Russia regrets North Korea's pullout from nuclear free status agreement

Moscow regrets North Korea's unilateral withdrawal from an agreement with South Korea on the nuclear-free status of the Korean peninsula.

When addressing a news conference in Moscow, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov described this step of North Korea as deplorable.

He then urged for more intensive politico-diplomatic steps towards the Korean settlement.

The minister said it was not that important in which format the settlement effort would proceed - involving the United States and North Korea only or all the countries neighbouring the region, i.e. South Korea, Japan, China and Russia in the first instance.

"Russia has always advocated a nuclear-free status for the Korean peninsula, North Korea's rejoining all the non-proliferation understandings, including the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and the unconditional respect for the North's sovereignty and legitimate security interests," said Mr Ivanov.

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