Any form of cooperation with North Korea should not jeopardize international efforts to convince Pyongyang to halt its nuclear weapons program, the U.S. State Department said.
The Russian military said on Tuesday Russia and North Korea could hold joint naval drills in the Yellow Sea in 2012 with the focus on sea rescue and humanitarian missions.
The plans were outlined during the visit of Russia’s Eastern Military District Commander Admiral Konstantin Sidenko to Pyongyang in August.
“We are aware from press reports that Russia and North Korea have announced their intention to hold joint naval exercises next year,” the State Department commented on Thursday.
“Any engagement with the North Koreans should be conducted in a way that does not detract from the international community’s clear message of concern about the North’s weapons programs, and the necessity for Pyongyang to do what is necessary to return to the Six-Party talks,” the State Department said.
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.
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 test.