Jakarta. Russian Ambassador Mikhail Galuzin on Wednesday (23/08) said both North Korea and the United States need to exercise restraint and stop "tension-inducing activities" to improve regional and global stability, as he urged a return to the so-called six-party talks to resolve the Korean Peninsula crisis.
The six-party talks about North Korea's nuclear program were for the first time held in 2003, involving South Korea, North Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.
"We are very critical, to put it mildly, to the policy of the United States and its regional allies, which clearly try to use the missile and nuclear activity of the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] for further military buildup in the region," Galuzin told reporters during a press conference in Jakarta, pointing to the military exercises that the United States has been conducting in South Korea and Japan.
Russia has condemned North Korea's missile tests and calls Pyongyang's possession of nuclear weapons "unacceptable." However, it also insists on "peaceful ways" to settle the issue.
On July 4, Russia and China called on North Korea, South Korea and the United States to sign up to a de-escalation plan to defuse tensions in the region.
According to a joint statement released by foreign ministries of Russia and China, the initiative focuses on "double freezing," where North Korea would suspend its missile and nuclear programs and the United States and South Korea would cease their large-scale joint exercises for "parallel advancement" aiming at denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"Both sides should stop any activity that leads to increasing tension in the Korean Peninsula and the region as a whole, and to freeze such activities, shifting to gradual steps to reduce tensions and finally return to six-party talks on the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula," Galuzin said.
The Russian ambassador also criticized Washington for "double standards and hypocrisy" in foreign policy, giving as an example the US military involvement in Syria and Iraq.
According to Galuzin, the presence of the American army in Syria violates international law, because the "legitimate Syrian government didn't invite American troops to Syria."
He said the United States' justification for invading Iraq – which argued that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction – was "a complete lie," and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had "to apologize to [British] citizens for bringing their country into an irresponsible military venture in Iraq [as America's ally]."
Blair apologized in July 2016, following the release of a report by John Chilcot, according to whom Great Britain joined the United States-led effort on the basis of flawed intelligence regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
"When it is beneficial for America, the United States easily violates international law and does not care at all about possible criticism from public opinion," Galuzin said.
Sanctions Not Enough
The United Nations Security Council on Aug. 5 unanimously adopted new sanctions on North Korea, which are expected to slash a third of its $3 billion annual export revenue.
The resolution bans exports of coal, iron and ore from North Korea, prohibits countries from issuing new work permits for North Korean citizens, creating new joint ventures with the country, or increasing investment in existing ones.
Galuzin said Russia "will strictly follow" the resolution, but noted that sanctions will not be efficient if several critical requirements are not fulfilled.
"We are of the strong opinion that sanctions will not be efficient without political dialogue, without peaceful negotiations between the parties concerned, without demonstrating necessary restraint by all parties concerned," Galuzin said, emphasizing that such efforts must come not only from North Korea.
He also stressed that the United States needs to "take a look at its own behavior" and "play its own peaceful part" to resolve the crisis.
Russia's View on International Affairs
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier this month spoke about Russia's role in international affairs at the "Terra Scientia" educational youth forum in Vladimir Oblast.
According to Lavrov, "a polycentric world order is objectively taking place" and the world is leaving the era of West-dominated international affairs.
"Russia will work to consolidate multipolar trends [...] The contribution that we are trying to make to international affairs is always creative and constructive," Lavrov said.
Galuzin cited Lavrov's address and stressed the importance of shaping international relations to accommodate present-day realities.
"More and more multipolar world is being created now [as we] live in a world in which no country can address growing challenges and threats alone," Galuzin said.