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ICBM test: US asks nations to cut N Korea ties; Russia calls it goading Kim

Russia dismissed US' call to sever ties with North Korea and said that sanctions do not work

IANS  |  United Nations 

A man looks at a TV screen broadcasting news of North Korea's missile launch, in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. After 2 months of relative peace, North Korea launched its most powerful weapon yet early Wednesday, a presumed intercontinental ballist
A man looks at a TV screen broadcasting news of North Korea's missile launch, in Tokyo, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. Photo: AP/PTI

The US has urged all nations to cut diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea after its latest test and warned that if it comes to war, the rogue regime will be "totally destroyed". The call was rejected by Russia on Thursday as it accused Washington of provoking Pyongyang into stepping up its nuclear missile programme.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the call by the US Permanent Representative to the Nikki Haley to sever ties with North Korea and said that "sanctions do not work". He advocated negotiations instead.

Speaking during a visit to the Belarussian capital Minsk, Lavrov asked whether America was actively seeking to destroy North Korea. The Americans, he said, "should explain to us all what they're after".

"If they want to find a pretext for destroying North Korea, as the US envoy said at the Security Council, then let them say it outright and let the supreme American leadership confirm it."

Calling for new talks with North Korea, Lavrov added: "We have already emphasised... that the squeeze of sanctions has essentially come to an end, and that those resolutions which introduced the sanctions should have included a requirement to renew the political process, a requirement to renew talks.

"But the Americans completely ignore this requirement and I consider this a big mistake."

Speaking at the UNSC on Wednesday, Haley warned that North Korea's government will be "utterly destroyed" if a war breaks out. She said that Washington also called on China to show leadership and cut off oil supplies to pressure Pyongyang following the test.

Haley told the Council that the North Korean dictator was bringing "the world closer to war".

"We have never sought war with North Korea," she said. "And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed."

Haley said that many countries have made economic sacrifices to enforce strict sanctions against North Korea and put the main task of containing Pyongyang on China's shoulders.

"We now turn to (China's) President Xi (Jinping) to also take that stand," she said. "China must show leadership and follow through." Haley said that President had called Xi and asked him to cut off oil supplies to North Korea.

"China can do this on its own or we can take the oil situation into our own hands," she added. Explaining the importance of an oil embargo, she said that when China cut off oil supplies to that country in 2003, Pyongyang came to the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, Trump's Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said: "We'll see future actions by the US and and we're looking forward to applying as much pressure as we can to get to our ultimate goal, which is a denuclearised Korean Peninsula."

At the Council meeting convened at the request of the US, Japan, and South Korea, Under Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman said the missile launched on Wednesday had travelled about 950 kilometre before falling into the sea in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

There was unanimity at the Council in condemning the missile test, but not on the actions to be taken against Pyongyang.

"will never tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea," the country's Permanent Representative Koro Bessho said. China's Deputy Permanent Representative Wu Haitao in effect rejected any new sanctions suggested by Haley, saying that Beijing was committed to finding a diplomatic solution.

He urged the acceptance of a proposal made jointly by China and Russia that would require North Korea to suspend nuclear activity and the US and South Korea to halt joint military exercises in order to pave the way for talks.

Trump kept the war of words going while speaking at a meeting in Missouri ridiculing Kim as a "sick puppy" and "little rocket man".

North Korea also published photographs of the new ICBM. A gallery of 42 photos published by the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, unveiled the ICBM that had a rounded tip sitting on a transporter erector launcher that has nine wheels on each side. 

First Published: Fri, December 01 2017. 08:52 IST