S. Korea, Russia discuss N. Korea nuke issues

South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon was in Moscow on Tuesday for talks expected to focus on efforts to ensure North Korea keeps a pledge to start dismantling its nuclear weapons program. Song was scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and the chief of President Vladimir Putin's Security Council, Igor Ivanov. In an agreement reached February 13 at talks involving six nations including Russia, North Korea said it would shut down its sole operating nuclear reactor within 60 days and eventually dismantle its nuclear weapons program in exchange for energy aid and other incentives. Soon suggested the nuclear agreement could help increase trade between Russia and North Korea, which has isolated itself from the world, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. Representatives of the six nations are scheduled to meet again March 19 to gauge progress implementing terms of the agreement. The success of the six-nation talks "will have a positive effect not only on strengthening stability and security in East Asia, but also in the development of Russia's Far East and Siberia regions," ITAR-Tass quoted him as saying Monday.