Friday, April 24, 2009

Nuke talks useless, NKorea tells Russia: report

April 24

North Korea has told Russia's visiting foreign minister that it has no further use for international nuclear disarmament talks, according to the communist state's official media.

Sergei Lavrov is trying to persuade Pyongyang to return to the six-nation negotiations, but reported tough going after talks with his counterpart Pak Ui-Chun Thursday.

Pyongyang's foreign ministry, in a statement on the Korean Central News Agency, said Lavrov's team had "paid attention to the DPRK's (North Korea's) position that it no longer needs six-party talks."

The Russian is the first high-level official to visit the North since it announced it was quitting the talks and would restart a programme to make weapons-grade plutonium.

The North was reacting angrily to United Nations condemnation of its April 5 rocket launch, which it says put a satellite in orbit. Other nations saw it as a disguised missile test.

Russia and China, which have traditionally had friendly ties with North Korea, resisted pressure for a binding UN resolution in response to the launch.

But they supported a statement which condemned Pyongyang and tightened existing sanctions.

According to the foreign ministry, Lavrov in his talks with Pak reaffirmed Russia's position that it opposes UN sanctions against the North.

"Both sides recognised a satellite launch as the sovereign right of each country," it added.

Russia is involved in the six-nation talks, which also include the two Koreas, China, Japan and the United States.

"So far we do not expect any immediate breakthroughs," Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying after meeting his counterpart.

"It is a difficult situation but one does not need to succumb to emotions and should concentrate on the foundation we already have."

He flies to South Korea later Friday to brief Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan.

The North's military believes the six-party talks failed to ease the threat posed by the US military, according to Chosun Sinbo, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper published in Japan which generally reflects official thinking.

Tensions caused by the rocket launch proves its stance was right, it said.

From now the army will exercise a greater influence over nuclear policies, the paper said, suggesting there could be another nuclear test.

Chosun Sinbo said the Obama administration must try to eradicate the distrust of the North's army if it wants to avoid following in the footsteps of its predecessor, which drove North Korea to conduct a nuclear test.

Pyongyang will further cement its status as a nuclear state, the paper said, recalling that the first test in 2006 followed UN sanctions.

See also:

Russian Centre opens in North Korean Capital

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