Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that risks of a military conflict over North Korea’s nuclear program are very high, and Moscow is deeply worried by the mutual threats of attack traded by Washington and Pyongyang.
“The side that is stronger and cleverer” should take the first step to defuse the crisis, said Lavrov, speaking live on state television at a forum for Russian students.
He encouraged Pyongyang and Washington to sign up to a joint Russian-Chinese plan, under which North Korea would freeze its missile tests and the United States and South Korea would impose a moratorium on large-scale military exercises.
Lavrov added that rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea’s nuclear program was now “going over the top,” and said Moscow hopes common sense will eventually prevail.
U.S. President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Friday, saying American weapons were “locked and loaded” as Pyongyang accused him of driving the Korean Peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.
‘A pity’ US casts doubt on Iran nuclear deal
Separately, Lavrov also said it is a pity that the Trump administration was casting doubt on the 2015 deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
“Unfortunately now our American partners call this …(treaty) into question,” Lavrov told a meeting with students broadcast live by state television.
“In the Trump administration they continue calling these agreements wrong and erroneous, and it’s a pity that such a successful treaty is now somewhat being cast into doubt,” he said.
Trump said on Thursday said he did not believe that Iran was living up to the spirit of the deal.
—CNBC contributed to this report.
Foreign minister says there's a Russian-Chinese plan underway to defuse US-North Korea crisis