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Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, August 25, 2016 The situation on the Korean Peninsula

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We regretfully note that the prospects for normalising the situation on the Korean Peninsula are meagre. However, it is unlikely that only one side is to blame for that. We believe that the reasons for this state of affairs actually lie in the lack of confidence and in the opponents’ tendency to use force as arguments. Demonstrations of military might instead of trying to find the key to the solution of the existing problems through peaceful negotiations hardly add stability to the situation. Our assessment is nothing new, and you know it.

In our view, the US and South Korea’s decision to deploy the American THAAD missile defence system in the south of Korea serves as an additional complicating factor. We believe that the use of these systems in South Korea clearly goes beyond the deterrence of the so-called North Korean threat. We have no doubt about the fact that the US, with the support of its allies, continues to build up the capacity of its global missile defence system’s Asia-Pacific segment, which will inevitably lead to undermining the existing strategic balance and will further complicate the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the region as a whole.

As you know, Russia has repeatedly called on all the parties involved in the inter-Korean conflict to show military restraint in the first place. On the one hand, this means cancelling nuclear tests and ballistic missiles launches, and on the other, halting the excess supply of arms and military equipment to the peninsula and scaling down military exercises conducted on the peninsula.

In this regard, we are seriously concerned over the major US-South Korean military exercises started a few days ago, which immediately caused an extremely negative reaction from North Korea. We fear that, given the worsening of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, such military exercises can act as a spark that could ignite the situation in the region.

What is happening confirms the validity of our approach, according to which the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula should be carried out amid an overall military and political detente in Northeast Asia, the reduction of military confrontation and the building of the foundations for mutual trust between the countries in the region.

Russia is always ready for close cooperation with all interested countries for the sake of peace and stability in Northeast Asia, a comprehensive settlement of the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear problem on the basis of equal and non-discriminatory negotiations involving all parties.

Our position of principle on North Korea’s missile launches is well known. It is based on the need to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions.

I would like to emphasise that, given the difficult situation on the Korean Peninsula now, all parties concerned should exercise restraint and avoid actions that could lead to heightened tensions.

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