Russia and China say they are concerned about rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, with North Korea issuing new warnings about annual military exercises by U.S. and South Korean troops.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, discussed the situation by telephone on Wednesday.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry says the two foreign ministers are urging the US and South Korea to avoid actions that could undermine security and stability in the region. It also says Lavrov and Yang want the dispute to be resolved peacefully through political and diplomatic means.
Earlier Wednesday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Pyongyang will take every necessary measure to defend itself against what it called threats to its sovereignty.
The ministry repeated its claim that the U.S.-South Korean military drills are preparation for an invasion.
The exercises come at a time of rising tensions between the two Koreas, and growing pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program and drop plans to test a long-range missile.
On Tuesday, top U.S. intelligence official Dennis Blair said he believes North Korea will go ahead with its planned space launch. Mr. Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, said the technology for the launch is the same as that used to launch a ballistic missile.
North Korea has warned it will retaliate against anyone seeking to intercept what it calls a planned satellite launch.
The joint U.S.-South Korean maneuvers involve a U.S. aircraft carrier, 26,000 U.S. troops and more than 30,000 South Korean soldiers. The maneuvers are scheduled to end on March 20.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.