Oct. 15 (UPI) -- China and Russia need to participate in North Korea negotiations after an initial agreement is reached between the United States and North Korea, Moscow's top diplomat to Pyongyang said.
Ambassador Alexander Matsegora said it is "natural" to "limit the current problem-solving process" to the United States and North Korea, Russian news agency Tass reported.
"Initially, it is North Korea and the United States that must resolve bilateral issues through joint efforts," Matsegora said. "But in the next phase, we will soon need to expand engagement."
The Russian ambassador said the issue of the Korean Peninsula is part of the "broader task of assuring peace and security in Northeast Asia."
Matsegora also took aim at a "U.S.-centric" system of alliances in Northeast Asia, saying the U.S. troop presence on the Korean Peninsula, South Korean purchases of advanced weapons and Seoul's military alliance with Washington are "very serious concerns for the interests of Russia and China."
The Russian diplomat also said Moscow is deeply interested in resolving the situation on the Korean Peninsula, as it is "directly related to guaranteeing the security of Russia."
On the issue of North Korea-Russia relations, Matsegora said he has raised Moscow's concerns regarding illegal North Korean fishing vessels in Russia-claimed waters. North Koreans were recently taken into custody following a clash at sea; at least one North Korean man died in Russian detention.
Matsegora's comments about Russia's and China's shared concerns come at a time when the two sides are exhibiting closer ties.
China is engaged in a tariff dispute with the Trump administration, and Russia has been the target of U.S. sanctions.
Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV reported Monday the top Chinese diplomat to Russia described the Beijing-Moscow relationship as "one between brothers."
Ambassador Zhang Hanhui said there is a "high level of trust" between President Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin.
The two countries are observing the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.