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Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, prepares to sign documents as Sergei Naryshkin, right, speaker of Russia's lower parliament house, and Valentina Matviyenko, head of the upper house, look on during a ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin on March 21, 2014.   © Reuters
North Korea Crisis

Russia steps up as go-between on North Korea

Moscow sees rogue state as key to mending fences with Washington

TOMOYO OGAWA, Nikkei staff writer | North Korea

MOSCOW -- Russia has been setting up a number of high-profile meetings with North Korean officials, positioning itself as an intermediary for negotiations with the isolated state in a bid to improve Moscow's strained relations with the U.S.

Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia's upper house, met separately with North and South Korean representatives on Monday on the sidelines of an international meeting in St. Petersburg. Matviyenko had called for a direct dialogue between the two Koreas, but Pyongyang rejected the idea in protest of joint U.S.-South Korean military drills.

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