Lavrov Visits the Hermit Kingdom: Peace of Peninsula Hangs in the Balance of Negotiations
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, received our foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, during his visit to Pyongyang, TASS reports with a reference to a source within the Russian delegation. At the talks, Sergey Lavrov and Kim Jong-Un discussed the Korean peninsula issue and deeper cooperation in order to resolve it.
Our special correspondent Darya Kozlova reports on the minister's working visit.
It's an official visit by the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the first during Kim Jong-un's tenure. They only had a few hours in the North Korean capital to go over everything. The agenda included the development of bilateral relations and the resolution of the crisis on the Korean peninsula. On the eve of the meeting between Kim Jong-Un and Trump Russia urges not to force events and not to demand everything at once.
Sergey Lavrov: «We consider it very important to treat these contacts extremely delicately, to not try to make sudden moves, to not try to artificially accelerate this process which will, of course, take considerable time and require a most detailed discussion of all the components of the dossier that will ensure not only the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but also peace and stability throughout Northeast Asia. Russia, in its turn, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, as a participant in six-party talks, and just as a good neighbor of North Korea is ready to contribute to these efforts, which is welcomed by our Korean friends».
At the same time, Sergey Lavrov emphasizes that a solution to the Korean peninsula issue will be incomplete without lifting the sanctions. This should be a step-by-step process. They also discussed the development of economic ties. Some sectors of Russian-North Korean cooperation have been withdrawn from UN sanctions. Russian coal is delivered via the peninsula. It is planned to build a gas pipeline from Russia to South Korea and a Trans-Korean railway.
Sergey Lavrov: «The leaders of South and North Koreas have supported this idea. Bringing together the railways has always been considered in the context of trilateral cooperation with the Russian Federation, given that it's possible to connect the Trans-Korean railway to the Trans-Siberian Railway. Many people might be interested in such a route to Europe».
To pay tribute to the host, the Russian delegation visited the monument to Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. It's a must during official visits. Then, they laid wreaths at the Liberation Monument. This is the main obelisk in the country, dedicated to the Soviet army, commemorating those who died, liberating Korea during the Second World War. The drafts of the monument are believed to have been drafted by Kim Il-sung himself. There a star on the top and an inscription in Korean and Russian under it. The monument consists of 509 blocks. The date of the victory is encoded in it: The fifth month, the ninth day. And the heaviest of the blocks weighs 45 tons.
Vladimir Putin would also lay wreaths here in July of 2000. Sergey Lavrov was last in Pyongyang in 2009. On May 31st he was the first Russian official to hold a meeting with Kim Jong-un. Their conversation remains behind closed doors. But the talks themselves are important. The Chairman of the North Korean State Affairs Commission doesn't receive ministers every day.
The beginning of 2018 became a real diplomatic spring for North Korea. Kim Jong-un has already held four summits, with the most discussed meeting looming. Sergey Lavrov arrives in Pyongyang less than two weeks before the first ever North Korea-USA summit.
Darya Kozlova, Nikita Korneev, Olga Khodinova for Vesti from Pyongyang.