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North Korea 'dual freeze' plan working, Russia’s UN envoy says

Under this plan, Pyongyang should suspend missile launches, while Washington and Seoul will not conduct military exercises

MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. The "freeze-for-freeze" approach in resolving North Korea’s nuclear issue is working, Russia urges the United States and North Korea to take advantage of this and enter into a dialogue, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya told the Rossiya 24 television on Friday.

In their joint statement on July 4, Russia and China put forward a program on resolving the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the "dual freeze" plan. Under this plan, Pyongyang should suspend missile launches, while Washington and Seoul will not conduct military exercises.

"The ‘dual freeze’ is actually working, although this is not recognized by those countries that rejected it right from the start when we proposed it," Nebenzya said. "There are no tests now, and joint US-South Korean exercises are not conducted either. We call on all parties to use the window of opportunity that appeared, at least until April, when the Americans threaten to resume the exercises, which can lead to another round of exacerbations, and enter into a real dialogue on the issue. We urge both the Americans and North Koreans [to do so]," he said.

According to the diplomat, this should be a dialogue without preconditions. "The sooner it starts the better," he added.

Iran nuclear deal

The possible termination of the of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program will also affect the situation around the Korean Peninsula, according to Nebenzya.

"If attempts are made (to amend or improve the nuclear deal), the deal may collapse with all the obvious negative consequences. In particular, its possible termination, withdrawal from it will have an obvious effect on the situation around the Korean Peninsula," Nebenzya said.

On July 14, 2015, Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent UN Security Council members - Russia, the UK, China, the US and France - plus Germany) reached an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program. The plan envisages lifting the sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN and the European Union over its nuclear activities in return for Tehran’s pledge to scale back its nuclear program and place it under international control. On January 16, 2016, it was announced that the implementation of the deal had begun. Incumbent US President Donald Trump has criticized the deal on numerous occasions, arguing that it gives unilateral advantages to Tehran.

On October 13, 2017, Trump unveiled a tougher US strategy for Iran. It states that the US will seek to counter Iran’s destabilizing influence and will call on the global community to get consolidated to exert pressure on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Iran's most powerful security and military organization). Apart from that, the US leader refused to recertify the Iran nuclear deal and pledged Washington would seek to amend the JCPOA.