18 Sep 2019 19:52

Too early to resume six-party talks on N. Korea - S. Korean ambassador

MOSCOW. Sept 18 (Interfax) - It is premature at present to discuss resuming six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, South Korean Ambassador to Russia Lee Sok-bae said.

"We believe priority should currently be given to the concentration of diplomatic efforts so that negotiations between North Korea and the United States could be resumed and a successful dialogue maintained to promote denuclearization, and the framework of this dialogue could be broadened depending on the way the situation develops," Lee said in an interview with Russian news agencies on Wednesday when asked whether the six-party talks could be resumed.

A dialogue in various formats, including six-party talks, would be possible "after progress is made in the denuclearization of North Korea and changes in the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, provided that the ensuing terms and conditions are well prepared," Lee said.

The six-party talks for settling the problem of North Korea's nuclear program involved China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. Their first round took place in 2003.

North Korea launched the Milky Way rocket in 2009 to put an experimental communication satellite into orbit. The UN Security Council responded with a statement by its president denouncing the launch as one going against Resolution 1718. After that, Pyongyang declared its withdrawal from the six-party talks and said it would go ahead with developing its nuclear weapons.