Russia welcomes upcoming Koreas' talks

ANI | Updated: Jan 07, 2018 23:05 IST

Moscow [Russia], Jan 7 (ANI): Russia on Sunday welcomed the upcoming high-level talks between arch-rivals North Korea and South Korea and said that it was 'a promising step' taken.

Russia's Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS news agency: "We welcome the first contacts between Seoul and Pyongyang. We believe that the direct dialogue will facilitate de-escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula".

North Korea and South Korea on Friday have agreed to sit down next week to discuss ways to cooperate in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which is to be held next month.

According to Yonhap news agency, North Korea had issued a notification to South Korea's Ministry of Unification that it had accepted the offer to hold talks on next Tuesday at a truce village called Panmunjom, located just across the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).

This decision was taken following North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's re-conciliatory New Year message in a televised address to the nation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hope that the next week's bilateral talks with their arch-rivals could pave way for the de-nuclearisation and peace across the Korean peninsula.

China on Wednesday welcomed the talks between the two Koreas and has appreciated their effort to use the 2018 Winter Olympics as a platform for improving ties. It also called on all parties to see the positive side of the upcoming high-level talks between the two Koreas.

Also, North Korea re-opened the suspended inter-Korean communication hotline with South Korea, after it was closed down in February 2016.

The Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place at South Korea's Pyeongchang from February 9-25.

The upcoming high-level talks come amid the increasing tension between the two countries as South Korea seized a Hong Kong-flagged oil tanker returning after allegedly transferring oil to North Korea a few days ago.

North Korea is also under tough international sanctions over the launch of three intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and other nuclear tests last year.

The two countries are separated by the world's most heavily militarised border since the Korean War ended in 1953. (ANI)