July 22, 2018

Russia And China Ask North Korea To Return To Nuclear Talks

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un smiles while watching the Korean People’s Army (KPA) tank crews’ competition at an unknown location. (Reuters file photo)

MOSCOW:  Russia and China told North Korea today its nuclear ambitions were unacceptable, urging Pyongyang to resume talks over its nuclear weapons programme and heed a UN Security Council resolution banning ballistic missile tests.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stepped up pressure on Pyongyang after holding talks in Moscow a day after North Korea defied the United Nations by firing two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.

“We do not recognise the nuclear status of the DPRK,” Wang told a news briefing via a translator, using the official acronym for North Korea.

The North should “fully and comprehensively” implement the UN resolution, Wang said. “At the same time, we will not spare efforts to return to the six-way talks,” he added.

Pyongyang has a large stockpile of short-range missiles and is developing long-range and intercontinental missiles.

Earlier today, the reclusive country’s official KCNA news agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had watched a ballistic missile launch test and ordered the country to improve its nuclear attack capability by conducting more tests.

Commenting on the North’s growing nuclear ambitions, Wang said the latest UN resolution banning its nuclear tests must be “implemented point by point.”

“We should block further development of nuclear weapons in the DPRK,” he said.

Russia’s Lavrov said Moscow deemed Pyongyang’s behaviour “irresponsible”.

“We believe that the world community’s firm reaction will be interpreted by Pyongyang as a signal that there should be no such escapades in future,” said Lavrov.

Russia was a close ally of Stalinist North Korea in Soviet days, but Lavrov made it clear times had changed.

“It should be clear in Pyongyang that no one is going to exonerate the DPRK for such escapades,” he said, referring to missile tests.

Both Wang and Lavrov also hit out at US plans to deploy a missile system in South Korea.

“The deployment of this US missile system far exceeds the actual defence needs of the (Korean) peninsula … and will harm the strategic balance of power in the region, possibly leading to a new arms race,” said Wang.

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