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RIA Novosti

Russia

Wrap: Russia blasts N. Korea over missile tests, balks at sanctions

Topic: North Korea missile controversy

22:12 05/07/2006
MOSCOW, July 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that tests of ballistic missiles conducted by North Korea had threatened Pacific shipping and violated a missile launch moratorium previously declared by Pyongyang, but rejected the idea of sanctions.

North Korea officially announced Wednesday that it had conducted test launches of ballistic missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2, and claimed it was the country's sovereign right.

"Russia expresses serious concern over these actions, which run counter to the expectations of the global community and its efforts to strengthen peace and stability in the region and could complicate even further the resolution of the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting to discuss the developments of the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow was against the idea of UN sanctions against the communist country.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. State Secretary Condoleezza Rice had discussed the missile tests.

"The Russian side expressed concern over these actions, which run contrary to the international community's expectations" the ministry said.

Lavrov also held talks with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts.

The Russian and Japanese foreign ministers agreed to stay in close contact with other parties to the six-nation talks on North Korea.

At the last round of six-nation talks in September 2005, that involved the U.S., North Korea, China, South Korea, Russia and Japan, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees, but later refused to rejoin the talks until Washington lifted financial sanctions imposed over its alleged involvement in counterfeiting and other illegal activities.

Russia's Foreign Ministry has urged the communist regime to continue observing the missile launch moratorium and said it would consult with other participants of six-party talks on the issue.

Russia's defense minister said Pyongyang's missile launch tests would not help resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

"The launches of North Korean missiles hamper the political and diplomatic resolution of the North Korean issue on the whole, including with the six nations involved in talks," Sergei Ivanov said.

However, Ivanov said the missile launches had done no harm to Russia's national security.

"Firstly, we tracked these launches with our technical devices," Sergei Ivanov said. "Secondly, these launches did not harm Russia's security."

North Korean Ambassador to Russia Pak Ui Chun, summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry over the missile tests, said he was satisfied with talks at the ministry.

After talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev, who heads the Russian delegation at the six-way talks on the North Korean nuclear issue, the North Korean ambassador said: "We had a very friendly discussion," but declined to give details.

Alexeyev also held talks during the day with the Chinese and Japanese ambassadors to Russia on the issue.

The Japanese military said the missiles had fallen into the northwest of the Sea of Japan.

Initial reports suggested six missiles had been fired. But General Yury Baluyevsky, Russia's chief of the General Staff, said North Korea may have fired 10 missiles and the Russian military were processing data on their quality and characteristics.

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RIA NovostiWrap: Russia blasts N. Korea over missile tests, balks at sanctions

22:12 05/07/2006 Russia's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that tests of ballistic missiles conducted by North Korea had threatened Pacific shipping and violated a missile launch moratorium previously declared by Pyongyang, but rejected the idea of sanctions. >>

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