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Senior Russian parliamentarian condemns North Korea’s nuclear tests

The head of the upper house of Russia’s parliament has condemned North Korea’s nuclear tests, calling on Pyongyang and the international community to comply with all United Nations resolutions.

Russia’s Federation Council Chairperson Valentina Ivanovna Matvienko made the comments at a meeting with a South Korean parliamentary delegation in St. Petersburg, Russian news agencies reported on Monday.

The city of St. Petersburg is currently hosting the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU) that kicked off on October 14 and will continue until October 18.

During the event, Moscow has been trying to persuade the delegations from the two Koreas to hold direct talks.

However, Moscow’s efforts have proved futile so far.

Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday that Matvienko will propose once again a meeting between the two sides on Monday.

She “will reiterate this proposal during tomorrow meetings [with South, North Korean delegations]. If such antagonistic countries might meet anywhere, then it should be in a parliamentary format and, of course, on the sidelines of the IPU,” Kosachev said.

Following a series of internationally-condemned missile and nuclear tests by North Korea, in September, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a new round of sanctions in retaliation for North Korea’s most powerful nuclear test ever conducted on September 3.

Russia and China, for their part, have backed the sanction, but they say such measures cannot put an end to the crisis. They have proposed the so-called “double freeze” plan aimed at the settlement of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

According to the proposed plan, Pyongyang should stop its nuclear tests, while Washington and Seoul should, for their part, refrain from joint military drills on the Korean Peninsula in order to de-escalate the tensions in the region.

However, the US has rejected that plan.

Washington is currently holding joint naval drills with South Korea in Korean waters, in what could lead to a sharp rise in tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang views such drills as a rehearsal for war against North Korea, and has repeatedly called, in vain, on its neighbors, including South Korea and Japan, not to engage in joint exercises with Washington.

Media reports said over the weekend that North Korea is preparing for another missile launch amid the US-South Korea drills.

The North argues that its nuclear and missile programs serve as a “powerful deterrent” against potential foreign aggression.

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