Moscow ready to act as mediator between US, North Korea, says Kremlin

"North Korea will seek negotiation with the United States while continuing to pursue its effort to be recognised as a de facto nuclear-possessing country", South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a report, without offering any reasons for its conclusion.

Russian Federation is ready to act as a mediator between North Korea and the United States if both parties are willing for it to play such a role, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

The latest sanctions were the third imposed on Pyongyang this year in an attempt to prevent it from furthering its nuclear and missiles programme. 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.

Lavrov's petitions for dialogue come less than a week after the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to impose sweeping new sanctions on North Korea as effect of its latest missile test on November 29.

"The importance of an early transition from the language of sanctions to negotiations was emphasized", the statement outlining the conversation said. The fresh sanctions aim to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers overseas. North Korean officials said that the test put USA within the range of its ICBM. Lavrov and Tillerson also discussed bilateral issues, in which tensions increased, particularly after the implementation of various packages of USA sanctions against Russian Federation in the recent months.

"We will continue to defend our positions consistently and vigorously, attempting to persuade our colleagues in Washington to return to the fundamental principles on which a bilateral dialogue should be built", Lavrov told reporters in an interview published on the ministry's website.

Beijing also imported no North Korean iron ore, coal or lead in November, the second full month of those trade sanctions, the data showed.

Moscow calls on USA and allies to refrain from provoking tensions and exerting "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang.

  • Tracy Klein