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GENEVA, October 3. /TASS/. North Korea is ready to resume six-party talks on its nuclear program but must maintain its readiness in the face of joint US-South Korean military exercises, a senior envoy in Geneva said on Thursday.
So Se Pyong, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told Reuters that his country was not planning a nuclear or missile test. "We are ready for the six-party talks, and as far as I think, China and Russia and the DPRK are ready," So said in the rare interview in the DPRK's mission.
In connection with the US-South Korean maneuvres, the diplomat said, "We also have to be alert, we have to be prepared to make counter measures against military exercises directed against us." North Korea's nuclear weapons program protected it from the United States, So said. "In case we gave up (the weapons) like other countries, then of course I think they would have attacked us already," he said.
On October 1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks in Moscow with his North Korean counterpart Ri Su-yong. “We discussed the unsettled nuclear problem that has a negative effect on bilateral relations and regional stability,” Lavrov said. “Our positions do not coincide on everything yet. But there is mutual understanding that all parties, including the DPRK and the other participants in the talks, which are frozen for the present, must refrain from tough steps and escalation of confrontational tendencies in the region.”
The six-party talks (Russia, the United States, China, North Korea, South Korea and Japan) on the North Korean nuclear program were suspended by Pyongyang in 2009. Later, North Korea repeatedly stated it was ready to resume negotiations, but the United States, Japan and South Korea said they saw no reasons to restart the talks.