Russia warns US against ‘Syria-style’ actions in N. Korea
Mike Pence’s statement on the US running out of “strategic patience” towards Pyongyang does not contribute to resolving the crisis, Sergey Lavrov said, voicing hopes there will be no repeat of the US strike on Syria in North Korea.
“I hope that there won’t be any unilateral actions like we recently saw in Syria and that the US will follow the policies Trump repeatedly declared during his election campaign,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, regarding the statement made by US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday during his visit to South Korea.
The world has witnessed the “strength and resolve of [President Trump] in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” according to Pence, who threatened North Korea “not to test” this resolve or “or the strength of the armed forces of the United States.”
The Russian foreign minister warned not to take any military actions and stressed that the “risky nuclear and missile endeavors of Pyongyang” violating UNSC resolutions could not be used as an excuse for violating international law and the UN Charter “in the same fashion” as in Syria.
The period of US policy before the current escalation could be hardly described as an “era of strategic patience,” Lavrov added.
“I cannot call the Obama administration’s period an ‘era of strategic patience,’ as the US has been quite harshly limiting North Korea’s capabilities to develop economy sectors related to nuclear or energy areas,” Lavrov said, referring to past US initiatives, many of them backed by the UN Security Council.
Harsh statements do not contribute to peace and stability in the region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said, while commenting on South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn’s promise to “implement intensive punitive measures” on Pyongyang in case of any “provocations.”
“Our position is well known and consistent. We call on all sides to avoid any actions which might be perceived as a provocation. And we stand for the continuation of coordinated international efforts in existing formats to resolve the North Korean problem,” Peskov said.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are reaching boiling point again, after Pyongyang conducted a missile test amid joint US-South Korea drills in March. On April 10, the USS Carl Vinson was part of a strike group that reportedly headed to the peninsula as a show of force and to demonstrate readiness for “various scenarios.”
North Korea has urged the US to stop its “military hysteria” and “come to its senses” – or face a merciless response if “provocations continue.” On Saturday, Pyongyang allegedly conducted yet another missile test, although it was reportedly unsuccessful.