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  Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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North Korea does not as yet intend to return to six-party
North Korea does not as yet intend to return to six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula's nuclear problem, but Russia hopes Pyongyang heeds its call to do so, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

Prior to the Seoul visit, Lavrov visited North Korea, where officials reaffirmed their decision to abandon the six-party talks on nuclear disarmament.

"The DPRK [North Korea] is not ready to resume six-party talks, but Russia hopes Pyongyang has heard its call to do so," Lavrov said. "Our common task is to create such conditions that the resumption of talks becomes possible."

During his visit to Pyongyang, Lavrov met with the number two in the reclusive communist state's regime, Kim Yong-nam, and Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun.

North Korea withdrew from the six-nation talks on scrapping its nuclear program after the UN Security Council condemned the launch of a rocket on April 5, which Pyongyang said was carrying a communications satellite.

The North also expelled IAEA and U.S. nuclear inspectors and pledged to resume its work at the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

After his meeting with North Korean officials on Thursday, Lavrov said: "We are not expecting a breakthrough yet. This is a complicated issue, and we should not give way to emotion, rather we should concentrate on what we have already achieved."

The foreign minister also said Friday that Russia hopes the situation around North Korea's nuclear and missile programs would not be used as a pretext for the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region.

"I hope that no one would ... use the situation around North Korea to set up alliances, build missile defense networks or announce an intention to possess nuclear weapons," Lavrov said.

"Unfortunately, we hear these announcements from a neighboring country. We think that it is unacceptable," he added, without specifying the country, although media have reported such statements coming from Japan.


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