North Korea halting talks with US until election is over, says Russia

North Korean flags flutter in front of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly building in Pyongyang. (AP pic)

MOSCOW: North Korea has halted talks with the United States until the results of the US presidential election in November are known, Russia’s ambassador to Pyongyang told news agencies Wednesday.

President Donald Trump has met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un three times at historic summits and voiced admiration for him, although hopes of striking a comprehensive agreement have faded.

“As for dialogue with Washington, which they deem to be pointless for now, it seems to have been postponed at least until after the US presidential election,” Ambassdaor Alexander Matsegora told Interfax news agency in an interview.

“They shall see what happens next,” he said.

North Korea has fired off a series of rockets as it demands concessions from the Trump administration, which says that international sanctions should remain until the regime fully denuclearizes.

Matsegora said he expects dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang to eventually resume, adding Russia was unhappy with the suspension of talks that could increase tension in the border region.

“Clearly, Moscow cannot be happy with the deep-freeze in the US-North Korean dialogue, which is fraught with an escalation of tensions in the region adjacent to our Far Eastern border,” he said.

The ambassador also criticised US sanctions on North Korea which he said were hindering supplies of crucial medical equipment to Pyongyang.

Russian President Vladimir Putin in March called for sanctions relief during the coronavirus pandemic, telling G20 leaders it was a matter “of life and death”.

Matsegora said sanctions were blocking the supply of medications and medical equipment to North Korea and Washington was “hunting down anyone who has at least some trade with North Korea, even if completely harmless things are supplied.”