Russia, China on same page on N.Korea: Lavrov

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China and Russia are on the same page on the North Korean nuclear issue, with both countries keen to see a quick resumption of denuclearisation talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

Lavrov, who was in Beijing with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on a three-day visit to China, said the two countries believed more negotiations on ending Pyongyang's nuclear drive would contribute to regional stability.

"We have the same position here," Lavrov told reporters travelling with Medvedev, noting the issue had been raised in wide-ranging talks between the two nations on Monday.

"Russia and China actively urge the resumption of the six-party talks to solve the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula," Lavrov said, adding he thought there could be progress "in the foreseeable future".

"We are interested in seeing stability on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia on the whole. Right now the situation there is not as stable as we would like it to be," he said.

North Korea last year tested a long-range missile and a nuclear bomb and stormed out of the six-nation talks, which involve China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States.

In March, a South Korean naval corvette sank, killing 46 sailors. The United States and South Korea say North Korea torpedoed the vessel, making it the deadliest incident on the peninsula in decades.

The North denied involvement and threatened retaliation.

China, the host of the on-off negotiations, is Pyongyang's main ally. Some lawmakers in the United States have said Beijing has not done enough to prod its neighbour.

But Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, who recently met with China's chief nuclear negotiator, has said Washington and Beijing agreed that North Korea needed to adhere to a 2005 denuclearisation agreement before new talks.

"I think that there is a recognition that there is simply little value in moving forward without some very concrete indication that the North Koreans are interested in implementing the 2005 statement," Steinberg said last week.

"And the Chinese were very clear on that. There was no disagreement at all," Steinberg said.

In the 2005 agreement and a related statement in 2007, North Korea agreed to give up its nuclear weapons in return for security guarantees and badly needed aid.

© 2010 AFP

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