13:02 GMT +325 September 2017
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    A woman walks past a television screen showing a picture of North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), at a railway station in Seoul on July 4, 2017.

    Russia's 'Potential Influence' Could Help Resolve North Korean Crisis

    © AFP 2017/ JUNG Yeon-Je
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    Russia could influence North Korea, which in the current situation brings hope for the settlement of the ongoing crisis on the Korean Peninsula, according to Prof. Hideshi Takesada from Takushoku University in Tokyo.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Takesada, who is a prominent defense specialist and expert on North Korea, commented on a recent proposal by the head of the Russian upper parliamentary house Valentina Matvienko to defuse the tensions around Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

    On September 4, Matvienko said that Moscow was ready to facilitate a meeting between delegations from North and South Korea as part of the 137th Assembly, set to be held in St. Petersburg in October.

    "I highly appreciate this Russian initiative. Russia’s active involvement will be very significant for the stabilization of the Korean Peninsula. Russia has diplomatic ties with both countries, South Korea and the North. Russia has great potential to exert influence [on the situation]," Takesada pointed out.

    The tensions in the region have been high over recent months due to Pyongyang's repeated missile and nuclear tests on the one hand, and South Korea's joint drills with the United States and deployment of  US weapons on its soil, on the other.

    For its own part, Russia has repeatedly voiced concern over the escalation and already attempted to come up with a plan to resolve the crisis. During Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow this summer, the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries issued a joint statement proposing ways to de-escalate the situation. Moscow and Beijing called on Pyongyang to stop the nuclear tests and urged Washington and Seoul to refrain from conducting joint drills.

    Takesada suggested that since Russia is a country known for its long-standing non-proliferation efforts it should "demonstrate its diplomatic influence on North Korea."

    In light of Pyongyang testing its latest and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, the Japanese expert stressed that this move has brought tensions to an alarming level.

    "Having detonated an H-bomb, North Korea proved it may soon obtain a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the US. Pyongyang is building its potential and its next step may be an invitation to dialogue with Washington. This is why it is important that Russia creates the opportunity to increase confidence between the North and the South," Takesada said.

    Elaborating further on Russia’s potential to influence North Korea, the expert noted that this potential is mostly due to Moscow’s economic ties with Pyongyang, including sea port logistics, railway projects and oil supplies. According to Takesada, the scope of Russia-North Korea economic ties "gives hope" that Russia can play a major role in the settlement on the Korean issue.

    Topic:
    UNSC Adopts Resolution on New Sanctions Against North Korea (20)

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    Tags:
    North Korean nuclear program, nuclear weapons, diplomacy, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Russia
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