S.Korea drill risks Korean peninsula escalation: Russia

20th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

South Korea's decision to hold a live-fire drill on a border island risks escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, a Russian foreign ministry source told the Interfax news agency on Monday.

"The peninsula has been on the verge of armed conflict and therefore all sides should show maximum restraint and not permit actions that could spark a further escalation of tensions," the official said.

"We do not consider that holding a drill meets this objective, especially with the use of live fire," the official added.

South Korea on Monday staged a live-fire military exercise on the border island of Yeonpyeong in a reaction after North Korea shelled the island on November 23, leaving four people dead including two civilians.

Russia and Chinese foreign ministers on Sunday called for both sides to show restraint and not commit actions that could provoke armed conflict.

The official expressed regret at the failure of the United Nations Security Council to agree a statement on the situation on the Korean peninsula during talks on Sunday.

"Of course, this is regrettable," the official told Interfax, saying that Russia wanted the UN to send a signal to all the sides "to make an effort to defuse tensions."

At Security Council talks, China rejected a number of draft statements condemning the loss of lives during the shelling on November 23, including one proposed by Russia that did not mention North Korea by name, diplomats said.

© 2010 AFP

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