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Russia received no prior information about North Korea's nuclear test October 9
Russia received no prior information about North Korea's nuclear test October 9, the prime minister said Tuesday. The UN Security Council unanimously voted Saturday to pass a resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea following a reported nuclear test in the reclusive Communist state. Mikhail Fradkov told South Korean journalists, who asked whether it was true that Russia had been informed two hours prior to the test that it was about to take place, that no one had warned Russia. "As far as I know, we had no information before the explosion," he said. He said he hoped North Korea will not conduct a second nuclear test. "I hope there will not be a second explosion, at least there must be none. The UN Security Council sent a strong signal to this effect by adopting a resolution," Fradkov said, adding that a second test would seriously aggravate the situation. He said Russia and South Korea are interested in a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem and the country's return to the six-nation talks. The presidents of Russia and South Korea highlighted Monday the need to coordinate international efforts to stabilize the situation around North Korea. "The sides discussed during a [telephone] conversation the situation in Northeast Asia, which deteriorated following North Korea's nuclear test," the Kremlin press service said. The leaders also said the UN resolution urged all sides involved to seek a peaceful political resolution and to pursue a balanced policy. Russia's Foreign Ministry said Monday it counted on North Korea's appropriate reaction to the international community's position on the issue. "We hope for an adequate reaction by the North Korean leadership to the international community's collective position, as reflected in Resolution 1718 of the UN Security Council, and expect that it will take practical steps designed to settle the Korean Peninsula's nuclear problem, strengthening peace and stability in Northeast Asia," the ministry said. The UN Security Council resolution aims to suppress North Korea's nuclear ambitions, but does not provide for economic sanctions or the use of force. The resolution, which called North Korea's test a "clear threat to international peace and security," allows for the inspection of cargo to or from North Korea that may contain weapons of mass destruction or elements thereof. The resolution also calls on all countries to freeze North Korea's funds connected with its non-conventional arms program. The sanctions will be lifted as soon as Pyongyang agrees to give up its nuclear programs and return to the six-nation talks. The six-nation talks on the nuclear issue - between North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States - were launched in 2003, when the North withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but stalled last November over Pyongyang's demands that the U.S. lift sanctions imposed on it for its alleged involvement in counterfeiting and other illegal activities. Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said: "The sanctions aim to return North Korea to its nuclear-free status immediately, and to resume the six-nation talks without preliminary conditions." He said the resolution contains "extraordinary measures," but is designed to prevent further escalation of tensions. U.S. President George W. Bush said the resolution shows "the world is united in our opposition to its [North Korea's] nuclear weapons plans." The North Korean delegation called the resolution "gangster-like," and warned that Pyongyang will consider any further U.S. pressure on it a "declaration of war," before walking out of the Security Council meeting.
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