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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

N.Korea nuclear problem may be included in APEC agenda-FM Lavrov

RIA Novosti

18/11/2006 11:51 HANOI, November 18 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea's nuclear problem may be included in the final documents of the 14th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, the Russian foreign minister said Saturday.

Sergei Lavrov is attending a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization, which has opened in Hanoi.

"It has been proposed that this issue be reflected in the summit's final documents. But the decision will of course be made by the leaders themselves when they start discussing international and regional problems," he said.

Lavrov said earlier that Moscow expects stalled six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program to resume before the end of the year.

The six-nation talks, involving North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States, were launched in 2003 to persuade North Korea to give up its controversial nuclear program after Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The talks stalled last November over Pyongyang's demand that the U.S. lift sanctions imposed on it for its alleged involvement in counterfeiting and other illegal activities.

North Korea announced it conducted its first nuclear test October 9, and threatened to take "physical measures" after the UN Security Council unanimously voted October 14 to pass a resolution imposing sanctions on the reclusive Communist state.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il told Chinese envoy Tang Jiaxuan during talks October 18-19 in Pyongyang that the country has no plans to conduct another nuclear test, but warned that "the country might take further action if pressure on North Korea continues."

"The situation should never lead to a deadlock," President Vladimir Putin said October 25. "None of the negotiating parties should be driven into a corner, with no way out except by escalating tensions."

Putin said that diplomacy should be the only way for the international community to dissuade North Korea from further nuclear tests.

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