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Russia: North Korea Not to Return to Talks


Russia says North Korea does not yet intend to return to international talks on the country's nuclear disarmament.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the comment to reporters in Seoul, where he arrived Friday following a two-day visit to North Korea.

The Russian diplomat also warned that no country should use North Korea's recent rocket launch to justify an arms race or building up missile defenses in the region.

Lavrov did not name any specific countries. But the United States has sold missile defense technology to South Korea and Japan. All three countries announced they had prepared anti-missile systems ahead of Pyongyang's April 5 launch.

North Korean claims that it launched a communications satellite into space on that date. Experts - including those in the Russian military - said they did not detect the satellite in orbit.

Lavrov added that Russia proposed during talks in Pyongyang that Russian territory could be used to launch future North Korean satellites.

Speaking earlier Friday before leaving Pyongyang, Lavrov said North Korean leaders said they have no further use for the Six-Party aid-for-disarmament talks. North Korea decided to pull out of future talks earlier this month after the United Nations Security Council criticized its rocket launch.

Lavrov also reaffirmed Russia's opposition to new U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang. The Security Council statement called for additional sanctions in response to North Korea's violation of a ban on ballistic missile tests.

Also Friday, a U.N. Security Council committee held another meeting in New York to discuss adding companies or technology to the current sanctions list. The committee's chairman, Turkish Ambassador Baki Ilkin, and Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told VOA that they hope to conclude their discussions and make a report in time to meet a Friday deadline.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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