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Kremlin praises Tillerson’s statement about talks with North Korea

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier said that the US was ready to start talks with Pyongyang without preconditions
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson AP Photo/Jon Gambrell
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
© AP Photo/Jon Gambrell

MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. The Kremlin considers US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement about readiness to talk with North Korea without preconditions to be constructive and better than Washington’s previous confrontational rhetoric, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

When commenting on Tillerson’s statement in which he said that the US was ready to start talks with Pyongyang without preconditions, Peskov said that "on the whole, we can say that such constructive statements are better than confrontational rhetoric we have been hearing so far." "We can only welcome that, as it is in line with our proposals, as President Putin has said many times that confrontational rhetoric and steps which can further raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula are totally counterproductive," the Kremlin spokesman added.

Peskov pointed out that "it was Putin who has been constantly calling on all the interested parties to make every possible effort to build dialogue." "So such statements [made by Tillerson] are definitely welcome," he added.

At the same time, the presidential spokesman declined to comment on a visit to North Korea by the Russian Defense Ministry’s delegation and answer the question as to whether the visit meant that Moscow was seeking to step up its mediation efforts aimed at resolving the crisis. "This question should be forwarded to the Defense Ministry, since it is its delegation," Peskov said.

When asked if Washington was taking from Moscow the initiative to hold direct talks on the North Korea issue, the Kremlin spokesman said that "the major common goal is to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, so in this case no one can seize anything from anyone, as it is most important to achieve that goal."

Korean Peninsula situation

The situation on the Korean Peninsula remains tense as Pyongyang continues to develop its nuclear and missile programs, while Seoul and Washington hold joint military drills.

On November 29, 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 early December, South Korea and the US 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.".