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N.Korea shows interest in Russia’s diplomatic initiative — Russian senior diplomat

December 06, 1:21 UTC+3

Moscow and Beijing earlier came out with a roadmap for settling the situation around North Korea’s nuclear missile program

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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS photohost agency

BERLIN, December 5. /TASS/. Pyongyang has demonstrated interest to Russia’s initiative on the settlement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said on Tuesday.

Moscow and Beijing earlier came out with a roadmap for settling the situation around North Korea’s nuclear missile program. On November 27, Morgulov disclosed details of the plan which provides for the suspension of North Korea’s nuclear missile program in exchange of curtailing South Korea’s and the United States’ military drills, with a subsequent dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington and further full-scale talks involving all parties concerned.

"We discussed this initiative with them (North Korea) and they showed interest in it," the Russian diplomat said.

"We think that North Korea needs no guarantees either Russia or China," he said. "What Pyongyang needs is direct talks with Washington."

The Russian diplomat said he did not think that pressure only could "produce an effect we all want." "Russia has supported the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions (on North Korea) more than once but we think that sanctions are not working any longer," he stressed.

Morgulov said the United States’ and South Korea’s joint military drill only complicate the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in no way can be seen as an invitation to dialogue.

"Washington’s and Seoul’s unprecedented big joint military drills, involving more than 230 units of hardware, kicked off on Monday," he said. "It only complicates the situation in the region and in no way can be seen as an invitation to North Korea to begin dialogue."

On December 4, the United States and South Korea launched the biggest-ever joint military exercise involving 230 warplanes. According to the South Korean defense ministry, the allies will drill various scenarios, including pinpoint strikes on practice targets mocking facilities linked with North Korea’s nuclear program and mockups of mobile missile systems. North Korea’s foreign ministry condemned these drills calling them "dangerous games" that may provoke a nuclear war.

The Russian senior diplomat called on the participants in the six-lateral talks on North Korea to elaborate a common position before the resumption of the talks.

"It is necessary to elaborate a common position to ensure our (the participants in the six-lateral talks) successful conversation with Pyongyang," he said. "It would much more efficient as we must speak in unison."

The six-lateral talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula involving North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the United States were suspended in 2008 at Pyongyang’s initiative. Following deterioration of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, a number of countries, including Russia and South Korea, spoke for the resumption talks in this format. In July 2017, Moscow and Beijing came out with an initiative of double freeze of major irritants, namely North Korea’s nuclear activities and the United States and South Korea’s joint military drills.

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