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REPORT: Russia secretly offered North Korea a nuclear power plant

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01/29/2019 08:22 PM
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REPORT: Russia secretly offered North Korea a nuclear power plant
Russian officials made a secret proposal to North Korea last fall aimed at resolving deadlocked negotiations with the Trump administration over the North’s nuclear weapons program, said U.S. officials familiar with the discussions.

In exchange for North Korea dismantling its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, Moscow offered the country a nuclear power plant.

The Russian offer, which intelligence officials became aware of in late 2018, marked a new attempt by Moscow to intervene in the high-stakes nuclear talks as it reasserts itself in a string of geopolitical flash points from the Middle East to South Asia to Latin America.

It’s unclear how President Trump will view Moscow’s proposal. For months, he has embraced an unorthodox approach to the negotiations, but his aides are likely to strenuously oppose any major Russian role in a final agreement.

“The Russians are very opportunistic when it comes to North Korea, and this is not the first time they’ve pursued an energy stake in Korea,” said Victor Cha, a former White House staffer whom the Trump administration considered nominating last year to serve as U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

“Previous administrations have not welcomed these Russian overtures, but with Trump, you never know because he doesn’t adhere to traditional thinking,” Cha said.

[link to www.washingtonpost.com (secure)]