Russia 'ready' to mediate between US and N. Korea

A Russian flag flies in front of the US embassy building in Moscow, Russia, on July 28, 2017.
A Russian flag flies in front of the US embassy building in Moscow, Russia, on July 28, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Russia is ready to act as a mediator between North Korea and the United States if both parties are willing for it to play such a role, the Kremlin said yesterday, as a South Korean newspaper reported that the North is preparing to launch a satellite.

"Russia's readiness to clear the way for de-escalation is obvious," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a phone call with reporters.

The Joongang Ilbo Daily newspaper, citing an unnamed South Korean government official, said yesterday: "Through various channels, we have recently learnt that the North has completed a new satellite and named it Kwangmyongsong-5."

Experts have said such satellite launches are likely aimed at further developing the North's ballistic missile technology.

South Korea predicted yesterday that North Korea would look to open negotiations with the US next year in an optimistic outlook for 2018, even as Seoul set up a specialised military team to confront nuclear threats from the North.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2017, with the headline 'Russia 'ready' to mediate between US and N. Korea'. Print Edition | Subscribe