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Russia plays down North Korea's threats


MOSCOW, June 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia believes North Korea's recent warnings of military strikes and all-out war should not be taken literally, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

On Saturday, a day after new UN sanctions were passed over the North's recent nuclear test, the reclusive communist state released a statement threatening "resolute military action" if the U.S. tried to isolate it, vowing to "weaponize" plutonium, and warning it would consider attempts to blockade it an "act of war."

"I wouldn't take the June 13 statement of the North Korean Foreign Ministry too literally," Andrei Nesterenko said, while admitting that "the circumstances are very serious."

"Whichever way you look at it, the fact that a member of the United Nations is demonstratively declaring its refusal to fulfill UN Security Council resolutions cannot fail to provoke deep concern," he said.

Japanese and South Korean intelligence sources have said the North appears to be preparing to test-launch two intercontinental ballistic missiles, in defiance of UN resolutions.

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