Russia says US sabre-rattling ratcheting up tension with North Korea

Related Story: 'An act of war': North Korea condemns new UN sanctions

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Washington's "aggressive" and "unacceptable" rhetoric has heightened tension on the Korean peninsula, the Russian foreign ministry says.

Despite the criticism, the Kremlin said Russia was ready to act as a mediator between North Korea and the United States if both parties were willing for it to play such a role.

Moscow has long called for the two sides to hold negotiations aimed at reducing tensions over the nuclear and missile program North Korea is pursuing in defiance of years of UN Security Council resolutions.

"Russia's readiness to clear the way for de-escalation is obvious," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a phone call with reporters.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for Washington and Pyongyang to start negotiations, saying Russia was ready to facilitate such talks.

Attendees take notes at the Workers' Party of Korea conference

Though US diplomats have said they are pursuing a diplomatic solution, President Donald Trump has said Pyongyang must commit to giving up its nuclear weapons before any talks can begin.

Mr Lavrov and Mr Tillerson men discussed further steps towards resolving the Syrian crisis and the situation in Ukraine.

The UN Security Council unanimously voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea on Friday in response to its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, a move North Korea called an act of war, tantamount to a complete economic blockade.


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