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Lavrov Calls on US, North Korea to Start Negotiations

Lavrov Calls on US, North Korea to Start Negotiations

Monday, 25 December, 2017 - 12:45
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Reuters)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Monday the United States and North Korea to launch negotiations, reported the RIA news agency.

The minister said that Moscow was ready to help mediate these negotiations.

North Korea’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that the latest UN sanctions against North Korea were an act of war and tantamount to a complete economic blockade against it.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to its latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says can reach anywhere on the US mainland. The resolution was drafted by the United States and negotiated with the North's closest ally, China.

North Korea said it is a "pipe dream" for the United States to think it will give up its nuclear weapons.

"We define this 'sanctions resolution' rigged up by the US and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and categorically reject the 'resolution,'" North Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

"If the US wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy towards the DPRK and learn to coexist with the country that has nuclear weapons and should wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons which we have developed and completed through all kinds of hardships," said the statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

DPRK is short for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

China called for restraint Monday, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying saying that nations should "make positive and constructive efforts to de-escalate tensions" on the Korean Peninsula.

Hua said the new UN resolution emphasizes "not inflicting adverse humanitarian impact" on North Koreans and not affecting regular economic activities or humanitarian assistance.

The resolution includes sharply lower limits on North Korea's refined oil imports, the return home of all North Koreans working overseas within 24 months, and a crackdown on ships smuggling banned items including coal and oil to and from the country.

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