For years, Russia has been playing a major role in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. The UN General Assembly is just one of the places where Moscow and Pyongyang have a chance to share their views on the process of peace talks.
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a bilateral meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho.
#Lavrov and FM Ri Yong Ho of #DPRK discussed bilateral adgenda & the current situation on and around the #Korean peninsula | Лавров обсудил с главой МИД #КНДР Ли Ён Хо двусторонние 🇷🇺🇰🇵 отношения и ситуацию вокруг Корейского полуострова. #UNGA #UNGA73 pic.twitter.com/LDNKkuIVZc— Russian Mission UN (@RussiaUN) September 26, 2018
The positive contacts between Seoul and Pyongyang accelerated in the past few years, thanks to peacekeeping efforts by Russia, China, and more recently — the US. Donald Trump's administration praised the North Korean leadership for its willingness to cooperate with the international community.
Secretary of State Pompeo is currently preparing for a trip to Pyongyang to lay the groundwork for another Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit.
Nevertheless, if you listen closely to speeches of Pompeo and other top Washington officials, aside from praising themselves and the North Korean leadership, it looks like the US is not prepared to ease the "stick" part of its "carrot-and-stick" DPRK policy.
The US considers its peacekeeping mission in Korea a success, Mike Pompeo even promised “The Dawn of the New Day” to DPRK. Nevertheless, nothing is done so far to ease pressure on Pyongyang. pic.twitter.com/Ekk6qiGzNK— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) September 27, 2018
Russia and China both play an active role in the DPRK peace talks. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who spoke at the UN ministerial meeting on North Korea non-proliferation, more trust is needed between some "peacekeepers" and the DPRK:
"We are convinced that building trust is a key to resolving the problems on the Korean Peninsula through political and diplomatic means. The agreement reached in Pyongyang by North and South is a very important step in that direction."
However, unlike the US, Russia, according to the country's foreign minister, is calling for a more balanced approach, which will rely not only on restrictions and pressure against Pyongyang:
"It is unacceptable for sanctions against the DPRK to become an instrument of collective punishment. Lack of trust between Washington and Pyongyang hinders the development of joint measures, which the parties could take at the same time and sequentially to move the process of resolving outstanding differences forward."
In his speech, Lavrov also pointed out that "any negotiation is a two-way street," and called for the gradual removal of sanctions against Pyongyang. He also reminded to his colleagues that similar talks with Iran ended with the US failing to deliver on their promises.
#Lavrov: Steps by the DPRK towards disarmament should be followed by easing of sanctions.This is necessary to avoid a situation,which occurred with JCPOA, where the US, based on bogus pretext, withdrew from the Iranian Deal unilaterally, and that violated their UNSC obligations. pic.twitter.com/RJbixosKry— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) September 27, 2018
Sergey Lavrov has a busy schedule during this year's General Assembly. After the DPRK non-proliferation session on Thursday, he met with his BRICS counterparts — the foreign ministers of China, Brazil, India and South Africa.
#Lavrov met his colleagues of the #BRICS countries at the traditional ministerial meeting on the sidelines of #UNGA. The FMs confirmed the intention to increase cooperation on the principles of multilateralism.🇷🇺🇧🇷🇮🇳🇿🇦🇨🇳 pic.twitter.com/lnMYpgUDX3— Russian Mission UN (@RussiaUN) September 27, 2018
On Friday, Russia's top diplomat will be addressing world leaders at the UN General Debate. On the same day, the Russian delegation will conclude its visit to the 73rd UN General Assembly meeting.