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Kim Jong-un expects Russia to help ease sanctions on North Korea — speaker

Russian Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko held a bilateral meeting with the North Korean leader
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un  AP Photo/Wong Maye-E
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
© AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

MOSCOW, September 10. /TASS/. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expects that Russia will help ease sanctions on Pyongyang given the steps the country has been taking on the way to denuclearization, Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko told reporters following her official visit to North Korea.

"He very much expects Russia to make efforts to ease sanctions on [North] Korea given the steps they have been taking in accordance with the obligations they took at the Singapore talks," she said, referring to a meeting between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, which took place in Singapore in June.

While talking about those steps, the Russian senate speaker mentioned Pyongyang’s decision to suspend missile tests and destroy a nuclear test site. "Those are very serious steps aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Matviyenko stressed. She was confident that Kim Jong-un was determined "to move forward along the way towards dialogue with South Korea and further unification." "I could see that this is not a mere declaration but a true wish, and he has been doing a lot for that," she added.

According to the Federation Council chairperson, the military parade dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea, which took place on Sunday, involved only defense equipment, while there were no ballistic missiles. "The rhetoric has changed, the bellicose rhetoric is gone," she noted, adding that Pyongyang "is sending a signal to the world that North Korea wants to resolve the issue peacefully."

Kim Jong-un highly values Russia’s support and considers Vladimir Putin’s message addressed to him excellent, she said. 

On Saturday, Matviyenko held a bilateral meeting with the North Korean leader, delivering Kim Jong-un a message from Putin. According to the senate speaker, the North Korean leader "ran over" the text. "[Then] I got to talk to him several more times," she added. "He said that the message was excellent."

He also "said good, kind words, and asked to give his best wishes to Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin]. [He added] that he highly values his work, Russia’s role in supporting North Korea, the intention to enhance cooperation, naturally, within the current framework and in the conditions we are in," Matviyenko added, commenting upon the sanctions regime basing on the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

The speaker also confirmed that Kim Jong-un is planning to make an official visit to Russia in the near future.

North Korea now expects the US to implement the obligations undertaken at the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump that took place this past June regarding the easing of sanctions. 

"As for the US, he very diplomatically and correctly stated that the Singapore summit was successful, but now he expects reciprocal steps as well, because it is impossible for only North Korea to take unilateral steps on the denuclearization," she said, adding that the North Korean leader mentioned Trump at the meeting with her. "He spoke very correctly of him," she noted.

"They are waiting for reciprocal, gradual and synchronous steps towards, in particular, the easing of sanctions, as they hoped, but it is not in place yet," the speaker went on. The sides continue contacts, she said. Pyongyang expects not just "unilateral demands," but a reaction as well.

"He (Kim Jong-un) is doing it with such dignity. He is not ready for any terms. He is ready for mutually respectful negotiations and mutually respectful movement toward each other, and, as far as I understand, no unilateral steps without a reciprocal reaction are planned," Matviyenko concluded.