South Korean envoy to visit Russia next week

South Korea 's nuclear envoy will visit Russia next week in efforts to seek a resumption of stalled talks on curbing North Korea 's nuclear weapons program, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Friday. Chun Young-woo, a deputy foreign minister, will leave Sunday for a three-day visit to Russia and meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev, the ministry said.

" South Korea and Russia are scheduled to exchange assessments on recent developments regarding the North's nuclear issue and discuss ways of resuming the six-way talks and ways to advance the implementation of the joint statement in case the talks are resumed," the ministry said in a press release. The "joint statement" refers to a September agreement where the North agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees. Since then, no progress has been made on implementing the accord.

Chun has recently traveled to the United States , China and Japan for similar talks with his counterparts on how to jump-start the nuclear talks since he was named Seoul 's top nuclear negotiator in February. The talks have been stalled since November over a dispute surrounding financial restrictions the United States imposed on a Macau-based bank and North Korean companies for their alleged complicity in counterfeiting, money laundering and weapons proliferation.

North Korea has denied the allegations and vowed not to return to the talks until the restrictions are lifted. The U.S. has refused to lift the penalties, saying they are separate from the arms talks, reports the AP.

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