MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. Moscow and Beijing have agreed to continue closely coordinating efforts to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui on Wednesday.
According to the ministry, the two diplomats discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula. "An agreement was reached to continue closely coordinating Russian and Chinese efforts aimed at finding a political and diplomatic solution to the issue," the statement said.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated in November 2017, when North Korea conducted a missile launch, the first since September 15. After the launch, Pyongyang announced that the Hwasong-15 missile was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, while the entire US territory was within its range.
In December, South Korea and the United States carried out joint drills dubbed the Vigilant Ace 18. North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement strongly condemning the drills and noting that Washington’s campaign to demonize Pyongyang was leading to a war, while North Korea only "pursues a legitimate and fair aim by strengthening its means of nuclear deterrence."
On January 9, the first round of dialogue aimed at improving relations between South and North Korea took place in the Panmunjom settlement located in the demilitarized zone separating the two countries. According to the South Korean Ministry of Unification, ways to outline practical steps to normalize bilateral relations topped the agenda of the talks, the first since December 2015.
The parties discussed the restoration of the Panmunjom direct telephone line and a hotline between the militaries. They also agreed that North Korea will send a high-ranking delegation, a taekwondo demonstration team and a cheering squad to the Winter Olympic Games scheduled to be held in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25.