TOKYO: Russia on Friday urged an end to a “vicious circle” on North Korea, claiming tough US reactions to nuclear tests by Pyongyang escalate tensions on the peninsula.
“We suggest looking at the situation in a multi-dimensional way in order to break the vicious circle of tensions,” Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov told Japan’s JiJi Press in an interview posted on the ministry’s site Friday.
He said that currently “in response to North Korean nuclear missile ‘experiments’, the United States and its allies take steps to bolster exercises and other military activity, which in turn pushes Pyongyang to new provocative actions.”
The comments came out as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking in Seoul, said that US military action was an option “on the table” after insisting two decades of policies to denuclearize North Korea had failed.
North Korea has a long-standing ambition to be recognized as a nuclear power and carried out its latest ballistic missile launches this month.
The US and Japan began joint exercises in the East China Sea a day after the missile launches.
Russia, which shares a land border with its Soviet-era ally North Korea, wants to ensure “the resolution of the problems of the Korean peninsula through peaceful political and diplomatic means,” Morgulov stressed.
The diplomat said the situation “prompts serious concern” and urged the “creation of a reliable peace mechanism that would create reliable security guarantees for all the countries in the region without exception.”
Earlier Friday Russian state news agency RIA Novosti cited a source in the Russian foreign ministry as saying “we see no alternative to political and diplomatic resolution” on North Korea.
This was in response to a comment to CNN by US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the US has “been there, done that” with six-party talks on North Korea.
The negotiations, stalled since 2009, were aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and were hosted by China and included South Korea, the United States, Russia and Japan.
Morgulov will take part in talks in Tokyo on Saturday ahead of a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and their Japanese counterparts in Tokyo on April 15.
“The forthcoming talks will be a good chance to set out our approach to these questions to our Japanese partners,” Morgulov said. AFP