World powers press North Korea on nukes

Russia has urged North Korea to return to the six-party talks and called for sanctions against the country to remain in place until it agrees to scrap its nuclear ambitions.

The world powers have stepped up efforts to try to persuade North Korea to go back to the negotiating table.

Barack Obama has written a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, which was handed over by the US special envoy to the country during his three-day trip to Pyongyang.

China has also called for efforts to resume the stalled North Korean nuclear negotiations.

As soon as North Korea gets back to the negotiating table and scraps its nuclear program, sanctions will be lifted, Russia advised.

“If North Korea fulfills international demands, sanctions may be lifted in the foreseeable future," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin told a Thursday press briefing in Moscow.

The sanctions, imposed by UN Security Council resolution 1874, are effective, he added.

“We emphasize that the fulfillment of sanctions against North Korea must continue," Borodavkin said.

North Korea walked out of the talks in December last year when the US suspended its energy aid.

Since then, North Korea has launched a long-range rocket and carried out a second nuclear test in defiance of the international community.