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    RUSSIAN MP: NORTH KOREA IS NOT BLUFFING SAYING IT HAS NUCLEAR WEAPONS

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    MOSCOW, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Russian parliamentarian is positive that North Korea will conduct the tests of a "nuclear device" this June.

    The countries that are party to talks on Korea's nuclear program have come to "a critical point."

    On February 10, North Korea announced it had produced a nuclear weapon. "Thereby, it declared itself a nuclear state," Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the international affairs committee of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said on Tuesday ahead of his visit to Pyongyang.

    Kosachev denied facts that prove North Korea would conduct nuclear tests soon.

    Kosachev said Russia urged the resumption of six-party talks on Korea's nuclear program, which were launched in Beijing in August 2003, but came to a deadlock after three rounds over differences between North Korea and the United States. Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan are the other parties to the dialogue.

    Unlike the U.S., Russia "is prepared to support North Korea's peaceful nuclear energy program that would be implemented under strict international control," said Kosachev. The U.S., he recalled, on the contrary was opposed to any, even peaceful, nuclear programs for the country.

    Kosachev said attempts to exert pressure on North Korea were counterproductive. He described the U.S.' proposal to submit "the North Korean file" for consideration at the UN Security Council as a last resort measure to be followed by imposing sanctions.

    "This policy with respect to North Korea will not bring the result we want," he said. It can "drive North Korea out of the negotiating process for good."

    Kosachev said when in Pyongyang that the State Duma delegation would discuss issues related to the development of the North's nuclear programs. "Under the circumstances it is extremely important to get North Korea engaged in the six-party talks again," said Kosachev. The MP said that was crucial for North Korea's relations with its neighbors, regional stability, and global security.

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