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US, North Korea create escalation spiral — Russian ambassador

December 20, 2017, 10:39 UTC+3 BEIJING

The reason for the recent increase in tensions is that the parties are acting unpredictably, Russia’s Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov said

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© AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

BEIJING, December 20. /TASS/. The US and North Korea have created an escalation spiral in connection with the nuclear issue, Russia’s Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov told Russian reporters on Wednesday. According to him, the global community’s ability to prevent the most negative developments depends on joint efforts by Russia and China.

"We have been witnessing the so-called negative escalation, as the parties continue to descend the stair. Responding to a measure taken by the other party means taking another step down, which causes the other party respond and also take a step down. I believe we haven’t reached the lowest point yet but the situation is rather alarming because it is unpredictable," the Russian ambassador said. "Under these circumstances, we don’t see any other solution, only talks and efforts to resolve the situation through political and diplomatic means," he stressed.

"Not only the search for a solution depends on the joint efforts by Russia and China, but also the global community’s ability to prevent the most negative developments," he added. "I think if anyone is contributing to the search for a solution, it is actually Russia and China," Denisov said.

Element of unpredictability

"The reason for the recent increase in tensions is that the parties are acting unpredictably. As for North Korea, it has been conducting spontaneous nuclear tests and missile launches, which are always condemned, because we, together with China and the entire world, believe that the development of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula is unacceptable," the Russian ambassador pointed out.

"But at the same time, the other party’s unpredictability has also been increasing. Our US counterparts have been making contradictory statements, which confuse North Korea and sometimes provoke it to take unreasonable actions," Denisov added.

Rejected proposals

"The Russian and Chinese proposals, which are similar to a large extent, have taken the shape of a road map," the ambassador went on to say. According to him, this document stipulates "some self-restrictions" for North Korea and also restrictions concerning military drills and other military activities on the part of the United States.

"Unfortunately, both parties have been rejecting these proposals for various reasons, including formal ones," Denisov noted. "For instance, the US says that the United Nations Security Council condemns North Korea’s nuclear tests but no one on the international level condemns military drills. However, in this case the parties should decide for themselves what is more dangerous for them - to stick to formalities or try to find a way out of the situation," he added.

"Russia and China almost see eye to eye on this issue. Particularly because the area in question is close to our borders, while the US is overseas," Denisov said. "North Korea conducts nuclear tests at a training range located only 100 kilometers from the Chinese border, so it all affects the Chinese people, or at least, poses a threat to them. Our city of Vladivostok is also not far. The situation is very complex and, I dare say, dangerous," the Russian ambassador noted.

Diplomatic efforts

"We can see that our US counterparts’ position has started to change. On the one hand, one official says they are ready for talks, but on the other hand, another official makes a statement that there will be not talks until some certain steps are taken. Indeed, the situation is dangerous," the Russian ambassador said.

"On the diplomatic level, some efforts have been made, there is a need to get through to both parties and make them understand that there is no alternative to our proposals. I think, both North Korea and the US need to find some diplomatic means," he said.

"We had some effective mechanisms, including the six-party talks, the foreign ministries, including the US Department of State, have envoys for the North Korea’s nuclear issue. It is important to maintain contacts and hold consultations to see how the situation develops," Denisov said, adding that "there are also contacts" with Pyongyang.

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