UNITED NATIONS -- Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov called for a cooling of "hotheads" on the North Korean nuclear issue Friday and urged those involved to instead seek a peaceful solution, possibly through the mediation of "neutral European countries" or the U.N. secretary-general.
"It is unacceptable to simply sit back and to look at the nuclear and military gambles of North Korea, but it is also unacceptable to start the war on the peninsula," Lavrov told reporters at a news conference on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
"Together with our colleagues, we will continue to strive for the reasonable, and not the emotional approach -- instead of the kindergarten fight between children," he said, also suggesting that there are many potential mediators "who would like to try not to pursue the way of military, of sanctions, but rather peaceful."
Lavrov asserted that U.N. Security Council resolutions reached unanimously contain not only sanctions provisions, but obligations to engage in a political process. Russia's Western colleagues on the council are failing to fulfill those obligations when they refuse to work along those lines, he said.
Instead, Lavrov suggested that countries reconsider a joint Russian-Chinese proposal, which would require North Korea to freeze its nuclear and missile testing activities and for the U.S. and South Korea to halt joint military exercises, in what is known as the "dual suspension" plan.
Though both Washington and Pyongyang have rejected the proposal, he said, "we believe that the potential is not yet exhausted."
"We do not see any reasonable arguments against our proposals, Lavrov said, adding that he did not see why countries like the U.S. "could not work along the lines."
"It's always better to meet and discuss each other's proposals." he said. "This is so much better than isolating someone, intimidating and threatening someone."