A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said in Moscow yesterday that Russia would not abandon its military cooperation with North Korea, despite Pyongyang’s recent renunciation of the 1953 armistice ending the Korean War and its three subsequent military incursions into the demilitarized border region. "We base our military and technical cooperation on two principles," Mikhail Demurin said, "it should not hamper the regional balance of forces and it should not involve weapons that can be used for aggression." Demurin provided no details as to the scope of Russia’s current program of military cooperation with Pyongyang, but he urged both North and South to observe the old security regime until a new one can be fashioned. He also pushed a long-standing Russian proposal to convene an international conference on the region’s problems. A Russian general, meanwhile, said that military cooperation with North Korea should not hamper parallel plans for defense ties with the South.
During the first session of the Russian-North Korean intergovernmental commission on trade yesterday in Pyongyang, a message was handed to the North Koreans from Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin that asserted Moscow’s intention to continue developing "mutually beneficial ties" with North Korea. Vitaly Ignatenko heads the Russian delegation to the meeting, which aims to revitalize declining bilateral trade relations. Deputy foreign ministers from both countries were also scheduled yesterday to begin political consultations at which the current tensions on the peninsula are to be discussed. (Itar-Tass & Reuter, April 11)
European Union Maps Road for Baltic Admission.