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Russia: US ‘muscle flexing’ on North Korea not helpful

The US military’s “muscle flexing” for North Korea is bound to have grave consequences, Russia has warned, calling on Washington to take on a more “constructive” role to resolve its differences with Pyongyang.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the consequences would go on to have an effect on the whole region if Washington refused to opt for a diplomatic solution.

Tensions have been building on the Korean Peninsula following a series of nuclear and missile tests by Pyongyang as well as threats of war and personal insults traded between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Besides deploying warships, missile systems and troops to the region, the US has also been holding major military drills with South Korea and Japan, among other regional allies.

Russia deems the moves as “provocations” that could prompt harsh reactions from the North.

On Wednesday, days after Pyongyang test-fired a long-range missile that experts said could reach American soil, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to de-escalate by expressing Washington’s readiness for “unconditional talks.”

‘Be more constructive’

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov hailed on Wednesday Tillerson’s latest remarks, welcoming the more “constructive” live.

“We can state that such constructive statements impress us far more than the confrontational rhetoric that we have heard up to now. Undoubtedly this can be welcomed,” he told journalists.

The official said the change of tone was in line with Russia’s many calls for a diplomatic approach.

“This goes in the same direction as the calls from Russia,” he said, warning that “confrontational rhetoric and any steps that could provoke further tensions on the Korean Peninsula are absolutely counterproductive.”

Peskov rejected the idea that the call for talks meant the US was grabbing the initiative from Russia, which as a long-time ally of the South has always called on both sides to open channels for dialogue.

“No one can grab anything from anyone else. The main thing here is succeeding in the task,” he asserted.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said a day earlier that Moscow did not need to pressure North Korea to participate in talks because the neighboring country has already indicated its readiness.

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