North Korea consults with Russia amid renewed tensions with US

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper speaks during a press briefing with Minister of National Defense of South Korea Jeong Kyeong-doo after the Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 15, 2019. (DoD photo by Army Staff Sgt. Nicole Mejia)

 A senior North Korean policymaker was meeting with Russia’s top diplomat in Moscow on Wednesday amid renewed tensions with the United States, Russian state media reported.

North Korea had insisted the previous day that it would refrain from denuclearization talks with the United States and neighbouring South Korea unless those countries cease large military drills.

Describing the drills as a display of hostility, North Korea insisted that postponing them would not be enough and they would need to be stopped completely.

Russia and China, which share land borders with North Korea, have the relatively closest diplomatic relations with the insular North Korean state.

North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui was to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, state news agency TASS reported, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry. It did not specify an agenda.

In recent months Russian authorities detained several hundred North Korean fishermen allegedly in Russian territorial waters. The Kremlin has insisted that such incidents would not affect relations with North Korea on a state level.

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