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North Korea 'seizes initiative' in Korean Peninsula issue, Russian senator says

According to the Russian senator, the "ball is now in Washington’s court"

MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/. Recent progress in relations between the two Korean states goes to Pyongyang’s credit, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Tuesday. According to him, Washington’s next steps will show if it wants North Korea to play the role of a threat or is ready for talks.

Earlier on Tuesday, South Korea’s National Security Office Director and Special Presidential Envoy Chung Eui-yong, who led the country’s delegation that visited North Korea on March 5-6, said at a briefing in Seoul that Pyongyang had confirmed its commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "The North side clearly affirmed its commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and said it would have no reason to possess nuclear weapons should the safety of its regime be guaranteed and military threats against North Korea removed," he said as cited by the Yonhap news agency. At a meeting with the delegation members, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed readiness to include the denuclearization issues in the agenda of possible talks between Pyongyang and the US. At the same time, in Chung Eui-yong’s words, North Korea was ready to freeze its nuclear and missile programs for the duration of talks with the US.

"First, North Korea has seized the initiative as far as the Korean Peninsula situation goes. Second, it has proved its willingness to resolve issues with South Korea, which was concerned about missile and nuclear threats more than others," Kosachev wrote on Facebook.

According to the Russian senator, the ball is now in Washington’s court. "The reason is that neither South Korea nor even the United Nations Security Council is capable of providing security guarantees to North Korea. Only the United States can do that for it is Washington that constitutes the main threat to North Korea and makes no secret of it, imposing sanctions and even threatening to use military force," Kosachev added.

"Recent progress in the inter-Korean relations definitely goes to Pyongyang’s credit," he stressed.

US expected to make next move

Kosachev pointed out that Washington may take the recent developments and agreements between North and South Korea "as some kind of bluff pointing to Pyongyang’s plans to use the White House’s bellicose rhetoric as a pretext for continuing efforts to build up its military capabilities." "It means that now there will be a chance to understand whether Washington wants North Korea to play the role of a threat (just like Iran, Russia and Syria) or is ready to catch the opportunity to prove its flexibility, ability to make agreements and responsibility as a global power. Something tells me that they [the Americans] need an enemy more," the Russian senator concluded.