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Russia chides Tillerson over U.S. rhetoric on North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attend a bilateral meeting during a ministerial council of OSCE Foreign Ministers in Vienna, Austria, December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ronald Zak/Pool

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that U.S. military exercises and aggressive rhetoric were causing an unacceptable escalation in tension on the Korean peninsula, the Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Lavrov met Tillerson on the sidelines of a conference in Vienna where they discussed the standoff over North Korea’s weapons programme.

“Lavrov once again underlined that the escalation of tension, which is resulting from U.S. military manoeuvres in the region of the Korean peninsula, and from aggressive rhetoric, is unacceptable,” the ministry said in a statement describing the meeting with Tillerson.

The Russian foreign minister, in his conversation with Tillerson, “called for a renewal of responsible work to resolve the nuclear problem on the Korea peninsula exclusively by diplomatic means,” the statement said.

Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by Richard Balmforth