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US always skeptical about Russian-Chinese plan for DPRK problem — Russian diplomat

Tensions around North Korea surged on November 29 after Pyongyang had again launched a missile, the first one after a lull of 75 days

MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. Washington has never been a supporter of the Russian-Chinese initiative for settling the crisis on the Korean Peninsula and suspension of the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday.

"We’ve never had a direct and unambiguous confirmation on the part of the U.S. as regards its readiness to sit down to the conference table and to join actions in the format of the Russian-Chinese roadmap," he said. "We’ve always felt the U.S. skepticism, which stems from its reliance on sanctions and the application of forceful pressure in this case, too."

Nonetheless, reports from Washington on the readiness to hold talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program means a step forward in the efforts to settle the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Ryabkov indicated.

"The U.S. statements on readiness for dialog are certainly encouraging signs," he said. "We’ve taken note of it and are prepared to continue considering the situation and the emerging ideas in all of their entirety with our U.S. counterparts."

"In one way or another, we need a double freeze - something we spoke about this summer," Ryabkov said. "This suggestion was also made at the level of Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers. The very logic of developments prompts us to adopt an approach of this kind and shows an absence of alternatives to it."

"That’s why we’ll be speaking to the Americans and we’ll see to what degree they’re perceptive of the logic that denies forceful pressure," he said.

Tensions around the DPRK surged in the morning of November 29 after Pyongyang had again launched a missile, the first one after a lull of 75 days.

The Korean Central News Agency [KCNA] said the Hwasong-15 missile of a new type climbed to the altitude of 4,475 km above the Earth’s surface and covered a distance of 950 km over the 53 minutes of flight, falling some 250 km away from Japan’s northern Aomori Prefecture.

Experts believe this new missile has a capability to cover distances of up to 13,000 km, which means in theory it can strike at targets virtually in all parts of the U.S.

On December 4, the Air Forces of South Korea and the U.S. launched the largest ever aerial exercise Vigilant Ace 18 on the Korean Peninsula. The North Korean Foreign Ministry responded with a statement where it leveled sharp criticism at the maneuvers, saying the U.S.-led campaign to demonize the DPRK was a prologue to a war while Pyongyang was only pursuing the legitimate and fair objectives as it was building up its nuclear deterrence forces.