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Russia urges removal of unilateral sanctions against North Korea

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un (R) walks with US President Donald Trump during a break in talks at their summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has called for a swift removal of all unilateral sanctions against North Korea in light of a recent agreement reached between Pyongyang and Washington.

"We are certain that modification of the UN Security Council’s sanctions against North Korea can and must become one of the most important components of normalization in the region," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

"As far as the unilateral sanctions against North Korea are concerned, those which were introduced by a number of countries in bypass of the UN Security Council and even in addition to its sanctions, our attitude is well-known. It is negative. We are for the fastest cancellation of all such unilateral restrictions, in particular, the so-called secondary, exterritorial [sic] sanctions," she added.

North Korea has been under a raft of crippling UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear tests as well as multiple rocket and missile launches. Pyongyang has firmly defended its military program as a deterrent against the hostile policies of the US and its regional allies, including South Korea and Japan.

In December 2017, the Security Council voted unanimously in favor of imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang following an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test.    

On June 12, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed a comprehensive document following a historic summit between the two in Singapore.

According to the document, North Korea reaffirmed its commitment to working “towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a broad wording that could mean phased denuclearization in return for a number of potential American commitments along the way.

Yet, there was no word on any such commitments by the United States, including on the removal of harsh sanctions on North Korea and security guarantees that Pyongyang had previously demanded as a condition to denuclearize.

China roots for resolution of nuclear issue

China has expressed hope that Pyongyang and Washington will continue their joint efforts and positive interactions to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi prepare to leave after a joint press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 14, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

"The summit is an important and great start. Of course, it takes a process to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. We hope the United States and the DPRK will implement the consensus reached at the summit, continue to make concerted efforts, and have positive interactions," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a joint press conference with visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday.

Wang said the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue cannot be resolved without the support and participation of the relevant parties.

"China is willing to maintain close communication with the relevant parties including the United States and the DPRK, and continue playing its due part in the denuclearization and establishment of a peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula," he added.

Pompeo’s visit to Beijing came shortly after the Trump-Kim meeting, where he briefed the Chinese side on the summit and hailed China's important and positive role in promoting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the successful convening of the leaders' meeting.

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