Lavrov, Tillerson discuss need for urgent North Korea negotiations: Moscow

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes his way to his seat before the Strategic Dialogue on Disrupting Transnational Criminal Organizations at the State Department on Dec. 14

Russia, which now talks of mediating the negotiations between the United States and North Korea, supported the sanctions in the UN. You can't strangle North Korea.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on December 26 that Moscow was willing to act as a mediator in the row "if both sides need it and want it".

"The sides were united in the opinion that nuclear missile projects in North Korea violate the demands of the UN Security Council", the Russian foreign ministry said after the two men spoke by telephone.

South Korean daily newspaper Joongang Ilbo reported: 'Through various channels, we've recently learned that the North has completed a new satellite and named it Kwangmyongsong-5.

The Ministry of Defence said it would assign four units to operate under a new official overseeing North Korea policy, aimed to "deter and respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile threat".

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Last week Russian Federation and China voted in favor of a US -proposed measure in the U.N. Security Council to impose additional economic sanctions on North Korea as part of an escalating effort to clamp down on that country's nuclear program. Pyongyang claimed that this missile was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and the entire territory of the U.S. was within its range.

"We do not share the desire of some states to exert maximum pressure on North Korea, which is often interpreted by them as establishing full economic and political blockade of this country by all available means", Lavrov added.

"The importance of an early transition from the language of sanctions to negotiations was emphasized", the statement outlining the conversation said. Those sanctions sought to further limit North Korea's access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers overseas.

The United States stations 28,500 troops in the South, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, and regularly carries out military exercises with Seoul.

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