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Russia in favor of North Korea denuclearization, foreign minister says

The Russian foreign minister said Moscow's goal is to ensure the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula through multilateral agreement.

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Kuala Lumpur during the 22nd annual ASEAN Regional Forum. Lavrov told press Moscow is in support of North Korea denuclearization. Photo by Yonhap
North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Kuala Lumpur during the 22nd annual ASEAN Regional Forum. Lavrov told press Moscow is in support of North Korea denuclearization. Photo by Yonhap

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow supports the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula – a week after North Korea's ambassador to Russia had said Pyongyang is not interested in giving up its nuclear weapons.

The Russian envoy's statements at the 22nd annual ASEAN Regional Forum in Malaysia's capital came during a meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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"Our goal remains – to ensure the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula through multilateral agreement," Lavrov said. "I hope the security of all countries in the region is guaranteed, including North Korea's, and that all countries [in turn] respect North Korea's legitimate interests."

Russia has supported the multilateral efforts of the six-party talks, but previously has said the joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises are raising tensions on the peninsula.

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Russia was joined by other foreign ministers at the Forum, including South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in voicing their opposition to North Korea's nuclear program.

At an annual meeting of foreign ministers on Wednesday, Yun said North Korea is in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and was engaging in provocations while flatly rejecting dialogue.

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Yun said ASEAN member nations must voice their strong opposition to a nuclear North Korea, and several ASEAN ministers said they supported Seoul's mission, South Korean outlet Newsis reported.

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On Wednesday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong spoke to the South Korea press for the first time.

Ri told a South Korean reporter who pursued him into an elevator that there is "still a lot of time" when asked whether Ri is to meet with his South Korean counterpart this week in Malaysia.

Pyongyang has said it is not interested in Iran-style nuclear talks and has blamed the "hostile policy" of the United States for its weapons program.

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