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Lavrov warns US missile system deployment to Asia-Pacific leads to serious risks

March 20, 2017, 11:06 UTC+3

Moscow considers the deployment of US missile defense system and arms buildup in the Asia-Pacific region as a disproportionate response to Pyongyang, the minister has noted

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Truck carrying parts of US missile launchers and other equipment needed to set up the THAAD missile defense system in Pyeongtaek, South Korea

Truck carrying parts of US missile launchers and other equipment needed to set up the THAAD missile defense system in Pyeongtaek, South Korea

© U.S. Force Korea via AP

TOKYO, March 20. /TASS/. Deployment of US missile defense system to the Asia-Pacific region may result in serious risks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks in the 2+2 format with Japan involving foreign and defense ministers.

"We took note of serious risks posed by the deployment of elements of the global missile defense system of the United States to the Asia-Pacific region," Lavrov said.

"We detailed our assessments showing that if this is about the threats coming from North Korea, then the creation of such a missile defense system as well as arms buildup in the region is not a proportionate response," the Russian top diplomat noted.

Lavrov stressed that positions of Moscow and Tokyo coincide that North Korea should fully comply with all UN Security Council’s resolutions. "At the same time, we believe that sanctions of the UNSC against Pyongyang should be viewed not as a tool of punishment but as an impetus to return to negotiations," he said.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula rose in early 2016, when Pyongyang conducted an underground nuclear test and later test-fired a ballistic missile. In September 2016, North Korea conducted another nuclear test, besides, within one year, around 20 missiles were test-fired. On March 6, 2017, North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles which fell in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. On March 7, the US Pacific Command announced that the United States had started to deploy the THAAD missile systems to South Korea despite the opposition of Russia and China.

On North Korea 

Moscow and Tokyo are unanimous in believing that North Korea should strictly comply with all United Nations Security Council resolutions,  Lavrov stressed. 

"We are unanimous with our Japanese partners that North Korea should rigorously comply with all UN Security Council resolutions," the minister said.

"We believe that the UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang should be seen not as a punishment tool but as an incentive to bring the situation back to the political and negotiation track."

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