Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged the United States and North Korea to reduce tensions and described the trading of insults between their leaders as a “kindergarten fight between children.”
“We have to calm down the hotheads and understand that we do need pauses, that we do need some contacts,” Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations on Friday where he was attending the annual General Assembly debate.
Lavrov said Moscow was working with other countries “to strive for the reasonable and not the emotional approach — instead of the kindergarten fight between children (where) no one can stop them.”
Russia would welcome any attempt by a third country to mediate in the crisis, Lavrov told the news conference, adding that this could come from a “neutral” European nation.
Russia and China are pushing a joint proposal that would freeze North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a suspension of US-South Korean military drills.
Washington has rejected that proposal, describing it as “insulting,” and says it will not offer incentives to Pyongyang to come to the negotiating table.
In his first address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” and mocked its leader Kim Jong-un as a “rocket man” who was on a “suicide mission.”
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Trump complimented his controversial UN speech and called Kim a “madman” who “will be tested like never before.”
Kim shot back at Trump on Thursday, describing the US president as “mentally deranged” and warning he would “pay dearly” for threatening to destroy his country of 26 million.
Trump signed an executive order on Thursday imposing new sanctions on North Korea.
Analysts say Trump’s threats against North Korea are counterproductive and justify Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs that it insists are for self-defense. They say Trump’s speech could have an opposite effect, intensifying the deteriorating situation in the Korean peninsula.