Alwaght-Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that America's threat to destroy North Korea should war break out is "a bloodthirsty tirade" and a big mistake.
Lavrov made the comments while visiting Rome, where he criticized comments from US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for saying that North Korea would be "utterly destroyed" if Pyongyang's recent missile testing of a rocket that could potentially hit the US mainland provoked war.
"If someone really wants to use force to, as the US representative to the United Nations put it, destroy North Korea... then I think that is playing with fire and a big mistake," Lavrov said, according to Russian news agencies.
He added that Haley's speech to the UN Security Council meeting was "a really bloodthirsty tirade."
"We will do everything to ensure that (the use of force) doesn't happen so that the problem is decided only using peaceful and political-diplomatic means," Lavrov noted.
In the early hours of Wednesday, Pyongyang test-fired its new Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile, which Pyongyang claims is capable of reaching any target in the continental US.
Following the missile launch, US President Donald Trump threatened to destroy North Korea drawing angry reaction from Russia. In his initial remarks on Thursday, Lavrov said Trump was deliberately pushing Pyongyang towards military confrontation. “It seems they have done everything on purpose to make Kim lose control and make another desperate move,” he said.
Meanwhile, North Korea is ready to sit at the negotiating table for peace talks if it is recognized as a nuclear power, the Russian delegation to Pyongyang said, adding that the North claims that it was forced to be aggressive and will not stop its nuclear program.
“They [Pyongyang] are ready to talk, however the [North] Korean side has its own condition – it should be recognized as a nuclear power,” Vitaly Pashin, a member of the Russian delegation, told news agencies upon their return. The North is now ready to negotiate with Washington “under parity terms” with the participation of Russia as a third party, he added.
Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and stops provocative military drills with South Korea and Japan. Thousands of US troops are stationed in the two countries neighboring North Korea.