Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has stressed the importance of dialog between the two Koreas to settle the peninsula’s issues.
“We believe that issues of the Korean Peninsula should be settled through peaceful means,” Zarif said in a meeting with the new Ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to Tehran, Kang Sam Hyon, on Monday.
Zarif added that Tehran welcomes the North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un’s endorsement of talks between the two Koreas.
During his traditional New Year message on January 1, the North Korean leader said he is ready for the “highest-level” of talks with neighboring South Korea, days after Seoul proposed such negotiations between the two sides.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye welcomed the announcement and called on its northern neighbor to show commitment to dialog.
The Iranian minister emphasized that foreign interference in issues pertaining to North and South Korea would bear no fruit, adding that Tehran’s policy is to reiterate the need for holding dialog and avoiding violence and military strategies.
The North Korean ambassador, for his part, said his country is keen to expand political and economic relations with Iran.
He added that the exchange of visits between the two countries would provide both Tehran and Pyongyang with an opportunity to reinforce their ties.
Tensions have been on the rise over the Seoul-Washington joint military drills, with Pyongyang denouncing the move as amounting to an “intrusion into the North.”
The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of escalating military rhetoric since the 1950-1953 Korean War. No peace deal has been signed since then, meaning that the two countries remain technically at war.
The two Koreas last held high-level negotiations in February 2014. Those talks resulted in a reunion of families separated by the Korean War. The neighbors had earlier agreed to restart dialog when a high-ranking North Korean delegation made a surprise visit to the Asian Games held in South Korea in October 2014.