The leaders of Russia and Japan have condemned North Korea’s conduct and urged the reclusive communist state to observe UN resolutions, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a joint statement after talks in the Kremlin on Monday.
“The two countries’ leaders have condemned the conduct of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), the official name of North Korea, which, despite calls from the international community, is pertinaciously refusing to give up the creation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles,” the statement said.
“They stressed that conducting a nuclear test on February 12 this year was a direct violation of corresponding UN Security Council resolutions… and firmly demanded that the DPRK comply with UN Security Council resolutions,” it said.
The Russian-Japanese joint statement also said the Russian President had called for the soonest possible settlement through talks of the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea from 1977-1983.
Tensions have risen sharply on the Korean Peninsula since December, when North Korea tested a long-range Taepodong 2 missile, followed in February by its third nuclear test.
The UN responded with sanctions. The start of joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States last month further irritated the North, which threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland, as well as on US forces in the region.
North Korea has demanded to be recognized as a nuclear weapons state, rejecting a US condition that it agrees to give up its nuclear arms program before talks can begin.
After North Korea’s threats of nuclear war, the North appeared willing to at least talk about dialogue in response to calls for talks from both the United States and South Korea.
The North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper rejected as groundless and unacceptable the US and South Korean condition that it agrees to dismantle its nuclear weapons and suspend missile launches.
“If the DPRK sits at a table with the US it has to be a dialogue between nuclear weapons states, not one side forcing the other to dismantle nuclear weapons,” the newspaper said.
A White House spokesman said this month that North Korea needed to show it was serious about abandoning its nuclear ambitions for talks to be meaningful.
North Korea signed a denuclearization-for-aid deal in 2005 but later backed out. It conducted its third nuclear test in February and says its nuclear arms are a “treasured sword” that it will never give up.
The test triggered new UN sanctions which were answered by more North Korean threats of nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States.
But in a sign the hostility was easing North Korea last Thursday offered the United States and South Korea a list of conditions for talks, including the lifting of UN sanctions.
The United States responded by saying it awaited “clear signals” that North Korea would halt its nuclear weapons activities.
North Korea has a long record of making threats to secure concessions from the United States and South Korea, only to repeat the process later. Both the United States and the South have said in recent days that the cycle must cease.
Source: RIA Novosti; The Guardian; Rodong Sinmun