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Diplomat slams new US sanctions against North Korea as illegitimate

Moscow proceeds from the fact that the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, in particular, on North Korea, are legitimate

MOSCOW, March 7. /TASS/. Washington’s new sanctions imposed on Pyongyang are illegitimate, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

"We proceed from the fact that the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, in particular, on North Korea, are legitimate," the diplomat said.

"Other sanctions, which again, despite the fact that they are tied to and are motivated by the situation on the Korean peninsula and are adopted in addition but in circumvention of the UN Security Council, are not legitimate from our viewpoint," Zakharova said.

"All the efforts that are being taken to calm the situation should be welcomed," the diplomat stressed. "It is necessary to be extremely accurate in this situation and not to engage in provocations that would throw the situation back," the Russian diplomat said.

The US Department of State announced on Tuesday it would slap new sanctions on North Korea for using the chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong-nam, the North Korean leader’s half-brother, in the Kuala Lumpur airport last year.

Kim Jong-nam, the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, died on February 13, 2017, on the way to hospital from the Kuala Lumpur airport. Before his death, he applied to the airport’s ground service for help, complaining about strong dizziness and saying that an unknown person had sprayed some liquid in his face and escaped.

The Malaysian police announced on February 24, 2017, that the autopsy results suggested Kim Jong-nam had died of his exposure to VX nerve agent.

The Korean issue

Moscow welcomes the positive trends in the inter-Korean dialogue and expects the agreements reached by Pyongyang and Seoul to be implemented, Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

"We welcome the development of positive trends in the inter-Korean dialogue in light of the visit by the South Korean president’s special envoy to Pyongyang, which took place on March 5-6," the diplomat said. "We hope that the agreements reached by North and South (Korea) will begin to be implemented in practical steps aimed at further reducing tensions around the Korean Peninsula and, specifically, will contribute to the beginning of the direct US-Korean dialogue."

"We call on all the parties involved to support this process," Zakharova stressed. "The end result of joint efforts along these lines should be a comprehensive settlement of the situation in this subregion and the creation of a lasting peace and security mechanism in Northeast Asia."

On March 5-6, a South Korean delegation led by National Security Director Chung Eui-yong visited Pyongyang to ensure rapprochement between the two countries and promote dialogue between North Korea and the United States. The South Korean officials had a four-hour meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

It was announced at a press briefing at the residence of the South Korean president that the parties had reached an agreement on a meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas in April. According to the head of the South Korean delegation that visited Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un expressed willingness to begin direct talks on ironing out relations with the United States, during which he is ready to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He also promised to freeze nuclear missile tests during the dialogue, the South Korean official said.