Moscow hails N.Korea’s readiness to resume six-party talks

Moscow hails North Korea’s readiness to resume six-party talks on the country’s controversial nuclear issue without any preconditions, Russia’s top diplomat said on Friday.

The six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions involving the two Koreas, China, the United States, Russia and Japan came to a halt in April 2009 when North Korea walked out of negotiations to protest the United Nations’ condemnation of its missile tests.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a meeting on Friday with his North Korean counterpart on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Indonesia’s Bali.

“I had a number of bilateral meetings today…, but I would like to underline my talks with the North Korean foreign minister that mainly focused on the nuclear program on the Korean Peninsula,” Lavrov said.

“We [Russia] hail Pyongyang’s readiness to resume six-party talks without any preconditions,” he added.

North Korea is banned from conducting nuclear or ballistic missile tests under UN Resolution 1718, adopted after Pyongyang’s first nuclear test on October 9, 2006.

However, the country carried out a second nuclear test on May 25, 2009, followed by a series of short-range missile launches, and has threatened to build up its nuclear arsenal to counter what it calls hostile U.S. policies.

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