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Russia: Putin, Kim Pledge Support To ABM Treaty

Moscow, 4 August (RFE/RL) -- North Korea and Russia jointly pledged their support for the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) and said they will adhere to a moratorium on ballistic missile launches until 2003. The signed statement by North Korea's Kim Jong-Il and Russian President Vladimir Putin -- termed the "Moscow Declaration" -- also said Pyongyang's missile program is "peaceful in nature" and poses no threat to nations respecting North Korea's sovereignty.

The declaration came at the end of talks between the two leaders at the Kremlin. Among other points, the declaration included both countries opposition to U.S. plans to build a missile defense system. It also stated Russia's "understanding" of North Korean demands for an end to the U.S. military presence in South Korea.

Sergei Prikhodko, Putin's top foreign policy adviser, told reporters that Moscow and Pyongyang want to upgrade rail links between Russia and the Korean peninsula and to strengthen North Korea's crumbling industries, many of which were built with Soviet help.

Kim arrived in Moscow last night. He is to travel to St. Petersburg before returning home on 8 August.