It seems that North Korea and Russia are not pals after all. Not even close. Now that a Russian ambassador says Russia is not going to put up with North Korea’s nuclear status, which is basically a sacred thing for Pyongyang, the countries are not as close as the U.S. has feared them to be.
“Russia’s principled position is that North Korea’s nuclear status is unacceptable for it,” Russian Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Timonin said on Tuesday at a forum of the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI) in Seoul.
Timonin added that the only way to solve the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula is to change the entire situation in the sphere of security. “Much has been done in the past ten years but still it was not enough, so no considerable progress can be seen now,” the Russian ambassador noted.
The Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI) is a dead end for the nuclear crisis unless North Korea joins it, Timonin said. “North Korea is a major part of Northeast Asia, so, it is vitally important to involve Pyongyang into this cooperation. Moscow is trying to do that and plans to continue its participation in the six-party talks,” he said.
The Russia diplomat also noted that there must be both “soft” and “tough” efforts to influence North Korea into settling major security problems in the nuclear crisis.
“Much is being said now about “soft” cooperation but we should bear in mind that further success will depend on settling serious security problems. We can reach no breakthrough in other sphere without them,” he said.
Russia calls the West for economic cooperation with North Korea
Timonin also urged all parties concerned to focus on bringing North Korea to the table of talks through expanded economic cooperation. He noted that Russia is doing quite good in that regard, referring to joint Russia-North Korea railway transport development.
“And we expect other parties to be more active too. This way, we will be able to make the NAPCI a serious movement covering the entire regional agenda,” he said.
At the end of September, Timonin said that Moscow would never justify North Korea’s nuclear missiles nor its nuclear program, as reported by ValueWalk.
Speaking at a forum marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Russia, he noted that if Pyongyang wants to claim the right as a sovereign state to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, then North Korean leader Kim Jong-un first needs to uphold his father’s promises made on September 19, 2005 under the Joint Statement to abandon the nuclear program as well as comply with UN resolutions banning North Korea from launching long-range missiles.
North Korea is preparing new nuclear tests
Over a week ago, it was reported by North Korean media that the country could be preparing to launch new nuclear tests.
The Yonhap news agency reported that a spokesman of North Korean intelligence announced new nuclear tests, speaking in front of the Pyongyang parliament. It was reported that the nuclear tests are expected to be launched in the coming weeks.
The news came after North Korean leadership announced it had declined the proposal to continue talks on the matter of putting an end to North Korea’s nuclear program.
The move came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama met with South Korean President Park Guen-hye and announced that Washington would never accept North Korea’s nuclear power status.
The U.S. will never let North Korea to possess nuclear weapons, Obama said speaking at the press conference in the White House after meeting the South Korean leader.
Obama reassured that Washington and Seoul will always make efforts to de-nuclearize the Korean peninsula and urge Pyongyang to follow the UN Security Council’s resolution on nuclear and missile programs.
Then North Korea announced that it declines the possibility of continuing talks on de-nuclearizing the region. Pyongyang made the decision immediately after the meeting between Obama and Park Guen-hye.
Kim Yong Jae, North Korean ambassador to Russia, then said that Pyongyang is not going to give up its nuclear program unilaterally. The diplomat noted that North Korea is already a nuclear power and it has nuclear interests it has to stick to. He also added that there is a big difference between the Iranian nuclear program and the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons could reach U.S. soil
U.S. Navy earlier acknowledged the possibility of a nuclear attack from North Korean. United States Navy admiral William Bill Gortney said the North Korean military have nuclear weapons capable of reaching U.S. soil. But he added that such an attack would be countered by the U.S.
Hyon Hak-bong, North Korea’s ambassador to the U.K., recently said that North Korea will join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) only when the U.S. abandons its “aggressive policy” and stops threatening North Korea.
North Korea self-recognized itself a nuclear power back in 2005. In 2006, 2009 and 2013 it conducted underground nuclear tests. In 2009, North Korea left the six party talks involving North Korea, Russia, the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea.
As a response to Pyongyang’s actions, UN Security Council adopted a number of resolutions demanding North Korea to stop its nuclear activity. In the resolutions 1718 and 1874, the UN lists demands for the North Korea to not carry out any nuclear tests and abstain from launching ballistic missiles, as well as to return to the talks to de-nuclearize the Korean peninsula.