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December 20, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that tensions between the two Koreas have reached their highest point and expressed regret that the UN Security Council failed to prevent further escalation of the conflict.
South Korean military conducted 90-minite live-firing exercises on Yeonpyeong Island near the disputed border with North Korea earlier on Monday. The drills went ahead despite threats of retaliation from Pyongyang, a month after the North Korean military shelled the island, killing four people.
“The situation [on the Korean Peninsula] is very tense…That is why we requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting…And although to our regret it has not led to a statement, the discussions sent a clear signal: It is necessary to avoid any provocative actions that could destabilize the situation,” Lavrov said.
The key issue that prevented the UN from adopting a coordinated statement was the fact that the United States and China had different views on the issue. The United States refused to adopt any statement without a clear condemnation of the reclusive communist regime, whereas China was against blaming Pyongyang.
Contrary to its earlier warnings, Pyongyang said in a statement on Monday that it would not retaliate on the latest “reckless military provocation” from Seoul because South Korean shells landed this time farther south of the North’s shores.
The North does not recognize the sea border between the two countries, known as the Northern Limit Line, and claims the waters around Yeonpyeong as its territory.
MOSCOW, December 20