UN chief calls on North Korea to return to talks

Moscow, May 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Sunday said he was concerned over North Korea’s latest short-range missile launches and called on Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks on its controversial nuclear programme.

The communist regime broke off talks with South Korea, China, the US, Japan and Russia on its nuclear programme in 2009, after the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning its missile tests.

“I hope North Korea will refrain from further such acts,” Ban said.

He added that it was time for Pyongyang to return to dialogue and ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and that the UN was ready to help.

Ban also said he expected Russia to continue using its channels of communication to help reduce tensions around North Korea and step up dialogue with Pyongyang.

Tensions rose on the Korean Peninsula in December after North Korea tested a Taepodong 2 missile and again in February when it carried out its third nuclear test.

The UN hit back with sanctions, and the start of joint military drills between South Korea and the US in March further irritated the North, which threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland, as well as on US forces in the region.

North Korea has been subjected to several rounds of UN Security Council sanctions since it declared itself a nuclear power in 2005.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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