S. Korean nuke envoy leaves for Russia

SEOUL-- South Korea's top nuclear negotiator Lee Do-hoon departed for Moscow on Thursday for talks with his Russian counterpart and to attend an international nonproliferation conference, officials said.

In the Russian capital Friday, Lee plans to meet Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov to discuss cooperation in the ongoing efforts to denuclearize North Korea and foster a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Lee also plans to attend the three-day Moscow Nonproliferation Conference that runs through Saturday.

Hosted by Russia's Center for Energy and Security Studies, the conference is set to bring together some 250 participants from more than 40 countries, including North Korea, as well as those from key international organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Expectations have emerged that the two Koreas could have diplomatic contact on the margins of the conference, at a time when efforts to improve cross-border ties have been stalled amid a lack of progress in denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Jo Chol-su, director-general of the North American affairs bureau at North Korea's foreign ministry, was set to attend the conference, while Washington sent U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Mark Lambert to the forum. It remains unclear whether Lambert and Jo can meet each other during the forum.

Washington and Pyongyang had the last working-level nuclear negotiations in Sweden last month but made little progress. Since then, the two sides have not yet set a date for another round of nuclear talks.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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