Russia may host peace negotiations between North and South Korea

The offer came as South Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Chun Young-Woo, visited Moscow for talks on how to settle the dispute over North Korea’s nuclear programme.

With the next stage of 6-party talks just around the corner South Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Chun Young-Woo arrived in Moscow for the talks on the issue.
 
The meeting between Chun Young-Woo and his Russian counterpart Alexander Losyukov is being held just a week before the resumption of 6-party talks aimed at persuading the North to discontinue its nuclear work.
 
Russia and South Korea are seeking to co-ordinate their positions and work out a joint strategy.
 
Moscow wants efforts to focus on a September 2005 deal, when North Korea agreed to give up its nuclear arms in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.
 
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov says progress will only move forward if an action plan is drawn up and implemented. And his South Korean counterpart emphasized Russia’s invaluable involvement.
 
Alexander Losyokov says a nuclear-armed North Korea poses a threat to the interests of Russia’s population in the neighbouring Far East.
 
But expectations for settling the dispute next week aren’t high. Losyokov has said he does not anticipate any concrete results from the talks and South Korea’s Foreign Minister says he remains cautious about the prospect of success.
 
One of the major stumbling blocks, which has so far prevented a settlement from being reached is a disagreement over U.S. financial restrictions on North Korea. These were imposed in 2005 on a Chinese-based bank, which Washington has accused of being involved in smuggling and counterfeiting for Pyongyang.
 
The move has had significant economic implications for Pyongyang, which has refused to give up its nuclear programme until the US lifts the constraints.
 
Last year, North Korea provoked a flood of international condemnation when it tested a nuclear device.
 
North Korea alongside, South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia are scheduled to meet in Beijing on February 8.