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Russia sees N. Korea's uranium enrichment program as violation of U.N. resolutions

All Headlines 18:04 December 02, 2010

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- A senior Russian diplomat told South Korean officials Thursday that North Korea's alleged uranium enrichment program constitutes a violation of U.N. resolutions and its own commitment to give up nuclear programs, an official said.

Moscow's deputy nuclear envoy, Grigory Logvinov, made the remark at a meeting in Seoul with South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac and his deputy Cho Hyun-dong, a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

"Regarding the UEP (uranium enrichment program) issue, Russia takes a clear position that the North's uranium enrichment is a violation of U.S. Security Council resolutions and the Sept. 19 joint statement" under which Pyongyang pledged to give up nuclear programs, the ministry official said.

Members of the Security Council have been discussing the uranium issue, the official said without elaborating.

Logvinov's trip came after North Korea ratcheted up tensions on the Korean Peninsula by revealing that it is running a plant to produce enriched uranium, which can be used to build atomic bombs, and then shelled the South's Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea last week.

The bloody attack killed four people, including two civilians.

The Russian envoy did not express any position on China's proposal that members of the six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programs meet in early December to discuss curbing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the ministry official said.

Russia has taken a critical stance toward the North's attack, contrasting with its reluctance earlier this year to back South Korea's efforts to punish North Korea at the Security Council for the March sinking of a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors.

But Moscow has also called for dialogue to resolve tensions.

South Korea says it is not the right time to convene the six-party talks, which involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, arguing that the North should first demonstrate through action its commitment to give up nuclear programs so that the talks can make substantial progress if resumed.

Seoul sees agreeing to restart the talks as something of a reward to Pyongyang, which has signaled its willingness to rejoin the forum in recent months as its economic woes have deepened in the wake of international sanctions for its nuclear test last year and March's ship attack.

The nuclear forum has been stalled since the last session in December 2008.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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