MOSCOW, July 2 (RIA Novosti) - A deputy Russian foreign minister said Russia is continuing to maintain contacts with North Korea in an effort to try to bring Pyongyang to six-nation nuclear talks.
North Korea withdrew from the talks on its nuclear program in protest against criticism from the United Nations Security Council over its rocket launch on April 5. It launched four short-range missiles on Thursday and may be preparing further long-range tests.
Russia, a party to the talks along with the United States, China, Japan, and the two Koreas, joined international criticism of the April rocket launch, agreeing tougher sanctions in the UN Security Council but ensuring they did not isolate the North.
"The communication channels have not been cut off and it would be strange if this happened," Alexei Borodavkin told RIA Novosti.
In particular, Borodavkin said Russia maintained regular contacts with the North Korean ambassador to Moscow as well as colleagues in the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang.
China's top North Korean envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, is to hold consultations with Borodavkin in Moscow on Saturday.
The Russian official said he also recently held talks on the North Korean nuclear issue with a South Korean deputy foreign minister as well as U.S. and Japanese partners.
"We are thinking of how to find the way out of this deadlock situation and hold consultations with partners and want to discover opportunities to resume the talks," he said.
North Korea conducted four test launches of short-range missiles on Thursday from a launch site in the east of the country, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
Japanese and South Korean intelligence sources said the North appears to be preparing to test-launch two intercontinental ballistic missiles, in defiance of the new United Nations sanctions.