Roland Oliphant — Telegraph.co.uk Aug 11, 2017
- Russia warns risk of war ‘very high’
- Donald Trump says military solution is ‘locked and loaded’
- Deal would see Pyongyang end missile tests and Seoul and US halt large scale military exercises
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia and China would back a deal that would see North Korea freezing missile tests in exchange for the US and South Korea halting large scale military exercises.
The Pentagon immediately rejected the joint Russian-Chinese proposals, which came as Donald Trump warned US forces are ‘”locked and loaded” for military action against the North.
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017
Speaking at a forum for Russian students, Mr Lavrov said the war of words between the two countries “worries us a lot” and called on both sides to step back from confrontation.
“Unfortunately, the rhetoric in Washington and Pyongyang is now starting to go over the top,” Mr Lavrov said. “We still hope and believe that common sense will prevail.”
Asked about the chances of war, he said: “The risks are very high, especially taking into account the rhetoric,” he said
“My personal opinion is that when you get close to the point of a fight breaking out, the side that is stronger and cleverer should take the first step away from the threshold of danger.”
The United States appeared to reject the Russian proposals, saying war games planned for later this month would “go ahead as planned.”
Annual large scale military exercises with South Korea are scheduled to start on August 21 and there are no plans to postpone them, a Pentagon spokesman said on Friday afternoon.
Russia and China publicly proposed a suspension of North Korea’s missile program in exchange for a freeze on US and South Korean war games in a joint statement last month.
The proposals build on similar plans put forward by Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, in March.