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Russia to seek Korea peninsula nuclear-free status at talks

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Russia will seek the Korean peninsula's nuclear-free status at six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program, a source close to a Russian delegation in Beijing said Sunday.
BEIJING, December 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will seek the Korean peninsula's nuclear-free status at six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program, a source close to a Russian delegation in Beijing said Sunday.

The Russian delegation led by Russia's Ambassador to China Sergei Razov arrived December 17 in Beijing to hold consultations with the parties to six-nation talks on the North Korea nuclear problem.

The six-party talks are scheduled to resume December 18. The negotiations, involving North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the U.S., were launched in 2003 to persuade North Korea to give up its controversial nuclear program after Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Russia sees its main task in achieving the Korean peninsula's non-nuclear status, strengthening stability and security and developing cooperation in North-East Asia, the source said.

"This can be achieved through a constructive dialog and mutual respect for each other's interests and concerns," the source said.

The six-nation talks stalled in November 2005 over Pyongyang's demand that the U.S. lift sanctions imposed on it for its alleged involvement in counterfeiting and other illegal activities.

Following North Korea's October 9 announcement that it had conducted its first nuclear bomb test, the UN Security Council passed a special resolution October 14 blocking all deliveries of military equipment and supplies to the country.

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