Korea, Russia discuss six-party talks

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Korea, Russia discuss six-party talks

South Korea’s top nuclear envoy, Hwang Joon-kook, headed to Moscow yesterday to meet with his Russian counterpart to discuss methods of resuming the long-stalled six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear program.

This will be Hwang’s first trip to Russia since he became special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs in April. It follows a series of talks with the other chief negotiators to the six-party talks: American Glyn Davies on June 2 and China’s Wu Dawei on June 10.

Hwang will meet with Russian official Igor Vladimirovich Morgulov tomorrow and hold “extensive discussions on North Korea’s nuclear problems and issues related to the Korean Peninsula,” according to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Morgulov, who served as director-general of the First Asian Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and deputy chief of mission to China, is fluent in Chinese.

The six-party talks among the two Koreas, China, the United States, Russia and Japan have been halted since late 2008.

Hwang will also meet other Russian officials today to discuss unification of the Korean Peninsula, among other bilateral issues.

Seoul and Washington have emphasized that to resume the six-party talks, Pyongyang needs to demonstrate a sincerity for denuclearization. But Hwang conveyed in Beijing that so far, “There is no change in North Korea’s attitude,” which may make a resumption of the negotiations difficult.

Amid the series of meetings among the five-party nations, Pyongyang has emphasized that it plans on strengthening its nuclear capabilities alongside building its economy.

Its official mouthpiece the Rodong Sinmun reported yesterday, “The U.S. and its followers on the international stage are creating a fuss as if they are interested in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which is a foolish trick expecting concessions or compromise from North Korea, which is strengthening its war deterrence.”

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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