North Korea's nuclear test will "jeopardise stability in the region"
Moscow: Russia on Monday strongly condemned the nuclear test carried out by North Korea and called upon Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks.
"We unconditionally condemn the test carried out in North Korea," Russian President Vladimir Putin said, emphasising the "huge damage" the test caused to international non-proliferation efforts.
North Korea's Foreign Ministry informed the Russian envoy in Pyongyang of the test two hours before it was carried out, a Russian diplomatic source told the Interfax news agency.
The Russian Defence Ministry said it had detected an underground explosion of a 5 to 15-megaton nuclear device.
Moscow said the test can only "aggravate all existing problems and jeopardise peace, security and stability in the region."
North Korea's ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry where he was told that Moscow expected Pyongyang to resume the six-party talks on its nuclear programme stalled since last November.
"We demand that North Korea immediately take steps to return to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and to resume the six-nation talks," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
At the same time Moscow urged "restraint" from all countries.
Defiant act: Britain
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said his Government regarded the news ``very, very seriously indeed.'' ``This further act of defiance shows North Korea's disregard for the concerns of its neighbours and the wider international community,'' Mr. Blair said. France, a fellow nuclear power, said the test was ``a very grave act.''
Israel, which is widely believed to possess nuclear arms but refuses to admit it, called the test ``provocative,'' believing it sounded an ``alarm bell'' for the world.
The head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Mohamed ElBaradei, said the test represented a grave threat to world security.
The European Union called the test ``unacceptable'', saying it ``profoundly jeopardises regional stability and represents a severe threat to international peace and security.''