North Korea's bid to return to n-talks welcomed by Moscow

Moscow, May 25 : Russia regards as a "positive development" reports that North Korea is willing to return to six-party talks on the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, a Russian diplomat said.

China's Xinhua news agency and South Korea's Yonhap reported Friday that Choe Ryong Hae, a special envoy for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, met Chinese President Xi Jinping and reaffirmed that Pyongyang "is ready to work with parties concerned to properly solve relevant issues through multiform dialogue and consultation, including the six-party talks".

"It is a positive development, especially after weeks of harsh military rhetoric from Pyongyang," Russian Ambassador at Large Grigory Logvinov said in Moscow.

"We all worked hard for this, and Russia has made serious efforts to avert the looming crisis and create conditions for the resumption of the talks," Logvinov said, adding that now efforts should be focused on "transforming political statements into practical actions."

The six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme involve North and South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia. The talks have been stalled since 2009.

Tensions rose sharply on the Korean Peninsula in December last year after North Korea tested a Taepodong 2 missile and again in February when it carried out its third nuclear test.

The UN Security Council imposed new sanctions against the reclusive Communist state over the tests, the US and South Korea began joint military exercises in March, and Seoul warned of possible pre-emptive strikes against its northern neighbour.

That triggered a belligerent reaction from Pyongyang. It declared an end to its truce with South Korea, denounced all denuclearisation agreements to which it was a signatory, cut off an emergency hotline to Seoul and threatened to attack US bases in Okinawa, Guam and Pearl Harbor.

Pyongyang also closed a joint enterprise with South Korea in the Kaesong industrial zone, reportedly moved two ballistic missiles to its southern border, and urged the evacuation of all foreigners from both Koreas.

However, Pyongyang seemed to soften its belligerent stance this month when it lifted the highest combat alert for its armed forces and withdrew ballistic missiles from their launch sites in the east.

--IANS (Posted on 25-05-2013)

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