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Russia Warns Against Pushing North Korea 'Into A Corner'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (Council of Europe) November 18, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today the international community must be firm, but "very cautious," in dealing with the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs.

Lavrov, speaking to reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam, warned that harsh actions against Pyongyang or Tehran could undermine efforts to resolve the disputes and increase the threat of nuclear proliferation.

He also said he was optimistic about the possible resumption of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, despite recent Pyongyang's nuclear test.

"Now we are back to the negotiating table. The situation has not improved since [six-party talks with North Korea collapsed last year], with the testing of the nuclear device by North Korea," Lavrov said. "But the main fact is that there is an agreement to resume the talks. And I hope they would be successful, eventually."

The North Korea crisis is a key issue at the APEC summit in Hanoi.