North Korea has demanded the United States "urgently" withdraw its 37,000 troops stationed in arch-rival South Korea, according to a joint declaration signed with Russia on Saturday.
In a statement signed by President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, Pyongyang said that the withdrawal of US troops was a "pressing problem" which needed to be solved to ensure "peace and security on the Korean peninsula."
Moscow expressed its "understanding" of the North Korean position, stressing the need to ensure "peace and stability on the Korean peninsula using peaceful means," Russian news agencies reported.
The US troops are stationed in South Korea to protect the US ally from North Korea's army of 1.17 million troops.
Russia also reaffirmed its "respect" for agreements reached between Pyongyang and Seoul and its support for the continuation of the "dialogue between North and South without any outside interference."
Moscow, which wants to be included in four-way peace talks between North and South Korea, China and the United States, added that it was ready to "play a constructive and responsible role" to help achieve a settlement between the two Koreas -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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