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(2nd LD) S. Korea, Russia agree to cooperate for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula

All News 23:27 June 13, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS photo, more comments, background info in 5th para, last 6 paras)

MOSCOW/SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- Top diplomats of South Korea and Russia reaffirmed on Monday that they will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state and agreed to cooperate for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, the foreign ministry here said.

The agreement was reached between Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov during their bilateral meeting in Moscow, according to the ministry.

Both sides reaffirmed that the North's fourth nuclear test earlier this year, followed by the ballistic missile test, poses a serious threat not just to peace and stability in the northeast region but also to the security of the international community,"

Yun told a press conference held after the meeting.

"We also reaffirmed that it is important to faithfully carry out the U.N. resolution adopted to impose sanctions on the North in order to induce it into a desirable direction, and we agreed to step up bilateral cooperation," he added.

Yun noted that the two shared the view that the biggest hurdle for both countries' to advance their bilateral ties in various areas is North Korea's nuclear issue.

Lavrov said that both sides will not accept the North's unilateral claim to be a nuclear weapons state, emphasizing that they will "completely" implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270.

"Russia's position is that it cannot tolerate the Korean peninsula turning into a place of confrontation," he said through an interpreter, calling for efforts to seek political and diplomatic solutions.

Yun and Lavrov met as the international community has been stepping up its pressure on the North to renounce its nuclear weapons program in the wake of its fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range missile test in February.

In March, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 2270, the fifth of its kind aimed at imposing sanctions on the North and considered the toughest ever.

Apparently defying the mounting pressure, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un referred to his country as a "responsible" nuclear state at the congress of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea held in early May.

Yun's visit to Russia is his first after taking office in early 2013 and marks the first such visit by a South Korean foreign minister in five years.

Russia, one of five veto-wielding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, has been a key stakeholder in efforts to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program. It is also a member of the now-stalled six-party talks on the North's nuclear program.

Meanwhile, Yun said that both countries agreed to deepen cooperation on the economic front while continuing to hold talks on a possible free trade deal between South Korea and the Eurasia Economic Union, an economic cooperative bloc led by Russia.


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