Russia Concerned Over N.Korea Missile Launches - Minister
SOCHI, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is deeply concerned with reports of North Korea's latest missile tests and hopes that a meeting of intermediaries on the North Korean nuclear issue settlement will be held in the nearest future, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported earlier in the day that North Korea launched another two short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan on Monday, marking the third straight day of such firings.
"We are very concerned with the developing situation on the Korean peninsula in the first months of this year, particularly after a nuclear test and missile launches," Lavrov said.
He said, however, that the situation had become calmer and that tendency "will help to provide conditions for the resumption of the six-party talks, in which Russia is very interested."
Lavrov also said if Pyongyang had recently tested short-range missiles which were not ballistic, this was not formally banned by the UN Security Council resolution forbidding North Korea from launching ballistic missiles.
Pyongyang has routinely test-launched such missiles. The latest tests, however, follow several weeks of relative calm on the Korean Peninsula after tensions escalated earlier this year, following North Korea's test of a long-range Taepodong 2 ballistic missile in December and its third nuclear test in February, to which the UN responded with sanctions.
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 on its nuclear program with South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia in 2009, after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning its missile tests.
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