Tags: hillary | russia | korea

Russia: No Isolation of N. Korea, or Sanctions

Wednesday, 27 May 2009 08:03 AM

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WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday called her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to ask for a "unified" response from the world community to North Korea's nuclear tests, spokesman Ian Kelly said.

In the call, Clinton "reiterated the importance of a quick, unified response to North Korea's provocative action," Kelly told reporters.

He noted that Clinton had reached out to her counterparts from China, South Korea, Japan and Australia on Monday.

"She, of course, remained actively engaged in making sure that the international community conveys a strong message to North Korea that North Korea will pay a price for the path they are on if they don't reverse that particular course they are on now."

North Korea announced Monday it had carried out what it termed a successful nuclear test - following a first one in October 2006 - in defiance of international pressure to abandon its weapons-grade nuclear program.

The reclusive Stalinist resorted the same day to test firing three short-range missiles.

The international community and the UN Security Council on Monday condemned the nuclear test and decided to prepare a resolution which is likely to include new sanctions against Pyongyang.

But Kelly stopped short of using the word "sanctions," saying only that the United States sought a "strong" document.

"We are now involved with our partners up there on working on a resolution in accordance with the council's responsibilities," Kelly said.

"And we look forward to working with our colleagues on the council to craft a strong, unequivocal and unified response to North Korea's grave violation of international law," he added.

Kelly noted that Russia and China, two permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council which usually oppose sanctions, had made "very strong statements" after the nuclear test.

A foreign ministry source in Russia, which this month chairs the Security Council, said his government would support firm UN action but ruled out isolating the Stalinist regime.

"Most likely, the adoption of a tough UN Security Council resolution is unavoidable. The reaction should be fairly serious, because the authority of the Security Council is at stake," the source told Interfax news agency.

But he also said that "a blockade, isolation, any sort of cordons sanitaires are not a subject of discussion ... The door to negotiations should always remain open."

China, North Korea's closest and most powerful ally, Monday voiced "resolute opposition" to the secretive regime's nuclear test in a rare instance of open criticism between the two communist neighbors.

The Chinese foreign ministry also said in a statement that North Korea, one of the world's most isolated regimes, should halt actions that could aggravate tensions in the region.

© 2009 Agence France Presse Inc. All rights reserved.

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