Russia rejects North Korea’s claim to be a nuclear powerDuring a national defense forum last month, organized and hosted by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, Russian Ambassador Gleb Ivashentsov stressed that Russia does not recognize North Korea as a nuclear power state. Mr. Ivanshentsov added that even during the six-party talks, Russia did not recognize the North as a nuclear power state and that Russia will not be involved in any kind of negotiations under that premise.
This statement confirmed the fact that Russia will not agree to the North’s demand to hold arms reduction talks and admit the country as a nuclear power state after North Korea carried out nuclear tests.
Before the tests on October, Sergey Ivanov, the Russian defense secretary, said that Russia should admit North Korea as a nuclear power state.
Mr. Ivashentsov brought up the fact that the North’s nuclear tests were conducted only 110 miles away from the Russian border. Even more seriously, he stressed that the nuclear test significantly damaged international society’s nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
The ambassador acknowledged the justification for the United Nations’ decision to enforce sanctions on North Korea, saying the possession of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang should not be an example for other countries to follow.
However, he said that the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1718 condemning the test was an inevitable precaution and was not intended to punish the North. He advised that the UN Security Council’s action to restrain North Korea should not be interpreted as more than what it actually was.
During the forum, the ambassador also said he disapproved of the United States’ hard-line policy toward the North, saying that their ultimatums and harsh restraints should give way to a more structured international law.
Concerning Korea-Russia trade relations, Mr. Ivashentsov expressed content as he said that bilateral trade between the countries is expected to be five times the figure in 2000, totaling around $10 billion. He added that Korea has seen Russia as a country abundant in raw material only, but that its economy, science and culture are growing strongly and are still relatively untapped. In particular, he mentioned that one third of Korean civil helicopters are Russian-made and urged the two countries to have dynamic trade relations in the field of aviation.
Mr. Ivashentsov, who started his term in Korea as ambassador in July, 2005, was born in St. Petersburg. He entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia in 1975, was the Consul General of Russia in Mumbai, India, and served as ambassador to Myanmar from 1997 to 2001.
by Yu Chul-jong
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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