UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

N. Korea must settle its $5 billion debt to Russia - official

RIA Novosti

17/11/2006 15:57 MOSCOW, November 17 (RIA Novosti) - No serious progress in economic relations between Russia and North Korea is possible until Pyongyang settles its multi-billion dollar debt to Moscow, a co-chairman of a joint Russia-North Korea commission said Friday.

North Korea's Russian debt has reached $5 billion, according to Russia's economics ministry.

"It is most unlikely that any serious bilateral issues will be resolved until the problem of North Korea's debt [to Russia] is settled," said Konstantin Pulikovsky, Russia's nuclear oversight service chief.

Pulikovsky, who is also a co-chairman of the intergovernmental Russia-North Korea commission on economic and scientific-technical cooperation, said Moscow has proposed to Pyongyang several internationally approved schemes to restructure its debt, but the reclusive Communist state wants concessions that are unacceptable to Russia.

"They [North Korea] want us to change our legislation and make concessions," he said. "But the point is that we will agree to consider debt restructuring on condition that all interest for the period is paid, according to the Russian law."

The former presidential envoy to Russia's Far East Federal District said after meeting with North Korea's Moscow ambassador that Moscow and Pyongyang will likely resuscitate the commission, which has been inactive over the last six years.

"We have reached an agreement to hold a session in the first half of 2007," he said, adding that a final decision on whether Russia or North Korea will host the first session has yet to be made, most likely in the next few days.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list