MINSK, December 2. /TASS/. Moscow condemns both Pyongyang’s gambling with nuclear weapons and missiles and Washington’s provocative behavior, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Belarussian television STV on Saturday.
"Condemning Pyongyang’s nuclear missile gambling, we cannot but condemn our American counterparts’ provocative behavior. Unfortunately, they are trying to draw to their side the Japanese and South Koreans who will fall the first victims in case war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula," Lavrov said.
Speaking about the missile launch conducted by North Korea earlier in the week, the Russian foreign minister pointed out that "the North Korean leader had not been involved in any reckless scheme over the past two months."
"Simultaneously, in September our American counterparts made it clear that the next major military exercise off the Korean Peninsula had been scheduled for the next spring," Lavrov said. "There came a hint that amid the current situation, if the pause, which naturally emerged in the US-South Korean drills, had been used by Pyongyang in order not to disturb the placidity, conditions could have been created for some sort of dialogue to start. We said we appreciated the stance and were working with Pyongyang."
"Then, all of a sudden, two weeks later after the Americans had sent us a signal, they announced extra drills, that is not in the spring but in October and then in November," he continued. "Now they announced another exercise in December. There is an impression that they had provoked [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un on purpose so that he could not hold a pause but snapped under their provocations."
Lavrov pointed out that the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a security alliance of former Soviet states, "abides largely by a unified stance" on the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
"We do not tolerate the DPRK’s nuclear weapon claims [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea]," Lavrov said. "All the CSTO members support the resolution of the UN Security Council. We comply with the imposed sanctions."
Simultaneously, the CSTO states "call to leave behind rhetoric, threats and insults and to find ways to restart the talks," he said.
In the morning on November 29, North Korea conducted a missile launch, the first one since September 15. According to North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA), a Hwasong-15 missile covered a distance of 950 kilometers in 53 minutes, reaching an altitude of 4,475 kilometers. The Japanese Defense Ministry said the missile had fallen into the sea in Japan's exclusive economic zone, 250 kilometers west off the coast of Japan’s Aomori Prefecture.