Russian Foreign Minister: Further Sanctions Against North Korea Would Be ‘Dangerous’

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov pauses during talks with the Cyprus' foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, at the foreign ministry in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, on Thursday, May 18, 2017. Lavrov is in Cyprus for two-day working visit. (Yiannis Kourtoglou, Pool via AP)
Yiannis Kourtoglou, via AP

In a phone call on Wednesday evening, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that applying further sanctions against North Korea would be “counterproductive and dangerous.”

Lavrov was responding to President Donald Trump’s comment on Wednesday that “talking is not the answer” to the North Korean nuclear missile crisis.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov joined Tillerson in condemning North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan, but called for dialogue instead of action, and warned all parties to “avoid a military solution to the crisis.”

“Sanctions and pressure produce little effect. This way will not help us to achieve the intended result. Besides, this way envisages no possibility of entering constructive talks with North Korea,” Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vasily Nebenzya argued after the Security Council meeting on Tuesday.

Britain and Japan have both raised the possibility of more sanctions against North Korea to the United Nations.

“The time is right to consider further constraints on the regime, given that the constraints that we have put in place so far have clearly not yet got them to change course,” said British Ambassador to the U.N. Matthew Rycroft on Wednesday. He recommended capping the number of workers North Korea is permitted to export even more tightly than the August 5 sanctions package did. Japan supports that idea, and also wants the U.N. to consider sanctions against oil imports and textile exports.

North Korea said it intends to fire more missiles into the Pacific, specifically mentioning Japan and Guam as possible target areas.

In fact, on Thursday North Korea’s state-run media warned that Japan was “accelerating self-destruction” by “coming out with its sleeves rolled up in supporting its master’s anti-DPRK war moves.” The “master” in question would be the United States, while DPRK is North Korea’s name for itself.

The United Kingdom summoned North Korea’s ambassador to condemn “reckless actions” that “violate multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and threaten international security.” Spain also summoned its ambassador from North Korea to complain and took the additional step of expelling some North Korean diplomats.


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