Kim willing to postpone nuke tests

Updated: 2011-08-25 07:40

(China Daily)

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 Kim willing to postpone nuke tests

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev shakes hands with DPRK leader Kim Jong-il at a military garrison outside Ulan-Ude in Byryatia, on Wednesday. RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov / Presidential Press Service via Associated Press

MOSCOW - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is ready to impose a moratorium on nuclear missile tests if international talks on its nuclear program resume, a spokesman for Russia's president said on Wednesday after talks between the two leaders.

Russian news agencies, meanwhile, reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il said his country is ready to resume talks "without preconditions".

Kim and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met on Wednesday on a military base near the city of Ulan-Ude in eastern Siberia in Kim's first trip to Russia since 2002.

The Six-Party Talks have been long-stalled, but Kim's Russia trip comes as his country pushes to restart them. The Republic of Korea (ROK) and Washington have demanded that the DPRK first show its sincerity on fulfilling past nuclear commitments.

The Korean Peninsula has seen more than a year of tension during which the DPRK shelled an ROK island and allegedly torpedoed an ROK warship.

Medvedev spokeswoman Natalya Timakova was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency as saying that Kim expressed readiness to return to the Six-Party Talks without preconditions and "in the course of the talks, the DPRK will be ready to resolve the question of imposing a moratorium on tests and production of nuclear missile weapons".

Medvedev said Russia and the DPRK also moved forward on a proposed project to ship natural gas to the ROK through a pipeline that crosses the DPRK.

Pyongyang had long been reluctant about the prospect of helping its industrial powerhouse archenemy increase its gas supply, but recently has shown interest in the project. Seoul wants the Russian energy but is wary of DPRK influence over its energy supply.

Associated Press

(China Daily 08/25/2011 page12)