A senior Russian nuclear negotiator will hold talks in Seoul today to discuss how to handle North Korea amid ongoing tensions over its nuclear program, officials said.
Grigory Logvinov, deputy chief envoy to the stalled six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear program, will meet with Lim Sung-nam, Seoul’s top nuclear envoy to discuss ways forward following the North’s failed rocket launch in April.
The two will hold “in-depth discussions about North Korea’s nuclear issue and other overall matters with regard to North Korea,” an official said, asking not to be named.
Moscow has recently stressed its stance that six-party talks remain a valid framework and that its members the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and China ― are discussing ways to resume the dialogue.
Pyongyang threw cold water on efforts to revive the talks with the rocket launch that was seen as an illegal test of its missile technology. The move broke a food aid deal with Washington seen as a test of the regime’s intentions.
Also on the agenda will be the proposed pipeline that would send Russian gas across the North to the South. Moscow has long coveted the project and reached an agreement over it during a rare summit between then-President Dmitry Medvedev and late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il last year.
Seoul and Washington are adamant that the North take concrete denuclearization steps before any negotiations. U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Policy Glyn Davies has said the five parties excluding North Korea should first agree on negotiation methods before sitting down with Pyongyang.
Moscow has taken a tougher line on Pyongyang since the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, expressing concern over its uranium enrichment program and for the launch. It has also moved forward with bilateral projects that analysts say could provide incentive for improved behavior from the North.
Russia recently agreed to a plan to write off 90 percent of North Korea’s debt of $11 billion with the remainder to be invested in joint projects in the impoverished country.
It has also has shown interest in projects with North Korea such as the pipeline and a Trans-Korean railroad. Moscow is said to seek stability on its shared border with the North.
Pyongyang walked away from the six-party talks in 2009 following international sanctions for its nuclear and missile tests. Despite the North’s insistence that it will keep its “nuclear” deterrent, the forum is seen as a valuable way to curb its progress and manage Pyongyang’s belligerence. <The Korea Times/Kim Young-jin>
Russia, Attended Kim Il-sung University, PhD in Korean History, Leningrad State University, Professor at Australian National University(1996), Professor at Kookmin University, Contributor for The AsiaN
Nepal, Reporter of The Rising Nepal
Egypt, Editor of Al-Arabi Magazine in Kuwait, Chief of The AsiaN's Middle East Bureau
Pakistan, Pakistan Press International Editor, Contributor for The AsiaN
India, SPOTFILMS CEO, FORMEDIA Chairman
Egypt, Managing Editor of the AsiaN's Middle East Bureau, Graduate Student of Mass Communication and Journalism at Ahram Canadian University