Russia stands firm against North’s warmongering

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Russia stands firm against North’s warmongering

Russia declared solidarity with its partners in rejecting Pyongyang’s bellicose rhetoric as G8 foreign ministers met yesterday in London while the European Union sent a diplomatic warning to North Korea.

Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, called the behavior of the North “unacceptable” prior to a two-day ministerial meeting of the Group of Eight - United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia - which runs until today to discuss a response to the imminent North Korean conflict as well as issues in Syria and Iran.

“We are in solidarity with them [the G8] in regards to the rejection of Pyongyang’s current provocative and bellicose line of conduct,” he told Russia’s state-run news agency RIA.

North Korea informed foreign embassies in Pyongyang last Friday to consider evacuating from the capital, stating that “their safety could not be guaranteed after April 10.” On Tuesday, Pyongyang further warned foreigners in the South to make evacuation plans.

But Russian officials played down the threat and stated the embassy in Pyongyang did not seek any extra security measures following the warning for diplomats to evacuate last week. Likewise, the Russian Embassy in Seoul is also proceeding as usual.

But Lukashevich added Russia still looks for peaceful dialogue with Pyongyang and stated that the international community “must not renounce political and diplomatic efforts, as any alternative brings the threat of profound upheaval in Northeast Asia.”

The European Union yesterday conveyed a diplomatic message to Pyongyang in response to the North’s warnings Friday to withdraw diplomats by yesterday, stating that North Korea should heed international obligations, including recent UN Security Council resolutions and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the 1961 international treaty that sets the framework for diplomatic relations. Reuters reported that the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang was to deliver the note to North Korean officials.

Of the 27 EU member states, Germany, Sweden, Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania, have embassies in Pyongyang, and none have plans to evacuate at the moment, an EU official told Reuters.

The EU will soon adopt the punitive sanctions against the North approved by the United Nations Security Council in March following its Feb. 12 nuclear test, and also are looking into measures to impose further sanctions on Pyongyang.


By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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