Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov’s interview with TASS news agency
Question: Who leads the Russian delegation at the Beijing Forum to be held on September 18-19 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the signing by the six negotiating parties (Russia, China, the United States, Japan, North Korea and South Korea) of a Joint Declaration on the Denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula?
What do you think about the prospects of unfreezing the six-party talks on Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue? When, do you think, can they be resumed and what needs to be done to resume them?
Igor Morgulov: On September 18-19, Beijing will host an international conference dedicated to the 10thanniversary of the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue held on September 19, 2005. Russia is represented by Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador-at-Large Grigory Logvinov.
As is known, the Six-Party Talks were suspended almost seven years ago. However, this doesn’t mean that the parties involved haven’t been looking for mutually acceptable solutions to the nuclear issue during this period. This work continues today by way of numerous contacts between the participants on a bilateral basis. Unfortunately, this is not enough. We need a candid, face-to-face, straight talk between all six participants. We are working to make such a dialogue happen.
The joint statement reflects the agreed upon vision of the main objectives and principles of the six-party talks. The key elements of the document include the DPRK's commitment to renounce nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programmes and rejoining, as soon as possible, the NPT and the IAEA, as well as the US statement about the absence of hostile intentions towards the DPRK and its willingness to normalise bilateral relations with Pyongyang. In addition, the participants have confirmed their respect for the DPRK’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and agreed to discuss the provision of a light water reactor to that country within a reasonable timeframe. Thus, the adoption of the joint statement showed that a productive dialogue in search of a compromise solution is possible, if there is goodwill.
While in no way justifying Pyongyang’s possession of nuclear missile programmes — Russia made its approach clear in its UN Security Council vote for corresponding resolutions — we nevertheless believe that in order to be able to resolve the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula, it is imperative to eliminate its root causes first of all. We build our approach towards the settlement based on this understanding. The discussion should unfold in a broad context for promoting military detente in the region, dismantling the confrontational infrastructure and forming a properly functioning multilateral mechanism for peace and security in Northeast Asia. We actively promote this concept among our partners. We believe that this is the only realistic approach towards a political and diplomatic way out of this deadlock in negotiations.