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Russia, Germany Call for Unified Response to North Korea

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia's President Vladimir Putin are calling for a unified response from the international community against North Korea's apparent testing of a nuclear bomb.

The talks between Russian and German leaders, held in Dresden, Germany, were initially expected to focus primarily on energy issues and forging closer relations between Moscow and Europe. Germany takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union in January, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly wants a new cooperation agreement between the two regions.

But reports that North Korea had tested a nuclear weapon also loomed over their talks, and the news conference that followed.

Mrs. Merkel said she and Russian President Vladimir Putin were disturbed by the events, and both condemned what she described as North Korea's nuclear attacks. She said the international community had to stand and act together, as it is doing to prod Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

Shadowing the talks too was Saturday's killing of prominent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was buried Tuesday. Her death sparked international condemnation and criticism of media repression in Russia.

In his first public remarks on the subject, President Putin called Politkovskaya's death a disgusting crime that cannot go unpunished. But he also downplayed her political influence, saying it was not important.

The reporter had been widely heralded as one of the few Russian journalists to report on human-rights problems in Chechnya.