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30 Jan, 2019 11:07

‘Stupidity’: Russian envoy dismisses US report that Moscow offered North Korea nuclear power plant

‘Stupidity’: Russian envoy dismisses US report that Moscow offered North Korea nuclear power plant

Moscow has scoffed at a report alleging that Russia offered to build North Korea a nuclear power plant, in exchange for dismantling its nuclear weapons. Russia’s envoy to North Korea said the story was steeped in “stupidity.”

Citing anonymous intelligence officials, the Washington Post reported that the Kremlin made a secret proposal to North Korea, last year, in which the ‘hermit kingdom’ would receive a nuclear power plant if it gave up its nuclear weapons.

The report claimed that as a part of the deal, the Russian government would operate the plant and transfer all waste back to Russia, reducing the risk that North Korea could use the power plant to build nuclear weapons.

Russian officials, however, wasted little time in dismissing WaPo’s scoop as hogwash.

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Alexander Matsegora, Russia’s Ambassador to Pyongyang, told Russian media that “anyone who is at least somewhat versed in this matter is absolutely clear about the initial stupidity of such a claim.”

According to the diplomat, such a proposal would create severe financial and security burdens for Moscow – making the alleged secret offer completely untenable.

“A nuclear power plant is worth several billion dollars,” said Matsegora. “The same, if not more, would go to a complete modernization of the energy infrastructure of the DPRK, including its electrical networks.”

Matsegora further noted that the exorbitant cost of fuel and the removal of waste was clearly not taken into consideration when the Washington Post decided to present this alleged “secret proposal” as genuine.

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He added that a nuclear power plant “would be no less dangerous an object than the entire current nuclear potential of the republic” – undermining the entire purpose of pushing for North Korea to denuclearize.

Despite considerable progress in reconciliation between North and South Korea, Washington continues to exert pressure on Pyongyang, lobbying for further UN sanctions against Kim Jong-un’s regime. The Pentagon lists North Korea as a primary missile threat outpacing Iran, Russia and China, according to US Missile Defense Review published in January.

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