Russia urges North Korea to return to talks after nuclear test

PRETORIA Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:40am EST

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PRETORIA (Reuters) - Russia's foreign minister urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear arms program and return to talks after Pyongyang defied U.N. resolutions and conducted its third nuclear test on Tuesday.

"Increasing military tensions in the region is extremely dangerous," Sergei Lavrov told a news briefing in Pretoria after meeting South Africa's foreign minister.

"North Korea should abandon it nuclear arms program," he said through a translator.

Beijing has also called on North Korea to return to the stalled "six-party" talks, which include China, the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia.

"We will continue this effort to get them to participate in the six-party talks and we believe it is important to ensure its denuclearization," said Lavrov, whose country has a border with North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has presided over two long-range rocket launches and a nuclear test during his first year in power, pursuing policies that have taken his impoverished country closer to becoming a nuclear weapons power.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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