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Russia:  N. Korea Must Provide More Information on Nuclear Program

Russian officials say North Korea must provide more information about its nuclear weapons program.

Russia's deputy foreign minister, Alexander Losyukov, said Moscow is disappointed with North Korea's response to Russia's request for more information about its nuclear program.

Mr. Losyukov was speaking to the Russian wire service Interfax. He described statements by North Korean officials as ambiguous. Mr. Losyukov said ambiguity leads to mutual suspicions, and that could have a negative impact on the situation on the Korean peninsula.

The foreign ministry official also called on both the United States and North Korea to clarify the issue, saying Russia has no convincing information that North Korea has such a program.

He said North Korea sent Moscow information about what happened during talks with a U.S. envoy, after which, the United States accused North Korea of continuing its weapons program.

Mr. Losyukov said, from North Korea's account of the talks with the United States, it sounded as if there was neither admission nor denial on the part of North Korea that it has a nuclear weapons program.

Earlier Thursday, the North Korean ambassador to Russia, in comments reported by Interfax, said North Korea has the right to possess nuclear weapons, because it faces a growing nuclear threat from the United States.

U.S. officials stunned the world earlier this month when they said North Korea had admitted to secretly continuing its nuclear weapons program. A U.S. envoy later traveled to Moscow to lay out the United States case concerning North Korea.

Under a 1994 deal, North Korea was to freeze its nuclear weapons program in return for international help building two light-water reactors to generate electricity.

Russia is one of North Korea's few allies, and Russian President Vladimir Putin visited that country in 2000. After the U.S. announcement, Russian officials first said they were waiting for more information from both the United States and North Korea on the issue.