Executive Intelligence Review


Lavrov in North Korea Meets with Foreign Minister Ri and Chairman Kim

May 31, 2018 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in North Korea today holding talks with Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Chairman Kim Jong-un. He spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by telephone before his Korea trip. Commenting on recent talks among the various parties, Lavrov said,

“We welcome those contacts which have been developing between North and South Korea, North Korea and the United States. We welcome the summits between Pyongyang and Seoul which have already taken place and the planned meetings at the highest level between the leadership of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the U.S.”

Lavrov addressed the parameters of negotiations, saying:

“Touching on sanctions, this is absolutely clear that starting this discussion about solving the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear problem, we believe that it cannot be full until sanctions [against North Korea] are removed.”

He went on to day,

“But how to move forward to this, that’s about the art of negotiators. But this cannot be done in one move. It is impossible in one move to ensure denuclearization, and that’s why certainly there should be some stages and there should be the oncoming traffic at each of these stages.”

Lavrov said that he and Ri also talked about implementing trilateral economic projects among Russia, North Korea and South Korea, including the earlier initiatives concerning unifying railways, building a gas pipeline, and also in the electric power industry. “Leaders of the North and the South at their meeting expressed interest in unifying railways networks,” Lavrov said.

“As a good neighbor of North Korea, Russia is ready to make its contribution to these efforts. Our Korean friends welcome this, so we have discussed some steps that could be taken to that end.”

Lavrov also announced that Sen. Valentina Matviyenko, who is president of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s legislature, will pay a visit to North Korea soon.

The Foreign Minister also met with Chairman Kim Jong-un, becoming the first Russian official to have a face-to-face meeting with Kim since he became North Korea’s Chairman. The Foreign Minister delivered a message to Chairman Kim from President Vladimir Putin, and also extended an invitation to Kim to visit Russia.

This is Lavrov’s first visit to North Korea since 2009.

Many nations are involved in trying to ensure the success of the Korean negotiations. Kim Jong-un has visited China’s President Xi Jinping twice over the recent period, and there have been frequent telephone calls between Presidents Xi and Trump. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has had two meetings with Kim within the past month, and three meetings with President Trump in the last year, most recently on May 22. Trump and Moon are in frequent telephone contact. Moon may go to Singapore at the time of the June 12 Trump-Kim summit, to convene a three-party summit in the same location. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked to meet with Kim, and will meet with Trump on June 7.

In advance of the summit, U.S. and North Korean officials are conferring at the demilitarized zone in North Korea, at the summit location in Singapore, and also in New York, where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been meeting with the Vice-Chairman of the North Korean Workers’ Party Kim Yong-chol, over May 30-31. on June 1, Kim Yong-chol will travel to Washington to deliver a personal letter to President Trump from Kim Jong-un.