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Russia Welcomes US Flexibility With N Korea, Hopes for Resumption of Dialogue - Ambassador to UN

© AP Photo / Richard DrewRussian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia - Sputnik International
UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - Russia welcomes the readiness of the United States to demonstrate flexibility in dealing with North Korea and hopes the denuclearization talks between the two countries will resume, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told reporters.

"We welcome the flexibility," Nebenzia said on Wednesday. "We had high hopes for the dialogue that had started between the US and DPRK; we would like that to be resumed."

Nebenzia also said that Russia believes the UN Security Council should adopt a political resolution on North Korea instead of replacing diplomacy with sanctions.

"Sanctions cannot replace diplomacy and the negotiating process is a two-way street. We believe that the time has come to adopt a political resolution of the council on the situation on the Korean peninsula," Nebenzia said during a UN Security Council meeting on non-proliferation on Wednesday.

Nebenzia pointed out that Russia has always been advocating for improving confidence-building measures to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the United Nations should bolster these efforts.

"The UN Security Council must be used to support the peace process and inter-Korean dialogue rather than becoming an obstacle to it. Using only sanctions and pressure, it will be impossible to achieve," Nebenzia said.

The Russian ambassador explained it is essential to develop a roadmap that would outline the process of lifting the UN Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea.

Nebenzia also urged the United States as well as other countries to avoid the practice of unilateral sanctions that are "destructive" to the goal of achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Earlier on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said during a UN Security Council meeting on non-proliferation that Washington is prepared to be flexible in denuclearization talks with North Korea.

“While the United States has sought to engage in robust diplomacy with the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], we have seen deeply troubling signs that they are headed in a different direction,” Craft said ahead of a Security Council meeting on North Korea. “We have not asked North Korea to do everything before we do anything. We are prepared to be flexible, but we cannot solve this problem alone.”

Craft added that North Korea must do its part toward denuclearization and avoid further provocations.

Craft also said that North Korea may in the coming weeks launch rockets using long-range ballistic missile technology or test the launching of intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to reach the continental United States with nuclear weapons.

“The DPRK [North Korea] has threatened to take a new path in the coming weeks and has used its public statements to hint at a resumption of serious provocations,” Craft said. “In practical terms, this would mean that the DPRK could launch space vehicles using long-range ballistic missile technology, or that they could even test to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are designed to attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons.”

Craft also said that the UN Security Council must stand ready to take appropriate action if North Korea decides not to engage in negotiations.

Nebenzia noted that North Korea had delivered on the promises to abandon its nuclear programs until recently and the international community should not have expected it to do so in the absence of any steps in return.

"Negotiation is a two-way street and that should be understood," Nebenzia said, adding that North Korea should refrain from any further provocative actions.

In late November, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan that flew at about 380 kilometres (236 miles) at an altitude of 97 kilometres.

On Saturday, the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations said that denuclearization was off the table in talks with the United States, prompting US President Donald Trump to urge country to denuclearize as it had promised.

In 2018, relations between Pyongyang and Washington improved as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held direct talks with Trump and the president of South Korea. However, the negotiation process came to a standstill this year due to a lack of specific denuclearization measures and resumed missile tests.

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