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S. Korea's top nuke envoy departs for Russia to discuss six-way talks

2013/08/13 12:50

SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's point man on efforts to end North Korea's nuclear programs departed for Russia on Tuesday to hold talks with his Russian counterpart as the neighboring countries try to resume the long-stalled dialogue to denuclearize the North.

During his three-day visit to Moscow, Cho Tae-yong, South Korea's special representative for peace and security affairs on the Korean Peninsula, will meet with Igor Vladimirovich Morgulov, Russia's top negotiator for North Korea's denuclearization, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.

"I plan to share detailed opinions on how to assess North Korea's nuclear programs and threats and discuss how to push ahead with efforts to denuclearize the North during this visit," Cho told Yonhap News Agency before leaving the country.

Russia is one of the few very important pillars for the international non-proliferation system and has plenty of ideas about North Korea's nuclear arms possession, the official said, adding that Russia has a very clear stance on the North Korean nuclear issue.

The forthcoming meeting is the first of its kind between the two top delegates to the long-stalled six-party talks, designed to persuade the North to discard its nuclear programs, since Cho took office in May.

The Seoul-Moscow contact comes as the nations involved in the denuclearization talks scurry to revive the dialogue, which has been stalled since late 2008 after the North walked away from the negotiating table over the United Nations' condemnation of its satellite program.

The six countries to the disarmament talks involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.

In June, Cho held talks with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Glyn Davies and Shinsuke Sugiyama, in Washington, and he separately met with China's top delegate to the six-party talks, Wu Dawei, in Beijing in the same week.

Meanwhile, North Korea's top negotiator Kim Kye-gwan has visited China and Russia earlier this year to drum up their support for resuming the multinational dialogue.

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February, sparking a strong backlash from the international community and

drawing toughened sanctions against it by the United Nations and the United States.

The outside world believes the North's satellite launch in December was a cover for testing ballistic missiles that it is now developing.

pbr@yna.co.kr

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