Russia on Tuesday indicated that it was ready to mediate between the United States and North Korea to reduce escalating tensions, if asked to. The development comes amid growing tensions after the United Nations imposed fresh sanctions against Pyongyang. “Russia’s readiness to clear the way for de-escalation is obvious,” said spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
North Korea had threatened to punish all those countries who supported the bid for sanctions which was imposed following Pyongyang’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile test. North Korean officials said that the test put US within the range of its ICBM. The fresh sanctions aim to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad. The UN resolution seeks to ban nearly 90 per cent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have been trading words against each other as the country slowly inches towards achieving nuclear missile capability.
Meanwhile, neighbouring South Korea, on Tuesday hoped that Pyongyang and Washington would open negotiations and diplomatic channels will be engaged between them in 2018. “North Korea will seek negotiation with the United States while continuing to pursue its effort to be recognised as a de facto nuclear-possessing country,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in a report, without offering any reasons for its conclusion.
Russia, which now talks of mediating the negotiations between the US and North Korea, supported the sanctions in the UN. Among other countries which supported the move was China, a lone major ally of the North Korean regime in the region.
(with inputs from Reuters)