N. Korea demand for peace treaty worth taking note: Russian envoy

October 22, 2015
Ambassador Alexander Timonin speaks to Yonhap News Agency at the Russian Embassy in Seoul on Oct. 21, 2015. (Yonhap)

Ambassador Alexander Timonin speaks to Yonhap News Agency at the Russian Embassy in Seoul on Oct. 21, 2015. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) – Moscow’s top envoy to Seoul said, in clear contrast to the positions of Seoul and Washington, that it is worth taking note of North Korea’s renewed demands for a peace treaty with the United States.

North Korea has called for peace treaty talks with the U.S., claiming the Armistice Agreement that ended the 1950-53 Korean War does not ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Both Seoul and Washington have rejected the proposal as a ploy to divert attention away from its nuclear weapons program, which they say should be dismantled first before talks for a peace treaty can begin.

“In my personal view, it is certainly worth taking note of proposals that aim to strengthen peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Ambassador Alexander Timonin said in an exclusive interview with Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday. “The cease-fire situation hampers sufficient cooperation between South and North.”

Russia is a member of the now-suspended six-party talks that produced a deal in 2005 to end North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for economic and political concessions.

As Pyongyang backtracked on the agreement, Seoul and Washington have demanded the communist country first demonstrate its commitment to its obligations to restart the negotiations.

“I believe the resumption of the six-party denuclearization talks should not be linked to any preconditions,” Timonin said. “That’s why I think Pyongyang’s proposal (for peace treaty talks) is worth taking note. I think this proposal could contribute to building an environment for trust on the Korean Peninsula.”

The ambassador stressed that Moscow has fully supported the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, an issue on which Russia and South Korea have “very similar positions.”

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