USA ambassador: North Korea missile 'brings us closer to war'

Russian delegation to North Korea says Pyongyang will not disarm Report

Kazuhiro Nogi AFP

Haley called on all countries Wednesday to cut ties to North Korea.

"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. "Unfortunately, they are trying to draw to their side the Japanese and South Koreans who will fall the first victims in case war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula", Lavrov said.

Haley 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, putting the USA mainland within range, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Lavrov reiterated that in September, the USA made it clear that the next military exercises with South Korea were not to come until spring. "There came a hint that amid the current situation, if the pause, which naturally emerged in the US-South Korean drills, had been used by Pyongyang in order not to disturb the placidity, conditions could have been created for some sort of dialogue to start".

Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea scholar at Troy University in Seoul, said that regardless of their impact, more pressure on Pyongyang is needed. "We do think they could do more with the oil, and we're really asking them to please restrain more of the oil - not cut it off completely". "Now they announced another exercise in December".

"There's a feeling that [the United States was] intentionally provoking [North Korea's] Kim Jong-un to break that pause, to fall for their provocation", he said.

Lavrov pointed out that the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a security alliance of former Soviet states, "abides largely by a unified stance" on the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

After a two-and-a-half month pause in its rapid series of nuclear and missile tests, North Korea said it launched a "significantly more" powerful, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile. "Condemnations from the U.N. Security Council and the new sanctions that may follow will solve nothing", the article said.

"Any kind of economic sanctions or trade embargoes or things like that should be imposed and should be very robust", Pinkston said.

The Pentagon stressed the talks were scheduled long before North Korea's surprise missile launch in the early hours of Wednesday in Asia. "We hope that all the interested parties will adopt a honest and positive attitude, pooling their efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula in order to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible".

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