventurism, we can not but condemn the provocative behavior of our American colleagues", Lavrov said in an interview with Belarusian broadcaster STV.

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"If they want to find a pretext for destroying North Korea...then let them say it outright", said Lavrov, who also reiterated Moscow's view that "the pressure of sanctions has been exhausted".

Washington called on nations to cut relations with Pyongyang and warned that North Korea's leadership will be "utterly destroyed" if war breaks out.

"China's priority is stability in the region, as well as domestic stability, and part of that is an alliance with its neighbor North Korea", Alison Evans, deputy head of Asia-Pacific country risk at IHS Markit, told CNBC on Thursday.

The North Koreans "believe that they have reached parity not in the amount of strength, but in capabilities and think that now they can sit at the negotiating table without listening to constant threats and insults from the United States", deputy chair of Russia's upper house Committee for International Relations, Senator Aleksey Chepa, told Interfax.

The Russian politician also said if the United States and South Korea did not "aggravate" the situation, North Korea would not have needed to test-launch the Hwasong-15.

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