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Russian Works Toward Dialogue between North Korean and South Korean Delegates in Inter-Parliamentary Union Meeting

Oct. 15, 2017 (EIRNS)—Efforts are afoot to orchestrate a direct dialogue between the South Korean and North Korean Parliamentary delegates attending the Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly at St. Petersburg, TASS reported today. Citing Sen. Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Federation Council International Affairs Committee, TASS said that

"Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko is scheduled to meet with North and South Korea’s delegations on the sidelines of the Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly on Oct. 16 to call on Seoul and Pyongyang to hold a direct dialogue."

However, Sputnik cited Pyotr Tolstoy, Deputy Speaker of the State Duma (the lower house), as saying: "There will be no direct contact between the delegations of two Koreas." An unnamed member of North Korea’s delegation responded to a question whether there were plans for his delegation and the South Korean delegation to meet, saying, there were "No such plans yet." The delegate told the assembly:

"Amid the upcoming joint exercises of the United States and South Korea, and also taking into account the unprecedented sanctions of the United States, can we even talk about getting to the negotiating table?"

Meanwhile, TASS reported today that the North Korean delegation left

"the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly conference hall before South Korea’s delegation-head took the floor. The North Korean delegates were present during most of speeches. But shortly before Chung Sye-kyun, speaker of South Korea’s National Assembly, was to take the floor, a TASS correspondent saw the North Korean delegation leaving the conference hall and going outside the building. The delegates returned only after the break."

Chung appealed to his North Korean colleagues: "I once again call on North Korea to return to the negotiating table and to resolve the problem [of the Korean Peninsula] in the near future," according to Sputnik.