13:36 GMT +319 September 2018
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    U.S., N. Korea dialogue required for six-party talks - FM Lavrov

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    The Russian foreign minister said Thursday that a dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang is necessary for resumption of six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue.

    NEW YORK, September 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian foreign minister said Thursday that a dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang is necessary for resumption of six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue.

    "We believe that a bilateral dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang would help to unblock this issue," Sergei Lavrov said, commenting on the suspension of the six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue since last year.

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

    "Everybody is convinced that only the six-sided format can yield a result, and any attempts to form a new configuration of talks, which would exclude North Korea, would be counterproductive," Lavrov said.

    In early July, North Korea, which claims to have nuclear weapons, conducted test launches of ballistic missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2. Many countries interpreted the tests as an attempt to force the international community, especially the U.S., to make concessions over 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 the talks, 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. quoted in mid-August a senior military official as saying U.S. intelligence had observed suspicious vehicle movements at a North Korean test site, and 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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