HO CHI MINH CITY, February 25. /TASS/. Washington’s hardline negotiating position with North Korea has not been working, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday, speaking at the conference "International Cooperation in a Troubled World," which was organized by the Valdai Discussion Club in partnership with the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.
"We are certain that the strict, uncompromising position that Washington used at the beginning of these negotiations [with North Korea] did not bring any results, because there was a demand, which was voiced by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo that first anything related to North Korea’s nuclear problem be totally destroyed, and only then after the so-called denuclearization of chiefly North Korea would any easing of the sanctions be looked at," he said. "It won't work. I think that the Americans themselves know by now that such ultimatums [will not work out] in any way."
"What is meant by making people disarm? [Former Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein was disarmed through confidence tricks, and Muammar Gaddafi was disarmed," Lavrov resumed. "So, all these examples are in full view. Only a gradual approach, which includes positive actions in response to North Korea’s positive actions, may work."
There is the impression based on contacts with the US that it understands it, the minister said. "Still, representatives for the US administration continue to state publicly that only the total denuclearization of North Korea will make it possible to embark on any positive moves," he added.
"By the way, the term ‘denuclearization’ is rather broad and stipulates the denuclearization of the whole Korean Peninsula, which corresponds to the obligations on the part of the US and South Korea," the Russian foreign minister noted.
"The process itself and the fact that the US - North Korea summit will be held for the second time already are positive, as are the meetings between the leaders of North and South Korea, which are becoming regular."
"We would like the understandings that are being reached at the meetings between the North and the South to receive more attention and respect, and we would like these understandings to be taken into account in the endeavors that everyone wants to be completed between the US and North Korea," the minister said.