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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Avoid Korea Sanctions, Lukin Urges

Vladimir Lukin, the chairman of the State Duma's foreign affairs committee, warned Friday that if President Boris Yeltsin supports U.S. proposals for sanctions against North Korea, he could face opposition from the Duma. Lukin said Russia and its partners, including the United States, should give North Korea joint guarantees of non-interference in its internal affairs in exchange for international inspection of Pyongyang's nuclear program. "That would help us gauge North Korea's intentions," he said. "If it becomes clear that the North Koreans are just stalling for time in order to continue work on nuclear weapons, we must have a coordinated reaction, including joint sanctions." In the meantime, Lukin said sanctions would not be effective since China would probably veto them in the Security Council. Chinese President Jiang Zemin told Japan's NHK television Friday that "sanctions could have serious consequences and China is against such sanctions." Lukin said "delicacy and subtlety" were needed to resolve the crisis over North Korea's refusal to let international experts examine its nuclear installations. He added that Russia still had influence in North Korea that could be used to avoid sanctions and said Russia's friendship treaty with North Korea, a holdover from the Communist times, should not be allowed to lapse. "It is one of the few levers that we can still use to affect the situation," he said. "It would be quite rash to break that lever now." Conservative factions in the Duma, which has no formal power over foreign policy, also were critical of sanctions, saying: "There is an obvious desire in certain U.S. circles to make the Korean People's Democratic Republic accept humiliating conditions to settle the so-called nuclear issue." The statement was issued by the Communists, the agrarians, and Vladimir Zhirinovsky's ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party. -- Svetlana Kolosova contributed to this article.