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Russia envoy: N Korea sanctions could impede talks

Written by: Staff
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TOKYO, July 6 (Reuters) Imposing sanctions on North Korea should be handled with caution since doing so could prevent reviving talks on Pyongyang's nuclear arms programme, Russian ambassador to Japan Alexander Losyukov today said.

Japan and the United States have agreed to work together for a U N resolution demanding that nations halt all funds and technology that could be used for Pyongyang's missile programme after North Korea launched a series of missiles on Wednesday.

Losyukov, who was Russia's representative to the early rounds of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear programme, told reporters at a briefing that he felt the issue of sanctions should be handled with care.

If sanctions were imposed, he said he believed it would be difficult to revive the six-party talks which have been stalled since late last year.

Speaking in Russian with Japanese interpretation, he added that he felt this could lead to losing the chance to hold the talks, which is undesirable.

The talks include Russia, Japan, China and the United States as well as the two Koreas.

Government sources were quoted by Kyodo news agency as saying that Japan will seek the adoption of a joint statement criticising North Korea's missile launches at the Group of Eight advanced nations summit in Russia from July 15, but Losyukov was non-committal when asked.

He said that since North Korea will naturally be discussed at the leaders' summit it will probably be mentioned in their final statement, but added that the United Nations is probably a place of greater authority to deal with the issue since the opinion of everyone can be heard there.

REUTERS SK VV1148

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