Speaking to Tang Jiaxuan, China's foreign minister in 1998-2003 now in Moscow to discuss nuclear non-proliferation issues, Vladimir Putin said, "The coordination of positions on international issues, including the situation surrounding the [North] Korean nuclear program - one of the most sensitive and acute issues - is extremely important."
Jiaxuan earlier met with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, when they condemned the underground nuclear test North Korea claimed it had conducted Monday, but spoke against economic sanctions, let alone military action, against the Communist regime.
"We urge the parties involved to return to negotiations in the six-party format," Jiaxuan said. "All countries must seek a peaceful solution to this problem."
Jiaxuan arrived in Moscow from Washington, where he met with President George W. Bush on the agenda dominated by the nuclear test and developments on the Korean peninsula in general.
The UN Security Council is expected to vote Saturday on the U.S.-drafted resolution to impose sanctions on the secretive communist state.