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Lavrov urges U.S. to cool down first

AFP-Jiji MOSCOW (AFP-Jiji) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday cautioned that the risks of an escalation of tensions between the United States and North Korea were “very high” following the recent war of words between Washington and Pyongyang.

“I believe the risks are very high, especially considering this rhetoric, when direct threats of using force are voiced,” Lavrov said at a youth forum in the Vladimir region east of Moscow.

Lavrov did not refer to U.S. President Donald Trump’s most recent remark that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” in the event of a misstep by North Korea, but said Moscow was “very alarmed” at Washington’s rhetoric of preemptive military action.

He added that the United States, as a more powerful state than North Korea, should take the first step to cool tensions. “When a fight has nearly broken out, the first step away from the dangerous threshold should be taken by the side that is stronger and smarter,” Lavrov said.

Merkel rejects military solution

BERLIN (AFP-Jiji) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that she opposed any use of force to resolve the conflict with North Korea.

“I don’t envision a military solution to this conflict but rather consistent work as we’ve observed at the United Nations Security Council,” Merkel told reporters.

“Germany will very intensively take part in the options for resolution that are not military but I consider a verbal escalation to be the wrong response,” she said when asked about Trump’s latest tweets on North Korea.

Merkel called for “very close cooperation” to defuse tensions in the region “particularly by the United States and China but also South Korea and Japan.”Speech

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