Russia's Lavrov warns risk of N. Korea escalation 'very high'
Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said the risk of a military conflict between the U.S. and North Korea is "very high."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday cautioned that the risks of escalation of tensions between the United States and North Korea were "very high" following the recent war of words between Washington and Pyongyang.
"I believe the risks are very high, especially considering this rhetoric, when direct threats of using force are voiced," Lavrov said at a youth forum in the Vladimir region east of Moscow.
Lavrov did not refer to Trump's most recent remark that the US military is "locked and loaded" in the event of a misstep by North Korea, but said Moscow is "very alarmed" at Washington's rhetoric of preemptive military action.
He added that Washington, as a more powerful state than North Korea, should take the first step to cool tensions.
"When a fight has nearly broken out, the first step away from the dangerous threshold should be taken by the side that is stronger and smarter," Lavrov said.
Moscow has partnered up with China to push an initiative that would see Pyongyang halt missile tests in return for the US ending military drills in the region.
Pyongyang said this week it was readying a scheme to attack Guam, an island outpost of the US military in western Pacific.
"We're doing everything we can so that this 'what if' doesn't happen," Lavrov said when asked about the prospects of a conflict.