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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday North Korea should abstain from launching a rocket and called for dialogue with Pyongyang to resolve the situation.
"We understand that the current situation in the region of North-East Asia is tense, and this is why it would be better if our partners in North Korea abstained from this, from this launch," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin told journalists.
Pyongyang has said it will launch a communications satellite between April 4-8, but regional powers believe the real purpose is to test a long-range missile, the Taepodong-2, which is believed to be already in place on its launch pad.
Russia shares a small border with North Korea in the Far East and its main Pacific port of Vladivostok lies only 150 km (95 miles) from the North Korean border.
Japan ordered its military on Friday to prepare to intercept any dangerous debris that might fall on its territory if the missile launch goes wrong.
North Korea has said any attempt to shoot down the rocket itself would be an act of war.
"We have to calmly assess the situation, to take a clear-eyed view of it, without much agitation," Borodavkin said.
"And all the issues which ... emerge because of this launch must be resolved through dialogue and consultations with all the parties involved," he added.
"We have expressed this position to them and to our other partners, and we continue to adhere to this point of view."
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Louise Ireland