Top US, Russian diplomats discuss need for urgent North Korea negotiations

Dec 27, 2017, 01:42
Top US, Russian diplomats discuss need for urgent North Korea negotiations

In an interview with the state-run RIA news agency on Christmas Day, Lavrov said the Kremlin's diplomatic relations with North Korea make Russian Federation a suitable candidate to mediate talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

North Korea's foreign ministry on Sunday slammed the latest round of measures as "an act of war".

"Russia's readiness to clear the way for de-escalation is obvious", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reportedly told reporters during a phone call.

Peskov's comments come just days after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a new set of US-drafted sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang's November 29 ballistic missile test.

South Korea predicted today that their hostile neighbours would look to open negotiations with the United States next year in an optimistic outlook for 2018.

Separately, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that Washington was "ready to talk anytime" with North Korea "without precondition", but emphasized that "the diplomatic effort has to be backed up by a very credible military alternative".

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North Korea had threatened to punish all those countries who supported the bid for sanctions which was imposed following Pyongyang's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.

Even so, Seoul has set up a specialised military team to confront nuclear threats from the North.

China, the North's lone major ally, and Russian Federation both supported the latest United Nations sanctions, which seek to limit the North's access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers overseas.

"The importance of an early transition from the language of sanctions to negotiations was emphasized", the statement outlining the conversation said. North Korean officials said that the test put U.S. within the range of its ICBM.

"We do not share the desire of some states to exert maximum pressure on North Korea, which is often interpreted by them as establishing full economic and political blockade of this country by all available means", Lavrov added.

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