The US has been consciously provoking North Korea to take action, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after latest Pyongyang ballistic missile test. Washington should explain its intentions towards North Korea, he added.

Commenting on the latest developments on Thursday, Lavrov said it seems that the US wants North Korea to resume the tests. “The latest US action seemed to be directed towards provoking Pyongyang into taking some rash action.”

The US policy of ramping up sanctions on North Korea to force them to roll back the missile and nuclear programs was not working, Lavrov added. The potential for the pressure “has essentially exhausted itself” he said, adding that Washington should stop ignoring the calls from other countries, including Russia, which ask it to open direct negotiations with Pyongyang.

On Wednesday, North Korea tested the Hwasong-15 missile, which splashed off the Japan coast. Pyongyang claims it was an upgraded projectile capable of delivering a nuclear payload to any part of the United States. The test followed a two-month pause in test launches, which gave some hope that Pyongyang and Washington may find a way to talk their differences over instead of resorting to belligerent rhetoric, which has been their main mode of operation this year.

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