Russian nuclear envoy in N. Korea: state media

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Russia's top nuclear envoy held talks in North Korea on Monday, state media said, amid international efforts to garner condemnation of Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin had "friendly" discussions with Foreign Minister Pak Ui-Chun after arriving in the North Korean capital, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a brief report.

Pyongyang sparked regional security fears in November when it disclosed an apparently functional uranium enrichment plant to visiting US experts.

The North said it was a peaceful energy project but experts countered it could give the North a second way to make atomic bombs on top of its existing plutonium stockpile.

Six-party disarmament talks grouping the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have been at a standstill since Pyongyang walked out in April 2009 and staged its second nuclear test a month later.

Seoul wants the UN Security Council to address the North's uranium programme, but an attempt last month to publish a UN report criticising the North flopped after opposition from Beijing.

Russia has backed South Korea's call for the Security Council to debate the North's uranium programme.

© 2011 AFP

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