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MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti) – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Sunday he was concerned over North Korea’s latest short-range missile launches and called on Pyongyang to return to six-party talks on its controversial nuclear program.
“I hope North Korea will refrain from taking further such measures,” Ban Ki-moon said during his visit to the Moscow office of RIA Novosti international news agency, adding it was time for Pyongyang to return to dialog and reduce the tension on the Korean peninsula and the United Nations was ready to help.
North Korea launched on Saturday three short-range missiles from its eastern coast that fell into the Sea of Japan.
Ban Ki-moon also said he expected Russia to continue using its channels of communication to help reduce tensions around North Korea and faciliate a dialog between North and South Korea.
Tensions rose sharply on the Korean Peninsula in December after North Korea tested a Taepodong 2 missile and again in February when it carried out its third nuclear test. The UN hit back with sanctions, and the start of joint military drills between South Korea and the United States in March further irritated the North, which threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland, as well as on US forces in the region.
North Korea has been subjected to several rounds of UN Security Council sanctions since it declared itself a nuclear power in 2005. The reclusive communist regime broke off talks with South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia on its nuclear program in 2009, after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning its missile tests.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).