30 Jan 2018 21:08

Pyongyang understands that another nuclear missile test would ruin all prospects of inter-Korean rapprochement - Russian ambassador to DPRK

MOSCOW. Jan 30 (Interfax) - Moscow is seeing a likelihood of a successful rapprochement between Pyongyang and Seoul leading to a moratorium on nuclear missile tests by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora said.

"As for whether Pyongyang will stop at this stage or continue developing its program, naturally it is difficult for us to judge what thoughts and plans are inside the heads of the DPRK leadership on this score. I think that a lot will depend on how things go in the inter-Korean relations," Matsegora said in an interview with Interfax.

"Pyongyang understands that another nuclear test or missile launch will not just put a question mark over future inter-Korean rapprochement but will destroy it completely," Matsegora said.

"From my point of view, if this rapprochement proves successful, and Pyongyang feels that prospects are appearing of a deeper interaction despite the sanctions (of which the Koreans may try to agree between themselves), then there exists a serious likelihood of the DPRK refraining from new explosions and launches," the Russian ambassador said.

If "the Koreans get a taste for resuming communication, this would be a very serious factor preventing the situation from sliding into high tension," Matsegora said.

"As for the risk - that after the Olympic truce the situation could escalate - it should be said that unfortunately, the situation on the Korean peninsula is generally hard to predict long-term, due to multiple factors, in particular the kind of drills that the Americans will nevertheless hold after the Olympics, how extensive and provocative they will be to the North," Matsegora said.

"Of course, the North gets very nervous whenever such exercises take place. Especially when organizers declare that the exercises focus on practicing a takeover of Pyongyang, destroying DPRK leadership, landing onto the DPRK shore, and installing administrative control over North Korean provinces," Matsegora said.

At the same time, past exercises would be held each year and even then both six-party and inter-Korean talks continued regardless, the diplomat said.

"The exercises naturally were a deterrent in the North and South moving towards one another, and in general made the situation more complicated, but were not a insurmountable obstacle," the Russian ambassador said.