Stability and strategy: Why is China so easy on North Korea?

US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington DC

US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington DC

"If someone really wants to use force to, as the USA representative to the United Nations put it, destroy North Korea ... then I think that is playing with fire and a big mistake", Lavrov said in comments carried by Russian media.

North Korea said the only way it would negotiate with the United States is if Washington agrees to recognize it as a nuclear weapons state, according to Russian delegates who recently visited.

Speaking on a visit to Belarus on November 30, Lavrov also rejected a US call to sever ties with North Korea following its latest ballistic-missile test.

Haley made the remarks during a UN Security Council (UNSC) emergency session on Wednesday, following the DPRK's most recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test a day earlier.

"We will do everything to ensure that (the use of force) doesn't happen so that the problem is decided only using peaceful and political-diplomatic means", said Lavrov.

"It's as if the recent actions of the U.S. are consciously directed to provoke Pyongyang towards other radical actions".

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Lavrov also spoke of having "the impression over the last two months that there is someone in Washington who wants to provoke new actions" by North Korea.

Lavrov described Russia's stance on the North Korean issue as "direct, honest and open". The proposal called for North Korea to curb its nuclear and missiles tests in return for the United States giving up on joint military drills with South Korea in the region, but was rejected by Washington.

The Russian politician also said if the United States and South Korea did not "aggravate" the situation, North Korea would not have needed to test-launch the Hwasong-15.

A group of Russian MPs visited Pyongyang earlier this week in order to facilitate the resolution of the crisis.

The United States earlier this year pressed for a full oil embargo on North Korea but dropped that demand following resistance from China and Russian Federation.

"China's priority is stability in the region, as well as domestic stability, and part of that is an alliance with its neighbor North Korea", Alison Evans, deputy head of Asia-Pacific country risk at IHS Markit, told CNBC on Thursday.

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