Stability and strategy: Why is China so easy on North Korea?

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption North Korea says the latest missile is capable of reaching Washington DC

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption North Korea says the latest missile is capable of reaching Washington DC

Russian Federation today rejected a USA call to cut ties with Pyongyang, suggesting Washington has been doing everything to prompt North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to "lose it".

Washington called on nations to cut relations with Pyongyang and warned that North Korea's leadership will be "utterly destroyed" if war breaks out.

"If they want to find a pretext for destroying North Korea...then let them say it outright", said Lavrov, who also reiterated Moscow's view that "the pressure of sanctions has been exhausted".

Tensions have been on the rise on the Korean Peninsula in recent months as Pyongyang keeps pursuing its nuclear program and missile testing despite global sanctions and condemnation, while the U.S. and its allies intensify drills near the North Korean borders.

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Moscow condemned the North Korean test as "a provocation", but Lavrov accused the United States of trying to provoke North Korean leader Kim Jong Un into "flying off the handle" and taking "new extreme action".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said United States comments about North Korea amounted to a "really bloodthirsty tirade".

The Russian politician also said if the United States and South Korea did not "aggravate" the situation, North Korea would not have needed to test-launch the Hwasong-15.

"There's a feeling that [the United States was] intentionally provoking [North Korea's] Kim Jong-un to break that pause, to fall for their provocation", he said.

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"If war comes, make no mistake: the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed", US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley added. Earlier this week, Haley said that the U.S. is prepared to "utterly" destroy North Korea's regime if a war erupts.

Implementing sanctions, then, has been a way for China to "punish" North Korea and yet it has suggested it was prepared to defend the country if the USA attacked it, according to an editorial in Chinese state run newspaper The Global Times.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has emerged as one of the most strident voices against punishing Pyongyang, insisting that further sanctions and threats are "useless" against a regime that feels cornered.

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