Russia urges 'any possible' dialogue with North Korea

12th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia said Friday any opportunity must be seized for dialogue with reclusive North Korea, with President Dmitry Medvedev insisting a long-stalled plan for a trans-Korean railroad could be revived.

The Kremlin is keen to burnish its credentials as a regional mediator and use its clout with Pyongyang to promote infrastructure projects involving South and North Korea.

"We repeatedly discussed this project and believe it's interesting both from commercial and most importantly political point of view," Medvedev said in Seoul where he met South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak earlier this week.

"For it to be realised what do we need? Not only money -- there is a need for good will," he said, adding talks on the project should continue.

"As far as I understand, the sides perceive this project with rather significant interest. There are... difficulties in relations between the states which this project may help to solve."

Earlier in the day a Russian official accompanying Medvedev said any opportunity must be seized for dialogue with reclusive North Korea.

"The president of Russia believes it is necessary to reinvigorate any possible contacts to continue dialogue with the leadership of North Korea," said the official after Medvedev held talks on the issue on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of the G20 in Seoul.

"Obviously, this topic was discussed in quite a detailed manner at the meeting with the president of South Korea," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Ahead of Medvedev's visit to Seoul, his top foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko said Russia would seek to use its clout to push joint infrastructure projects involving South and North Korea like the railroad project and the construction of an electricity transmission line between the two countries.

On Thursday, US President Barack Obama warned that North Korea must show "seriousness of purpose" before six-party nuclear talks can resume, saying he was not interested in simply "going through the motions".

The North quit the six-party forum on nuclear disarmament in April 2009 and staged its second atomic weapons test a month later. The talks group the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

© 2010 AFP

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