MOSCOW, January 9. /TASS/. Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky believes that the efforts by international intermediaries, including Russia, may be needed to advance inter-Korean talks on denuclearization.
"The efforts of international intermediaries are likely to be needed to promote the issues of denuclearization and the nuclear dossier. Considering that this issue directly affects Russia’s interests, chiefly due to the territorial proximity of our borders, Russia may take on this role," Slutsky told reporters on Tuesday, commenting on the first round of high-level talks between North and South Korea.
The committee head added that the Russian MPs welcome "any talks between Seoul and Pyongyang." "We welcome any element of such talks, and no other attitude is possible here," he added. At the same time, Slutsky noted, "it is too early to talk about any results yet."
Slutsky reiterated that Russia has constructive relations with both North and South Korea. "We’ve always strongly supported addressing all issues on a settlement for the Korean Peninsula at the negotiating table. In contrast, any escalation of tensions could lead to unexpected consequences for the global community. As for the US, that believes itself to be the center of the world, in my opinion, it should now call off its anti-Pyongyang rhetoric, stop provoking North Korea and wait for the first results of the inter-Korean talks," he noted.
The first round of the dialogue to normalize relations between Seoul and Pyongyang kicked off early on Tuesday. The inter-Korean negotiations, which are the first since December 2015, will focus on practical moves to repair relations between North and South Korea, including the possible performance of North Korea’s athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.