North Korea, Russia foreign ministers agree to resolve issues 'diplomatically'

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Aug. 7, 2017 at 8:55 AM
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Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The top diplomats of North Korea and Russia agreed all parties concerned with issues facing the Korean peninsula should avoid resorting to the use of force.

Russia's largest news agency TASS reported Monday Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his North Korea counterpart Ri Yong Ho held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum, where the two sides concurred on the need to solve the issues of the peninsula diplomatically.

"The two sides exchanged views on the urgent issues regarding the peninsula," Moscow's foreign ministry said in its statement. "In order to avoid the use of force on the peninsula, Minister Lavrov urged all sides to refrain as much as possible."

Earlier on Sunday, Lavrov met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss the recently adopted North Korea sanctions at the United Nations Security Council.

Wang said all should "prevent escalating tensions on the peninsula," and recommended China's "double suspension" initiative, which according to Beijing, could arrange a North Korea nuclear freeze in exchange for a suspension in joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

"Russia and China hold a common position," Lavrov said, referring to the bilateral talks in Manila. "That means we will press forward for China's proposed 'double suspension' initiative."

Later on Monday, North Korea's Ri Yong Ho said Pyongyang is not open to negotiations on its nuclear and missile program, unless Washington agrees to give up its "hostile policy."

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