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Russia and China urge 'peaceful' solution with North Korea

September 19, 2017

With the UN General Assembly set to focus strongly on North Korea and its recent nuclear tests, Russia and China have called for a "peaceful resolution" with the pariah state. They suggested a "dual track" approach.

Russia foreign minister Lavrov and Chinese foreign minister Wang
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/N. Anton

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, argued for a "peaceful resolution" to North Korea's nuclear weapons program and an end to the "vicious cycle" on the Korean peninsula during a meeting in New York on Monday evening, according to a statement from China's foreign ministry released on Tuesday.

Chinese-Russian military drill near Vladivostok
Russia and China conducted their second joint military exercise of the year near Vladivostok on Monday.Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Y. Smityuk

Lavrov said during the meeting that Russia's position on the issue was "completely identical" to China's, the statement added.

Russia supports China's proposal for a "dual track" or "suspension-for-suspension" approach to solving tensions. The plan calls for North Korea to stop its missile and nuclear tests and for the US and South Korea to end their joint military exercises in turn.

Earlier on Monday, Russia and China began a joint naval drill near to Russian port at Vladivostok, close to the North Korean-Russian border, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua. The agency did not link the exercise, which follows an earlier joint drill in July, with the North Korea issue.

US not ruling out military action

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley dismissed the "dual-track" plan as "insulting." She said that the US might hand control of dealing with Pyongyang to the military, adding North Korea would be "destroyed" if it did not halt its nuclear and missile programs.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appeared to support Haley's comments, telling Pentagon reporters on Monday that "there are many military options, in concert with our allies" and "that we will take to defend our allies and our own interests."

That same day the US and South Korea flew eight fighter jets and two bombers over the Korean peninsula as a show of force, according to a South Korean defense ministry statement. The "routine" flyover was the first joint maneuver since Pyongyang conducted its latest nuclear test on September 3 and its latest missile test on Friday.

US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, at the UN.
US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has warned North Korea would be "destroyed" if it continued its nuclear and missile programs.Image: picture-alliance/dpa/B. Matthews

Despite the military drills and tough rhetoric, US President Donald Trump has continued to work through diplomatic channels. On Monday, he spoke by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping and both leaders "committed to maximizing pressure on North Korea through vigorous enforcement of United Nations Security Council resolutions," according to a statement released by the White House.

Many analysts expect North Korea to dominate Trump's speech on Tuesday morning at the UN General Assembly.

amp/msh (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP)