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Russia ready for dialogue with North Korea — Foreign Ministry

Moscow is interested in developing political dialogue and boosting trade and economic cooperation with Pyongyang

MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. Moscow is ready for dialogue with all parties concerned to normalize the situation on the Korean Peninsula, a high-ranking Russian foreign ministry official said on Tuesday.

"We are always ready for the most close dialogue with North Korea and all other parties concerned in the interests of creating conditions for practical steps towards this goal (normalization of the situation)," Andrei Kulik, director of the ministry’s first Asia department, said at a reception at the North Korean embassy in Moscow.

"Russia has always been speaking in favor of comprehensive settlement of the Korean Peninsula’s problems, including the nuclear problem, by diplomatic means and with due account of legal interests of the sides. We see the ultimate goal of this process in the normalization of the situation in Northeastern Asia, in turning this region into a zone of peace, stability and prosperity," he said.

"A major condition for fruitful cooperation between Russia and North Korea is stability of the military political situation on the Korean Peninsula," Kulik stressed. "In this context, we hail the North Korean leadership’s steps towards establishing inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation, including sending North Korean athletes and an official delegation to the Olympic Winter Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang, and the reception by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un of a South Korean president’s envoy in Pyongyang."

Chung Eui-yong, director of the National Security Office for the South Korean President, and director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service Suh Hoon visited Pyongyang on March 5-6. They had four-hour talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The visit yielded an agreement on a meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas in late April. Following the visit, Pyongyang announced its readiness to launch direct talks on normalizing relations with the United States to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He also vowed to halt missile and nuclear tests during the dialogue.

Speaking to journalists in Washington on March 8, South Korea’s national security advisor said US President Donald Trump was ready to hold a meeting with the North Korean leader by May 2018. However White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on the following day that Trump’s meeting with Kim would take place only after Pyongyang took concrete steps to roll back its nuclear program.

On March 13, Chung Eui-yong visited Moscow, where he had talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He said that his country highly appreciated Russia’s role in settling the situation on the Korean Peninsula. "We would like to ask Russia to support all the processes that would be a turning point in the history of the Korean Peninsula, including planned meetings between the leaders of the two Koreas and between the United States and North Korea," he said at the meeting with Lavrov.

After the talks, the South Korean national security advisor told journalists his country had enrolled Russia’s and China’s support to the upcoming talks between the two Koreas and possible dialogue between North Korea and the United States.