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US, allies take disproportionate actions on Korean Peninsula — Lavrov

It is unacceptable to continue the immense military build-up in the region citing the North Korean threat, the Russian top diplomat said

MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Moscow believes the steps the US and its allies have been taking on the Korean Peninsula to be totally disproportionate compared to what needs to be done, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Friday.

"We have pointed out to counterparts that it is unacceptable to continue the immense military build-up in the region citing the North Korean threat," the Russian top diplomat said. "We believe that the steps the United States and its allies have been taking on the Korean Peninsula are totally disproportionate compared to what needs to be done," he added.

"Washington’s plans to deploy missile defense systems to the region, which is already being implemented, causes particular concern, so we pointed out that it would negatively affect security situation in the Asia-Pacific region," Lavrov said. "We are confident that boosting cooperation between members of closed military and political blocs will not help strengthen regional security, while there is a need to build a transparent and inclusive dialogue, initiated at the East Asian Summits discussing security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region," the Russian top diplomat pointed out.

US provokes North Korea

Washington is provoking Pyongyang although North Korea has neither carried out missile nor nuclear tests over the past two months, Lavrov said.

"It is alarming that over the past two months, when North Korea did not conduct any tests or launches of missiles, Washington seemed to be unhappy and sought to do something what would irritate and provoke Pyongyang," Lavrov said.

"In mid-October, the unannounced and unscheduled drills (of the US and South Korea) were held, and most recently a new list of sanctions against North Korea was published. It seems that they are waiting for them to lose patience once again and then finally it will be possible to have military options," he said.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump said the US administration decided to include North Korea on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, drawn up by the State Department, and also announced new restrictions against Pyongyang. On Tuesday, the US Department of Treasury announced sanctions against a Chinese citizen and 13 entities registered in China and North Korea.

Washington and Tokyo believe that for solving the North Korean issue the global community should step up pressure against Pyongyang. Against this background, the US and its allies regularly carry out military drills, which North Korea considers as a threat to its security.

Over the past two months, Pyongyang has been refraining from provocative steps, but Japanese analysts believe Washington’s latest moves may spark new missile tests of North Korea.

Military conflict with North Korea may claim a million of lives

Any military conflict with North Korea may claim a million of lives already on its first day, according to Lavrov.

"All leading specialists acknowledge that any military scenario will be linked with disastrous consequences," Lavrov said. "And already on the first day of a possible armed conflict, there will be hundreds of thousands, if not more than a million of victims," the Russian foreign minister said.

According to Lavrov, officials in Washington have stated on numerous occasions that all options for resolving the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, including the military one, were on the table. "Of course, we took note of the fact that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during his meeting with US President Donald Trump in early November that he would support the US position one hundred percent," he stressed.

Standoff between US and North Korea

Russia is ready to do everything possible to end the confrontation between the US and North Korea and renew talks, according to Lavrov.

"We hope that we will finally wind a way to end this confrontation and try to find ways to renew the negotiation process," he said. "We are ready to do all that is necessary for it."

Lavrov hopes that other interested participants will express this intention as well. "We hope that other interested parties will also act this way," he said.

The Russian top diplomat reiterated that Russian President Vladimir Putin talked to US President Donald Trump over the phone three days ago, and during the conversation "the Russian and US presidents discussed, among other things, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "President Trump was thoroughly informed on our position," the minister stressed.

Korean Peninsula situation

The situation on the Korean Peninsula remains tense as Pyongyang continues to develop its nuclear and missile programs, while Seoul and Washington hold joint military drills.

In July, North Korea conducted two ballistic missile tests, which provoked a sharp response from the United States, Japan and South Korea. On August 29 and September 15, North Korea fired ballistic missiles, which flew over Japan’s Hokkaido Island and plunged into the Pacific Ocean. On September 3, Pyongyang announced a successful nuclear test.

On September 12, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution tightening sanctions against North Korea. However, the country does not recognize the UN Security Council resolutions claiming to have the right to strengthen its defense capabilities against the backdrop of Washington’s aggressive policy.

Washington and Tokyo believe that in order to resolve the North Korea issue, the global community needs to increase pressure on Pyongyang. Besides, the United States Washington has been repeatedly stating that no option including the use of military force could be ruled out.