Russia on Saturday laid out preconditions for any adoption of a UN Security Council resolution on North Korea, saying that it must contain no hint of force and any sanctions must be time-limited.
At a meeting with Chinese special envoy Tang Jiaxuan, Russia's influential Defence Minister Sergei Lavrov implied that Moscow was ready to support a UN resolution on North Korea's declared nuclear test last Monday, but only on strict conditions.
"Sanctions should not carry even a hint at any kind of forceful methods and should not be aimed against the North Korean people," Ivanov was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.
"We and China share the view that means of political pressure via the UN Security Council cannot be for an unlimited period, so in the event of a return by North Korea to six-party talks and progress in those talks, sanctions, if they are adopted, should automatically be cancelled," Ivanov said.
The comments came as envoys from Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Japan were set to meet at the United Nations today to consider sanctions against North Korea following its declared nuclear test.
Earlier, veto-wielding China and Russia raised last-minute objections to the latest US proposals, scuppering a bid by Washington to get the UN Security Council to reach a decision by Friday.
Moscow and Beijing are both members of the six-way talks process aimed at persuading Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.