Top Russian envoy talks on ties with North Korea

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Top Russian envoy talks on ties with North Korea

Top leaders from North Korea and Russia are communicating on a regular basis, Moscow’s new envoy to Pyongyang said Thursday.

In an interview with Russia’s state-run news agency Tass, Alexander Motsegora, the Russian ambassador to North Korea, said that Pyongyang and Moscow’s highest leaders and senior officials had actively been engaging in political dialogue.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin regularly exchange messages, he said.

Motsegora added that the two countries have selected this year to honor their friendship and that various commemorations were planned.

This year is particularly significant because it marks the 70th anniversary of Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II and Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

Moscow extended invitations to both Koreas to a celebratory event in May marking Victory Day and has continuously urged them to attend.

Last month, Russia’s foreign minister said North Korean leader Kim had a “positive” response to Putin’s invitation, though Seoul has yet to decide whether President Park Geun-hye will attend. If she does, it will likely be the first time she meets with the reclusive regime’s young ruler.

In his interview, Motsegora also said the country highly anticipated economic cooperation with North Korea and that the priority for Moscow would be investing in North Korea’s vast trove of mineral resources.

The top envoy also hinted at Moscow’s anticipation for trilateral cooperation with the two Koreas and Russia. A project to export surplus electricity from Siberia to the Korean Peninsula and another plan to export natural gas were seen to have great potential, he said, adding that there is also the possibility that Russian companies may invest in the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

The Russian ambassador to the North also stressed the importance of resolving the nuclear crisis on the peninsula, calling it “one of the world’s most acute pain-points in modern times.” Solving the crisis “brooks no delay” and “further procrastination” will only worsen the situation, Motsegora said.

Moscow appointed Motsegora as its ambassador to North Korea in December last year. His predecessor, Alexander Timonin, was named as the ambassador to South Korea.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]




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