Russia welcomes DPRK nuclear moratorium: official

Russia on Thursday welcomed a decision by the new leadership in its neighbour Democratic People Republic of Korea  (DPRK) to suspend nuclear tests and its uranium enrichment programme in exchange for US food aid.

"We particularly welcome the decision of North Korea to impose a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing and also on uranium enrichment," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It also applauded Washington for offering Pyongyang humanitarian aid and said it welcomed the fact that the United States "had taken a number of steps ... toward the normalisation of relations between the two countries."

Russia has been a member of the stalled six-party negotiations on the DPRK's nuclear crisis and enjoys some access to DPRK's leaders thanks to the two nations' Soviet-era ties.

But an August meeting in Siberia between President Dmitry Medvedev and DPRK's late leader Kim Jong-Il produced no nuclear breakthrough despite a raft of economic agreements and a promise to build a Russian gas link to DPRK.

Analysts believe Moscow's influence on Pyongyang is now limited because DPRK gets the overwhelming majority of its economic aid from China.

Russia's statement said "we are prepared to continue close cooperation with all partners of the six-party negotiations in the interests of ensuring the complete and irrevocable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

The DPRK committed late Wednesday to suspend its uranium enrichment programme along with nuclear and long-range missile tests, and to let UN nuclear inspectors monitor the deal.

The agreement followed talks held in Beijing last week between US and DPRK's negotiators.

Source: AFP

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