Russia fears 'out of control' North Korea situation

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia warned on Friday that a flare-up in tensions between North Korea and the United States could spin out of control, urging all sides involved in the standoff to refrain from muscle-flexing.

"Unilateral actions are being taken around North Korea which manifest themselves in an escalation of military activity," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"We can simply see the situation getting out of control, it would spiral down into a vicious circle," he told reporters at a news conference alongside his Ukrainian counterpart.

"We believe it is necessary for all not to build up military muscle and not to use the current situation as an excuse to solve certain geopolitical tasks in the region through military means," he said, calling on all sides to create conditions for the resumption of talks.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier on Friday ordered missile units to prepare to strike the US mainland and military bases in the Pacific after US stealth bombers flew over South Korea.

The flights were part of annual drills between the United States and South Korea, which North Korea each year denounces as rehearsals for war.

Pyongyang has been particularly irate this time, angered by UN sanctions imposed after its long-range rocket launch in December and the third nuclear test last month.

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