Moscow to discuss nuclear talks with North Korea: Report

AFP , Saturday 29 Jun 2013

Moscow to meet with Pyongyang to discuss ending the latter's nuke program after testing it in February

Russia will meet a delegation from North Korea next week to discuss a possible resumption of talks about ending Pyongyang's nuclear programme, the foreign ministry said according to a Russian news agency.

A top North Korean envoy, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan, will travel to Moscow on Thursday for "consultations on the entire set of issues surrounding the North Korean nuclear program," the foreign ministry was quoted as stating by the RIA Novosti news agency.

He will meet Russia's First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov and Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov to discuss "resumption of six-nation talks" on North Korea's nuclear arsenal, RIA Novosti said.

The isolated Asian state recently warned that hostility by the United States could lead to war at any moment, and vowed not to give up its nuclear power in the face of mounting UN and international sanctions following recent tests.

At the same time, North Korean diplomats have said they want talks with the United States, and Kim Kye-Gwan last week discussed restarting the six-party talks with China, when he met foreign minister Wang Yi in Beijing.

Tensions over the nuclear programme soared in February after Pyongyang carried out its third underground atomic test blast since 2006, angering the international community and triggering tightened UN sanctions supported by China.

The nuclear disarmament forum includes the two Koreas, China, the United States, Russia and Japan. There were several rounds of talks between 2003 and 2007, but negotiations have been frozen since 2009, when North Korea pulled out in reaction to UN sanctions.

After testing its bomb again in February, the North has shut down ties with South Korea.

Russia is one of the few countries maintaining diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, with the late leader Kim Jong-Il last making a train trip to Siberia in 2011 shortly before his death, calling for a resumption of the talks "without preconditions".

Moscow has repeatedly said that the situation in North Korea could spiral out of control, and Morgulov recently called it "explosive" and ripe for becoming uncontrollable with an "elementary human error".

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