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Don't drive N Korea into corner: Putin

Don't drive N Korea into corner: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said North Korea was sending signals that the country is ready to return to negotiations.

Moscow: The international community must not drive North Korea into a corner if a solution is to be found to the crisis around its nuclear test, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Putin, answering questions on live television, was responding to a viewer from Nakhodka, on the coast of the Sea of Japan, who expressed concern at the close proximity of the October 9 test.

The Kremlin leader described the test as "unacceptable" and said he shared the viewer's concern and not only because it had been conducted 177 km from Russia's borders.

Referring to six-power talks on North Korea's nuclear programme, he said one of the reasons Pyongyang had resorted to conducting the test was that "not all participants in negotiations were able to find the correct tone."

"You must never push one of the participants in talks into a corner and place it in a situation from which it can find no way out other than boosting tension." The stalled six-power talks bring together North and South Korea, China, Russia, the US and Japan.

Though Putin did not mention any country by name, he appeared clearly to be referring to the US, which has taken a hawkish line towards the isolationist, communist state.

North Korea, he said, was sending "signals that the country is ready to return to negotiations if its national interests in terms of security and development of civil nuclear power are assured.

"I believe that with goodwill from all participants, a solution can be found."

first published:October 25, 2006, 16:26 IST