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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pyongyang 'wants nukes-free Korean peninsula:' Russian official

Seoul/Moscow - Despite announcing it had tested a nuclear weapon a week ago, North Korea still supports the goal of a nuclear weapons-free Korean peninsula, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev said Sunday in Seoul.

Government representatives in Pyongyang expressed their hopes for the denuclearization of the peninsula during his visit to the North Korean capital, the acting Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Alexejev told journalists in Seoul.

North Korean officials told him several times they supported the resumption of six-nation talks on its nuclear programme, he said.

Prior to his arrival in Seoul, Alexeyev had said he was 'cautiously pessimistic' when asked about the possibility of soon resuming six- party talks between North and South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia.

The UN Security Council resolution on North Korea passed on Saturday was an adequate response to the announced nuclear test, he was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency upon his return from Pyongyang.

The 15-member Security Council passed a unanimous resolution, condemning the proclaimed nuclear test and slapping a wide range of trade and financial sanctions on North Korea.

In Seoul, Alexeyev - Moscow's representative at the nuclear talks - met South Korea's chief negotiator Chun Yung Woo. Both came out in favour of resuming the six-party talks that have been on ice since November 2005.

© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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