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Lavrov advises Washington not to egg on North Korea

November 30, 11:55 UTC+3

Moscow is against economic blockade of North Korea, the Russian top diplomat says

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© AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

MINSK, November 30. /TASS/. The United States could have deliberately provoked North Korea to take tough actions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"Washington’s recent steps seem to be deliberately aimed at provoking Pyongyang to take some tough actions," he noted. The US should openly say if its provocative actions are aimed at destroying North Korea, he said. 

He pointed out that Washington "announced that large-scale unscheduled drills would held in December." "It seems, they have done everything on purpose, to make [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un lose control and make another desperate move," he said. "The Americans need to explain to us all what they are actually up to. If they seek a pretext to destroy North Korea, they should openly say so and the US leadership should confirm it. Then we would decide how to respond," the Russian top diplomat added.

Russia is against US proposals for an economic blockade of North Korea and believes the sanctions pressure has exhausted itself, he said. 

"Our attitude (to the US proposals - TASS) is negative. We have said more than once that the sanctions pressure has in fact exhausted itself," he said.

At the same time, Lavrov confirmed that Moscow did not support Washington’s initiatives concerning the economic blockade of North Korea and believed that the potential of sanctions had been exhausted. "Our attitude [towards the US initiatives - TASS] is negative. We have stressed many times that the potential of sanctions has actually been exhausted," Lavrov said.

He pointed out that "all the resolutions imposing sanctions also demand that the political process and talks be resumed." "But the US has been ignoring this demand. I think it is a huge mistake," the Russian top diplomat noted.

Lavrov also said that back in September, the US hinted that the next military drills in the region were set to be held in spring, so "North Korea could take advantage of the break and refrain from desperate moves, and why not try to build dialogue under this situation." "We were encouraged by such statements. And suddenly they [the US and their regional allies] are holding unscheduled drills in October - although they mentioned spring - then in December and then the next drills are going to take place in December," he said.

In this connection the Russian foreign minister called on the US to openly say if its provocative actions were aimed at destroying North Korea.

Lavrov pointed out that Washington "announced that large-scale unscheduled drills would held in December." "It seems, they have done everything on purpose, to make [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un lose control and make another desperate move," he said. "The Americans need to explain to us all what they are actually up to. If they seek a pretext to destroy North Korea, they should openly say so and the US leadership should confirm it. Then we would decide how to respond," the Russian top diplomat added.

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