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Russian diplomat says US missile defense in South Korea won't help solve nuclear problem

February 02, 8:43 UTC+3 SEOUL
According to Russian Ambassador to Seoul Alexander Timonin, the approaches of Russia and China to the nuclear problem issue of North Korea are almost identical
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South Korean army soldiers walk to get a ride on a military truck at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, near the border with North Korea

South Korean army soldiers walk to get a ride on a military truck at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, near the border with North Korea

© AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Infographics US missile defense system and NATO European Missile Defense System US missile defense system and NATO European Missile Defense System

The US has announced plans to reject the deployment of the fourth stage of the missile defense system in Europe and to refocus towards protection against potential North Korea missile attacks. Infographics by TASS

SEOUL, February 2. /TASS/. Deploying the US anti-ballistic missile system THAAD in South Korea will not help solve the North’s nuclear problem, Russian Ambassador to Seoul Alexander Timonin told a press conference on Tuesday.

"We note more active contacts between South Korean and US defense ministries on this issues," Timonin said. "Russia thinks that deployment of such systems in the Republic of Korea hardly facilitates strengthening peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and brings the resolution of the nuclear problem," he added.

"That is why the Russian leadership calls on all interested parties to demonstrate restraint and especially refrain from any steps in the military sphere that may destabilize the situation on the Korean Peninsula," the ambassador noted.

The issue of deploying US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) has been brought back to the agenda in South Korea after Pyongyang said it carried out a hydrogen bomb test on January 6.

Russia's and China’s approaches to North Korean nuclear problem almost identical 

According to the diplomat, the approaches of Russia and China to the nuclear problem issue of North Korea are almost identical.

Russia and China have almost identical views on the ways to solve the North Korean nuclear problem. As we have no disagreements, the approaches to the settlement (of the problem) will be very close," the ambassador said.

"Every country has its own national interests. It would not be quire correct to say that Russia follows China, but as for the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, our approaches coincide," Timonin said.

Economic blockade of North Korea won’t settle its nuclear issue

The diplomat also stressed that economic blockade of North Korea  would not settle its nuclear issue.

"As for effectiveness of economic sanctions, we think, they did not have a proper effect in any country they were introduced against. That is why there are huge doubts that the further use of isolation measures, the economic blockade of North Korea will lead to desirable results."

Timonin also said that Russian economic cooperation with North Korea "develops and will develop in the fields which are not related to the creation of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear missile weapons."

On January 6, the authorities of North Korea announced a successful test of a hydrogen bomb. Before that the country carried out three nuclear tests, in 2006, 2009 and 2013. In this regard, the UN Security Council, as well as the US, Japan and South Korea introduced a variety of sanctions against Pyongyang. Currently, introduction of additional tougher sanctions against North Korea is being discussed.

At the current stage Russia doubts North Korea’s claims about a hydrogen bomb test

"The North Korean leadership announced a hydrogen bomb test but so far Russia cannot agree with this version," he said. According to him, it is necessary to determine the nature of the blast before taking counter measures.

"For Russia it is important to find out what kind of an explosion it was and after that to continue discussion about counter sanctions in the UN Security Council," Timonin said.

He added that such a discussion is now underway in the UN Security Council on the level of exports.

"No country has evidence that North Korea had tested a hydrogen bomb, which should have a number of specific characteristics. There are important differences between nuclear and thermonuclear explosion," he said.

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