US, N. Korea tension can hit 'unpredictable nosedive'

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WASHINGTON Spiking nuclear tensions between the United States and North Korea showed little sign of abating on Sunday as Russia warned of a "very unpredictable nosedive" if Washington does not ease up on its fiery war of words with Pyongyang.

US bombers and fighter escorts flew off the coast of North Korea on Saturday and US President Donald Trump took to Twitter with verbal threats as the brinkmanship with Pyongyang intensified.

"Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer," Mr Trump wrote.

The bellicose rhetoric comes as international alarm mounts over Pyongyang's weapons ambitions - including a suggestion last week that the country is considering detonating an 
H-bomb over the Pacific.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cautioned that a softer touch is needed to defuse the crisis.

Only "caresses, suggestion and persuasion" will work, Mr Lavrov told Russia's NTV television in an interview.

If the US does not ease up, he said, "we could drop into a very unpredictable nosedive and tens if not hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens of South Korea but also N. Korea, of course, and Japan will suffer - and Russia and China are nearby."

Despite the heated exchanges, Mr Lavrov said the US will not take military action against the North because "they know for sure that it has nuclear bombs".

"I'm not defending N. Korea. I'm just saying that almost everyone agrees with such an analysis," he said. - AFP

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