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15 Oct, 2008 16:55

North Korean nukes top agenda at talks

Moscow has welcomed North Korea’s recent decision to resume its nuclear disarmament programme. The issue was discussed at a meeting between Russia's Foreign Minister and his North Korean counterpart in Moscow on Wednesday.

The talks between Sergey Lavrov and Pak Ui Chun come just days after Pyongyang restarted dismantling its atomic facilities.  Discussions focused on the status of the six-nation nuclear talks and bilateral cooperation.

On Sunday the U.S. removed North Korea from the black list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism. In turn, Pyongyang restarted disabling its nuclear facilities. Until late last week, Pyongyang had been threatening that it would reactivate its plutonium reprocessing plant in Yongbyon if Washington refused to take it off the list.

Removal from the black list gives North Korea better economic prospects, including a chance to get economic help from the World Bank.

In the course of the Moscow meeting, Sergey Lavrov welcomed Pyongyang's decision to stick to the plan to dismantle its atomic facilities.

The nations taking part in the six-party nuclear talks are North Korea, South Korea, Russia, the U.S, China and Japan.

The talks in Moscow are being held as the two countries celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

Pak Ui Chun said that his country was preparing to boost co-operation with Russia. A former ambassador to Moscow, he used an old Russian proverb to express relations between the countries: “An old friend is worth two new ones.”
Lavrov continued the them, saying: “The history of our relations shows that they are of great importance for our two countries.”

“Fruitful cooperation meets the basic interests of the peoples of the two countries and is of great importance for the cause of safeguarding peace and security in Northeast Asia,” he added.
Lavrov will visit North Korea in 2009.

North Korea back on nuclear track