Tillerson, Lavrov Agree to Continue Diplomacy Over N.Korea: US State Dept

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The top diplomats of the United States and Russian Federation have agreed to work together to peacefully resolve the issue of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the State Department said Wednesday.

North Korea has significantly stepped up its nuclear and missile programs in 2017, launching a newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) called a Hwasong-15 last month.

Meanwhile, during a telephonic conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was "inadmissible" that Washington heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula with "aggressive rhetoric" and military buildup.

The two top diplomats also considered steps to overcome the conflicts in Syria while maintaining its territorial integrity, including the plan to hold an inter-Syrian national dialogue in Russia's Sochi.

Lavrov stressed the need for "the fastest move to the negotiating process from the language of sanctions".

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Peskov's comments came just days after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a new set of US-drafted sanctions on North Korea in response to its November 29 ballistic missile test.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement agreeing to work towards diplomatic efforts to denuclearize North Korea.

Russia's foreign minister says a Moscow-proposed peace congress scheduled for next month is crucial for reaching a settlement in Syria and is not hampering United Nations-led talks.

Mr Tillerson had previously said during a November news conference that North Korea's fuel supply "is already quite constrained" as shown by "anecdotal evidence" and U.S. intelligence sources which show cars lined up at petrol stations or certain stations closing that would normally have fuel.

A day after the United Nations sanctions, North Korea's state media called the stricter controls "an act of war" by a "frenzied" Trump administration.

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