Sergei Ivanov: Aggravated Korean Problem Directly Linked with Iraqi War

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov believes that the aggravation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula is directly linked with the war in Iraq. This was disclosed to reporters here today by Ivanov himself. The Russian Defence Minister arrived on a three-day visit in the South Korean capital on April 10.

Ivanov reminded his audience that he had warned his US colleagues during his September 2002 US visit that incipient military operations in Iraq could entail unpredictable consequences in other regions of the world. Last but not the least, this also concerns the Korean Peninsula, Ivanov stressed. This was one of our arguments against the war in Iraq, Ivanov added. Meanwhile we don't perceive North Korea as an Iraq-type country because Russia borders on North Korea, Ivanov added.

According to Ivanov, the war in Iraq whips up the arms race in North Korea and all over the world. It is crystal clear that more and more countries are trying to obtain their own mass-destruction weapons, as well as simply destructive weapons, Ivanov went on to say.

In Ivanov's opinion, South Korea, which is North Korea's nearest neighbour, would like to settle the situation on the Korean Peninsula as soon as possible. That's why we and South Korea's leadership should elaborate a common position as regards the settlement of this situation, while discussing the Korean problem, Ivanov noted. Our two countries are playing on this field, Ivanov stressed.

Both Moscow and Seoul will advocate bilateral consultations between the United States and North Korea, or will suggest holding multilateral behind-the-scenes consultations making it possible to deblock this crisis, Ivanov stressed. This trouble-shooting option implies that Pyongyang would once again abide by all international non-proliferation regimes, also placing its facilities under IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) control. In return, the North Korean side would obtain security and non-aggression guarantees. The concerned parties would also guarantee North Korea's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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