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NUKEWARS
Moscow to discuss nuclear talks with North Korea: report
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) June 29, 2013


Top North Korea general declares solidarity with Cuba
Havana (AFP) June 29, 2013 - North Korea's army chief of staff said Friday in Havana his country is "in the same trench" as Cuba, local television reported.

General Kyok Sik Kim, who arrived a day earlier in the Americas' only Communist-run nation, said he was there "to find colleagues in the same trench: the Cuban comrades."

The general laid a wreath at the tomb of independence hero Antonio Maceo and visited a tank unit, accompanied by his local counterpart General Alvaro Lopez Miera.

He is due to stay in the Caribbean island nation until Monday.

South Korea stops anti-North leaflet launch
Seoul (AFP) June 29, 2013 - South Korean police on Saturday stopped a planned launch of anti-Pyongyang leaflets following a threat of violent retaliation by the North.

A group of defectors from North Korea and US human rights activists had said they would use gas-filled balloons to drop 200,000 leaflets critical of Pyongyang over the tense border.

But a contingent of plain-clothed policemen prevented the activists from unloading the pamphlets and other materials for the launch from a pickup truck at Imjingak, a tourist site near the border.

Hours earlier, the North's military warned it would fire upon the launch site, denouncing the activists as "human scum" and warning the launch site was "within the range of direct sighting strike".

A leading activist, Park Sang-Hak, was taken into custody briefly after he attempted to drive the vehicle through a police line to get to the planned launch site, some 300 meters (1,000 feet) away.

"I'm wondering what they're so afraid of. Why is it illegal? Why is it wrong in what we are doing?" Thor Halvorssen, president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF), told journalists.

"If South Korea is going to do everything because of threats from North Korea, then South Korea is a hostage. South Korea is not a free country," he said.

Police stopped similar launches in April and May this year, citing protests from local residents living in the area.

Local residents oppose such action as the North has threatened to shell sites used to launch leaflets which often carry messages such as calls for an uprising against the communist regime.

Russia will meet a delegation from North Korea next week to discuss a possible resumption of talks about ending Pyongyang's nuclear programme, the foreign ministry said according to a Russian news agency.

A top North Korean envoy, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan, will travel to Moscow on Thursday for "consultations on the entire set of issues surrounding the North Korean nuclear program," the foreign ministry was quoted as stating by the RIA Novosti news agency.

He will meet Russia's First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov and Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov to discuss "resumption of six-nation talks" on North Korea's nuclear arsenal, RIA Novosti said.

The isolated Asian state recently warned that hostility by the United States could lead to war at any moment, and vowed not to give up its nuclear power in the face of mounting UN and international sanctions following recent tests.

At the same time, North Korean diplomats have said they want talks with the United States, and Kim Kye-Gwan last week discussed restarting the six-party talks with China, when he met foreign minister Wang Yi in Beijing.

Tensions over the nuclear programme soared in February after Pyongyang carried out its third underground atomic test blast since 2006, angering the international community and triggering tightened UN sanctions supported by China.

The nuclear disarmament forum includes the two Koreas, China, the United States, Russia and Japan. There were several rounds of talks between 2003 and 2007, but negotiations have been frozen since 2009, when North Korea pulled out in reaction to UN sanctions.

After testing its bomb again in February, the North has shut down ties with South Korea.

Russia is one of the few countries maintaining diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, with the late leader Kim Jong-Il last making a train trip to Siberia in 2011 shortly before his death, calling for a resumption of the talks "without preconditions".

Moscow has repeatedly said that the situation in North Korea could spiral out of control, and Morgulov recently called it "explosive" and ripe for becoming uncontrollable with an "elementary human error".

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