Russian FM says U.S.’ approach to denuclearizing N.K. ‘all at once’ stalled dialogue

MOSCOW-- The United States' approach of trying to denuclearize North Korea "all at once" is what has kept the negotiations locked in the current impasse, Russia's top diplomat said Thursday.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the remark against the background of a nuclear dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang that has been stalled since February's Hanoi summit ended without a deal.

The two sides held working-level talks in Sweden last month, but they broke down with the North accusing the U.S. of failing to bring a new proposal to the table.

Early this week, senior North Korean officials ramped up their call for Washington to drop its "hostile policy" toward the communist state, warning that there will be no third summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and their leader Kim Jong-un if it "brings nothing."

"Of late, as you know, these contacts have been stalled and the reason for this is very simple: the DPRK believes that it has done many particular things, which deserves reciprocal steps, while the Americans think that they need all at once and then they will ponder how to encourage North Korea," Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russia's Tass news agency.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

He made the comment during a press conference held after his meeting with Malaysian counterpart, Saifuddin Abdullah, the news agency said.

North Korea has sought sanctions relief and security guarantees in exchange for its nuclear program, but the U.S. insists on seeing concrete and verifiable denuclearization steps first.

The foreign minister said that Russia and China have drawn up a more detailed plan to facilitate the dialogue process, under four different categories -- military, political, economic and humanitarian -- including ways to reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula and restore inter-Korean economic ties, among other things.

The plan is an upgraded version of the action plan the two countries submitted to the U.S., Japan and the two Koreas during the six-party talks in the early 2000s, he said.

His remark also came after he held talks with North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui on Wednesday (Russia time). Choe was in Moscow to attend a strategic dialogue between the two countries.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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