Russia urges N.Korea to halt 'illegal actions'

Russia on Tuesday urged North Korea to halt illegal actions after its neighbour carried out a nuclear test which Moscow said showed Pyongyang's contempt for UN Security Council resolutions.

"By carrying out the new nuclear test, Pyongyang has once again ignored the norms of international law and shown its contempt for UN Security Council resolutions," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We insist that North Korea halts illegal actions, strictly adheres to all orders of the UN Security Council (and) completely gives up its rocket-nuclear programmes."

"Only this way can North Korea get out of its de-facto state of international isolation and open the way to international cooperation in different areas, not excluding space and peaceful nuclear operations."

The foreign ministry said it was "doubly sad" that the nuclear test was carried out by a government "with which our country has had a long history of good-neighbourly relations".

However Russia also said it expected that the test would not be used as a "pretext" for increasing military activity on the Korean peninsula and urged all parties to behave with restraint.

North Korea on Tuesday staged its most powerful nuclear test yet, claiming a breakthrough with a "miniaturised" device after previous detonations in 2006 and 2009.