Moscow: Averting nuclear clash in Northeast Asia should be main focus
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister says creating a peacekeeping mechanism in northeast Asia can solve the problems there.
Moscow considers that avoiding a nuclear confrontation in Northeast Asia must be the priority of the involved parties and establishing a "peacekeeping system" would be the best practice to resolve the problems in that region, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated to Sputnik on Saturday.
"I wouldn’t want to talk about the prospects for an open nuclear confrontation in Northeast Asia, since the efforts of all the parties involved should be concentrated on avoiding it. I also want to add that the only reliable way not just to move away from the dangerous mark, but to solve the numerous problems, including the nuclear one, of the subregion, would be the creation of a peacekeeping system," he said.
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When asked if Moscow backs recognizing DPRK as a nuclear state, the diplomat stressed that Russia is committed to the current status of the NPT (Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty).
"As for the question regarding a hypothetical recognition of the nuclear status of the DPRK [North Korea], I would like to reiterate that Russia is fully committed to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, according to which only the ‘Big Five’ countries have nuclear status," Ryabkov told Sputnik.
Ryabkov also told the Russian media outlet that the new US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy will meet with him and present her credentials early next week.
"It [the meeting] will take place right at the beginning of the week. It is expected that Ambassador Tracy will submit copies of credentials to me," Ryabkov told Sputnik.
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Earlier this month, South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol stated that his country might develop its own nuclear weapons or host American nuclear assets in case its neighbor DPRK does not stop its nuclear program.
Some days later, Yoon backed down on his previous statement that his country could develop independent nuclear weapons, noting that Seoul's "realistic and rational option" is to abide by the NPT text.
Last September, the DPRK passed legislation that declares the country a nuclear-weapon state, giving its leader, Kim Jong Un, sole authority over nuclear decisions, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing Pyongyang's state media.
On January 3, South Korea's presidential office said Seoul and Washington are discussing joint planning and exercises involving US nuclear assets to counter growing "North Korean threats," despite US President Joe Biden saying earlier that no such joint drills would take place.
On January 11, South Korea's Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup announced that his country and the United States will hold tabletop exercises (TTX) in February involving American nuclear forces.
Under the NPT signed by the US, it is prohibited to transfer nuclear weapons to other countries or help non-nuclear states develop or obtain nuclear weapons.