Top US, Russian diplomats discuss need for urgent North Korea negotiations

Posted December 27, 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the United States and North Korea to start negotiations amid growing tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

While Tillerson voiced support for opening diplomatic dialogue between the two states, Trump said he would not take part in any talks with Pyongyang unless the isolated state agreed to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But the orders have not perturbed the hermit kingdom's aggression with Kim Jong-un seemingly going one step further than missile launches.

South Korean daily newspaper Joongang Ilbo reported: 'Through various channels, we've recently learned that the North has completed a new satellite and named it Kwangmyongsong-5. The UN resolution seeks to ban almost 90 per cent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year.

'Their plan is to put a satellite equipped with cameras and telecommunication devices into orbit'.

Even so, Seoul has set up a specialised military team to confront nuclear threats from the North.

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"The importance of an early transition from the language of sanctions to negotiations was emphasized", the statement outlining the conversation said.

Tillerson and Trump have given mixed messages regarding the administration's stance toward North Korea after Pyongyang launched an intercontinental ballistic missile late last month.

"We do not share the desire of some states to exert maximum pressure on North Korea, which is often interpreted by them as establishing full economic and political blockade of this country by all available means", Lavrov added.

The measures order North Koreans working overseas to return home within two years and ban almost 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to the country.

The sanctions are aimed at choking off external sources of funding for North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile development programs after repeated tests this year have brought the Asian nation to what experts say is the brink of developing devastating weapons that can be delivered halfway around the world.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy South Korea, the United States and Japan, and says its weapons are necessary to counter U.S. aggression.