Possible Pretext for War
The United States and South Korea air forces are scheduled to hold what they are calling a regular joint drill early next month with six U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighters taking part. But at this time, Lavrov and others see these drills as a deliberate attempt to find a pretext for war.
“The Americans need to explain to us all if they want to find a pretext to destroy North Korea. Let them say it directly … then we can take a decision about how to react,” said Lavrov.
That pretext seems evident in the words of U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley. Speaking at an emergency UN Security Council meeting, she warned the North Korean leadership that it would be destroyed if war were to break out.
“We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it,” ambassador Haley said. “If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday. And if war comes, make no mistake – the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”
Call for Sanctions Against North Korea
Haley also called for other countries to sever all ties with North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, and to impose sanctions that include cutting trade links and expelling North Korean workers.
This affects Moscow, as it sells oil products to North Korea, and thousands of North Korean workers in Russia send their wages back to authorities in Pyongyang. Lavrov believes the ambassador’s call for sanctions against North Korea is the wrong course of action, calling it a “big mistake.”
“We regard this negatively,” Lavrov said. “We have already said many times that sanctions pressure has exhausted itself.” Lavrov added that the United States is ignoring the UN’s repeated requests for peaceful talks with North Korea, so as to deescalate current tensions.
North Korea’s latest missile test and the U.S. subsequent call for sanctions against the country are the most recent actions of a back-and-forth struggle between the two countries. Last month North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador issued a dire warning of the possibility of nuclear war with the United States, after previously saying they might test a nuclear weapon in the Pacific as a direct retaliation to President Donald Trump’s own threats of military action.