5 Feb 2018 14:26

Pyongyang, Seoul make headway in normalizing relations - Slutsky

MOSCOW. Feb 5 (Interfax) - Seoul and Pyongyang have made headway in normalizing their bilateral relations, State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky said, adding that this might eventually lead to the erasure of the demarcation line on the 38th parallel.

"Without a doubt, the PyeongChang Games have become a catalyst [for the resumption of the intra-Korean dialogue], but if what North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said is true and Pyongyang is really ready to make concessions in a number of areas, this is a huge step forward," Slutsky said in response to questions from participants in the Youth Parliament's meeting at the State Duma on Monday.

Obviously, it is impossible to solve every problem in relations between North and South Korea within one, two, or even three years, Slutsky said. "Yet we want to believe that, no matter how utopian this may sound, the demarcation line on the 38th parallel will be erased in this century with the mutual consent of Seoul and Pyongyang," he said.

The destructive nature of Washington's attempts to rock the boat on the Korean Peninsula are becoming obvious, Slutsky said.

These attempts are fueled by the exercises the United States conducts on the Korean Peninsula and the wish to marginalize the image of North Korea in the global information and political space, he said.

"They should not be escalating the standoff or inciting hatred for North Korea in the world, but rather promoting intra-Korean dialogue," Slutsky said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has been doing so, he said; with consistent, professional and sometimes, perhaps, unseen measures, it supports the intra-Korean dialogue, the need for which Russia has always recognized, Slutsky said.