MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday that North Korea’s disregard for U.N. restrictions was unacceptable and that its decision to pursue a nuclear program radically limited the chances of resuming stalled six-party nuclear talks.
Pyongyang formally rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution on March 9 that demanded an end to its nuclear arms program, signaling it would defy international sanctions and pursue its goal of becoming a full-fledged nuclear weapons power.
“We have taken notice of the March decision ... to further enhance the status of a country possessing nuclear arms for the purposes of self-defense,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a briefing.
“This radically complicates, if it doesn’t in practice shut off, the prospects for resuming six-party talks,” he said, referring to stalled aid-for-disarmament talks between the two Koreas as well as China, Russia, Japan and the United States.
“Attempts by Pyongyang to violate ... decisions of the U.N. Security Council are categorically unacceptable,” Lukashevich said.
North Korea has also said it would restart its shuttered Yongbyon nuclear reactor after leader Kim Jong-un declared at a policy-setting meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party on March 31 that the country would bolster nuclear power and develop the economy.
Reporting by Steve Gutterman, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Mike Collett-White