In a call on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that further sanctions against North Korea are “counterproductive” and could become “dangerous.” The readout of the conversation was released to media by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and published by Associated Press.

The readout also says that the call was carried out by American initiative and that the main subject was the North Korean issue. According to the Russian report, both sides condemned the latest intermediate-range missile launches by Kim Jong-un’s regime.

The Russian minister also defended the diplomatic and political solutions as the only viable ways to overcome tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

War of words

Up to Thursday afternoon, the U.S. State Department has not released a readout of its own. The conversation between the two foreign relations bosses was preceded by yet another controversial Tweet by President Donald Trump, who seems not to be willing to back down on the rhetoric. “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!” were the President’s words on the social media network.

Before, on Tuesday, the President had already threatened Kim Jong-un saying that “all options are on the table,” in a statement released after the latest missile launch that crossed one of the Japanese islands (Hokkaido) before falling into the sea.

But the war of words dates back from the beginning of August, when the President threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” as the world had never seen before, in case the country kept up with its missile launches.


The President’s harsh stance conflicts with the moderate words of his top aides. According to the Independent, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said on Thursday that the U.S.

is “never out of diplomatic solutions” on the North Korean issue. Secretary Tillerson himself has repeatedly reiterated the importance of the dialogue in the search for a solution to the problem.

On the other hand, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley seems to be more in line with the President on the issue.

Following the latest missile launch by North Korea, she reacted with tough words. She classified the behavior of the regime as “absolutely unacceptable and irresponsible” and added that “something serious has to happen,” reported Reuters.

Diplomatic entanglement

While the U.S. and Russia discuss the issue on North Korea, the two countries have their own bilateral problems to solve. The U.S. demanded Russia to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington D.C., and a consular annex in New York City, reports RT News.

According to a statement by the spokesperson for the State Department Heather Nauert, disclosed by RT News, the decision is based on the “spirit of parity invoked by the Russians.” In July, Russia demanded the U.S. to cut 200 diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Moscow, as retaliation to the new sanctions imposed against the country.