North Korea seeks USA recognition as nuclear weapons state

Lavrov Claims US Trying To Provoke North Korean Leadership

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the United States of seeking to provoke North Korea into stepping up its nuclear missile program.

The Russian minister strongly condemned comments made by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who earlier this week warned North Korea's leadership it would be "utterly destroyed" if war were to break out after Pyongyang test-fired its most advanced missile.

'If someone really wants to use force to, as the USA representative to the United Nations put it, destroy North Korea. then I think that is playing with fire and a big mistake, ' Lavrov said.

"We will do everything to ensure that (the use of force) doesn't happen so that the problem is decided only using peaceful and political-diplomatic means".

He continued to say that Ms Haley's speech to the UN Security Council meeting was "a really bloodthirsty tirade".

"While condemning Pyongyang's nuclear missile adventurism, we can not but condemn the provocative behavior of our American colleagues", Lavrov said in an interview with Belarusian broadcaster STV. Then, all of a sudden two weeks after the United States had sent us the signal [about readiness to dialogue], they announced unscheduled drills in December.

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Lavrov described Russia's stance on the North Korean issue as "direct, honest and open".

Lavrov pointed to Washington's plans to conduct a large- scale air force drill with South Korea in December, a new show of force aimed at the Kim regime, saying the U.S. would be better off if it tried to hold negotiations instead.

Lavrov also reminded of the roadmap, jointly developed by Russian Federation and China, which implied rejection of any actions that fuel tensions and transition to negotiations. The proposal called for North Korea to curb its nuclear and missile tests, in return for the U.S. giving up on joint military drills with South Korea in the region, but it was rejected by Washington.

A group of Russian MPs visited Pyongyang earlier this week in order to facilitate the resolution of the crisis.

During the subsequent, combative session of the UNSC, Haley called on North Korea's neighbors to do more to enforce sanctions, while Russia's representative Vasily Nebenzia criticised Washington's use of sanctions and military exercises in the region. This is the first missile launch since the last one carried out by North Korea on September 15.

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