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  Monday, October 21, 2019
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in North Korea
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in North Korea on a working visit on Thursday amid spiraling tensions over Pyongyang's recent rocket launch and its withdrawal from nuclear negotiations.

North Korea withdrew from the six-nation talks on its nuclear program in protest against criticism from the UN Security Council over its rocket launch earlier this month. Pyongyang also expelled IAEA nuclear inspectors and pledged to resume its work at the Yongbyon reactor.

Following his trip to the reclusive communist state Lavrov will travel to South Korea on Friday for a two-day visit.

Russia's top diplomat is expected to discuss bilateral relations between the two Koreas, the situation in Northeast Asia and pressing international issues.

North Korea has reacted furiously to suggestions that Seoul could join the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a U.S.-led pact to prevent supplies of weapons of mass destruction, and has warned that it would consider such a move a declaration of war.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signaled on Wednesday that Washington was ready to resume nuclear talks with North Korea but urged countries "not to give in" to Pyongyang's "unpredictable behavior."

The six-nation talks, involving North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States, were launched in 2003 after Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Under deals reached in 2007, the North began disabling a nuclear reactor and other facilities at Yongbyon supervised by U.S. experts in exchange for economic aid and political incentives.

However, in December, the latest round of six-party talks resulted in deadlock over a U.S. demand that nuclear inspectors be allowed to take samples out of the country from North Korean facilities for further analysis.


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