Moscow calls to stop further penalties against North Korea

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov arrived in South Korea with an official visit to discuss the settlement of the crisis on the peninsula. At the session of the Valdai Discussion Club in Seoul Russian senior diplomat has commented on the latest stance of the Pyongyang’s nuclear program, proposing possible ways of its peaceful solution.

Russia hopes to avoid the  apocalyptic scenarios conjured by the sequence of events in North-East Asia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said Monday.

“Unfortunately, I have to say that the apocalyptic version of developments in this region exists and I very much hope that there will be enough common sense among the regional community to prevent this negative scenario from happening,” Morgulov said at the session of Valdai Discussion Club in South Korea.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister said that no one could give a definite assessment of the level of Pyongyang’s advances in the development of nuclear weapons, as North Korea is reluctant to disclose the issue.

“In regards to the potential and capacities of North Korea, we could only take a guess as North Korea is a reserved side and no one could give a definite answer on the issue of the state and level of advancement of North Korean nuclear program,” Morgulov said.

The deputy foreign minister noted that Russia, in its regular contacts with North Korea, urges the latter to abstain from nuclear tests and points out that Pyongyang’s nuclear program is unacceptable.

Meantime, If the sanctions against North Korea would be further enhanced to pressure Pyongyang to halt nuclear program, it could result in an outbreak of humanitarian crisis in the Asian country, Russian senior diplomat added.

“I do not think that the tightening of pressure would lead to the results, which the authors of such policy expect. I am sure that if the goal is to make North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons and missile programs, it would be the last thing which North Koreans will give up as a result … further strengthening of sanctions against North Korea may lead this country to the brink of humanitarian crisis,” Morgulov said.

In addition, mutual threats and pressure between the United States and North Korea will not cut the knot of differences, which exists on the Korean peninsula, Morgulov stressed.

“Does someone believe in illusions that the words of the US President on ’fire and fury’ attack or constant North Korean threats to turn magnificent city of Seoul into ‘sea of flames’, does someone really think that these threats could cut the knot, which for so many years have been tied around the peninsula? We would be naive to think that any of the sides in this confrontation is going to give in under pressure,” Morgulov emphasized.

Morgulov pointed out that the principles of peaceful coexistencemight be at the center of potential direct talks’ between the United States and North Korea. As North Korea have not carried out any nuclear missile tests for two consecutive months, Morgulov noted that it could be a sign that the direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang might take place in accordance with “double freeze” scenario, proposed by China and Russia in June.

“What theme of talks could be proposed in the first place? It is very simple: the principles of peaceful coexistence. I’m sure that that the lack of such an agreement on principles of mutual coexistence sparks mutual mistrust and bad blood [between the United States and North Korea],” Morgulov said at the session of the Valdai Discussion Club in Seoul.

As there is no alternative to dialogue in the modern world, Moscow urges Washington and Pyongyang to “breathe out” and join negotiating table, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov concluded.

“The alternative to dialogue and negotiations does not exist. But in order to start this dialogue, it is important to first of all slow down and breath out, as they say,” Morgulov said at the session of the Valdai Discussion Club in Seoul.

A respite in relations between the United States and North Korea will help to divert the situation from the dangerous edge it has reached so far, the official added.

“A mutually negative influence of [North Korean missile] tests and [US] drills is beyond doubt,” Morgulov noted.

Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington have escalated in the wake of repeated ballistic missile launches and a nuclear test by Pyongyang followed by the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on North Korea. Most notably, in August, North Korea said it was considering a strategy to strike the US pacific territory of Guam. US President Donald Trump said, in turn, that the United States would respond to North Korea’s threats with “fire and fury.”

China proposed a so-called double-freeze plan, providing for the cessation of North Korea’s nuclear activity in exchange for halting the US-South Korean joint military drills. The plan creates the conditions for the negotiations between Seoul and Pyongyang, in course of which the two parties should set up the basic principles for the interstate relations, including the non-use of force and engagement to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. While supported by Russia, the plan has been rejected by the United States.


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