Russia urges North Korea to abide by nuclear, missile rules

MOSCOW Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:45am GMT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia urged North Korea on Wednesday to adhere to restrictions on its nuclear and missile programs, after the U.N. Security Council expanded existing sanctions against Pyongyang over a defiant rocket launch last month.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's remarks added to pressure on Pyongyang to abide by Security Council resolutions which banned Pyongyang from conducting further ballistic missile and nuclear tests.

"We hope our North Korean neighbors will heed the voice of the international community and return to the path of cooperation ... but for this it is necessary to stay within the bounds of the demands made in U.N. Security Council resolutions," Lavrov said.

The Security Council, in which Russia and China hold veto power, unanimously approved a new resolution on Tuesday that condemned violations of previous restrictions and expanded existing sanctions. North Korea responded by saying it would boost its military and nuclear capabilities.

Russia has often balanced criticism of the nuclear activities and missile launches of North Korea, a Soviet-era client state, with calls on the United States and South Korea to refrain from belligerent actions that Moscow says would be counterproductive. But Russia is upset by any defiance of council resolutions.

(Reporting by Timothy Heritage; Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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