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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow Welcomes N.Korea's Bid to Return to Nuclear Talks

RIA Novosti

21:07 24/05/2013

MOSCOW, May 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russia regards reports that North Korea is willing to return to six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as a "positive development," a senior Russian diplomat said Friday.

China's Xinhua news agency and its South Korean equivalent Yonhap reported on Friday that Choe Ryong Hae, a special envoy for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and reaffirmed that Pyongyang "is ready to work with parties concerned to properly solve relevant issues through multiform dialogue and consultation, including the six-party talks."

"It is a positive development, especially after weeks of harsh military rhetoric from Pyongyang," Russian Ambassador at Large Grigory Logvinov told reporters in Moscow.

"We all worked hard for this, and Russia has made serious efforts to avert the looming crisis and create conditions for the resumption of the talks," Logvinov said, adding that now efforts should be focused on "transforming political statements into practical actions."

The six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program involve North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia. The talks have been stalled since 2009.

Tensions rose sharply on the Korean Peninsula in December last year after North Korea tested a Taepodong 2 missile and again in February when it carried out its third nuclear test.

The UN Security Council imposed new sanctions against the reclusive Communist state over the tests, the United States and South Korea began joint military exercises in March, and Seoul warned of possible preemptive strikes against its northern neighbor.

That triggered a belligerent reaction from Pyongyang, which declared an end to its truce with South Korea; denounced all denuclearization agreements to which it was a signatory; cut off an emergency hotline to Seoul; threatened to attack US bases in Okinawa, Guam and Pearl Harbor; closed a joint enterprise with South Korea in the Kaesong industrial zone; reportedly moved two ballistic missiles to its southern border; and urged the evacuation of all foreigners from both Koreas.

However, Pyongyang seemed to soften its belligerent stance this month when it lifted the highest combat alert for its armed forces and withdrew ballistic missiles from their launch sites in the east.

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