The ministerial meeting is part of the second round of negotiations designed to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program. During the first phase, the North agreed to suspend its key nuclear reactor and let in weapons inspectors in exchange for fuel oil for its power plants.
"If the meeting is not held in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly meeting, then the most likely time will be October," Alexander Losyukov, a deputy foreign minister, said in Tokyo where he met with Japan's envoy to the six-nation talks on North Korea, Kenichiro Sasae.
Losyukov cited the Russian officials' busy schedule in September and said October was apparently too late for some negotiators such as the United States and South Korea who have been pushing for the ministerial talks to be held as early as possible.
Russia's reluctance to rush the ministerial meeting is shared by Japan, Losyukov said, adding that the meeting needs to be well-prepared to be productive.
The diplomat said the six-nation talks involving Japan, South and North Korea, the United States, Russia, and China could be resumed at the level of envoys in late August-early September to pave the way for the ministerial meeting.
During the second phase of the negotiations, the reclusive Communist state is to declare all its nuclear facilities, including those dealing with nuclear weapons production, and to stop them in exchange for 950,000 metric tons of fuel.
"The second phase will be more complicated than the first one because very sensitive issues are going to be raised," Losyukov said.