North Korea's foreign minister met Russia's chief envoy to international negotiations on the standoff over the North's nuclear programs, the North's official media said Monday.
The meeting on Sunday between Paek Nam Sun and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev came before a new round of six-nation talks are to begin in Beijing on Wednesday to try to resolve the three-year standoff.
Alekseyev's delegation, which arrived in Pyongyang on Saturday, paid a courtesy call on Paek and held talks, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in a brief dispatch. It gave no other details.
This week's nuclear talks, the fifth since 2003, are expected to focus on the implementation of a breakthrough accord reached in September in which North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear programs in exchange for security guarantees, energy aid and diplomatic recognition.
The North has since insisted that it also be provided with a nuclear reactor for generating electricity, which other countries have rejected. The talks include China, Japan, Russia, the United States and the two Koreas, AP reports.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23