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Russia and China urge “de-escalation” after North Korean missile launch



A still from footage of today’s launch released by North Korean official media

Russia and China today (Tuesday, July 4) called on North Korea, South Korea and the US to sign up to a Chinese de-escalation plan to defuse tensions surrounding Pyongyang’s intercontinental ballistic missile test.

The plan would see North Korea cease developing ballistic missiles and the US and South Korea call a halt on large-scale missile exercises. It was suggested that these moves could pave the way for multilateral talks.

The initiative was set out in a joint statement from the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries issued shortly after President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks at the Kremlin.

“The situation in the region affects the national interests of both countries,” the statement said. “Russia and China will work in close coordination to advance a solution to the complex problem of the Korean Peninsula in every possible way.”

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North Korea said today it had successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which experts believe would be capable of hitting Alaska. The Philippines would also be within range of the new weapon.

Russia and China also used the joint declaration to call on Washington to halt deployment of its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea.

The statement accused Washington of using North Korea as an excuse to expand its military footprint in Asia and risked upsetting the regional balance of power.

“The deployment of THAAD will cause serious harm to the strategic security interests of regional states, including Russia and China,” the statement said.

“Russia and China oppose the deployment of such systems and call on the relevant countries to immediately halt and cancel the process of deployment.”

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Separately, President Xi told President Trump yesterday that re