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Moscow unaware of nuclear research in N. Korea - Putin aide

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Moscow has no additional or new information about any intensification of nuclear research or production in North Korea, a Russian presidential aide said Tuesday.
MOSCOW, September 12 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow has no additional or new information about any intensification of nuclear research or production in North Korea, a Russian presidential aide said Tuesday.

"Personally, I have no extra or new information about [nuclear] research or industrial work in North Korea," Sergei Prikhodko said. "But that does not mean the six-party talks should be stopped or slowed down."

The six-nation talks, which involve North and South Korea, Russia, China, Japan and the United States, opened in 2003, but stalled last November.

In early July, North Korea, which claims it has nuclear weapons, conducted test launches of ballistic missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2, which many countries qualified as an attempt to force the international community, especially the U.S., to make concessions during nuclear talks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg later in July that China, which has emerged as a major figure at talks with the North, briefed G8 leaders on the results of negotiations with the country, and expressed cautious optimism that the problem could be resolved through diplomacy.

But media in the U.S. cited in mid-August a senior military official as saying U.S. intelligence observed suspicious vehicle movements at a North Korean test site. An unidentified senior State Department official later said the U.S. intelligence community considered a test to be a real possibility.

The U.S., which has also accused North Korea of making counterfeit dollars and laundering money through foreign banks, has pressed the Macao bank to freeze North Korean accounts.

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