Statements and speeches by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answer to a media question on the sidelines of the Joint Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Council of Defence Ministers and the Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, Minsk, November 30, 2017
Question: Earlier, the United States urged the world to suspend all ties with North Korea and to stop trade, in particular. What does the Russian side think of this idea?
Sergey Lavrov: We have a negative view of this idea. We have already noted repeatedly that the sanctions pressure has been virtually depleted. All resolutions introducing sanctions contained a mandatory demand to resume the political process and talks. The US side completely ignores precisely this demand. I believe this is a big mistake.
In addition, it appears that the latest US actions deliberately aim to provoke Pyongyang into taking new drastic steps. This past September, our American colleagues hinted confidentially to us (I will make no secret out of this) that the next exercise was only scheduled for spring and that the DPRK could take advantage of this pause and not make any abrupt moves either. Why not try and launch some kind of dialogue in this situation? We were reassured by this approach. And now, after they told us that the next exercise was set for spring, they are holding an unscheduled exercise in October and November, and now they have also announced a large-scale exercise for December. One gets the impression that everything was deliberately done to make Kim Jong-Un lose his nerve and take another reckless action. This is regrettable.
The Americans should, above all, explain to all of us what they want to achieve. If they want to find a pretext for destroying North Korea, as the US Ambassador to the UN has stated, then they should say this openly, and let the top US leadership also confirm this. We would then make a decision on how to respond to this.