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Kremlin: Stay calm, but new North Korea missile test a provocative act

North Korea said it successfully tested a powerful new ICBM on Wednesday that put the entire US mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

A South Korean soldier walks past a television news screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un approving the country's new ICBM test, at a railway station in Seoul on 29 November 2017. Picture: AFP.

MOSCOW - The latest test of a new North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a provocative act, Russia said on Wednesday, calling on all sides involved to stay calm to avoid a clash.

North Korea said it successfully tested a powerful new ICBM on Wednesday that put the entire US mainland within range of its nuclear weapons. The latest test was the highest and longest any North Korean missile had flown, landing in the sea near Japan.

“Certainly, this new missile launch is a provocative act, which provokes further growth in tension and which moves us further away from the point where a settlement of the crisis can begin,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

North Korea’s first missile test since mid-September came a week after US President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a US list of countries it says support terrorism, allowing it to impose more sanctions.

Washington has said repeatedly that all options, including military ones, are on the table in dealing with North Korea while stressing its desire for a peaceful solution.

“Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

While condemning the latest test, the Kremlin’s Peskov said: “We hope that all the sides involved are able to preserve calm, which is so necessary to avoid the situation on the Korean peninsula sliding towards a worst-case scenario.”

Russia and China have proposed a roadmap for defusing the crisis in the region.

On Wednesday, Russia’s foreign ministry repeated its offer to use the plan, calling on North Korea to stop its missile and nuclear tests, while urging the United States and South Korea to abstain from their “unprecedentedly large-scale, unscheduled military air exercises announced to be held in early December”.

Asked if the Kremlin believed that the proposed roadmap was being considered by the North Korean leadership, Peskov said: “Let’s put it this way: there are no grounds for substantial optimism.”

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