Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 75

Moscow’s initial reaction to a preliminary U.S. proposal for quadripartite Korean peace talks was one of displeasure at having been left on the sidelines once again. U.S. president Bill Clinton and his South Korean counterpart, President Kim Young-sam, offered yesterday to bring China into what would be four-party negotiations aimed at defusing tensions on the Korean peninsula. In Moscow, a Foreign Ministry spokesman expressed regret over the format proposed by the United States, arguing that its "limited nature" was likely to preclude positive results. The spokesman reiterated Moscow’s oft-repeated call for a broad, multilateral conference on the Korean question that would include Russia and made clear that "Russia intends to play an active role in the settlement on the Korean peninsula." (Interfax, April 16)

Although he too rejected the U.S.-sponsored plan, North Korea’s ambassador to Russia made clear in Moscow yesterday that Pyongyang also foresees no role for the Kremlin. Son Song-pil was quoted as saying that Pyongyang intends to negotiate only with the United States. "At present other countries have no role to play in this area," he said. "There is no need for an international conference on this question." (Reuter, April 16) North Korea would like to bypass the South and to negotiate a peace treaty to replace the 1953 armistice directly with the United States, an option that Washington has rejected.

Oil and Gas Barons Back Yeltsin.