18 Oct 2017 18:10

S. Korean, N. Korean parliamentarians converse informally on sidelines of IPU Assembly in St. Petersburg - Matviyenko

ST. PETERSBURG. Oct 18 (Interfax) - North Korean and South Korean parliamentarians communicated informally on the sidelines of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko said.

"Some journalists saw parliamentarians from South and North Korea converse on the sidelines, albeit briefly, which is already good," Matviyenko said at a press conference following the IPU Assembly on Wednesday.

"The very fact that the North and South Korean delegations agreed and came to participate in the 137th Assembly is an important and positive step," she said.

Matviyenko said she had bilateral talks with both the North and South Korean delegations.

"South Korean delegates spoke at the assembly and said they were willing to sit down at the negotiating table with their counterparts from the North Korean parliament. The North Korean parliamentarians said they were not ready for this," she said.

They explained their position by saying that "the United States has pursued an unfriendly policy toward North Korea for 70 years," Matviyenko said.

"We told them that the conditions in which the international community could provide international guarantees of the country's sovereignty and security formalized through international documents can be worked out only at the negotiating table. There is no other way except negotiations," she said.

It was reported earlier that a member of the South Korean delegation had approached North Korean representatives on the sidelines of the IPU Assembly on October 16.