North Korean authorities ready for constructive dialogue with Seoul

The North-Korean authorities confirmed their readiness for a constructive dialogue with Seoul, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said on Monday, following his visit to North Korea.

According to the Russian minister, Pyongyang considers that the incident, which happened to North Korean and South Korean fleets in the Yellow Sea on June 29th, should not hamper the inter-Korean dialogue.

Moreover, Pyongyang is ready to consider measures on preventing such incidents in the future, Ivanov said. According to Ivanov, it is important that the inter-Korean dialogue should develop without pauses, regardless of the outcome of the forthcoming presidential election in South Korea in December 2002.

Pyongyang is also ready for a constructive dialogue with the USA and Japan without any preliminary conditions, the Russian foreign minister stressed.

Such a dialogue is an opportunity to discuss the whole range of problems of the Korean Peninsula and bilateral relations, Ivanov added.

"Russia would welcome Pyongyang's dialogue with Washington and Tokyo," he said.

According to Russia's appraisal, North Korea could be ready for contacts with US and Japanese representatives during the forthcoming ASEAN regional forum in Brunei on July 30th-August 1st, the minister noted.

The North Korean leadership highly appraises Moscow's efforts on inter-Korean settlement and is interested in its active role in this process, Igor Ivanov concluded.