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SEOUL, July 20 (Itar-Tass) - North Korea’s nuclear problem and the outlook for a resumption of six-party talks over the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula were high on the agenda of the just-ended consultations between the Russian and South Korean foreign ministries, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy Grigory Logvinov told Itar-Tass in an interview on Saturday.
“The focus was on the outlook for the resumption of six-party talks. It is hard to say anything for certain at this point, but the general understanding is there has developed a fragile balance. Which way the march of events will go will depend on a variety of factors, including us. I cannot afford to go into details for reasons that are too obvious, but the main thing is Moscow and Seoul confirmed their mutual orientation towards negotiating prospects.”
First and foremost ways were discussed of creating conditions for a resumption of six-party talks.
“This road will be neither short nor easy, because far from everything is clear on the North’s side, in particular, in the wake of the harsh statements and the political decisions that have been made there,” Logvinov said. “But we see no sound alternative to a political and diplomatic settlement on the basis of the goals identified in the joint statement of September 19, 2005 and the NPT and IAEA rules.”
Besides, there was a meaningful discussion of how the two countries see further work to strengthen peace and security in Northeast Asia - a region that in Logvinov’s opinion has dropped out of the world development trends.
Whereas in the Euro-Atlantic space there exist certain institutionalized actors, and in the Asia-Pacific Region there are the ASEAN Regional Forum, APEC and East Asia Summit, in Northeast Asia one can see nothing of the sort except for the six-party mechanism that has been stalled for a fifth year running, and the informal dialogue for cooperation in Northeast Asia, Logvinov said.
“We have exchanged opinion of what opportunities there are for coordination and the points of agreement that might complement each other. It was a very constructive and productive discussion. I believe there is a vast sphere for cooperation between Russia and the Republic of Korea in the region,” the diplomat said.
From Seoul Grigory Logvinov is going to Tokyo, which favors the search for a political and diplomatic settlement, too.
“Everybody understands pretty well - and this idea is particularly close to the Japanese and South Korean counterparts - that any other scenario would be fraught with regional upheavals that we should try to prevent by all means. We shall give thought together to how to restart the negotiating process with realistic goals in mind, of course,” he said.
“As far as the United States is concerned, the latest contacts we have had with that country, mostly by telephone, indicate that the US, too, prefers precisely that type of scenario. Honestly, there is a certain divergence in the understanding of nuances and tactics of moving forward, but that is only natural, if one remembers there are six parties involved,” Logvinov said.