27 December, 2017
Tensions have risen over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of years of UN Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House. Pyongyang claimed that this missile was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and the entire territory of the United States was within its range.
"I think the first step forward should be done by the party which is mightier and which is smarter, and we've held that there are people in the USA who believe the situation should be resolved through diplomatic means", he said in an interview on RT.
Washington has said that all options, including military ones, are on the table in dealing with North Korea. Lavrov and Tillerson also discussed bilateral issues, in which tensions increased, particularly after the implementation of various packages of USA sanctions against Russian Federation in the recent months. It says it prefers a diplomatic solution, but that North Korea has given no indication it is willing to discuss denuclearization.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Monday for Washington and Pyongyang to start negotiations, saying Russian Federation was ready to facilitate such talks.
"It was underlined that it is necessary to move from the language of sanctions to the negotiating process as soon as possible".
U.S. vice president postpones visit, but envoy still coming
However, Pence's office confirmed on Monday that his visit would be pushed back again until January 2018, Politico reported . The vice president wanted to make sure that he was in place to break a tie if it were necessary, the official said.
Another State Department spokesman, Michael Cavey, said Washington remained open to talks, but the onus was on North Korea "to take honest and meaningful actions toward denuclearization and refrain from further provocations".
"We will continue to defend our positions consistently and vigorously, attempting to persuade our colleagues in Washington to return to the fundamental principles on which a bilateral dialogue should be built", Lavrov told reporters in an interview published on the ministry's website.
According to Chinese customs data, China exported no oil products to North Korea in November, apparently going above and beyond United Nations sanctions imposed earlier this year.
Chinese exports of corn to North Korea in November also slumped, down 82 percent from a year earlier to 100 tonnes, the lowest since January.
Moscow calls on USA and allies to refrain from provoking tensions and exerting "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang.