Russia sets conditions for North Korea sanctions
MOSCOW - Any sanctions approved by the UN Security Council against North Korea should not even hint at the use of force and should be for a limited period, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said Saturday.
“Sanctions should not carry even a hint at any kind of forceful methods and should not be aimed against the North Korean people,” Ivanov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying after a meeting with Chinese State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan.
“We and China share the view that means of political pressure via the UN Security Council cannot be for an unlimited period, so in the event of a return by North Korea to six-party talks and progress in those talks, sanctions, if they are adopted, should automatically be cancelled,” Ivanov said.
The comments came as envoys from Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Japan were expected to meet at the United Nations Saturday to consider sanctions against North Korea following its declared nuclear test last Monday.
Moscow and Beijing are both members of the six-way talks process aimed at persuading Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions, but they have opposed the idea of more forceful measures against the North Korean regime.
Ivanov on Saturday repeated Russia’s condemnation of the test.
The test “provoked unanimous condemnation from the whole international community. Put simply, it was a disgrace,” Ivanov was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying.
Ivanov added that no ecological damage had been caused to Russia or China, but that this provided no reassurance for the future.
“The resulting nuclear explosion did not inflict any kind of ecological damage either on Russia or, as I’m told, China. It occurred... as planned,” he said.
But “there is no guarantee that a repeat of such an explosion would not have serious ecological consequences for Russia and China’s residents,” Ivanov said.
Tang, who was in Moscow after a visit to Washington, said that China and Russia were in agreement.
“On the North Korean nuclear problem the Chinese and Russian positions coincide,” ITAR-TASS quoted Tang as saying.
The Chinese official, who was formerly his country’s foreign minister, was expected to meet President Vladimir Putin later.
In addition to Russia and China the other members of the six-way talks process are South Korea, the United States, Japan and North Korea itself.
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