Doubts about Washington hinder North Korea deal: Lavrov


Vienna (AFP)

Uncertainty about the US administration is weighing on efforts to ease the nuclear crisis with North Korea, which would be willing to negotiate with the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

The question is "how to convince North Korea that a deal won't be rejected in a year or two by a new American administration," Lavrov told journalists, according to a translation of his remarks on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"North Korea needs security guarantees, especially when Washington is about to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal," he said.

"Now I hope we will be able to open the dialogue on the nuclear problem in the Korean peninsula."

After a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday, Lavrov had said Moscow was ready to broker talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

"We know that North Korea wants foremost to discuss security guarantees with the United States. We're ready to support, to participate in these negotiations," Lavrov said Thursday.

"We are convinced of the need to end the vicious cycle of confrontation, carelessness and provocations."

Tensions have reached alarming levels on the Korean peninsula after several missile launches by North Korea, including last week's test-firing of a new ballistic missile which Pyongyang said was capable of reaching the United States.

A few days later the US and South Korea kicked off their largest joint air exercise ever, an operation North Korea labelled an "all-out provocation".

US President Donald Trump has also criticised or pulled out of several international accords and engagements signed onto by the US, including the Paris climate pact and the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.