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Russian, Chinese foreign ministers discuss situation on Korean Peninsula, Syria

MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, discussed over the phone on Friday the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the Syrian settlement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The two sides discussed the most pressing international issues, including the current state of affairs in the Syrian settlement and the situation on the Korean Peninsula along with the schedule of the upcoming bilateral contacts," the ministry said.

US and North Korea

The situation on the Korean Peninsula deteriorated again at the beginning of last year when Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test and later launched a ballistic missile with an artificial Earth satellite. In September 2016, North Korea conducted another nuclear test and carried out more than 200 missile launches throughout the year. Such launches continued this year. After another similar test in early March the command of the US contingent in the Republic of Korea announced it had begun deploying the THAAD air defense systems in that country despite objections from Moscow and Beijing.

The US has stated on numerous occasions recently that it is considering all possible options with regard to North Korea. On April 9, it became known that the US Pacific Command had dispatched a strike group led by USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier towards the Korean Peninsula. However, according to Pentagon Chief James Mattis, the move did not stem from any specific reasons.

Strike on Syria

The US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military airfield in Syria’s Homs province overnight to April 7 on instructions issued by President Donald Trump. The strike came in response to what Washington believes was the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in the Idlib province. The US authorities asserted that the alleged chemical attack was launched from that airfield.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said that on April 4, the Syrian air force had delivered an airstrike on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun to destroy militant facilities used to produce chemical bombs. These bombs were sent to Iraq and were also used in Aleppo. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow considers the US strike against an airbase in the Homs province an act of aggression against a sovereign nation.