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World News

Russia's Medvedev calls for ways to deter N.Korea

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev indicated on Wednesday that Moscow may be prepared to support further U.N. sanctions to deter North Korea from more nuclear tests.

“We support those proposals which have been made -- to accept a new, rather serious resolution that condemns what has happened -- and to think of introducing certain mechanisms to deter those programs which are being carried out, including by influencing economic processes,” Medvedev told U.S. television station CNBC, according to a text provided by the Kremlin.

Russia condemned North Korea’s nuclear test last week but said it was too early to talk about possible sanctions.

“We have always had quite good relations with the Korean leadership but what has happened arouses very big concern,” Medvedev said in the CNBC interview.

“A widening of the nuclear club... is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

Russia shares a small border with North Korea in the Far East and its main Pacific port of Vladivostok -- with a population of 600,000 people -- lies only 150 km (95 miles) from the North Korean border.

North Korea, which began ratcheting up regional tensions when it fired a long-ranged rocket over Japan in April, also test-fired a barrage of short-range missiles last week and threatened to attack the South.

“The nuclear tests and also the continued launch of different rockets -- short range ones and there have been reports of a possible launch of ballistic rockets -- are steps that undermine international security,” Medvedev said.

“We hope that the Korean leadership, the North Korean leadership, will show the necessary understanding and return to the negotiating table because there is no other way to resolve this problem,” he said.

The United States and Japan have circulated a preliminary draft U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the nuclear test and demanding strict enforcement of sanctions imposed after the North’s first atomic test in October 2006.

The draft leaves one section empty, where a U.N. diplomat said last week proposals for new specific measures would be added once they are agreed by the seven countries.

Western diplomats said Russia, along with fellow Security Council member China, had agreed in principle that North Korea should be sanctioned, but it was not clear what kind of penalties they would support.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Philippa Fletcher

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