S. Korean, US troops raise alert level after threat from North

Seoul's defence ministry announced Thursday that "the US-South Korea Combined Forces Command upgraded Watch Conditions by a notch to Stage Two," following threats from the North on Wednesday that it might attack the South.


AFP - Russia on Wednesday summoned North Korea's ambassador and called for a return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks, the Russian foreign ministry said.

The Russian side "called for a renewal of six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula with the goal of finding a political-diplomatic solution to the region's security problems," the ministry said in a statement.

The six-party talks process -- involving China, the two Koreas, Japan, Russia and the United States -- came to a halt last month after North Korea pulled out following criticism of its launch of a rocket.

At Wednesday's meeting with Ambassador Kim Yong Jae, the Russian side "again conveyed its serious concern" at North Korea's underground nuclear test on Monday, its launch of short-range missiles and promises to restart its nuclear programme.

"The tension arising in north-east Asia from these actions is not in the interests of a single state in the region and it is necessary to take immediate steps to defuse it," the Russian statement said.

Earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged a strong United Nations resolution to condemn North Korea's nuclear test.

He insisted however that the stand-off with the reclusive state could only be solved through multi-party talks, saying that North Korea should not be punished "for the sake of punishment" alone.

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