10 Sep 2018 17:03

Matviyenko: N. Korea's Kim determined to move toward Korea denuclearization

MOSCOW. Sept 10 (Interfax) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is determined to follow the path of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and normalize dialogue with Seoul, but he expects reciprocal steps and the relaxation of sanctions from the United States, Russian Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said.

"The decision made on ending missile tests and the closure of the nuclear range are two serious steps aimed at the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization, and he [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] is determined to keep following this path and move toward dialogue with South Korea and eventual unification," Matviyenko said on Monday in telling journalists about her meeting with Kim in Pyongyang.

"I could see for myself that this is not a mere declaration and that he sincerely wants this and will do a lot for this," she said.

Kim very diplomatically spoke about the success of the U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore but said Pyongyang expected Washington's reciprocal steps, she said.

"Because it can't be that only North Korea makes unilateral steps toward denuclearization," she said.

"They are expecting reciprocal, phased and simultaneous accommodating steps; in particular, they also expected the sanctions to be relieved, which hasn't happened so far. Therefore, they are continuing the negotiations and contacts and hope that not only will unilateral claims be laid on them, but that there is going to be some reaction on the other side as well," Matviyenko said.

Kim "is doing this with dignity, he is not prepared to do it on any terms," she said.

"He is prepared for mutually respectful negotiations and mutually respectful movement toward each other; as far as I understand, no unilateral steps are planned without a reciprocal response," she said.

North Korea's rhetoric has changed and become more peaceful of late, she said.

"The rhetoric is different, there is no belligerent rhetoric. Even at the parade [on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the DPRK foundation], we saw only defensive hardware, no missiles. That is, North Korea is sending messages to the world that it wants a peaceful settlement of the problem," she said.